[Release Blitz + ARC REVIEW] Diamond in the Rough by Charlie Cochet

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DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH

FOUR KINGS SECURITY, BOOK 4

CHARLIE COCHET

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 02.12.19

Diamond-In-The-Rough-Kindle

Cover Art Copyright © 2019 Reese Dante

http://reesedante.com

 

BLURB

For Ward “King” Kingston the role of protector, forged by fire and tragedy, is one he takes seriously. When King is asked to safeguard the son of a four-star general and friend, he is pulled back into the world of government black ops on a mission that raises painful memories from his past. The moment King meets Leo, amid the chaos of a lockdown at a secret black site, it’s clear he’s never faced a challenge like this—one that will test his unwavering sense of control.

Leopold de Loughrey is a misunderstood genius whose anxiety and insecurities are sent into overdrive when he is forcefully recruited to work on a top-secret project. Terrified of what his role as “invaluable asset” means, Leo’s stress leads to disappearances, arguments, and blowups that threaten the project and Leo’s future. King’s arrival is a calm in the storm for Leo and his frenetic thoughts.

King and Leo couldn’t be more different, yet as they navigate the dangers of a secret multi-agency operation and face unknown threats, their differences could be what saves them. Neither man believes a happily ever after is in the cards, but their hearts might just prove them wrong… if they can survive a deadly betrayal.

 getbook.at/DiamondInTheRough

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EXCERPT

“Everything okay?”

Leo bit down on his bottom lip and nodded. “Mm-hm.” How about we not reveal what a complete and total freak we are to the hot soldier guy? Not hot. Obviously hot, but Leo shouldn’t be thinking hot. Ones and zeroes. That’s what he should be thinking. Ones and zeroes and sixes, or was that eights? Six-pack or eight-pack?

“Leo?”

“Eight.”

“I’m sorry?”

Leo’s jaw went slack. Holy shit, he’d said that out loud! He promptly shut his mouth, eyes wide. Something banged somewhere, and he flinched. Lifting his gaze, King scanned the room, his expression turning pensive, like he was trying to figure something out. For Leo, it was easy. Noise. It filled the room. Clicking of keyboards, talking, whirring of equipment, and movement. The hostility that rolled off some of the analysts like little clouds of doom didn’t help either.

“I’ll be right back,” King said before he headed toward the analysts.

Leo followed King’s movement as he walked down the rows of workstations until he seemed to find what he was looking for. With a warm smile at Heather, one of the first analysts to be recruited, he pointed to a pair of heavy-duty noise-canceling headphones. He said something that had her blinking up at him, and he checked her ID before his next words were followed by him putting his hand to his chest. She raked her gaze over every inch of him—way to be subtle, Heather—and her cheeks went pink before she lifted her wide eyes to his. Leo wouldn’t have believed it if he hadn’t seen it, but she visibly sighed. Like a dreamy sigh, not the frustrated “why do you have to breathe the same oxygen as me” sigh she’d given Leo that morning when he’d asked to borrow a highlighter.

Heather nodded, and King took the pair of large headphones from her desk, then returned to Leo, Heather’s gaze never leaving him, or rather his ass. Leo narrowed his eyes at her, and when she realized she’d been busted, she started typing away at her keyboard like she was Sandra Bullock in Speed and her desk would blow up if she typed under fifty words per minute.

“Does anyone actually ever say no to you?” Leo asked.

King chuckled and handed him the headphones. “You’d be surprised. My family certainly has no problem giving me a piece of their minds. Noise-canceling headphones. Why don’t you use these for now and let me know which brand you prefer, and I’ll be sure to get a pair brought to you right away.”

“How did you know?”

“One of my brothers-in-arms, Jack, handles cybersecurity for Four Kings Security, and when he’s working on an important project, he puts on headphones to block out any noise that messes with his concentration. Usually it’s when our other brother, Ace, is in the same building.”

Leo couldn’t help his smile. “King, Jack, Ace? I’m sensing a pattern here.”

 

Move over, Ace, we have a new king (pun intended?) in town and surprisingly it’s not King as one might think but Leo. Sorry, Ace! I still love you.

To be honest with you when I picked up Diamond in the Rough I knew I would like it but I didn’t actually  believe it would be the best book of the series. I was kind of disappointed by the third book Join the Club. Don’t get me wrong it was good, but kind of underwhelming. So imagine my surprise that DITR (I’m lazy, sue me) was sooo good. I loved Leo and King, especially Leo. I could totally relate to his awkwardness and quirks. I could absolutely see him and Dex (main character of the Charlie Cochet’s THIRDS series – highly recommend!) working together to annoy the crap out of someone. I also loved to finally see more of King as he was somewhat of a mystery to me in the previous books and I also loved him so much. Leo and King together were hilarious. I found myself laughing often. Ace was the cause of some of those laughters as well. I just love that man.

Charlie Cochet’s writing style kept me hooked to the pages as usually and made me read the whole thing in one sitting.

DITR was a well done conclusion to the Four King series and I had so much fun reading the whole series. I honestly can’t wait for the spin-off books and I hope to see the all the guys again.

Rating: 4,5 stars

CharlieLogo2018Website

Charlie Cochet is the international bestselling author of the THIRDS series. Born in Cuba and raised in the US, Charlie enjoys the best of both worlds, from her daily Cuban latte to her passion for classic rock.

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found devouring a book, releasing her creativity through art, or binge watching a new TV series. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.

Website: www.charliecochet.com

Email: charlie@charliecochet.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/charliecochet

Twitter: @charliecochet

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/charliecochet

Goodreads: www.goodreads.com/CharlieCochet

Instagram: www.instagram.com/charliecochet

THIRDS HQ: www.thirdshq.com

Sign up for Charlie’s newsletter: http://bit.ly/CharlieCochetNews

Follow Charlie on BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/charliecochet

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[Review] Heal by E. M. Leya

About the book

Heal
(Save the Kids #3)
by E. M. Leya

ebook
Publication Date: January 24th 2019

Beau always dreamed of being a doctor, and despite his family’s disappointment, he followed his dreams, becoming a well-known pediatrician. Working in the emergency room he’s faced the worst that society can do to children.

Parson lost his best friend to suicide after foster care failed her. He vowed that he would be the change the system needed and give children the chance that his friend never had.

When a severe case of sexual abuse brings Parson and Beau together, they find they share a passion to make a difference, focusing on helping to show the abused children that not everyone in the world is out to hurt them.

That’s not the only passion they share, the more time they spend together, the stronger their relationship becomes. The chemistry between them is undeniable, and for once, they’ve found someone who isn’t only out to take what they have to give.

But like any new relationship, there are secrets between them, ones so big that it could break them apart before it really gets started. It’s only the determination to save the kids that pushes them forward, making them both see, that despite their pasts, the future can be brighter, and together they have twice as much to offer than they do alone.

review
I read Heal the day it came out and I also wanted to review it on that day but sadly I couldn’t find time to do so because of one of my finals in college. I originally wanted to wait with reading it after my finals but I couldn’t possible wait for that. I have no patience whatsoever.

So here is finally my review.

I really, really liked the previous two books Pain and Secret (highly recommend!) and wasn’t quite sure if Heal would work for me because in Pain and Secret the MCs were both part of the active part of the team while Beau is more on the passive part of the team. Color me surprised but I liked it. Not as much as Pain or Secret but that’s not because Beau’s on the passive part but for a different reason. I’ll get to that in a second.

I’ll name the positive things first really quick because I always seem to forget to mention the good aspects. It’s just so much easier to write about the bad things for me.
Positive thing #1: the writing style sucked me right in from the very beginning.
Positive thing #2: I’m always a sucker for good team dynamics and I absolutely adore the STK team.
Positive thing #3: I love that not every sting of theirs is a total success. I hate reading books where everything always works out to plan.
Positive thing #4: I absolutely loved Parson, he might even now have to share the number one spot with Xander.

So… let’s get to the not so positive things for me. I’ll go ahead and tell you that I’m giving this book 4 stars but I’m a bit of a nitpicker so bear with me.

The first thing I wasn’t much a fan of was Beau’s and Faith’s relationship. I loved that he was a mentor for her but the whole bff thing was a bit weird for me. I’m sure those relationships can be found in real life, there was just something that made it a bit cringy for me, for example the talking about Beau’s sex life.

My next point contains a spoiler so read at your own risk. *SPOILER* The whole forster care thing I liked but Beau decided after knowing them for a week that he wanted to adopt them just because. They haven’t even lived with him by then, they were still in the hospital. Admirably but kinda fast. Also he pretty much told Parson after the first date that they should get married. Holy moly, that man really moves fast. I loved Beau and Parson together but still. Slow down, Beau, just a bit. *SPOILER END*

Last but not least it’s just something I noticed and if I’m wrong let me know, please. Did Parson ever tell Beau why he decided to work in the field he chose? I mean like we as the reader know, hell, even the people who only read the synopsis know this but does Beau actually know? Did they ever talk about that? Beau told Parson his story but did it happen the other way around … I’m honestly not sure. I’ll need to check and re-read the book again but first I’ll need to finish my last two finals. *sigh*

Okay, nitpicking’s over.

I absolutely can’t wait for the next one and the wait won’t thankfully be that long. It’s supposed to come out by the end of February. Yay, nice birthday present for me.

Rating: 4 stars

My Top 10 Books of 2018

According to Goodreads I’ve read 210 books this year and yes, I’m quite aware that the amount of reviews I’ve written compared to that number is ridiculous small. I’m making that my 2019 goal: not as much slacking off on written reviews and finally getting caught up on all those NetGalley books.

Probably. Maybe…. Who am I kidding? LOL We’ll see how that will work out.

Anyway here are my TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2018. Since I’ve mostly read M/M books this year… most of the books on this list are m/m. Sorry, not sorry. 😉

I excluded re-reads of books that I already read in 2017. Also I thought about leaving out the one book I’ve read that’s not out yet but whatever. I’m in charge of the rules here and I declare that that book can stay.

Bookwise this year had lots of ups and downs for me. I faced some books that were really bad in my opinion but also some books that others hated and I really liked. I also had to deal with lots of book hangovers.

I’m including Goodreads links to every book but not the covers because I’m too lazy to edit that right now. Sue me. I’m also including the reviews I’ve written if I did write one.

Last thing before the list begins. I’m not numbering those books because I loved every book for a different reason. Ranking them would be like choosing a favorite child.


~~~~ Hell and High Water by Charlie Cochet ~~~~

>> Goodreads

Finding this one book opened me up to a whole world of books. I personally would put every single book of this series on this list but then I would already done with it. I seriously recommened this book and series to everyone. It’s hilarious but at the same time serious and I just loved it. I even got the audiobooks for my train rides and sometimes I have to remind myself not to laugh out loud on the train because I hate getting looks from people.

You might also want to check out the Four Kings Security series by her. Just as good.

 


 ~~~~ Deke by Eden Finley ~~~~

>> Goodreads

This is the book that I talked about that comes out in 2019. I’m still including it, because it was awesome. The humor was on point and the whole story was just so good. I can’t wait for more.

Spoiler alert: The first and second book of this series also made my top 10, just saying.

>> My review


~~~~ Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall ~~~~

>> Goodreads

I’m quite sure this is the only M/f book on my list because I think I only read maybe 5 M/f books this year so for one to make it on this list I would have had to really love it and I did. I have loved this series from the very first book back in 2011 and I don’t see that changing any time soon.

>> My review


~~~~ Pain by E.M. Leya ~~~~

>> Goodreads

This book is kind of the polar opposite of the others on this list. While the others are more lighthearted and funny, this is a bit darker but equally as good. Sometimes you just need a book that hurts your heart a bit while reading.

>> My review


~~~~ Trick Play & Fake Out by Eden Finley ~~~~

>> Goodreads (Trick Play)
>> Goodreads (Fake Out)

Book one and two of the same series as Deke, the book mentioned at the very top of this list. Equally as good.

>> My review for Trick Play


~~~~ Tank by K.M. Neuhold and Nora Phoenix ~~~~

>> Goodreads

I found this book through one of my many facebook group when I was in search for some good enemies to lover books and the members of the group delivered. So far it’s my favorite of the series but I think the fourth book, which will come out in January, could throw Tank from the throne. We shall see.


~~~~ Unwritten Law by Eden Finley ~~~~

>> Goodreads

Yet another book by Eden Finley. What can I say? I just love everything I’ve read by her so far. I just love her writing style, it pulls me in from the very first page.


~~~~ Cronin’s Key by N.R. Walker ~~~~

>> Goodreads

This book was the very first m/m paranormal romance I liked so I feel compelled to include it. Even though I wouldn’t hold it as high as the other books on this list. It opened a door for me though and that’s why…


~~~~ Torch by Jocelynn Drake and Rinda Elliot ~~~~

>> Goodreads

A lot of people say that this one is the weakest in the series but personally this was my favourite of the whole series. I just loved Rowe’s and Noah’s relationship.


And this concludes my little list. Writing it was harder than I thought because I’m unable to count to ten. LOL.

What are your favorites of this year? Let me know in the comments. 🙂

[ARC REVIEW] Deke by Eden Finley

About the book

Deke
(Fake Boyfriend #3)
by Eden Finley

ebook
Publication Date: January 9th 2019

Ollie

Word of advice: don’t come out to random guys in public restrooms. Even if they’re charming and adorably nerdy and offer to help.

My family believe I can’t be happy if I’m not out to the world. I have a bitter ex-boyfriend and an unstable NHL career to show for it. A fake boyfriend seems like an easy and quick solution to get my family off my back, and this guy is volunteering. I take him up on it without asking his name.

I really should’ve asked for his name.

Lennon

Word of advice: learn how to introduce yourself properly.

In my defense, I don’t recognize Ollie Strömberg right away. I cover football, not hockey.

I’m not supposed to see him again, and he’s never supposed to find out I’m a reporter.

That all changes when my editor reassigns me.

It’s a lesson I should’ve learned by now. Nothing’s changed since high school. Jocks still hate nerds. But even worse, athletes hate journalists. Especially ones who know their secret.

*Deke is a full-length MM novel with a HFN/HEA and no cliffhanger*

review

~ ARC provided by author in exchange for my honest opinion

Sweet Neil Patrick in a harness (read the book and you will understand this), this book was soooo good. The ARC hit my kindle when I still had a friend over and it might have been possible that I was a bit annoyed that she hasn’t gone home yet, so I could read it. Just a teeny-tiny bit.

After reading Trick Play, the second book in the series, I was totally expected a book about Talon, because his story was kind of teased about, but instead Eden gave us Lennon and Ollie and I have to say I’m absolutely not mad about that.

Like the previous books Deke was an absolute joy to read. It was funny – freaking hilarious to be honest, that joint scene really got me laughing my ass off – and I loved the characters, even though I wasn’t sure I would like Lennon, when Eden announced that he would be one of the main characters. I had absolutely no reason to worry, he was awesome.

Even though the next book in this series won’t be a fake boyfriend type of book, I can’t wait for Talon’s book and would love to get my hand on it yesterday.

I totally recommend Deke to anyone, in fact I’m planning to reread it again this evening. You might want to start with Fake Out though so you get to meet the whole clan, even though all the books can be read as stand-alones in my opinion.

I want to give 4,75 stars, because I rarely give the full 5 stars but to hell with it, every single book of this series deserves 5 stars.

Rating: 5 stars

[Cover Reveal] Deke by Eden Finley

Release Date: January 9, 2019

Cover Design: Kellie Dennis / Book Cover by Design

 

Synopsis

 

Ollie

Word of advice: don’t come out to random guys in public restrooms. Even if they’re charming and adorably nerdy and offer to help.

My family believe I can’t be happy if I’m not out to the world. I have a bitter ex-boyfriend and an unstable NHL career to show for it. A fake boyfriend seems like an easy and quick solution to get my family off my back, and this guy is volunteering. I take him up on it without asking his name.

I really should’ve asked for his name.

Lennon

Word of advice: learn how to introduce yourself properly.

In my defense, I don’t recognize Ollie Strömberg right away. I cover football, not hockey.

I’m not supposed to see him again, and he’s never supposed to find out I’m a reporter.

That all changes when my editor reassigns me.

It’s a lesson I should’ve learned by now. Nothing’s changed since high school. Jocks still hate nerds. But even worse, athletes hate journalists. Especially ones who know their secret.

 

 

Goodreads

 

 

Excerpt

 

“You want to watch a movie or something?” Ollie asks.
“A movie?” The bedside clock reads well past midnight, and I should go back to my hotel and get some sleep. Do I move to do that though? Of course not, because I always do questionable things around Ollie, starting with offering to be his fake boyfriend for a family dinner. “What about your roommate?”
“I’m allowed to have gay friends, Lennon.” His eyes seem uncertain, as if he doesn’t quite believe himself. “Or, I dunno, tell him you’re writing another article.”
This is walking a fine line, and I get the feeling if I stay, shit’s gonna get messy. 
“I could stay for a movie.” Apparently, my mouth decides to send a big fuck you to the warnings running through my head. “What’ve you got?”
He taps away on his screen and pulls up a selection.
“Should’ve pegged you for an action, no brains needed, type of guy,” I say.
“Fine then.” He taps some more and pulls up a different folder filled with titles like Donnie Darko, Sin City, and Get Out.
“Ugh. Way too far the other way,” I complain.
“Are you the Goldilocks of movies? Here, look for whatever you want.” He passes me his tablet.
I scroll through the genres in his movie file, clicking on a few things but going back to the main folder seconds later. Ollie makes impatient noises, which makes me even pickier. He’s kind of hot when he’s snarky.
When I scroll down further, a folder catches my eye labeled in capital letters: PORN. “Good to know you don’t even try to hide your stash.”
I jokingly go to click on it, but he must think I’m actually gonna do it. A large hand wraps around my wrist, his grip firm but not painful, and I laugh.
“Calm down. As interested as I am to open it, it’s kind of like Pandora’s box. There could be clown porn in there or something, and then you’re not the one who’d be scarred for life.”
“Clown porn?” he asks while practically choking.
“There’s some really weird shit out there.”
He lets go of my hand. “What I want to know is what you’ve been looking up if you landed on clown porn.”
“It started out looking at guys in drag, and it went downhill from there.”
Ollie pulls back as if contemplating that. “Drag queens, huh? Is that your thing?”
“Oh, we are so not getting into this.” And I’m so not confessing the drag thing was out of curiosity. My true fantasy is jocks. Exactly like him. Not going to tell him that either. “You won’t let me see your collection, so you get nothing from me.”
He thinks about it for a moment before turning to me. “Well, now I want you to look. I feel like I need to defend my porn choices.”
Is he seriously suggesting I watch his porn? With him … like … right there?
The smug challenge in his eye almost has me pushing the button, but the slight blush on his cheeks makes me think he’s bluffing. God, I want to know what he’s into …
No! Bad Lennon.
That would only add to the conflicting feelings I already have for Ollie.
The icon mocks us as we stare at it, and then each other, and then away. God, we’re pathetic.
I click on the folder labelled Classics just so we can get away from temptation. My entire face lights up. “Wait. You think Thor is a classic? Where are the real ones like Cool Hand Luke and The Princess Bride? This is even more disturbing than your porn choices.”
“Hey, you never saw my porn choices.”
“I’m still going with clown porn.”

 

Available Now

 

Fake Out (Book Boyfriend – Book One)

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2pnjh27

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2FWRFtY

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2phmXSD

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2pjyJv9

 

Trick Play (Fake Boyfriend – Book Two)

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2tvwkR0

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Ks0XAi

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2tEc4f7

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2KrmoP2

 

 

Giveaway

One of Five ARC’s for Deke (Fake Boyfriend Book 3)

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b1257f8d394/?

 

 

 

About the Author

 

Eden Finley is an Amazon bestselling author who writes steamy contemporary romances that are full of snark and light-hearted fluff. 

She doesn’t take anything too seriously and lives to create an escape from real life for her readers. The ideas always begin with a wackadoodle premise, and she does her best to turn them into romances with heart.

With a short attention span that rivals her five-year-old son’s, she writes multiple different pairings: MM, MMF, and MF. 

She’s also an Australian girl and apologises for her Australianisms that sometimes don’t make sense to anyone else.

 

Connect with Eden

 

Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/2owAsgY

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2GMjfag

Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2t1KqM4

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2ouFzya

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2HQnyCv

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2EV9Roi

BookBub Author Page: http://bit.ly/2ouhBDq

 

Mini Reviews #6

I haven’t done Mini Reviews or any type of reviews in a while (or in forever), so here we go.

Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert (Review copy provided by NetGalley)

When I started Better Not Pout I wasn’t really feeling it. Not because I didn’t enjoyed the writing style or liked the characters, I liked both of those things, no, it was simply because I wasn’t feeling the holiday spirit. The next holiday we celebrate here is Christmas and by the time I read this book Christmas was still 2.5 month away.
By the end of Better not pout I was totally feeling the Christmas spirit and wouldn’t be mad about it if Christmas would be next week.
I absolutely love anything Annabeth Albert writes so it’s not surprising that I really liked this book as well. If you’ve never read a book by her, maybe try this one since it’s a standalone and it’s holiday themed with an adorable elf and a grumpy Santa clause.

Rating: 4 stars


Single White Incubus by E.J Russell (Review copy provided by NetGalley)

I read single white incubus and vampire with benefits, both are books by EJ Russell, back to back and I have to say even though I would normally pick the book with the vampire as the better one, this time it’s the opposite. I still enjoyed vampire with benefits but single white incubus was just a tad better.
I really liked the way it all worked out between Ted and Quentin in the end. I’ve always been a fan of the accidentally married trope or the married to the wrong person trope so this book played right into that.
I personally haven’t read a book by EJ Russell before Single White Incubus (and Vampire with Benefits) and just while writing this review I’ve found out that these books are a spin-off of another series – can absolutely be read as standalones though – so I will probably pick up the other series as well because I quite enjoyed it and I’m always on the lookout for some good LGBT paranormal romance. Those are quite rare in my opinion.

Rating: 3.75 stars


Join The Club by Charlie Cochet (Review copy provided by author)

I love the books written by Charlie Cochet. The humor, the action, the friendships. I received Join the Club right after I finished BOOK TITLE OF SECOND BOOK so I went right in and Join the Club is now my favorite book of this series. The books of this series could possibly be read as standalones but I wouldn’t recommend it because you will miss a lot of background information and in the case of the couple of this book a lot of sexual tension.
The sexual tension between Mason and Lucky was thick in this book, let me tell you that. I love me some good sexual tension.
I wanted to whack those two on the head from time to time but I loved every second reading about them. Also can we talk about that epilog. I’m so glad King’s book is supposed to come out in late December, because I’m not very patient and I need to know more about King’s story.

Rating: 4.25 stars


The Academy by Quinn Anderson (Review copy provided by NetGalley)

This is the first book by Quinn Anderson that I read and it might not be the last one.

Overall I liked The Academy. The beginning was a bit lengthy and I didn’t really like Sebastian at first. I was a bit more interested in the relationship of Dante and Theo than the main relationship.

I personally liked the whole drama at the end of the book, compared to a few other reviews I’ve read.

The chapters were a bit long – I like shorter ones better, but this did nothing to the rating, just my personal preference.

I really liked the writing style of Quinn Anderson and I will probably pick up another book by this author.

I didn’t really feel the love between the two MCs, but that’s probably due to the fact that the whole relationship took place in two weeks. I felt it in the epilogue though.

Rating: 3,75 stars


Saddle Up by A.M. Arthur (Review copy provided by NetGalley)

I really love A.M. Arthur, but this one was in my opinion the weakest of the series. I really liked Miles and his dramatic background story and I liked Reyes. What I didn’t like what that Reyes had to have an even more dramatic past than Miles, which he kept a secret for a long time and then of course it caused some over-the-top drama. I’m always for drama, the more the better, but this felt off.

I don’t really know how to rate this, I liked it, but at the same time I was a bit… I don’t know… over it?

I’m sorry, A.M.! I really, really love your books.

Rating: 3 stars


[Blog Tour] Counterpoint by Anna Zabo

Counterpoint, Twisted Wishes #2

Release Date: September 24, 2018

Publisher: Carina Press

Book Synopsis: Twisted Wishes lead guitarist Dominic “Domino” Bradley is an animal onstage. But behind his tight leather pants and skull-crusher boots lies a different man entirely, one who needs his stage persona not only to perform, but to have the anonymity he craves. A self-imposed exile makes it impossible to get close to anyone outside the band, so he’s forced to get his sexual fix through a few hot nights with a stranger.

When computer programmer Adrian Doran meets Dominic, he’s drawn to the other man’s quiet voice and shy smile. But after a few dirty, demanding nights exploring Dominic’s need to be dominated, Adrian wants more than a casual distraction. He has no idea he’s fallen for Domino Grinder—the outlandish, larger-than-life rock god.

Dominic is reluctant to trust Adrian with his true identity. But when the truth is revealed prematurely, Dominic is forced to reevaluate both his need for Adrian and everything he believes about himself.

Pre-order/Buy Links: Carina / Amazon / B&N / iBooks / Google Play / Kobo / universal link

Genre: m/m contemporary rockstar romance (with a bit of kink)

Quirks and Warnings: Contains D/s and bondage. Also discusses anxiety and depicts a panic attack.

Tropes and Themes: Secret identity. Geeks in love. hurt/comfort. Finding yourself behind the mask you wear for others.

Excerpt #1:

When Dominic had suggested going to the Met this weekend, Adrian’d been a little disappointed, since he wanted more than just looking at art. He’d wanted a glimpse behind some of those walls Dominic threw up.

Then Dominic had said the magic words: “There’s a tour today where they’re bringing out some of the stringed instruments for a demo, including a seventeenth century guitar.” His eyes had shone with excitement and delight. “I’ve heard recordings—there’s even stuff on the website—but to experience that in person?”

Adrian recognized the shiver of delight, and that had cinched it. He could touch Dominic like that—he wanted to know what else did. And this was music-related, something Dominic tended to push away.

As it happened, the galleries that housed the Met’s musical instrument collection had apparently been undergoing some major renovations over the last couple of years and they were finally in the process of being reopened. As part of that, there’d been some special tours, including performances with instruments from their extensive collection.

Normally, this was the type of thing Adrian would have passed up—tours were tourist traps or designed for school groups—but the way Dominic’s face lit up each time he thought of hearing some instrument from a couple hundred years ago played live…

Yes, he’d seen Dominic in the throes of passion, but that didn’t nearly measure up to the intense need in every fiber of Dominic’s frame. The man was a musician, indeed. He might not talk about his career or his band for whatever reason, but this—this Dominic was willing to share, so Adrian followed, and gladly.

He also adored the feel of Dominic’s hand in his and how utterly unashamed Dominic was to hold his. For someone who could be so shy at times, Dominic was utterly free about expressing his sexuality. Though sometimes, when he looked at Adrian, there was still that haunting sadness or worry. Less and less, though.

They were dating.

And Adrian was grateful for that. He’d rather have Dominic’s smiles and sexy little glances, and not have to worry about whether this was a very long casual thing. Plus, he wanted more, too. More throaty cries, more cuffs and rope, more lazy talks after sex, more of Dominic paging through books and snuggling next to him to read poetry.

As they walked through the Met’s Great Hall, Adrian had that quickening of breath he got whenever he visited a museum. This one topped his list. The Met had art and history—and he was here holding the hand of Dominic Bradley, with his flushed cheeks and a smile Adrian wanted to kiss forever.

This moment, right here, was giddy and full. The seed of deep love. Tantalizing. But calm and sweet. It took everything Adrian had not to get his hopes up yet.

They’d seen each other every weekend since that first one, and a few weeknights, too. More and more, Adrian learned about Dominic, and his childhood in New Jersey. He’d gotten a degree in history with a minor in music from Montclair State University, which explained his familiarity with New York City.

In return, Adrian shared pieces of his own life, beyond the tangled mess of his return to New York. Pieces of his childhood in Brooklyn. His parents’ reaction to his interest in more than just women. His running with his neighborhood crew until college in Buffalo. How hard it’d been to move to a place where he’d needed to learn to drive and own a car. And hadn’t that blown Dominic’s mind, that Adrian hadn’t bothered to get his license until well after he turned eighteen.

Being at the university had also been less diverse in many ways.

Adrian glanced around as they stood in line to get entrance tickets. Not so true here. Many different skin tones. So many languages. Sure, some were tourists, but not everyone. It felt more like home than anywhere else had. And people had the gall to say New Yorkers lived in a bubble?

“Are you staying?” The question came unbidden to Adrian’s lips. “Here in New York? For good?”

There was a hint of confusion in Dominic’s face as he replied, “Yeah. I bought a house here. I mean, I’m gonna travel some.” He got that faraway look again. “Sometimes the band—” He shrugged, and the brilliant smile returned. “This is my home. I love it here.”

That was one of the other things Dominic never touched on—how a guitarist for this band he was in could afford to buy a place in Brooklyn. But Adrian let the thought slide away. Dominic would tell him in time, would open those doors to whatever it was he wasn’t sharing. After all, Adrian had said that was fine, that some secrets could be kept.

Author Bio: Anna Zabo writes contemporary and paranormal romance for all colors of the rainbow. They live and work in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, which isn’t nearly as boring as most people think.

Anna grew up in the wilds of suburban Philadelphia before returning to their ancestral homelands in Western Pennsylvania. As a child they were heartily disappointed to discover that they couldn’t grow up to be what they wanted (a boy, a cat, a dragon), so they settled on being themself whenever possible, which may be a combination of a boy, a cat, and a dragon. Or perhaps a girl, a knight, and a writer. Depends on whom you ask. They do have a penchant for colorful ties and may be hording a small collection of cufflinks.They can be easily plied with coffee.

Anna has an MFA in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where they fell in with a roving band of romance writers and never looked back. They also have a BA in Creative Writing from Carnegie Mellon University.

Anna uses they/them pronouns and prefers Mx. Zabo as an honorific.

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[Blog Tour] Flash Me by K.M. Neuhold

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FLASH ME

A Heathens Ink Novel

K.M. NEUHOLD

M/M ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 09.03.18

Flash Me Final

Blurb

Liam

I was kicked out at sixteen for being transgender, but it turned out to be one of the best things to ever happen to me. At twenty-one, I have a fantastic new family made up of my brother and a handful of wonderful friends, I own my own photography business, and I’m happier than I imagined possible. There’s just one thing missing… Okay, maybe two…

Wyatt

When I took the position volunteering as a therapist at Rainbow House, I knew I’d found my place in the world: helping teens who had been rejected by their families. What I didn’t expect was the friendship I formed with Liam or how it would grow over the years into a crush I just couldn’t shake. I’m happy to see him finally opening himself up to dating with someone he trusts like Owen. But when he comes to me and asks if I can help his boyfriend, I feel like there’s more to the request than just a few therapy sessions. The more I get to know Owen, the more I like him, too.

Owen

I’m not sure why I believe so much in fate when she’s dealt me nothing but crappy hands—a stint in prison and enough childhood horrors to fuel all my adult nightmares. But I still hold on to the idea that everything happens for a reason. What I can’t figure out is why fate would plop me naked into Liam’s bed under the pretext of helping him with a photo series for a gallery showing. Or why my stomach goes funny every time he smiles at me. Liam is too sweet to be exposed to my demons, but I don’t know how to protect him…Maybe that’s why fate gave us Wyatt.

***This is the seventh book in the Heathens Ink series. Each book in the series CAN be read as a stand-alone, but characters do re-occur so it’s more fun to read them all!

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Excerpt

Holy fuck.

My eyes greedily memorize the way Owen’s soaked shirt clings to his muscles. The colorful skin of his arms glisten under the fluorescent lights of the coffee shop, and the scent of his sweat tickles my nose. I can’t say I’ve ever found anything particularly sexy about a sweaty man. Sex sweat is fine, but not something that revved my engine. Consider me a convert, because it’s taking all my willpower to keep myself from flattening my body against Owen’s and drenching myself in his sweat, licking it off his neck, and rubbing against his slick body until sweat isn’t the only thing he’s drenched in.

Fuck, I’m such a bad person. His date with Liam was last night and here I am imagining humping him like an unneutered dog.

“Out for an early run?” I guess, looking down at his running shoes.

“Yeah,” he answers without any further elaboration.

I’ve known all the guys from Heathens Ink for years now but Owen is the only one I’ve hardly talked to, and I’m not sure why. Maybe because he’s always come off as more standoffish than the other guys? That doesn’t usually stop me with people, but I don’t have any other explanation. It feels like an oversight I should rectify. If Liam’s going to be dating him, I should get to know him better.

My stomach clenches, hot with jealousy knowing I was too late. Not that I was even too late, that I never had a shot with Liam to begin with. How can it hurt this much to know I can’t have him, when I only just realized I wanted him?

“How was your date with Liam?” I ask conversationally as the line inches slowly forward. Owen looks surprised by my question. “Liam and I are close,” I explain.

“Oh, yeah, I guess I should’ve realized. I’ve seen you two together a lot. It was great, Liam is…” Owen trails off, seeming to try to think of an adjective to describe Liam. I could help him out with that— Smart, funny, adorably shy at times, flirty and playful others, sexy, perfect.

“Yeah, he is,” I agree with his unfinished sentence, knowing he must be thinking the same things I am based on the smile tilting the corners of his lips.

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I’m an author of m/m and new adult romance. I have a strong passion for writing characters with a lot of heart and soul, and a bit of humor as well.

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“Mini” Reviews #5

I haven’t done Mini Reviews in a while (or in forever), so here we go. Be aware, that most of them received a poor rating. I’m in a bad book place at the moment.
Neil by Sybil Bartel (Review copy provided by NetGalley)

This is the first book by Sybil Bartel that I read and it might also be the last one.
I didn’t like this book mainly because of Neil, the one whose name is in the title, so he should be likeable, don’t you think? At least after a while, right?

4% in and I already sided with one other review I read about this book, and that review said: Neil is a dick, jerk and so on. I agree wholeheartedly. I would like it just quote the whole review and be done with writing mine, but I won’t do that. There were some moments where I thought he would redeem himself but the next sentence he was back to his asshole-ish behaviour. So no. No redemption for Neil.

The writing style of the book overall was really good, which is maybe the only reason I finished this book, but the characters, not only Neil, killed the book for me.

Rating: 2,25 stars


The Little Library by Kim Fielding (Review copy provided by NetGalley)

I would love to say that I was impressed by this, but the truth is I was kinda bored. I started this book of with “uh, this is a cool idea and the writing style is not bad”, but over the course of the book I found myself drifting to other, more interesting books.

I just was not invested in Simon and Elliot’s relationship and to be totally honest Elliot was pretty annoying from time to time.

That I didn’t like this, doesn’t mean that you won’t like it, but sadly this book was one of the rare m/m books that didn’t do it for me even though the premise sounded promising.

Rating: 2 stars


For Real by Alexis Hall

Caution, this is a bit of a rant. LOL.

I read an ARC prior to For Real that also featured an age-gap between the two characters. That ARC I liked a lot more than For Real. In fact I didn’t like For Real at all. I won’t even put this one in one of my folders on my Kindle. No, it will go straight back into my archives for when I ever feel the need to download it again, which I’m pretty sure won’t happen. Ever.

Here are the things that especially didn’t work for me, overall the whole book didn’t work for me though:
1) the whole relationship between Toby and Laurence. I didn’t mind the age-gap, really. What I do mind is chemistry. There wasn’t one ounce of chemistry between these two. Seriously. No sparks. Nothing. Also the relationship was for a better part of the book totally one-sided. This didn’t even feel like a relationship. Poor Toby. Relating that, to be blunt: Laurence was an ass and I did not like him. Not in the beginning of the book, not in the middle or at the end. Just didn’t like him.

2) the BDSM part. I’m not a big fan of BDSM, that I will honestly admit, but still I’ve read better books about it. Here all the lines between sub and dom were smeared and I just didn’t understand their dynamics.

3) the narration. The whole writing style felt kinda off for me. The only good thing is that I could really good distinguish which characters POV I was currently reading. That is like the only positive thing I have to say about this book. And that it didn’t play in America, but in the UK. That’s another teeny tiny good thing.

Quite frankly I don’t get all this love for this book. Lots and lots of people have recommended this to me and lot and lots of people on Goodreads love this so I thought “if so many like it, it has to be good, right?”. Nope. Not for me. I’m still not really sure how I even finished this or why for that matter.

I’m not sure I will pick up another book by Alexis Hall. Probably not. I know I’m probably one of the very few people that did not like this book, or maybe I’m just one of the few that chose to review it, but that’s life. Don’t hate me for my opinion.

Rating: 1,5 stars


Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

This was really cute and at the same time I had tears in my eyes a few times. Highly recommend it, but be aware that both of the characters deal with a lot of grief, so if that’s not your piece of cake and you want something more fun and lighthearted, this is not it.

Rating: 4 stars

 

 


Cronin’s Key by N.R. Walker

I think this is the first M/M Paranormal Romance book I ever liked. It’s different from the others I’ve read and wanted to throw at the wall.
Some things were stupid, some repetitive, the whole fated-thing I kind of hate in other books, but since it’s still kind of a slowburner here, I’m ok with that. Overall I liked this book.

Rating: 3,5 stars 

 


I’m better on writing mini reviews on Goodreads, so follow or friend me there, if you want to keep up with what I’m reading: >> My Goodreads profile <<

[Review] Awaken the Darkness by Dianne Duvall

About the book

Awaken the Darkness
(Immortal Guardians #8)
by Dianne Duvall

ebook
Publication Date: July 10th 2018

He awakens encapsulated in dirt with no knowledge of how he came to be there. Riddled with injuries, he can remember neither his past nor who he is. Nor can he remember what he is. But surely no mortal man could survive being buried deep beneath the earth. All he knows with certainty is that the soothing voice and presence of the woman moving around above enables him to endure the agony of his wounds. And he will do whatever it takes to be with her.

When Susan first sees the old two-story house for sale, such warmth and longing fill her that—against all reason—she makes an offer. It will take years of hard work and money she frankly doesn’t have to fix up the place. So she can’t explain why she bought it. She also can’t explain what compels her to spend hours one night, digging in the basement until she unearths a man. A man who still lives and breathes despite having been buried alive. A man whose intense brown eyes glow amber with pain, declaring him far more than ordinary. Susan knows she should keep her distance. He has no memory and possesses gifts that would make most fear him. But as the two work together to unravel the mystery of his past, she finds herself drawn in by his teasing nature and tender touch. So much so that she loses her heart to him even as they find themselves hunted by unknown enemies who are ruthless in their quest to capture them.

review

Awaken the Darkness is the eighth book of the Immortal Guardians series – which is one of my favourite series by the way. Originally is was supposed to be a novella, but since Dianne Duvall is now a self-publishing author (good for you, Dianne!) it magically ended up being much longer *cough* 400 pages *cough* and I’m absolutely not mad about it. The only way you feel that this was supposed to be a novella is in the way that not as many side characters as in the other books are present and we don’t have the Gershom story arc. Apart from that you really can’t feel that this was supposed to be much shorter.

I really loved the story of Stan and Susan. Stan was the perfect gentleman even though he was riddled with wounds (where do I find such specimen for myself?) and Susan was awesome, just as awesome as all the other female characters Dianne Duvall creates.

The whole story was fun and I loved the scene when Stan was finally reunited with his Immortal Guardian bethrens.

You know one thing I would like to see in the Immortal Guardians world? Even though it will probably never happen, like never never… I would love to see an M/M story, preferably between David and Darnell, but that’s probably just my M/M infested brain talking. LOL. I would buy the shit up of it though, just saying 😉 I love me some friends-to-lover M/M story. Hint, hint, Dianne.

Anyway, where was I? Right, Awaken the Darkness. Buy it, read it, love it! That’s my advice for you.

And if you haven’t started this series yet, start at the beginning, it’s awesome, trust me.

Also I absolutely can’t wait for Seth’s book, which is set to come out in 2019. The only thing I hope about this book is that he doesn’t end up with a reincarnated version of his wife, I don’t like the whole reincarnation theme. Let him end up with someone totally new, but we will see what Dianne Duvall has in store for us. Now if only I could muster some patience, it truly was never my strong suit.

It’s not 2019 yet, right? Damn…

Rating: 4,75 stars