Cat Scratch Fever by Sarah O’Rourke – Bout of Books 19 Review

Beau LaForte felt an internal pull to the beautiful, innocent Alexa Davidson. Oh, this was not the typical boy-meets-girl story. This was anything but typical. You see, Beau was a shifter – a panther – and the alpha of the pack. What his panther wanted, his panther got. And together, they wanted Alexa.
But when Alexa finds the pretty kitty lolling on her bed, she is determined to get him out — before he sheds more on her brand new sheets!

Full disclosure here. There have been some really exceptionally emotional books on my reading list lately. I’m not complaining, I’ve chosen all of them and was fully aware of what I was getting myself into. That doesn’t mean that I didn’t need a break and Cat Scratch Fever was the perfect, fun distraction.

It’s also been a while since I’ve read a Sarah O’Rourke book and this was a great reminder of what I’ve been missing. The characters were witty, the smexiness was hot and heavy and the insta romance was kinda sweet. Pretty much every thing I needed to break my overly emotional reading streak 😉

Summer Stock by Vanessa North – Bout of Books 19 Review

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.

Summer Stock was a lot more than I expected. The cover (although I NEVER judge a book by its cover 😉 ) promised a fun summer romp in the sun. Although it did deliver on that promise, even the supporting characters had a lot of extra baggage that they hid behind those playful smiles.

It was easy to spot the ghosts of Trey’s past. His ex did a real number on him, both physically and emotionally. He had a long way to go before he could even think about trusting someone. A Hollywood TV star was definitely not the type of person he was looking for. As transparent as Ryan’s life seemed, there was a lot that he kept hidden. Hiding behind the facade was easier than baring his soul, especially with a summer fling.

Things got complicated when all the people that were not only dealing with their own problems, tried to protect both Ryan from Trey and Trey from Ryan. It was compounded by the fact that part of Trey’s defense mechanism seemed to sabotage any hope they had at building a relationship and Ryan’s lack of self esteem made him an easy target. Despite all that, I was really hoping these two would make it. Readers could tell if they let themselves, they’d be really good for each other.

By the end of Summer Stock I even started to respect the characters that I wasn’t sure about in the beginning. I love it when that happens. Don’t avoid this one if you’re just looking for a fun summer read – not to mention a dog that steals the show more than once. It really does deliver on that end, there just happens to be a lot more to the story than you may be bargaining for, and that’s never a bad thing 😉

Believe in the Wish by Christi Snow – Bout of Books 19 Review

I buried my twin sister six months after she found out she had cancer. Her funeral was three months ago. Today is our birthday and it started with delivery of letters from her.
It seems she didn’t trust me to move on after her death. She knows me too well. But how can I go on when my other half is just…gone? That’s not something I can recover from with a snap of my fingers. But I also can’t ignore her instructions even though I’d be perfectly content to cuddle up with my buddy, Johnnie Walker, and call it a year.
She has a list of things for me to do and there are rules attached.
There’s one major problem besides the fact it’s been three months since I left the house. I have to do all these things with her jerk of an ex, Hawk Simmons. He abandoned her shortly after she found out she was sick. If that wasn’t enough to make this a really bad idea, the fact that he makes an appearance in all my nighttime fantasies probably does.
I don’t think I can do this, but I owe it to my sister’s memory to try.

Note to self: When an author tells readers that they cried every single time they did a read through of the book you’re about to read, PAY ATTENTION!

So yes, I obviously knew what I was getting myself into before I picked up Believe in the Wish and I read it anyway. Why, you might be asking yourself? That’s simple. Even though Christi Snow promised tears, I’ve read enough of her books to know that they would be worth it. Regardless of how much she puts her characters through, she manages to put them back together and most importantly, leaves both them and the readers who fell in love with them, with a sense of hope. I had to keep that in mind through almost every chapter of Believe in the Wish… consider yourselves warned.

Ethan was introduced to readers first and his grief was all consuming. He had no idea how to go on without Emma but thankfully, Emma knew expected that and found a really creative way to help him after she was gone. Ethan just couldn’t understand why she chose Hawk to be the one to help him through his grief.

To be honest, I was afraid in the beginning that Believe in the Wish would only be told by Ethan’s POV. That would have been okay, but I literally sighed with relief when the first chapter labeled ‘Hawk’ popped up. Things aren’t always what they seem and Hawk’s POV only revealed little by little what was really going on, but those glimpses made me fall in love with him. It also helped readers realize that he was almost as broken as Ethan.

Ethan’s grief wasn’t a quick fix and it shouldn’t have been. For every step forward he made, he seemed to stumble back at least two more. This book was an emotional roller coaster full of love, tears, tragedy, anger, grief, betrayal and hope… it took a while, but it’s important to know that they both finally got there, but not on their own. Which brings me to the supporting characters. I loved Miller, Katya, Dix and even Slade almost as much as Hawk and Ethan. (I may or may not be hinting to the author that one, if not all of these characters are begging to have their story told… 😉 ) One of the most amazing characters in Believe in the Wish was Emma. The love and devotion that she had for both Ethan and Hawk was inspiring.

So, pick up Believe in the Wish armed with plenty of tissues and an open heart and mind because those tears were really worth it in the end.

Faking It Virtual Book Tour

Hello, my name is Christine d’Abo and I’m so happy to be here today.

I’m a firm believer that the good friends are the family members that we get to choose. The get us on a level that sometimes our biological family doesn’t. When I came up with the idea of Ringside Gym and the men who were involved with it, I wanted to make sure that their relationships reflected that feeling.

Max would be the “middle” child of the trio of heroes. He’s my peacemaker, the one who wants to make sure everyone and everything is okay. But Max has a problem – he doesn’t know what to do when he’s not needed. Zack no longer needs him now that he has Noland in his life, and their other friend Eli has been MIA due to his MMA career. Max’s life begins to drift and he questions not only what he wants, but also who he wants in it.

When Grady Barnes shows up on the scene, Max is equal parts intrigued and annoyed. Here is a man who seems to have it all, but is seemingly at the whim of his father.  When Grady asks Max for help, he takes a leap of faith and agrees. What Max doesn’t anticipate is how quickly Grady will work his way into his heart.

All Max needs to do is find a way to prevent Grady from being forced into a marriage he doesn’t want, while not giving in to his impulse to sweep Grady into his arm.

Simple, right?

You can visit Christine at her website www.christinedabo.com, and chat with her on Facebook and Twitter. Want to keep up with Christine’s new releases? Sign up for her newsletter and receive a free book!

About Faking It

Max Tremblay should be happy. His nightclub, Frantic, is one of the most popular gay clubs in Toronto, and his childhood refuge, Ringside Gym, is well on the way to reopening. But when he finds yet another drunk in the alley beside the bar, Max isn’t sure this is the life he truly wants.

Grady Barnes has it all. He’s rich, famous, and wants for nothing. Well, nothing but a good relationship with his father. When he discovers that his father is going to force him into an arranged marriage, Grady has had enough. He tracks down Max, the man who got him to safety after a night of overindulgence, and makes him a proposal: pretend to be his fiancé for two weeks and he’ll invest in Ringside Gym.

When the pair travel to Vancouver to attend a family wedding, the flames of their mutual attraction ignite, and they discover that the only difference between pretend and reality is how well they can fake it.

Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/faking-it

About the Ringside Romance Universe

Deep in the heart of Toronto lies Ringside Gym. Once a safe haven for troubled teens, Ringside has gone derelict, a forgotten memory of past days. Until a group of friends set out to do what they can to bring life back to the ring and create a new home for LGBT youths.

But when their lives threaten to pull down their dreams, each man must turn to others to help make it a reality. Winners take all—but there are no losers in love.

Check out Ringside Romance. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/ringside-romance

About Christine d’Abo

A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

Connect with Christine:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Faking It, one lucky winner will receive a $25 Riptide credit. Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 13, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

By creativedeeds

Bout-of-Books 19 Progress

BoutOfBooks-880x400-03As usual, I’ll keep this post front and center for the duration of Bout-of-Books 19 so it’ll be easy for everyone to see how I’m doing. Once again, no goals other than to read and have fun and no real theme to my reading either. I’ve got an eclectic mess this time, including at least one that I started prior to Bout-of-Books – stay tuned. 😉 I’ll also try my best to write reviews as I read… although I’m kinda behind on current reviews, so we’ll see. o.O

5/8
Number of books & pages I’ve read today: Approx. 103 Pages

  • Continued Summer Stock by Vanessa North (Approx. 103 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: Approx. 103 Pages
Today #insixwords: Can’t Believe I Missed Twitter Chat 😦
Books:

  • Continued Summer Stock

5/9
Number of books & pages I’ve read today:
1 Book; Approx. 149 Pages

  • Finished Summer Stock by Vanessa North (Approx. 117 Pages)
  • Started Believe in the Wish by Christi Snow (Approx. 32 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: 1 Book; Approx. 252 Pages
Today #insixwords: Desperately Need a Reading Mojo Jolt
Books:

  • Finished Summer Stock
  • Started Believe in the Wish

5/10
Number of books & pages I’ve read today: 1 Book; Approx. 179 Pages

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: 2 Books; Approx. 431 Pages
Today #insixwords: Evidently, It’s A Slow Reading Week?
Books:

  • Finished Summer Stock
  • Finished Believe in the Wish

5/11
Number of books & pages I’ve read today: 1 Book; Approx. 235 Pages

  • Finished Cat Scratch Fever by Sarah O’Rourke (Approx. 178 Pages)
  • Started Forest of Thorns and Claws by J.T. Hall (Approx. 57 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: 3 Books; Approx. 666 Pages 
Today #insixwords:
Reads full of Big Bad Kitties 😉 
Books:

  • Finished Summer Stock
  • Finished Believe in the Wish
  • Finished Cat Scratch Fever
  • Started Forest of Thorns and Claws

5/12
Number of books & pages I’ve read today: 1 Book; Approx. 190 Pages

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: 4 Books; Approx. 856 Pages
Today #insixwords:
A Whole New Appreciation for Tigers ❤
Books:

  • Finished Summer Stock
  • Finished Believe in the Wish
  • Finished Cat Scratch Fever
  • Finished Forest of Thorns and Claws

5/13
Number of books & pages I’ve read today: Approx. 156 Pages

  • Started Razr (Demonica #11.8, Demonica Underworld #4) by Larissa Ione (Approx. 46 Pages)
  • Started Necessary Medicine by M.K. York (Approx. 110 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: 4 Books; Approx 1012 Pages
Today #insixwords:
Kinda Slow for a BoB Saturday
Books:

  • Finished Summer Stock
  • Finished Believe in the Wish
  • Finished Cat Scratch Fever
  • Finished Forest of Thorns and Claws
  • Started Razr
  • Started Necessary Medicine

5/14
Number of books & pages I’ve read today:
1 Book; Approx. 165 Pages

  • Continued Razr (Demonica #11.8, Demonica Underworld #4) by Larissa Ione (Approx. 24 Pages)
  • Finished Necessary Medicine by M.K. York (Approx. 141 Pages)

Total number of books & pages I’ve read: 5 Book; Approx. 1177 Pages
Today #insixwords:
Another Successful BoB for the Win! 
Books:

  • Finished Summer Stock
  • Finished Believe in the Wish
  • Finished Cat Scratch Fever
  • Finished Forest of Thorns and Claws
  • Continued Razr
  • Finished Necessary Medicine

Snared (Elemental Assassin #16) by Jennifer Estep

Irony 101—The Spider herself snared in someone else’s web…
Another week, another few clues trickling in about the Circle, the mysterious group that supposedly runs the city’s underworld. Gathering intel on my hidden enemies is a painstaking process, but a more immediate mystery has popped up on my radar: a missing girl.
My search for the girl begins on the mean streets of Ashland, but with all the killers and crooks in this city, I’m not holding out much hope that she’s still alive.
A series of clues leads me down an increasingly dark, dangerous path, and I realize that the missing girl is really just the first thread in this web of evil. As an assassin, I’m used to facing down the worst of the worst, but nothing prepares me for this new, terrifying enemy—one who strikes from the shadows and is determined to make me the next victim.

I can honestly say that I have never ‘met’ an Elemental Assassin book that I didn’t like and Snared was most definitely no exception. If you’ve read any of my other reviews in this series, you’re probably getting tired of hearing some of the same things over again. Trust me, it’s not because the books are all the same, not by a long shot. It’s because they all have the same elements that I love and that consistency – knowing that what’s always drawn me into Gin’s world is going to be there – keeps me coming back.

Things started heating up for Gin and company in Snared because she was getting close to identifying members of the Circle. She knew who a few of the key members were, which was helpful, but she really wanted to get to the top of the organization. When she’s asked to help find a mob boss’s missing sister, she has to change her priorities, but only for a little while.

I have to admit, I figured out who the bad guy was before Gin, but that didn’t lesson the mystery. There was a lot more going on behind the scenes and one character in particular that I really want to figure out. So does Gin…

As usual, one of my favorite aspects of the Elemental Assassin books is the sense of family. It seems like that family just keeps growing and new ‘members’ find their way into this tight knit group in some unexpected ways. There’s definitely more to come in the series and I can’t wait to see what happens next because I have a feeling things are about to get even more interesting in Ashland. 😉

Wake Up Call (Porthkennack #1) by J.L. Merrow

South London mechanic Devan Thompson has gone to Porthkennack to track down someone he’s been waiting all his life to know. But Dev’s distracted from his quest by Kyle, a broodingly handsome local of only a few months, who’s already got a reputation as an alcoholic because of his strange behaviour—including a habit of collapsing in the street.
Kyle Anthony fled to Porthkennack to escape from the ruins of his life. Still raging against his diagnosis of narcolepsy—a condition that’s cost him his job as a barrister, his lover, and all chance of normality—the last thing he wants is another relationship that’s doomed to fail. But Dev’s easy-going acceptance and adaptability, not to mention his good looks, have Kyle breaking all his self-imposed rules.
When disaster strikes Dev’s adored little sister, Kyle steps up to the plate, and Dev sees a side of his lover he wasn’t prepared for: competent, professional—and way out of Dev’s league. With one man determined that they don’t have a future, and the other fearing it, life after Porthkennack is starting to look bleak for both of them.
 

Oh, the ‘British’ is strong with this one. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s worth mentioning, mainly because the dialect takes a little getting used to – at least it did for me.

I like learning about new locations, even if they’re totally fictional. I also like getting to know characters dealing with things that I know little or nothing about. Of course I’d heard of narcolepsy, but I’ve never met or read about a character who dealt with it. Kyle was dealing with his diagnosis the only way he knew how, by shutting himself off from everyone. Not exactly healthy, but in his mind he had lost everything important to him. His former partner didn’t do anything to sway that opinion.

I have to admit, that Devan was my favorite between the two characters. Kyle eventually grew on me, but I liked Devan from the very beginning. The supporting characters were pretty great too, once readers got to know them better. Porthkennack may have been a tourist town, but some local residents weren’t exactly welcoming.

As much as I liked the story and the characters, except for the ones that I didn’t like at all (there were quite a few that were really easy to dislike) there were a few things about Wake Up Call that drove me nuts. One, maybe even two, misunderstanding are acceptable. Between Kyle and Devan though, it seemed like every other situation put them in another moment of doubt. There were times that I wanted to drag back the one (because both of them were guilty) that ran off in a huff and make them really listen to the other. This happened from the time they met and even though I understood, it was still a little annoying.

This is the first book in a series that promises to be interesting. It includes both contemporary and historical books, which is a unique approach. Each book is also written by a different author, so readers will be provided with a variety of perspectives. The next book in the Porthkennack series is A Gathering Storm by Joanna Chambers, which is historical. I haven’t decided if I’m going to pick that one up or not, but the next contemporary, Broke Deep by Charlie Cochrane is already on my TBR list. 😉

Bout-of-Books 19 (May 8-14, 2017)

Spring is in the air and so is Bout-of-Books 19 🙂

If you’ve never participated, you really need to consider joining in on all the fun. There’s always crazy shenanigans, opportunities to throw our gracious hosts in twitter jail and loads of ways to meet and interact with some crazy cool bloggers. Oh, and it’s also a great excuse to read as much as you can for an entire week! No pressure, just plain fun! To find out more, read the official blurb below and follow the link to the Official Bout-of-Books blog.

The Bout of Books read-a-thon is organized by Amanda Shofner and Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday, May 8th and runs through Sunday, May 14th in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 19 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. – From the Bout of Books team

 

Risky Behavior Virtual Book Tour

Welcome to the Riptide Publishing/Cari Z/L. A. Witt blog tour for Risky Behavior, book 1 of the Bad Behavior series!

Every comment on this blog tour enters you in a drawing for a choice of one eBook off each author’s backlist (excluding Risky Behavior) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 6th.  Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries.

About Risky Behavior
It’s day one of Darren Corliss’s career as a detective, and not only has he been assigned a notoriously difficult partner, but the guy might also be a pill-popping dirty cop. Internal Affairs needs proof, and Darren gets to be their eyes and ears whether he wants to or not. Detective Andreas Ruffner doesn’t play by the rules, and he doesn’t play well with others. With bodies piling up and a list of suspects who are way above his pay grade, the last thing he needs is a wet-behind-the-ears kid for a partner. Or babysitter. Not even if that partner is easy on the eyes. 
As Darren gains Andreas’s hard-won trust, they both realize there’s more than just mutual suspicion simmering beneath the surface. But their investigation is heating up as quickly as their relationship, and Darren has no choice but to go along with Andreas’s unorthodox—and borderline unethical—methods. As IA puts the squeeze on Darren to give up the man he’s falling for, he has to wonder—is Andreas the only cop left in this town who isn’t dirty? 

Risky Behavior is available from Riptide Publishing.

About Cari Z

Cari Z was a bookworm as a child and remains one to this day. In an effort to combat her antisocial reading behavior, she did all sorts of crazy things, from competitive gymnastics to alligator wresting (who even knew that was legal!) to finally joining the Peace Corps, which promptly sent her and her husband to the wilds of West Africa, stuck them in a hut, and said, “See ya!” She also started writing, because some things she just thought she could do better. She’s still climbing that ladder, but can’t stop herself from writing, or from sharing what she creates.

Cari enjoys a wide range of literary genres, from the classics (get ‘im, Ahab) to science fiction and fantasy of all types, to historical fiction and reference materials (no, seriously, there are so many great encyclopedias out there). She writes in a wide range of genres as well, but somehow 90% of what she produces ends up falling into the broad and exciting category of m/m erotica. There’s a sprinkling of f/m and f/f and even m/f/m in her repertoire, but her true love is man love. And there’s a lot of love to go around.

Cari has published short stories, novellas, and novels with numerous print and e-presses, and she also offers up a tremendous amount of free content on Literotica.com, under the name Carizabeth.

Connect with Cari at http://cari-z.net/  or via her blog, http://carizerotica.blogspot.com/

About L.A. 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 Risky Behavior, one lucky winner will receive an ebook from each Cari and Lori’s backlist and a $10 Riptide credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on May 6, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

For a Good Time, Call… (Bluewater Bay #17) by Anne Tenino & E.J. Russell

Thirty-seven-year-old Nate Albano’s second relationship ever ended three years ago, and since he’s grace—gray asexual—he doesn’t anticipate beating the odds to find a third. Still, he’s got his dog, his hobbies, and his job as a special effects technician on Wolf’s Landing, so he can’t complain—much.
Seth Larson, umpteenth generation Bluewater Bay, is the quintessential good-time guy, content with tending bar and being his grandmother’s handyman. The night they meet, Seth’s looking for some recreational sex to escape family drama. But for Nate, romantic attraction comes before sexual attraction, so while Seth thinks they’re hooking up, Nate just wants to talk . . . genealogy?
Dude. Seriously?
So they declare a “just friends” truce. Then Seth asks for Nate’s help investigating a sinister Larson family secret, and their feelings start edging way beyond platonic. But Nate may want more than Seth can give him, and Seth may not be able to leave his good-time image behind. Unless they can find a way to merge carefree with commitment, they could miss out on true love—the best time of all.

For a Good Time, Call… was a great addition to the Bluewater Bay series, but I wanted more. *sigh* I know, that’s a somewhat frequent complaint I have of books that I really like. This time though, it’s more because so much was happening, so many little story lines were thrown into the mix and not all of them were fleshed out. It just seemed like there either needed to be more, or there needed to be a sequel.

That’s just my opinion though and despite that one minor flaw, I really enjoyed For a Good Time, Call… I liked the slow burn between the two characters and the vast difference in their approach to attraction. For Seth, it was a loose concept. He was up for ‘a Good Time’ pretty much 24/7. For Nate, it was a little more complicated. Their attraction to each other was a surprise for both of them. Nate’s past made him keep his distance regardless of what his heart and body were telling him. Seth just tried to keep himself in check because he didn’t want to risk the bond that was growing between them. 

Aside from the romance, the history and ancestral angle was really interesting. I loved the bond between Seth and his grandmother (who, by the way, was one of my favorite characters.) I liked the fact that this story pulled readers into the Bluewater Bay community and history – its roots, but there was still a strong story line within the Wolf’s Landing cast and crew. There was also an interesting twist that I’m really hoping gets explored more because that story line is just too intriguing to be left hanging. There were also a couple of other loose ends that I want to know more about, but we’ve already discussed this, right?

So yes, For a Good Time, Call… had a few bumps and wrinkles, but I still liked it and I’d still recommend reading this along with all the stories in the series. They’re written by different authors, some I’ve enjoyed more than others and they can pretty much all be read as stand alones. However, there’s enough of a common thread, regardless of how thin, that I think readers would get more out of any of them if they experienced most of the Wolf’s Landing/Bluewater Bay world.