Olive Juice by T.J. Klune

It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:
I want to see you.
He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.
David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.
Phillip offers redemption.

Not your typical T.J. Klune read… but that’s not a bad thing. Actually, after thinking about it a little more, there’s absolutely nothing typical about Olive Juice. That’s not a bad thing either.

I’ve been sitting on this review for a while for a couple of reasons. First, I needed time to wrap my head around this book. It was a fairly quick read, but it was by no means an easy one. Second, readers have been warned to not give away any spoilers – for good reason. That’s usually not an issue for me, but this one has me walking on egg shells and prepare yourself for one of my vaguest reviews. *sigh*

As the description states, the story starts with a text and a simple statement. “I want to see you.” Nothing about the rest of the book is simple though. It’s a lot of things. Painful, depressing, heart breaking and yet at times beautiful. My heart broke for both Phillip and David. Readers get glimpses of the past a little at a time, so things are revealed slowly. Which, oddly enough, kept the pages turning. I found myself needing to know where the pain was coming from.

After reading the description and knowing this author, I expected tears. As much as my heart broke for these characters, it didn’t affect me the way I thought it would. I’m not sure why and I know that it wasn’t the same for all readers. It was a powerful read regardless and it touched me in a way that not many books do. That is very typical of this author and one of the many reasons I love his work.

Deliciously Bitter Cover Reveal + Brand New Naked Brew Covers

I was so excited when I found out that one of my favorite supporting characters introduced in Deliciously Smooth was going to have their own book. If anyone deserved a HEA, it was most definitely this guy. I can’t wait to get my hands on Deliciously Bitter, but until then we get to drool over not just the cover from the last book in K.B. Jacobs’ Naked Brews series, but we get treated to brand new covers for ALL the books. Yay! Enjoy! Oh, and below is a closer look at the Deliciously Bitter cover along with the blurb. *sigh*

Can her love erase his scars?
Three years ago, my perfect life ended. I got trapped inside a burning Army MRAP and watched my friends die. I was the only one to survive, if you can call this survival. 
Now I’m the beast of nightmares. Horrific scars mean I don’t leave my house…ever. 
But my best friend made sure I continued to live when all I wanted was to give up. I owe him everything, and now he needs me for two weeks. 
Two weeks with strangers who I’ll never have to see again. I can do this. I can ignore the stares and revulsion.
But what I can’t ignore is the stunning beauty next door who sees past my scars. 
She’s Hollywood royalty. I’m a recluse, a hermit. Her life is glamour and paparazzi. My life is NOT. No matter how much I want her, I’m no good for her. 
Beauty and the beast was a romantic fairy tale, but this is real life and she deserves better…

Click Here to Purchase

 

 

Thaw (Seasons of Love #2) by Elyse Springer

Abigail is content with her quiet life as a librarian. But when she’s invited to a high-profile charity auction, she finds herself dancing with one of the most beautiful women she’s ever met. Abby’s sure she’ll never see her again, but then Gabrielle calls and asks her on a date. And soon after, another.
Supermodel Gabrielle Levesque has a reputation as the Ice Queen—cold and untouchable—except she warms up whenever she’s with Abby. Only Abby isn’t interested in the heat between them; she’s asexual, and she’s worried that admitting as much to Gabrielle might spell the end of their blooming romance.
They’re two different women from two very different worlds, but Abby knows she can love Gabrielle. Her passion for books, travel, and theater prove there’s more to the Ice Queen than meets the eye. But they’ll have to overcome Abby’s fears—and Gabrielle’s own threatening secrets—in order to find their way to love.

So, I think I’ve established that I’m a fan of M/M romance, but F/F? Not so much. Don’t ask me why, because I have no reasonable explanation. I just can’t get into them and believe me, I’ve tried. So, why didn’t I even hesitate to pick up Thaw? Well, that’s simple. I fell in love with the characters in Whiteout and I couldn’t resist seeing where the rest of the books in Elyse Springer’s Seasons of Love series took them.

Abby was one of my favorite supporting characters in Whiteout. She was a great friend to Noah and in Thaw, he got to return the favor. I really enjoyed getting to know her even better, as well as a few other characters from the first book. Abby gained quite a few friends when she became friends with Noah.

Gabrielle had earned her reputation as the Ice Queen honestly, but Abby saw something in her that others hadn’t. The same was true of Gabrielle’s reaction to Abby. She didn’t let her guard down or open herself up to many people. There was something about Abby that drew her in and let her relax, just a little. That was enough. What little time they got to spend together alone was good. When they were out in the open, things were tense. There was more than one misunderstanding and one that finally was the last straw for Abby. Things aren’t always what they seem and secrets have a way of hurting the last people you’d expect. My heart broke for both of these characters equally at different times during Thaw. They were both fighting their own private battles and I couldn’t help but root for their HEA because by the end, they totally deserved it.

If Thaw was any indication, I’m pretty sure that readers haven’t seen the last of Gabrielle and Abby. I like it when a series keeps characters together, especially since they’ve been so supportive of each other. That seems to be a theme in this series. Heatwave is next and it’s another F/F book in the Seasons of Love series. It also features another one of my favorite characters from both Thaw and Whiteout. Seems that Sara will be in for some surprises of her own and I can’t wait 😉

 

Surrender the Dark by Tibby Armstrong – Release Day Blast

As a provocative series of paranormal temptation begins, a vampire king seduces the supernaturally gifted man hunting him. But when the stakes are literally life or death, their struggle for control is no game.

Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.
 
After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.

Purchase

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Excerpt

Benjamin jerked back at the contact with Tzadkiel’s mouth and attempted to shove the vampire away. Tzadkiel, however, was quicker. Hand gripping Benjamin’s nape in a way that spoke of centuries—perhaps millennia—of practice, Tzadkiel held him immobile. The royal purple aura flashed and brightened with something Benjamin’s hunter-senses recognized as desire. Flesh, warm and supple, not marble hard and cold, met Benjamin’s lips.

The vampire kisses like a human.

Benjamin’s first thought struck him as absurd, and then he couldn’t think at all. Lips that had begged him for water, for silence, for life, now demanded passion. Sparks of white and deep mauve obscured the subterranean world around him, focusing his attention on the flash-bang of his arousal. As before, contact with the vampire blew him apart from the inside. Adrenaline, fear, animal instinct, all combined to light his nerves with an awareness he’d only experienced when fighting the heinous creatures. In short, he felt alive.

Lungs burning, Benjamin gasped when Tzadkiel let him up for air, then pulled his nemesis in for more. Drunk with lust, he barely registered voices in the tunnel, or the polite cough and tap on his shoulder. Taste. He needed to taste. Plunging his tongue into a rough and tumble battle with Tzadkiel’s, he tasted his own blood on the vampire’s tongue. Tzadkiel growled and clamped his hand more insistently on Benjamin’s nape, forcing him to open his mouth until every spare inch of his world was filled with a different kind of mayhem. Tinged with smoke and salt and a warm earthy essence, Tzadkiel tasted of nightmares laced with forbidden desire. A one-hit addict, Benjamin couldn’t get enough of the resulting rush.

The cough and tap came again, more insistent this time. Benjamin shrugged it off, refusing to rouse from this wonderful dream, and attempted to fall back to sleep—to fall back into to Tzadkiel’s embrace.

About Tibby

Tibby Armstrong has been a romance reader since the age of eleven, when she snuck a very bad historical from her aunt’s shelves. In her late twenties, she fell in love with paranormal romance and urban fantasy. Now she writes LGBT contemporary and paranormal stories with strong relationship threads and a healthy helping of steam.
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Surrender the Dark (Dark #1) by Tibby Armstrong

Benjamin Fuller is a hunter, born and bred. Blinded as a child by the vampire who slaughtered his family, he’s blessed with a second sight that allows him to catch and kill his quarry. What his gift can’t help him see coming is his fierce, almost carnal attraction to the mystery man who claims to be a fellow hunter and whose touch triggers both lust and revulsion. When he gains the upper hand, Benjamin vows to bring his enemy to his knees.
After many years spent in exile, the only one who can help restore Tzadkiel Dragoumanos to his rightful place as War King is a blind hunter with golden curls, a lithe dancer’s physique, and distinctive facial scars—scars Tzadkiel gave him two decades ago. The mere scent of Benjamin Fuller provokes an unwelcome rush of insatiable desire. Yet to win an all-out supernatural war, Tzadkiel must resist the ravenous hunger to possess his prey—for now.

I honestly can’t believe that Surrender the Dark is the first book by Tibby Armstrong that I’ve read. I’ve been following her for a while now and I really did think that I’d read at least one of her books, but I was wrong. There’s obviously nothing I can do about that now, but after finishing the first book in her newest series, I’m hooked and anxiously waiting the next book in the Dark series.

Not surprisingly, it was really easy to sympathize with Benjamin. I’ve got to admit that I was wondering exactly how the author was going to bring these two characters together after all the pain that they caused each other. Tzadkiel was the enemy. He was a monster that had tricked Benjamin, caused him to lose his sight and killed his family. Things aren’t always exactly as they seem though and there were a lot of interesting twists in Surrender the Dark.

Once I started to understand Tzadkiel’s history and how things really played out I wasn’t sure who to sympathize with because I found my heart breaking for both of them. So much so, that I wasn’t disappointed at all to find that the real enemy in Surrender the Dark wasn’t who I expected.

Beyond the story, the writing in Surrender the Dark drew me in. The descriptions were almost poetic, but not over the top. The characters were well developed and there was even humor laced within all the pain, anger and danger. Just a few of the reasons why I’ll most definitely not only be following the rest of this series but I’ll also be searching out more books by this author.

The conflict was over between Tzadkiel and Benjamin by the end of Surrender the Dark, but there’s still more to come. More than one character’s fate was undecided. Even though the next book, Taste the Dark, centers around at least one of those characters, I’m pretty sure readers haven’t seen the last of the King and his mate. Needless to say, I’m looking forward to it. 😉

Cask Strength (Agents Irish and Whiskey #2) by Layla Reyne

Professionally, the FBI team of Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker is as good as it gets, closing cases faster than any team at the Bureau. Personally, it’s a different story. Aidan’s feelings for Jamie scare the hell out of him: he won’t risk losing another love no matter how heart-tripping the intimacy between them. And loss is a grim reality with the terrorist Renaud still on their trail, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.
Going undercover on a new case gets them out of town and off the killer’s radar. They’re assigned to investigate an identity theft ring involving a college basketball team in Jamie’s home state, where Jamie’s past makes him perfect for the role of coach. But returning to the court brings more than old memories.
As secrets and shocking betrayals abound, none may be more dangerous than the one Jamie’s been keeping: a secret about the death of Aidan’s husband that could blow his partner’s world apart and destroy forever the fragile bonds of trust and love building between them.

The plot thickens… Single Malt ended with quite a revelation – that Jamie promised not to share with Aidan. It also left Jamie in a very precarious position. He was getting closer to Aidan and secrets between lovers never ends well.

I gotta say, I’m loving this series and Cask Strength cemented that feeling. Even though these two characters broke my heart – more than once. Jamie was all in when it came to his feelings about Aidan. The only thing was that Aidan was only all in when he was physically with Jamie. Nothing’s ever exactly what it seems and things started getting really interesting when the agents went under cover.

I don’t want to give too much away, but both Jamie and Aidan thought they had reason to be jealous. Jamie seemed to be in his element when he got back on the court. Then lines started blurring when Aidan worked under cover way too well.

As things in the identity theft case started to wrap up, the case they left behind took another strange turn. The cliff hanger in Cask Strength wasn’t quite as crazy… well, not in the same way, anyway… as Single Malt. That doesn’t mean that I can’t wait to pick up Barrel Proof. Even though I’m pretty sure I’m not going to be ready to say goodbye to Jamie or Aidan, Cask Strength ended in a twist that I never saw coming and I’m kinda hoping that there’s a perfectly reasonable explanation, but…

Summer Stock Virtual Book Tour

About Summer Stock

Tabloid scandals have driven TV star Ryan Hertzog to North Carolina’s Outer Banks, where he’s hiding out doing summer stock at his cousin’s seaside theater. When a hookup with local handyman Trey Donovan results in Ryan being photographed butt naked, he vows to keep his pants on and his hands off Trey.  How was he supposed to know Trey would turn out to be the summer stock set builder?

Trey isn’t looking for a relationship; he’s still recovering from the emotional fallout of an abusive marriage. But Ryan’s laughter draws him in again and again, and he’s not about to say no to fooling around.

As the summer heats up, the paparazzi catch Ryan in increasingly compromising situations. Ryan might be too much drama for a summer fling—and Trey might be just an intermission from Ryan’s Hollywood life. But if they take their cues from Shakespeare, all’s well that ends well.

Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/summer-stock

About Vanessa North

Author of over a dozen novels, novellas, and short stories, Vanessa North delights in giving happy-ever-afters to characters who don’t think they deserve them. Relentless curiosity led her to take up knitting and run a few marathons “just to see if she could.” She started writing for the same reason. Her very patient husband pretends not to notice when her hobbies take over the house. Living and writing in Northwest Georgia, she finds her attempts to keep a quiet home are frequently thwarted by twin boy-children and a very, very large dog.

Connect with Vanessa:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Summer Stock, one lucky winner will receive a Summer Stock swag bag! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 20, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Forest of Thorns and Claws Virtual Book Tour

Hello and welcome to the blog tour for Forest of Thorns and Claws! This M/M shifter (weretiger) romance is a standalone novel set in the rainforests of Indonesia. The book features a lonely veterinarian and wildlife conservationist from the UK, Dr. Donovan McGinnis, who meets a man from the local Sumatran village, Kersen, after rescuing a snared tigress. I hope you’ll read on to learn more about Donovan and Kersen’s adventures.

Also, remember to leave a comment on this post… one lucky winner will get a $15 Riptide gift card!

About Forest of Thorns and Claws

Donovan McGinnis, a veterinarian and conservationist at a research center in Sumatra, is fighting to save the rainforest from poachers and politicians alike. One day he discovers a tigress trapped by a snare, and while treating her injuries, she bites him. He becomes ill with strange symptoms that leave him feverish and dreaming of the jungle and blood.

Kersen and his family are part of the Siluman harimau, a clan of tiger shifters hidden away in a secret village near the rainforest. When Kersen’s sister is caught, he knows he must free her before she infects someone with their magic and reveals their secret.

But Donovan has already been turned, and only time will tell if he can control the tiger within. Kersen must help him, but will the fierce attraction between the pair bring ruin to them all? With the rainforest under threat from outside forces, they may be doomed anyway, unless Kersen and Donovan can find a way to defeat the danger from inside and out.

Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/forest-of-thorns-and-claws

About J.T. Hall

J.T. Hall has been writing for many years under this name and others, and has appeared in magazines, anthologies, and online books. She earned her BA in creative writing from the University of Arizona, her Master’s in education from Argosy University, and works as an independent technical writer for state and federal programs. In her free time, she volunteers for the LGBT community and is active in the leather scene. She has a teenage daughter and a partner of over ten years. They live in sunny Arizona with three adorably cute dogs, three black cats, and a hamster who loves peanuts.

Connect with J.T.:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Forest of Thorns and Claws, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 20, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Necessary Medicine by M.K. York – Bout of Books 19 Review

In the high-intensity world of hospital residency programs, there’s no room for romance. So it’s a good thing for first-year surgical resident Neil Carmona that his crush on the gorgeous cardiologist Eli Newcombe is sheer fantasy. Not only is the sexy doctor Neil’s superior, he’s also recently divorced.
As Neil’s skill as a surgeon grows, so does his friendship with Eli, and his silent, hopeless longing for more. It isn’t until Neil’s final year that Eli at last admits his own deepest desires. But Neil’s joy is short-lived: Eli has no intention of pursuing a relationship. Their positions in the hospital would make it unethical, even if he was emotionally ready for someone new.
Wounded and furious, Neil is determined to forget about Eli once and for all. But when a near-tragedy strikes, a new question arises: Is a life without love—without Neil—a greater risk than laying his heart on the line?

The intro to the description of Necessary Medicine said ‘slow-burn romance’ – which is both accurate and an understatement. I’m a really, really patient reader, but I realize that other readers might not be. For that reason, I (and other conscientious reviewers) have found it necessary to point out that the ‘romance’ aspect of Necessary Medicine is not the focus. The focus is on the the development of the characters’ relationships (not just between Eli and Neil) as well as a glimpse of what it takes to become a surgeon/doctor.

I kinda liked this story, which was the first book written by MK York. The author did a great job of giving readers a glimpse into what life is like as a medical student. I really enjoyed getting to know both Neil and Eli as well as all the other students, specialists and surgeons. It was a unique glimpse into a world that not a lot of others get to see or experience.

I also really liked watching the relationship between Eli and Neil grow. It wasn’t always easy. I spent a lot of time being just as aggravated with Eli as Neil was, but it wasn’t easy to stay mad at him. The ups and downs between these two were worth it though. Even though the real romance didn’t even happen until way past the half way point. Just be patient, enjoy the build up and let yourself get caught up in the story.

Forest of Thorns and Claws by J.T. Hall – Bout of Books 19 Review

Donovan McGinnis, a veterinarian and conservationist at a research center in Sumatra, is fighting to save the rainforest from poachers and politicians alike. One day he discovers a tigress trapped by a snare, and while treating her injuries, she bites him. He becomes ill with strange symptoms that leave him feverish and dreaming of the jungle and blood.
Kersen and his family are part of the Harimau jadian, a clan of tiger shifters hidden away in a secret village near the rainforest. When Kersen’s sister is caught, he knows he must free her before she infects someone with their magic and reveals their secret.
But Donovan has already been turned, and only time will tell if he can control the tiger within. Kersen must help him, but will the fierce attraction between the pair bring ruin to them all? With the rainforest under threat from outside forces, they may be doomed anyway, unless Kersen and Donovan can find a way to defeat the danger from inside and out.

I love books that convey an important message without being ‘preachy’ about it. You know what I mean, right? Forest of Thorns and Claws was one of those books. The message was about conservation and the affects that both legal and illegal actions can have. The story was centered around two very special characters. One who fought for the wildlife and its habitat even before he knew its magical secrets and the other who lived in that magical world with his family. That would have been enough to draw me in, but there were tigers, one of my favorite big cats, so I probably would have picked this one up regardless.

Kersen belonged to a clan of tiger shifters who had kept themselves hidden from humans for centuries. It was important to keep their secret, but it was even more important to rescue his sister. Once he found out that Donovan had been infected, he had more than one issue to handle. The doctor could be an ally, but what if he wasn’t. He had to get him away from the other humans before things got worse. Once he started spending time with Donovan, the attraction between them added another element.

Having Donovan turn into a shifter was kind of poetic in a way. His devotion and respect for the tigers was apparent in everything he did. It didn’t take him long to feel a part of the clan, which took his protection instincts to a whole new level. Thrown into the mix were untrusting villagers, a political and bureaucratic nightmare and a meddlesome friend. Needless to say, there wasn’t much down time in Forest of Thorns and Claws.

The romance was heated and intense, the suspense was gripping and the message was clear. If you read Forest of Thorns and Claws, don’t skip the author’s notes at the end. Her personal message to readers is worth the read. Enjoy!