Write On Review-A-Thon (May 25 – 27, 2018)

I’m actually in a good place as far as reviews go now, but that doesn’t mean that I still don’t have a few to catch up on. Because, let’s be honest, I ALWAYS have reviews to catch up on. That may have something to do with the fact that I read pretty much every chance I get and since I don’t see that changing any time soon, the never ending cycle shall continue!

A little about the Review-a-thon:

Brought to you by Reading the Paranormal and the #boutofbooks-ers facebook group. This monthly review-a-thon is a chance to get caught up on outstanding reviews. Bring your to-be-reviewed list, block out some time, write reviews. It’s that simple.

This month’s review-a-thon will run from Friday, May 25th to Sunday, May 27th.

You can see Kelly’s post at Reading the Paranormal

I’m doing things a little different this time. Since I’m pretty much caught up with my ARC reviews, I’m going to spend this Write-on Review-a-thon concentrating on books that I’ve purchased and haven’t made the time to review. I honestly try really hard to review every single book I read, but I’ve gotten a little lax. If I get caught up on this list, I’ll add a couple of ARCs into the mix, just so I don’t find myself getting behind again. 😉 (A girl can dream, right? 🙂 )

  • Treble Maker (Perfect Harmony #1) by Annabeth Albert
  • Mending Noel (North Pole City Tales #1) by Charlie Cochet
  • Northern Lights (Arctic Heat #1) by Nick Kove
  • John & Jackie by T.J. Klune
  • Michael Reinvented (Delta Restorations #2) by Diana Copland
  • Blood & Thunder (Thirds #2) by Charlie Cochet
  • Fitting In (Fitting In #1) by Silvia Violet
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Blood & Thunder (THIRDS #2) by Charlie Cochet

When a series of bombs go off in a Therian youth center, injuring members of THIRDS Team Destructive Delta and causing a rift between agents Dexter J. Daley and Sloane Brodie, peace seems unattainable. Especially when a new and frightening group, the Order of Adrasteia, appears to always be a step ahead. With panic and intolerance spreading and streets becoming littered with the Order’s propaganda, hostility between Humans and Therians grows daily. Dex and Sloane, along with the rest of the team, are determined to take down the Order and restore peace, not to mention settle a personal score. But the deeper the team investigates the bombings, the more they believe there’s a more sinister motive than a desire to shed blood and spread chaos.
Discovering the frightful truth behind the Order’s intent forces Sloane to confront secrets from a past he thought he’d left behind for good, a past that could not only destroy him and his career, but also the reputation of the organization that made him all he is today. Now more than ever, Dex and Sloane need each other, and, along with trust, the strength of their bond will mean the difference between justice and all-out war.

I’m so late to the THIRDS fan train that it’s almost embarrassing to add my review to the mix. I’m still not sure why it’s taken me so long to pick up this series, but I’m hooked now, so I’m having fun playing catch up 😉

Blood & Thunder was a roller coaster. Dex and Sloane were growing closer, but there was still some emotional distance between them. Sloane’s past was a big obstacle. He thought that his secrets would destroy everything, including his relationship with Dex. Distancing himself wasn’t working. He still had no idea exactly how tenacious, stubborn and loyal Dex really was. He understood a lot more than Sloane gave him credit for.

As intense as what was going on between Sloane and Dex, the side characters in Blood & Thunder had a lot going on themselves. I loved getting glimpses into the other members of Team Destructive Delta.

Sloane and Dex still have a lot to work through and it looks like Rack & Ruin will continue their story… and the drama…

Fitting In (Fitting In #1) by Silvia Violet

Two cops walk into a bar. Mason, the bartender, waits for the punch line, because no way in hell are these ridiculously hot men real cops. They’re straight out of a cop-fetish fantasy. But he quickly learns that Jack and Gray are the real deal, and they want him in the worst way.
What starts as a night of hot, three-way sex becomes a lot more. The two cops fulfill Mason’s submissive fantasies, but they also meet a more basic need, comfort. They want to take care of Mason, to offer him unconditional friendship, but their concern for him unnerves Mason more than even the kinkiest sex.
To find happiness with his new partners, Mason must change his belief that love is as much a fantasy as a pair of gorgeous, handcuff-wielding cops landing in his bed.

Short, sweet and plenty of heat. I’m not sure why it’s taken me so long to pick up the Fitting In series, but now that I started, I definitely need to continue. Especially since the end of the first book is just the beginning of the relationship between Jack, Gray and Mason.

Mason knows that there’s no way a three-way relationship can really work. Someone always gets hurt and he learned this first hand. Jack and Gray have their work cut out for them while trying to convince him that there’s room for Mason in their relationship.

I loved these guys together and I can’t wait to watch this relationship continue with the next book in the series, Sorting Out.

Wash Out Virtual Book Tour

About Wash Out

Casey Olson has always known he was destined to be a Navy SEAL, and the best day of his life was when he was accepted into training. The worst day was when a snapping bone ended his dream.

After three combat tours in five years, Logan Carter left the Marines and self-destructed. Now he’s sober and, thanks to a forgiving ex with friends in high places, has a promising job as a civilian contractor. All he has to do is stay on the rails and out of a bottle, even when his demons won’t leave him alone.

Logan likes his job, and he really likes the gorgeous man at the next desk. Casey tries not to check Logan out, but who is he kidding? From the start, despite their best efforts, neither man can resist the other. Sizzling chemistry leads to sex so hot they can both almost forget why they’re stuck in this office to begin with.

It would be perfect, except Logan can’t stop reliving wars he’ll never forget and Casey can’t stop grieving the SEAL he’ll never be. And they’ll never have a future together until they can make peace with their pasts.

About Anchor Point

Welcome to Anchor Point!

Nestled on the northern coast of Oregon, this small town is home to Naval Air Station Adams. On base, you’ll find freshly minted Sailors who’ve just graduated boot camp, salty officers counting down till retirement, grounded pilots who’ve landed behind desks, and everyone in between—and they’re all looking for love. Well, not all of them, but that won’t stop love from finding them.

So pull up a barstool, grab a beer, and get ready for some sea stories as these men in uniform—or not—navigate the waters of love and life in the military.

Anchor Point stories can be enjoyed in any order. Hop in wherever you’d like!

About LA Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies. She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…

L. A.’s backlist is available on her website, and updates (as well as random thoughts and the odd snarky comment) can be found on her blog or on Twitter (@GallagherWitt). 

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Wash Out, L.A. is giving away reader’s choice of two eBooks off of her backlist! (Excludes Wash Out.) Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 26, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following along, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

Tell Me It’s Real (At First Sight #1) by T.J. Klune

Do you believe in love at first sight?
Paul Auster doesn’t. Paul doesn’t believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother’s homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.
Enter Vince Taylor.
Vince is everything Paul isn’t: sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.
But when Paul hits Vince with his car—in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it’d-only-be-manslaughter kind of way—he’s forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself—and that is one obstacle Paul can’t quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince’s family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he’s perfect the way he is.

TJ Klune’s books really need to come with a disclaimer… something about uncontrollable laughter followed by tears – sometimes simultaneously. Sometimes within the same chapter and more often than not, within the same paragraph. And for the record, reading it the second (or third…) time around doesn’t change a thing. I fall in love with Paul, Vince and Sandy – and everyone else all over again. Every. Single. Time. 😉

Paul is… well, Paul. There’s really no other way to explain him. His self-confidence and self esteem are at the same level.. zero. It’s not because he has people putting him down – he’s got a huge support system that includes family and close friends who tell him constantly how special he is. You don’t have to spend much time with Paul to realize that he is special and loving and as devoted to those he considers family as they are to him. He just doesn’t see in himself what others see, which is sad. Especially when Vince comes into his life, because there is no way in Paul’s mind that someone like Vince could possibly fall for someone like Paul. He spends the better part of the book afraid that it’s an elaborate prank. There’s no way that it could possibly be real.

Then there’s Vince, sweet, lovable, totally misunderstood Vince. I loved the guy and I loved that Paul saw in him almost from the start (at least after the unfortunate incident with the car) what others didn’t. Just like Vince saw in Paul even more than those who knew him best, Paul saw Vince in a way that no one else did. It became his ultimate goal to protect Vince from everything and everyone who even hinted at the possibility of hurting him in any way. Extreme, I know, but that’s Paul. He jumped first and asked questions later. That trait almost caused him to lose everything… almost.

Tell Me It’s Real was a light read in this author’s spectrum, but there were some parts that were heartbreaking… which is a trait that Mr. Klune sometimes carries to the extreme. Hence, the love/hate – author/reader relationship that I have with TJ Klune. You just never know what type of tears you will be shedding – so have the tissues close by regardless.

Somehow I inadvertently neglected to review Tell Me It’s Real the first time around, so that has now been rectified. Next up is The Queen and the Homo Jock King – which somehow I have no record of reading – but I know for a fact that I did. Stay tuned, because there will be “proof of reading” coming soon. 😉

Amending Plans by C.M. Corett

Luc Weston is employed by his uncle as a cartographer. He’s an office dwelling creator of maps and plans, but as his uncle’s heir, he must learn all aspects of the company. Specifically, surveying. The upside—spending time with the gorgeous surveyor, Rick Masters, in a cozy cabin. The downside—the cabin is in the woods. Luc hates nature, and nature hates him. He’s got the injuries and bites to prove it. How can he impress Rick in such a foreign and hostile environment?
Rick Masters can’t believe he has to babysit the boss’s privileged nephew for two weeks. Come on, the man turned up for a mountain survey wearing skinny jeans and toting a suitcase on wheels. But Luc’s attitude and self-deprecating humor has surprised him. Perhaps he’s misjudged him? He’s nothing like the robust outdoorsmen Rick is usually attracted to, and yet…those skinny jeans sure hug him in all the right places. But Rick has a plan for his life, and a man like Luc Weston could never be part of it. No way!CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1

If you’re in the mood for a short sweet read, with a touch of humor and two characters who are total opposites, but totally perfect together, then Amending Plans will be right up your alley. 😉

Luc is just as described, a tad nerdy, totally at home in his city environment and a total klutz when it comes to anything outdoorsy. Rick was the total opposite, more comfortable outdoors and at home in the woods – the more rustic the accommodations, the better. There was no possible way that these to were even remotely compatible. Yet…

Luc has lusted over Rick for a while, which is why he almost freaks when his uncle suggests that he shadows him. He doesn’t want to give Rick a bad impression of him – but impressing him isn’t remotely possible. Except that’s exactly what he ends up doing, even though he thinks he’s totally screwed things up. It’s Luc’s personality and attitude that eventually win Rick over. Yet, they still have a few minor obstacles in their way to a HEA.

This was my first CM Corett read, but I’m pretty sure that I’m going to be checking out what else she has to offer. Happy reading!

Lock Nut (The Plumber’s Mate Mysteries #5) by J.L. Merrow

Tom Paretski, plumber with a talent for finding hidden things, and his private investigator fiancé Phil Morrison have been hired to locate a runaway husband, Jonathan Parrot. The job seems simple enough—until their quarry turns up dead in a canal, and a photofit of Tom’s face is splashed all over the news, making him chief suspect.
The widow, petite ex–porn star Lilah Lovett, is convinced her husband was killed by his gay lover, but Tom and Phil aren’t so sure. Worried they may have precipitated Jonathan’s death, they’re determined to find the real killer. But with a web of incestuous ties linking the suspects, it’s hard to know who to trust. Especially when a second victim dies a gruesome death.
Meanwhile, with their wedding looming and them sharing a house now, Tom’s worried it may all be too much, too fast. The last thing he needs are the mixed messages Phil seems to be sending out. They’ll need to get back on the same track if they want to make it to their honeymoon together—and alive.

Another great mystery and another case of miscommunication. If I didn’t love these two so much, I might have gotten a tad aggravated with them. *sigh*

Honestly, I think my aggravation stems from the fact that I’ve always liked Tom and his sense of humor. When he gets so wrapped up in himself and acts like he’s not being treated fairly… that just doesn’t fit with the part of his personality that I fell in love with. I’m just not used to liking Phil more than Tom, but I guess that explains why Tom loves him so much. Regardless of my on again, off again feelings toward Tom, Lock Nut was a great addition and fitting end to the series. (Although I wouldn’t object to checking in on them in the future 😉 )

There was a lot going on in this book, especially where the mystery was concerned. I can honestly say that I didn’t figure out the who of the “who-dun-it” until close to the end, but I don’t want to give anything away. You’ll just have to pick up Lock Nut and follow the trail to the bad guy yourself.

There were a couple of HEAs by the end of this one and everything was wrapped up quite nicely. It took Tom and Phil awhile, but I think the journey was worth it.

The Blood King (The Brighton Duology #1) by Liz Long

In the kingdom of Brighton, a President-turned-King offers poor teens the chance to join KEY, the King’s Education for Youth. Seventeen-year-old Reina Torres jumps at the chance to be of service to her country, wanting to learn more about Brighton’s history and future through the Media industry.
The King himself takes an interest in Reina, offering private interviews; he soon commands her to marry his cruel son. Reina, however, cannot ignore her growing feelings for Iris, a fellow KEY student, despite knowing the laws. Reina discovers refusal means punishment much worse than death, and why King Magnus hasn’t aged in decades, thanks to his KEY program.

I bet I’m not the only one who thought they knew where this book was going from the beginning… If that’s the case, I’m also not the only reader who was totally wrong. I love it when that happens. 😉

The Blood King started kind of slow for me, but it didn’t take long for things to pick up. (For the record – that’s kinda normal for me when it comes to anything dystopian.) Reina lived in a world that wasn’t kind to anyone who was… different. By different, I mean anything that wasn’t deemed “normal” by King Magnus. (Sound familiar? Just wait…) On the surface, King Magnus lived to serve the people of his self proclaimed kingdom and had been doing so for as long as most of his subjects could remember. It didn’t take Reina long to find out that not everything is as it seems within the walls of the kingdom of Brighton.

There’s more than one message hidden between the lines of The Blood King – and some of them are crystal clear. A few parallels were made to real life issues (and situations) that were too obvious to ignore. (Sometimes fiction isn’t stranger than real life.)

Once I got past my personal “dystopian block” the action, danger, mystery and even a touch of romance, kept the pages turning. I couldn’t wait to see how Reina and her friends (that included some very unexpected allies) fought back. The next book in this series promises to be just as suspenseful because not everyone escaped danger by the end of The Blood King. Needless to say, I can’t wait to get the next book in The Brighton Duology.

Roped In (Clean Slate Ranch #2) by A.M. Arthur – Bout of Books 22 Review

For Colt Woods, Clean Slate Ranch is home. The dude ranch in Northern California helped him heal from a devastating breakup. So when his ex-Dom, the man who broke his heart, waltzes onto the ranch, Colt doesn’t know how to deal.
A research job at a nearby ghost town brings history PhD Avery Hendrix to Clean Slate. He’s not in town forever, but it doesn’t take long for him to feel the familiar draw to Colt. When they find out they’ll be sharing a cabin on the ranch, it’s all Avery can do to stop himself from bending Colt over a saddle right then and there.
In such close proximity, Colt’s and Avery’s old feelings come galloping back. Soon Colt is doing his master’s bidding again and loving every moment of it. And the pair may be in for the ride of their lives—if the dedicated professor and his rugged cowboy can learn to trust again.

The Clean Slate Ranch promises to be a great series. I loved the first book, Wild Trail. It was the perfect start to the series and was actually a perfect set up for Roped In.

At the end of Wild Trail, Colt’s world crashed around him. He arranged for Avery to come to Clean Slate Ranch to help one of his best friends work on the ghost town that was discovered near the ranch. Avery had no idea that Colt had kept a secret from Mack. A secret that was destined to destroy a relationship with the only family Colt thought he had left. That slip changed everything for Colt.

Avery honestly thought that Colt would have told Mack the truth in the time that they had spent apart. That secret was also one of the reasons why they split in the first place. Honestly, I can understand why Colt couldn’t find a way to tell Mack. He wasn’t even supposed to know the details of what really happened the day Mack’s boyfriend was killed in a robbery gone wrong. I also understood why Avery thought that Colt should confide in Mack. It really was a no win situation and I felt bad for everyone involved.

There was a lot of healing in Roped In and a lot of miscommunication. The BDSM was also a strong aspect in Roped In – which is kind of hit or miss for me in a romance, but it fit the characters.

If I had to rank the books in this series so far, Wild Trail would definitely be my favorite. I did enjoy Roped In though and I loved the set up for the next couples in the series. 😉

Until We Fall (Falling #5) by Jessica Scott

The darkness never forgets…
Caleb Gregory has spent ten years hiding in the dark, refusing to speak about the night his young life was destroyed. In his anger and his rage, he drank and fought until he drove everyone away until he had no one left.
The light casts a long shadow…
Nalini King has devoted her post army life to her passion: using yoga to heal her fellow soldiers. In doing so, she’s worked to forget the night her life burned down around her.
An unexpected storm…
When a storm forces them into the darkness together, these two wounded souls must face the demons of their past.
Because it is only in the darkest night that we can truly see the light.

Oh Caleb… After several books of working up to this character, I never thought I would have walked away from his story wanting more… but I’m also not surprised. Once again, Jessica Scott’s personal experience brings a realism to this series that is hard to miss.

I’ve said before that I love it when an author can take a character that they’ve effectively made unlikable into one that you can’t wait to find their HEA. Caleb definitely fell into this category. I have to admit that even when I’ve been frustrated with Caleb throughout this series (and there have been many opportunities) I still saw a spark of the man he could be from time to time. The thing is Until We Fall couldn’t happen until Caleb found himself and felt he was worth finding.

Nalini didn’t fight her demons with a bottle, but by going back to her heritage with yoga. I loved her strength and compassion. As unlikely as it seemed, given the Caleb that readers had gotten to know, Nalini turned out to be a perfect match for him. Both of them had pasts that neither were proud of, but they were finding ways to work past them. In a way, it was a good thing that they didn’t meet until Caleb was working on recovery. Mostly because sober Caleb and drunk Caleb were totally different people.

I loved these characters and hope that we get glimpses of them in the future. Caleb still has a long way to go and a lot of fences to mend. He has some great friends, so I hope he gets the chance.