Write On Review-A-Thon (October 27-29, 2017)

I’m not quite as far behind in my reviews as I was before the Write on Review-a-thon in September, but I’m still far from being caught up – so here we go!

A little about the Review-a-thon:

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, October 27th to Sunday, October 29th.

You can see Kelly’s post at Reading the Paranormal

So what books do I owe reviews? Not quite as embarrassing, but it’s still more than I care to admit:

And yeah, this list doesn’t include the books I’m currently reading and almost finished so, stay tuned!

Advertisements

Changing Colors Virtual Book Tour

Hi! Welcome to the blog tour stop for Changing Colors, the fourth and final book in the Season of Love universe. I can’t wait to introduce you to Tony and Gee– who is, by the way, one of my favorite characters ever! This book is a stand-alone, but readers of previous SoL books will definitely see some familiar faces. Follow the blog tour to learn more about the book, the series, and the romance… and don’t forget to check the tour each day, for your chance to win an Amazon gift card!

About Changing Colors

Tony Quinn has a knack for figuring people out. He likes labels, likes to be able to put everyone and everything in tidy boxes. As a theater director, it allows him to run a production without too much drama. But when he meets Gentry—“call me Gee”—in a bar one night, he discovers that some people aren’t so easily defined.

Gee Parnell is unlike anyone Tony has ever met before. He refuses to conform—to Tony’s expectations, or to society’s gender roles. He’s sexy and flirtatious, unapologetic and unashamed. And Tony isn’t sure he’s okay with that. So he breaks things off and escapes back into his well-ordered life.

But then an attack leaves Gee bloody and bruised, and Tony realizes that he isn’t ready to lose him. Not only is the passion between them off the charts, but Gee shows him a different way of understanding people. However, an exciting new job opportunity means that Tony has to decide between hiding his sexuality and his relationship with Gee, and his newfound appreciation for the color and beauty Gee brings to his life.

Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/changing-colors

About the Seasons of Love Universe

New York is the city that never sleeps: where everything can change in the blink of an eye, and where anything is possible—especially romance. In the bitter cold of winter or the impossible humidity of mid-summer, your own happily ever after might be right around the corner.

The people of New York come from all walks of life, and the relationships are just as diverse. So whether you’re a waiter or an aspiring actor, a banker or a model, falling in love can happen quicker than the seasons change.

Check out Seasons of Love! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/universe/seasons-love

About Elyse Springer

Elyse is an author and world-traveler, whose unique life experiences have helped to shape the stories that she wants to tell. She writes romances with LGBTQ+ characters and relationships, and believes that every person deserves a Happily Ever After. When she’s not staring futilely at her computer screen, El spends her time adding stamps to her passport, catching up on her terrifying TBR list, and learning to be a better adult.

She’s always happy to chat with other readers, and you can find her online at:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Changing Colors, one lucky winner will receive a $15 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on October 28, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

Kill Game Virtual Book Tour

Thanks for checking out the blog tour for Kill Game, the first book in the Seven of Spades series!

In poker, a “kill game” is a fixed-limit game in which the stakes are suddenly doubled when a player triggers certain conditions. As our heroes Levi and Dominic hunt for the vigilante serial killer Seven of Spades, the stakes have never been higher.

About Kill Game

Homicide detective Levi Abrams is barely holding his life together. He’s reeling from the fallout of a fatal shooting, and his relationship with his boyfriend is crumbling. The last thing he’s prepared for is a serial killer stalking the streets of Las Vegas. Or how he keeps getting thrown into the path of annoyingly charming bounty hunter Dominic Russo.

Dominic likes his life free of complications. That means no tangling with cops—especially prickly, uptight detectives. But when he stumbles across one of the Seven of Spades’s horrifying crime scenes, he can’t let go, despite Levi’s warnings to stay away.

The Seven of Spades is ruthless and always two moves ahead. Worst of all, they’ve taken a dangerously personal interest in Levi and Dominic. Forced to trust each other, the two men race to discover the killer’s identity, revealing hidden truths along the way and sparking a bond neither man expected. But that may not be enough to protect them.

This killer likes to play games, and the deck is not stacked in Levi and Dominic’s favor.

Now available from Riptide Publishing. http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/kill-game

About the Seven of Spades Series

Las Vegas has never seen a serial killer like the Seven of Spades.

The self-styled vigilante is on a mission to cut down the wicked and treacherous, and Sin City has no shortage of targets for their bloody wrath. What happens in Vegas . . . ends with the Seven of Spades’s calling card on a grisly corpse.

Standing against the killer are Levi Abrams, a dedicated homicide detective locked in a constant struggle to restrain his own dark side, and bounty hunter Dominic Russo, a charming rogue with a heavy secret weighing on his shoulders.

The hunt for the Seven of Spades sends Levi and Dominic on a collision course, igniting a passionate relationship forged in conflict and sealed with blood. Together they’re stronger than the sum of their parts, but a wily, elusive serial killer isn’t the only threat that will strain their bond to the breaking point.

Ante up, because the Seven of Spades is all in. Are you?

Check out the Seven of Spades series! http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/series/seven-spades

About Cordelia Kingsbridge

Cordelia Kingsbridge has a master’s degree in social work from the University of Pittsburgh, but quickly discovered that direct practice in the field was not for her. Having written novels as a hobby throughout graduate school, she decided to turn her focus to writing as a full-time career. Now she explores her fascination with human behavior, motivation, and psychopathology through fiction. Her weaknesses include opposites-attract pairings and snarky banter.

Away from her desk, Cordelia is a fitness fanatic, and can be found strength training, cycling, and practicing Krav Maga. She lives in South Florida but spends most of her time indoors with the air conditioning on full blast!

Connect with Cordelia:

Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Kill Game, 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 October 28, 2017. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info! 

PS by Caraway Carter

Looking back, it was kind of crazy to put a down payment on a fallen-down train depot I’d never actually seen, in a state I’d never actually been to, and use it to build a life with a guy I’d never actually met, but love makes people do crazy things. If you’ve ever been in love, you know what I mean.
But before the plane had landed, I found out that Sam—the guy I’d met online and had been talking to for four years—wasn’t really Sam. He wasn’t even a guy.
I already own the little train depot, and I can’t go back to my old life. And Fairville is such a lovely welcoming town. Did I mention James? He’s made sure that I’ve had a really warm welcome.
All I want is to build a great little bookstore, and have a relationship based on humor, honesty, and hardbacks. I see some tough choices ahead of me.
Or maybe I don’t have to choose…

This was a quick fun read. To be honest, from the description, I thought that Gus would get on my nerves a lot more than he did. I mean, who does something like that? Really? It didn’t take long into the book to realize that his decision to make such a life altering change wasn’t quite as drastic as it first sounded. It would have been nice if he had actually met Sam in person before he made the move, but then PS would have lost it’s entire plot. 😉

There were a couple of little crazy, questionable, awkward moments that kind of threw me during the course of the story, but for the most part, I enjoyed getting to know Gus and James. The rest of the sometimes whacky but lovable residents of Fairville were fun as well. There were even a few crazy twists that added to the craziness.

This was my first read by Caraway Carter, but he’s peaked my curiosity, so don’t be surprised if you find one or two of his books find their way to my TBR pile. 

Catch My Fall (Falling #4) by Jessica Scott

Former Army Sergeant Deacon Hunter is trapped. Trapped in the friend zone. The woman who captured his heart when they were deployed in Iraq has never looked back at the time they stole.
Former Army Sergeant Kelsey Ryder has scars, the kind of scars that no one ever sees, no one ever knows about unless she tells them. Working around the guys at the Pint, she’s reminded of everything she lost when she left the Army behind.
But some scars refuse to stay hidden.
One fateful night changes everything and neither of them know if their relationship will ever be the same.
All Deacon knows is that he’ll be there to catch her when she finally falls.

I’ve been looking forward to Deacon’s story since Jessica Scott gave readers a preview a the end of After I Fall, the 3rd book in her Falling series. Catch My Fall was everything I expected and then some.

Deacon and Kelsey weren’t just soldiers who were trying to get used to being civilians, they were soldiers who had served together. They had a history and because of that they knew things about each other that no one else did, but not even Deacon knew everything that Kelsey kept hidden. Kelsey desperately wanted to keep it that way. Deacon knew that he should just leave Kelsey alone, but she drew him closer the harder she tried to push him away. These two pretty much broke me by the end of their story.

I’ve really fallen in love with this series for a lot of reasons. I know I sound like a broken record when it comes to books written by this author, but it has to be mentioned. She has a unique POV when it comes to portraying her characters because she’s been there and it comes through in her writing. I love the perspective and the “realness” that comes through. It’s not always easy to read, but it’s important. Coming home is always as easy as just coming home… some things aren’t easy to leave behind and the support that these soldiers should have is frequently lacking. The approach to that topic was handled uniquely in Catch My Fall and I really enjoyed that little twist. Things weren’t perfect for Deacon and Kelsey by the end, but they were getting there.

Another thing I love is the sense of family that runs throughout each book. Not all of the former characters have as strong a presence, but there are enough that it’s hard to miss. I love seeing how they’re all doing and getting glimpses of what’s to come. Speaking of which, the character featured in the next book has been around for a while and he’s actually kind of growing on me. Until We Fall promises to be interesting. 😉

Welcome to Outcast Station (Outcast Station #1) by Jeanne Adams & Nancy Northcott

WELCOME TO OUTCAST STATION
IS IT WHERE CAREERS GO TO DIE…
OR AN UNEXPECTED OPPORTUNITY?

The Accidental Plague by Jeanne Adams
Outcast Station is a backwater, but for BVax Scientist Ravinisha Trentham, any posting is better than washing dishes. Ravi is top in her graduating class, but only Outcast would hire a McKeonite. Someone on station wants her dead, but when a plague breaks out, Ravi may be their only hope. If the murderer gets to her first, everyone will die.

The New Badge by Nancy Northcott
Deputy Marshal Hank Tremaine crosses the wrong person and lands at Outcast Station, the armpit of the Terran colonies. His hostile boss promptly assigns him to a backcountry murder. Solving it will help redeem his reputation and get him back to more civilized space. Failing to find the killer, though, will bury his career once and for all.

One book, two sections, two authors. One I’m familiar with and one is a first time read for me. I know Sci-Fi isn’t my go-to genre, but it’s kinda like dystopian or historical fiction for me. Once I get my head wrapped around the world that the author creates, I’m good. The first part of this book laid the groundwork and took place mostly on the space station itself. The second part took place mostly on the planet itself and gave a totally different perspective by a totally different character. An interesting approach to what promises to be an interesting series.

The Accidental Plague by Jeanne Adams

Ravi was an interesting character, with an interesting history. It seems that prejudice follows not only generations, but planets, galaxies and beyond. Because of her ancestors, she was ostracized. Not exactly fair, but nothing about prejudice is. Luckily, there were others who saw her as the smart, hard working, caring person that she was.

There was more than one mystery in The Accidental Plague. Part of it was solved, but part still needs to be revealed. Hopefully the next installment will give readers a little more insight into what’s really going on within the walls of Outcast Station. Jeanne Adams did a great job of laying the groundwork for this interesting Sci-Fi world. I have high hopes that the next installment will delve deeper into the characters.

The New Badge by Nancy Northcott

I’ve been a fan of Nancy Northcott for a while, which is one of the reasons why I decided to pick up Welcome to Outcast Station. The new Deputy Marshal has his work cut out for him. Because of the ‘nature’ of people who make up the colonies and the reason that most people end up at Outcast Station, he’s not working with or for the cream of the crop. He’s actually surprised to find some people who actually care about doing their job – the right way. He also learns quickly not to judge the residents within the colonies by judgmental co-workers. Because of his personal circumstances, he was already well aware of how things aren’t always as they seem and just because you wear the badge or the title, doesn’t automatically make you one of the ‘good guys.’

These two stories were a great start and I’m looking forward to see where both Ravi and Hank end up.

Finding Home by Garrett Leigh

How do you find a home when your heart is in ashes?
With their mum dead and their father on remand for her murder, Leo Hendry and his little sister, Lila, have nothing in the world but each other. Broken and burned, they’re thrust into the foster care system. Leo shields Lila from the fake families and forced affection, until the Poulton household is the only place left to go.
Charlie de Sousa is used to other kids passing through the Poulton home, but there’s never been anyone like his new foster brother. Leo’s physical injuries are plain to see, but it’s the pain in his eyes that draws Charlie in the most.
Day by day, they grow closer, but the darkness inside Leo consumes him. He rejects his foster parents, and when Charlie gets into trouble, Leo’s attempt to protect him turns violent. When Leo loses control, no one can reach him—except Charlie. He desperately needs a family—a home—and only Charlie can show him the way.

Have you ever read a book and found yourself wanting to be friends with the characters? People that touched you in a way that you just wanted to get to know them better? Although I adored Leo and Charlie, I was in awe of Kate and Reg. They were so incredibly good at not only fostering, but truly loving, caring and accepting, plus they just seemed to sense each child’s limits and needs. They were the core of this amazing family and they expected nothing less from each member. To me, that’s a huge part of what made this story work for me. *sigh*

I’ve mentioned before that Garrett Leigh has a talent for totally breaking a character and then slowly put the pieces back together, while taking the reader right along with them. There’s always hope though and that’s what keeps the pages turning, for me anyway. Readers witnessed from the very first chapter the pain that both Leo and Lila went through. Even before the tragic day that left them without parents, their life wasn’t easy. Home had little or no meaning to them and trust wasn’t something that they could give easily. Finding the Poulton family was their hope, it just took Leo a while to figure that out. Except for his connection to Charlie. I love that connection.

Charlie was a good kid with a good heart. He loved and respected his family – even though they drove him nuts sometimes – and trusted them. Leo wasn’t a bad kid, he was just a kid who found himself in a bad situation. To him family was Lila and he would and had been doing everything in his power to keep her safe. He refused to depend on anyone else because he’d learned the hard way… over and over again… that it was him and Lila. He was physically and mentally hurt and broken and angry and then he met Charlie.

I love the way that their relationship grew. Charlie did his best to prove to Leo that the whole family was behind him. Leo did his best to keep his distance from everyone but Charlie, but the Poulton family was a force to be reckoned with. I loved each and every one of them. Kate and Reg proved over and over again that although they were the parents and they had strict expectations for each of their kids, they respected the kids just as much as the kids did them – their opinions mattered.

I hope I’ve made it obvious that this book touched me in a way that few others have in a while. If you’re a fan of Garrett Leigh, but not a fan of the YA genre, I still recommend that you read this one. It’s not always easy and it’s not exactly angst free, but this author held nothing back and ended up finding both Leo and Lila the home… and family… they deserved. ❤

Deathbrew Affair (Lethal Webs #1) by Nancy Northcott

He’s the King of Control Freaks.
I’m the Queen of Winging It.
Together, we’ll save the world….
Unless we kill each other first.
I’m Casey Billings, an American operative in the London office of a covert, multinational agency. I’m working with an MI5 officer, Jack, Lord Bainbridge, to bring down a bioterrorist who plans to unleash a pandemic. We’re posing as newlyweds to infiltrate the community that’s a cover for the bioweapons operation. Unfortunately, we don’t play well together, and not only because of Jack’s distracting, off-the- scales hotness.
I grew up poor in a mill town, and he’s an aristocrat with more money than a third-world country. Besides that, I fly by the seat of my pants while Jack lives by his plans for every contingency and takes charge of everything. Including me. Or so he thinks.
Basically, we’d like to strangle each other. But we have a pandemic to stop first.
Then all bets are off.

I may have mentioned this before, but I’ve been a fan of Nancy Northcott since I read her first book, Renegade, in which she created an amazing world filled with intrigue, magic and romance. She didn’t have to twist my arm to give her new romantic suspense series a try. Especially since I had already gotten a taste of her contemporary writing in her novella, Danger’s Edge, which was included in the Capitol Danger anthology – which has a loose tie-in to The Deathbrew Affair.

Let me just start off by saying that The Deathbrew Affair is the beginning of what promises to be an amazing series. The story is told entirely from Casey’s POV. There are times that I really enjoy getting into each character’s head and I admit, I would have liked to know exactly what was going on inside Jack’s more than once. In this case though, not knowing was a part of the suspense. It actually provided an additional layer to the mystery.

Although The Deathbrew Affair was a great romantic suspense, it wasn’t necessarily a ‘who-done-it’ because from the very beginning, the ‘who’ was pretty obvious. The real challenge for Jack and Casey was to prove that the bad guy was the mastermind – but his possible accomplices came a little too close to home.

I absolutely loved how Jack and Casey were ‘thrown’ together. The attraction was immediate for Casey, but she knew better than to get involved. Sometimes the head and the heart don’t cooperate and that was definitely the case between these two. They were so much fun, plus they worked well together. Their personalities meshed even though on the surface they seemed worlds apart.

I absolutely can’t wait for the next book in this series. The Deathbrew Affair came to a satisfying close, but there is definitely (and thankfully) much more to come.

Intertwined Hearts (Snowcroft Men #3) by Christi Snow

Three people who’ve given up on love…
Hudson:
After a brutal, late-night attack in his restaurant left Chef Hudson Richmond too traumatized to even enter his restaurant again, he escaped to Snowcroft. Now he’s trying to find a new normal when the reality of his world is a man’s touch makes him sick and his dream has become his nightmare.
Leigh:
Leigh Vaughn lives in a man’s world running Vaughn Construction with her brother, Jamie. She’s tried to be feminine and failed over and over again. Growing up with only her brother, father, and construction crews to guide her, Leigh has no idea what a feminine wile is, much less how to deploy them. But when Jamie and Trevor begin to research finding a surrogate to carry their baby, she knows this is something she can do. Hell, it’s not like those parts are getting used for anything else.
David:
When this small town came looking for a new police chief, David Warner jumped at the chance. After a traumatic betrayal by his partner on the police force, he’s burnt out and jaded. And his love life has been even more depressing than his work life. He’s made one true connection in the last five years, but she disappeared without a trace the next morning.
Three people who have given up on love, may just find a new beginning where they least expect it…in Snowcroft. But love is only supposed to happen in twos. How can they make it work with three intertwined hearts?
Trigger warning: This book features story-lines that involve past assaults and betrayals, but has a guaranteed HEA for three people who couldn’t deserve it more. male/male/female.

I have absolutely no idea where to begin with this book… First, I gotta be honest here, menage is not my ‘go-to’ when I’m looking for a romance. However, when the situation is right and it’s either recommended by a reader I trust or written by an author I’ve learned to trust, I’m perfectly willing to spread my eclectic branches out just a little bit farther. Intertwined Hearts fell into many of those categories for me. First, it was written by one of my favorite contemporary authors; second, I’ve already started the Snowcroft Men series and I had absolutely no intention of missing even one book centered around these characters.

I’ve been reading M/M romance for a while now and I can’t tell you how excited I was when I found out that Christi Snow was going to venture into writing books in this genre. She and I read A LOT of the same books so I not only trust, but look forward to her recommendations. I fell in love with her story telling when I began her When the Mission Ends series. Now, I have no doubts about picking up either anything she recommends or writes. As cautious as I am about my menage books, I had absolutely no reservations about Intertwined Hearts because I knew that these characters were in very capable hands and would be treated well. Trust me when I say that if any characters deserved kind, loving care, it was definitely Hudson, Leigh and David.

I can’t tell you how much I loved these characters. On the surface, Hudson was the most ‘broken’ of the three, but after spending time with each of them, it was easy to see how much they needed someone to help put them back together. Leigh longed for a real relationship that she had convinced herself she wasn’t built for. David had been betrayed by his partner so he had trust issues that compounded him being able to make a true connection with anyone. Jamie and Trevor (Snowcroft Lost) had no idea what they were doing when they inadvertently brought these three together – in David’s case, anyway. Bringing Hudson into Leigh’s life was purely intentional. 😉

The healing that took place between these three characters was amazing to watch unfold. I don’t want to spoil the “process” for anyone else, but Christi Snow handled the pain and fear with the loving care that I expected. Oh, did I mention that there were tears? Yeah, there were and I’ve ALMOST forgiven this author for the hope, followed by the despair that I didn’t see coming… My heart broke for these characters more than once, but as promised in the description, the healing happened. This story wouldn’t have been nearly as believable if it would have been easy.

Hudson, Leigh and David are the center of Intertwined Hearts, but the supporting characters are just as important. Jamie and Trevor are both adorably and annoyingly protective. Even characters that I didn’t care for in the beginning started to grow on me. Then there were Law and Ian. Their story is next and I have to say (and I may or may not have said… more than once) this one is a long time coming. If I didn’t know better I’d swear that Christi Snow has enjoyed torturing her readers with the wait for Snowcroft Restoration throughout this series. 😛

Stone Cold (SoulShares #8) by Rory Ni Coileain

Maelduin Guaire is a Fae with a mission. An obsession, really. He’s trained his entire life to become the greatest scian-damhsa, blade-dancer, the Fae have ever known, for the sole purpose of killing the blade-dancer who murdered his father and gave House Guaire its reputation as the Cursed House. Now he’s followed Tiernan Guaire through the Pattern to the human world, to fulfill his oath or die trying… but the passage has cost him all his skill with a blade.
Terry Miller, Josh LaFontaine’s business partner at the Raging Art-on Tattoo and Piercing Parlor, has the worst luck with men since… well, since ever, as far as he’s concerned. Years ago, he walked out on a great thing with Josh, when Bryce Newhouse offered to play sugar daddy for Terry’s ballet company; then Bryce kicked him to the curb, and Terry ended up relying on big-hearted Josh to help him get back on his feet. And now a too-good-to-be-true stranger has turned up in Terry’s half-built dance studio, with a beautiful sword and a bloody nose.
In order to regain the grace and skill he needs to keep his vow, a Fae cursed with the inability to love must SoulShare with a human convinced that love runs screaming when it sees him coming. All with the Marfach looking over their shoulders. No pressure.

Okay, so it took me a while to get into Stone Cold, but once it grabbed me, it didn’t let go. I didn’t have this issue with the first 5 books in the series, but it’s been a while since I’ve read any of the books in this series (I read Blowing Smoke in 2015.) Also, I inadvertently skipped Mantled In Mist (#6) and Undertow (#7) so I’m pretty sure both contributed to the slow start. Sometimes you can fall effortlessly back into a series after a break, but so much happens in the SoulShares series and what affects one pair seems to affect them all and not knowing all the characters made things just a little confusing. Lesson learned. 😉

Once I caught up, I couldn’t put Stone Cold down. Terry’s a character that’s been around for a while in the SoulShares series and finding his SoulShare was long overdue. Both Maelduin and Terry had their reasons for fighting the pull that they felt toward each other. Maelduin was cursed to never love and Terry was unlucky in love. He either picked the wrong person or pushed the right ones away. Things are never quite what they seem in this world of magic.

The Marfach was as gruesome as ever and magic was running rampant – and not always in a good way. As I said, a lot happened in Stone Cold and evidently a lot happened in the books I missed. I’m definitely going to have to go back and read those two books before the next one is released. Stay tuned!