Drawing Dead (Dana McIntyre Must Die #1) by S.M. Reine

The vampire slayer is turning into a vampire? Over her dead body.
Dana McIntyre has been bitten by a master vampire. She’s infected with the venom. And after killing hundreds of vampires to keep Las Vegas safe, she’d rather die than turn.
There might be a cure. But the only way to get it is through Nissa Royal, a vampire with close ties to the masters of Las Vegas. Nissa is dangerous — too dangerous to be allowed to live, much less work alongside.
But if Dana dies, vampires win Vegas. If she doesn’t die, she becomes one of the bloodless. The cure’s her only chance. In this deadly game of hold ’em, Dana’s drawing dead, and whatever happens next, there’s no changing her losing hand. Dana only knows one thing: If she’s going down, she’s taking as many vampires as possible on her way out…

I’ve got to admit that I haven’t been a fan of Dana since Genesis. Which brings up the point that even though each series in S.M. Reine’s crazy, creative world can be read as a stand alone, I still don’t recommend it. That’s probably because I’ve read pretty much all the books in all the series (I still have a couple in the Descent series that I need to read.) I’m honestly not obsessed, I just love these books and will continue to strongly suggest to anyone who will listen… READ THEM ALL… but, I digress. Readers met Dana when she was just a little girl. She’s come a long way since then and she’s not so little and in many ways, not so nice. I wasn’t really excited about an entire series devoted to Dana. There was another character that I really wanted to get to know better, but that’s another story, for hopefully another time. *sigh* Anyway, I should have known better. I should have trusted this author to give me a whole new perspective once she let us in Dana’s head. Not only did she semi-change my negative opinion toward Dana, she gave me a totally different feeling toward at least two other characters in the process.

So, back to Dana. She’s pretty much larger than life… and I’m not just referring to her physical appearance. Everything about her is over the top, unapologetic and most of the time, inappropriate. Still, there’s something about her. Something that makes those few she’s close to care enough to want to protect her, mainly from herself. Dana’s her own worst enemy and that trait becomes even worse when she gets bitten. It may even cause one of the people she cares about most to pull away. The thing about Dana is that she loves as hard as she fights and when one of her family suffers, she takes it personally. Her safety and well-being don’t matter as long as the people she’s trying to protect are safe from harm. She takes unnecessary risks that drive her crew nuts, but they stand behind her regardless. I kinda love that about all of them now… yeah, I didn’t see that one coming.

Then there were the bad guys. Some were worse than others and that designation switched back and forth. Sometimes it’s the most unassuming character that you need to watch out for and Nissa was one of them. Being in her head, even for a little while, was a very scary place to be.

Just a couple more things worth mentioning. First, in true S.M. Reine form, holds nothing back – the good, the bad and the gore… her descriptions are notorious, but I gotta say, the “expulsion” description was a bit over the top, even for her. *shivers* Then there’s the cover. I’m not someone who judges a book by its cover. I hardly ever mention covers when I review a book, but this one… it’s so perfect. Too often covers don’t even come close to depicting the character within the book. This cover doesn’t just come close, it is totally Dana. I kinda love that.

I didn’t go into Drawing Dead expecting to want to get to know Dana better, but I shouldn’t be surprised that’s exactly what happened.

Claim & Protect (The Haven Brotherhood #3) by Rhenna Morgan

Trevor Raines lives on the edge of legal. A good guy doing bad things to save lives, the only rules he follows are the Brotherhood’s, and there’s nothing in the world that will change that. Until Natalie Jordan walks into his life…
Natalie’s only interest is in making a fresh start. She’s a woman with a plan, and the plan doesn’t include a man with secrets, no matter how kind—or intoxicating—he is. But this cowboy is determined to break down her walls, keep her safe and make her his.
Trevor had no interest in settling down, but there’s something entirely too appealing about the woman he can’t stay away from. There’s only one thing to do—change his plans…and hers. When Natalie’s ex resurfaces to threaten her new life, Trevor will move heaven and earth to make sure the bastard can’t hurt her again. Except saving Natalie means outing his own secrets—and it could mean losing her forever…

This series just gets better and better with each new book. I knew from the very first book (Rough & Tumble) that this was going to be a series that was going to pull me in. Wild & Sweet just made me want more and Claim & Protect… well, let’s just say I can’t wait until the next book in the Haven Brotherhood is released.

Natalie and Trevor were total opposites in more ways than one. If you’ve read the first two books in the Haven Brotherhood series, you know that the brothers don’t see things in black and white – there’s a lot of gray in their world. First and foremost is family and they’ll do anything to protect those that they consider their own. They also don’t let people inside their inner circle on a whim. Trust needs to be earned and a big part of that means that tactics aren’t questioned. Seeing beyond their sometimes questionable methods has been an obstacle more than once. It seemed insurmountable between Natalie and Trevor – mainly because some of his ‘methods’ came a little too close to home for Natalie and Trevor knew it. There was something about her though that Trevor couldn’t walk away from. His instinct to protect was overwhelming, so he went with it.

I think one of the reasons why I love this series so much is because of how far from where they started these men have come. They’re strong, loyal, hard working and they love just as hard and fierce. They also prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that there’s a fine line between right and wrong. Sometimes you have to bend the rules to do the right thing.

Tempted & Taken is next in the Haven Brotherhood series and I can’t wait to see what Rhenna Morgan has in store for Knox. 😉

Back to You by Chris Scully

Journalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben.
Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain.
As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.

I’ve only read one other book by Chris Scully, but Back to You made it pretty clear that I need to seek out more of her books. Until September wasn’t a mystery. It was more of an emotional story. That’s not to say that Back to You wasn’t emotional, because it was. In fact, the mystery just added another layer to the emotion. A huge layer – one that it was impossible to ignore.

Alex was the last person that Ben expected to have walk back into his life, but Alex couldn’t wait to reconnect with Ben. Things didn’t go exactly like Alex expected though, especially when Ben found out that Alex had more than one reason to come back. Alex got more than he bargained for and things got complicated fast.

I loved the connection between Alex and Ben and the fact that their initial reunion was strained made the story more realistic. Ben was leery of Alex’s intentions, but he was still drawn to him. The mystery surrounding the disappearance of Ben’s sister had a few twists and turns. The obsession that Ben’s mom had with her missing daughter didn’t help, especially since Alex’s interest seemed to fuel it.

I can honestly say that the mystery had me guessing until close to the very end. The outcome had a tragic impact more than one family, but it helped heal more than one too. The romance was as good as the mystery, which are just a couple of reasons why I’ll definitely be looking for more from this author. 😉

One Night with Rhodes (One Night #4) by Eden Finley

Blair Rhodes considers himself an equal opportunity player. He knew from a young age that he wasn’t entirely straight. Ogling his best friend’s older brother was the first thing that tipped him off. But Garrett Erikson is off limits. Always has been. Garrett is as straight as they come.
Garrett’s reputation as a womaniser precedes him, but it’s not who he is. Not even close. And when Blair turns up on his doorstep, heartbroken over a breakup, Garrett knows it’s a bad idea to go drinking with him.
One night is all it takes for everything to change.
For the past ten years, Garrett’s denied his desires to everyone, including himself.
And as much as Blair wants to be the guy Garrett needs, he needs to protect his own heart. Like his ex-boyfriend always told him: “Never mess with the straight ones. It only leads to trouble.”

I actually almost skipped this one, I think mainly because I hadn’t read the other books in the series. Then, one of my fellow bloggers gave One Night with Rhodes such a great review I couldn’t resist. 😉

Since I haven’t read the rest of the books in the One Night series, I’m not sure how the earlier books played out. The title and description may elude to ‘one night’ but this book covered a lot more than that. It was actually made up of many ‘one nights’. It sounds kind of confusing, I know, but once you read the book, it will make total sense.

The thing that struck me most about One Night with Rhodes was the patience and caring that Blair expressed for Garrett. He was there for him, even when he knew that it would hurt him to walk away. He did his best to protect his heart and still keep Garrett from crumbling and hurting himself. Blair was determined to help Garrett find himself and come out healthy and whole in the process. I also loved their friends and family. Even though they were totally clueless when it came to Blair’s orientation, they still cared.

One Night with Rhodes also had a slightly unique format that I kinda liked. The book opened and closed with pretty much the same scene, but a lot happened in between, which meant that most of the book was set in the past. It gave the story a slightly different perspective.

I also have to mention that even though this is the 4th book in the One Night series, it can easily be a stand alone. Characters from the previous books are a huge part of Garrett and Blair’s story, but there is a lot of back story in One Night with Rhodes that help keep readers up to speed. That doesn’t mean that I’m not curious about those first 3 books. It also doesn’t mean that I’m not seriously thinking about continuing the series. The next couple has definitely peaked my curiosity 😉

 

Chief’s Mess Virtual Book Tour

About Chief’s Mess

Anthony Talbot is in Anchor Point to visit family, but after two days of strife, he needs a break. A local gay bar is calling his name.
When Chief Noah Jackson sees that red head stroll into the club, he immediately wants him. They’re perfectly matched, and before long, they’re burning up the sheets. Noah can’t get enough. Anthony can’t stay in Oregon for long, but as soon as he leaves, he’s counting down the days until he can fly back for more. And between his increasingly frequent visits, there’s always phone sex, sexting, webcams . . . anything they can get.
But Noah’s got a carefully crafted façade, and Anthony can’t help noticing the slowly forming cracks. The scent of alcohol in the middle of the day. The extra drinks at dinner. The hint of red in his eyes. Anthony knows what it means. He doesn’t want to believe it, but he’s seen this before, and there’s no denying it. If Noah doesn’t get his downward spiral under control, he’s going to lose both his career and the first man he’s ever really loved.

Available now from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/chiefs-mess

Also check out Just Drive and Afraid to Fly, the first two titles in the Anchor Point series!

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 Chief’s Mess, one lucky winner will receive their choice of two eBooks off L. A. Witt’s backlist (excluding Chief’s Mess) and a $10 Riptide Publishing store credit! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 24, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

Deliciously Bitter (Naked Brews #3) by K.B. Jacobs

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…

I not so secretly begged for this one after meeting Damian in Deliciously Smooth, the first book in the Naked Brews series. Damian deserved his HEA, but I knew he would break my heart. The lesson here dear readers is to be careful what you ask for. So yeah, the #evilauthorduo strikes again!

I try not to play favorites, but Deliciously Bitter may just earn that title in this series. I’ve loved all the Naked Brew crew, but I’ve obviously had a soft spot for Damian since the beginning. He was a broken hero who had become a recluse. He had a domineering mother who meant well, but didn’t know when to quit or back off and his only friend was Walsh, who was kinda broken in his own way. It was understandable that a request from Walsh was the only thing that could get Damian out of hiding. It took Alex to break down the walls he had built around himself. It didn’t happen right away. Damian was out of practice when it came to dealing with people and Alex… well, Alex was Alex. Once you ‘meet’ her, you’ll understand. She also had her own share of family issues to deal with. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what kind of connection that Alex and Damian would have… I should have known that this writing duo had everything under control. Damian needed someone who wouldn’t take no for an answer and give him something to really live for. Turns out Alex was the perfect woman for him and I ended up loving them together.

Of course, nothing is ever easy, especially the path to true love. Then there was the other problem with the threat against Naked Brews. Needless to say, there was more than enough romance, danger, mystery and tension to go around. I was sorry to say goodbye to these characters, but the authors did an amazing job of bringing the series to a satisfying end.

Even though I know Deliciously Bitter marks the end of the Naked Brews series, I’m hoping that this isn’t the last that we’ve seen of the Naked Brews crew – especially since I just found out that another series is on its way… stay tuned!

On Point (Out of Uniform #3) by Annabeth Albert

Never fall for your best friend…
Pushing thirty, with his reenlistment looming, decorated navy sniper Maddox Horvat is taking a long look at what he really wants in life. And what he wants is Ben Tovey. It isn’t smart, falling for his best friend and fellow SEAL, but ten years with Ben has forged a bond so intimate Maddox can’t ignore it. He needs Ben by his side forever—heart and soul.
Ben admits he likes what he’s seen—his friend’s full lower lip and the perfect muscles of his ass have proved distracting more than once. But Ben’s still reeling from a relationship gone to hell, and he’s not about to screw up his friendship with Maddox, too.
Until their next mission throws Ben and Maddox closer together than ever before, with only each other to depend on.
Now, in the lonely, desperate hours awaiting rescue, the real challenge—confronting themselves, their future and their desires—begins. Man to man, friend to friend, lover to lover.

These boys just about broke me. *sigh* Ben and Maddox have been the fun ‘non-couple’ for a while now. Their relationship was inevitable, but it wasn’t easy.

Maddox and Ben both did some soul searching while they were waiting for their rescue. Things started getting complicated once they got home. They were both dealing with the fact that they almost lost each other. Maddox was more than ready to give them a chance, but Ben was so afraid of losing Maddox that he was afraid to risk it.

I loved these guys, but I wasn’t kidding about them just about breaking me. It would have been really easy to get upset with Ben for his reluctance, but he was truly terrified. When Maddox stalled on re-enlisting, that terror was magnified. He tried to over compensate and be the ‘perfect boyfriend’ but that drove Maddox nuts. He just wanted Ben.

I also loved seeing the characters from the previous books in the Out of Uniform series. They loved and supported Ben and Maddox. They also knew that Maddox and Ben cared about each other and were more than room mates long before they did. So yeah, they almost broke me but it was totally worth it in a way. I walked away from this one feeling good about the future Ben and Maddox were finally ready to build with each other.

Spectacle (Menagerie #2) by Rachel Vincent

When their coup of Metzger’s Menagerie is discovered, Delilah and her fellow cryptids find their newly won freedom brutally stripped away as they are sold into The Savage Spectacle, a private collection of “exotic wildlife.” Specializing in ruthless cryptid cage matches, safari-style creature hunts and living party favors, the Spectacle’s owner, Willem Vandekamp, caters to the forbidden fetishes of the wealthy and powerful. At the Spectacle, any wish can be granted—for the right price.
But Vandekamp’s closely guarded client list isn’t the only secret being kept at the Spectacle. Beneath the beauty and brutality of life in the collection lie much darker truths, and no one is more determined than Delilah to strip the masks from the human monsters and drag all dark things into the light.

The second book in Rachel Vincent’s Menagerie series was just as intense and thought provoking as the first. In some ways, even more so. The members of Metzger’s Menagerie had a small respite from their captivity and that taste of freedom made what came next even harder to take.

The description only touches on the horrors that Delilah and her friends and other cryptids had to endure when purchased by the Savage Spectacle. Willem Vandekamp was the perfect villain and his sweet, spoiled wife was even worse. Just like Menagerie, there was a loud and clear message just below the surface. The creatures in Spectacle were much more humane than the humans that not only kept them captive, but used them in horrific ways. The captors also played on their weaknesses and it didn’t take long for Willem to figure out how to play the connection between Delilah and Gallagher to his advantage.

As hard as parts of Spectacle were to read, the intensity, imagery and action kept the pages turning. Delilah never stopped trying to find ways to escape. She refused to give up, even when her punishments came close to breaking her. Watching what her fellow captives were forced to endure was the only motivation she needed. That and her vow to destroy Willem and everything he stood for.

The ending of Spectacle didn’t seem as abrupt as the end of Menagerie, but it still left me wanting the next installment sooner rather than later. The fate of many characters were left hanging in the balance and then there’s the interesting twist…  Needless to say, the last book in the Menagerie trilogy is already on my TBR list 😉

Relationship Status (Ethan & Wyatt #3) by K.A. Mitchell

Life doesn’t come with a syllabus.
Ethan knows firsthand that long distance is hard on love. If Wyatt is spending his summer at an internship in Pittsburgh, that’s where Ethan will be. Even if it means inventing his own career goal just to find a reason to stay with his boyfriend. He didn’t expect they’d be living in a hot, crappy apartment, with work schedules that keep them apart more than together.
Wyatt’s past has taught him to keep his head down and focus on living through the day. Loving Ethan has him looking to the future for the first time; he’s just not in as big of a rush to get there. It’s hard to trust in happiness when life has been busy kicking you in the nuts.
Together they’re getting the hang of real life, when a new responsibility for Wyatt throws everything off balance. Ethan’s doing everything he can to prove he’s in this forever, while Wyatt is torn between a future with Ethan and a debt to the past. Too bad they didn’t cover this in college.

Relationship Status marks the end of Ethan & Wyatt‘s story. I’ve really liked getting to know these guys and their story did come to a satisfying end… do you sense a but? Well, there isn’t one, really. It’s just if I had to pick a favorite book in this series, it would be the first. Although Boyfriend Material and Relationship Status were great and I liked getting more of Ethan & Wyatt’s story, I just liked Getting Him Back better. 🙂

Ethan & Wyatt have come a long way since readers first met them in Boyfriend Material. They learned a lot about each other and more than that, about themselves. I loved watching them come full circle in Relationship Status – with each other and those that they loved.

Finishing this series reminded me that there are a couple of books in the Bad in Baltimore series that I need to read. There are also quite a few other books written by K.A. Mitchell that I should probably check out.

Faking It (Ringside Romance #2) by Christine d’Abo

Max Tremblay should be happy. His night club, 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.

I’m really loving this series. I’ve also got to admit that I’ve been really curious about Max since he was introduced as Zack’s best friend and business partner in Working It, the first book in the Ringside Romance series.

The description sets things up well, but there’s so much more between Grady and Max. There’s especially a lot more to Grady than the spoiled brat he first appears to be. I went into Faking It already liking Max, but it didn’t take me long to really like Grady too. So much so that I almost got aggravated with Max near the end.

Grady wasn’t perfect. He felt like he was fighting a losing battle. His father’s expectations were the polar opposite of what Grady wanted. Ignoring his father didn’t work because he seemed to have eyes everywhere. Seeing first hand what Grady was up against convinced Max to go along with his crazy plan. Spending time with him not only made him realize Grady’s potential, but it brought them closer than either one of them expected.

Getting to spend time with Zack and Nolan from Working It was an added bonus. Like I said, I’m loving this series and Making It, the next book in the Ringside Romance, sounds like it’s going to be just as good as the rest. 😉