Write On Review-A-Thon (January 26 – January 28, 2018)

I really thought I had a handle on my reviews this time, honest I did. I don’t even want to discuss how many reviews I had to write for the Write on Review-a-thon in December. I swore that would never happen again, so I started January with having a review post set for every day. That lasted until mid January and then… well… let’s just say I have some catching up to do… again. *sigh*

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, January 26th to Sunday, January 28th.

You can see Kelly’s post at Reading the Paranormal

So what books do I owe reviews?

Well, that’s a little bit better than last month, but not by much.


Murmuration by T.J. Klune

In the small mountain town of Amorea, it’s stretching toward autumn of 1954. The memories of a world at war are fading in the face of a prosperous future. Doors are left unlocked at night, and neighbors are always there to give each other a helping hand.
The people here know certain things as fact:
Amorea is the best little town there is.
The only good Commie is a dead Commie.
The Women’s Club of Amorea runs the town with an immaculately gloved fist.
And bookstore owner Mike Frazier loves that boy down at the diner, Sean Mellgard. Why they haven’t gotten their acts together is anybody’s guess. It may be the world’s longest courtship, but no one can deny the way they look at each other.
Slow and steady wins the race, or so they say.
But something’s wrong with Mike. He hears voices in his house late at night. There are shadows crawling along the walls, and great clouds of birds overhead that only he can see.
Something’s happening in Amorea. And Mike will do whatever he can to keep the man he loves.

I’m always very careful about avoiding spoilers when I write reviews. There are times that I find it difficult to give potential readers a sense of the story without giving anything away, but in the case of Murmuration… I’m stumped. How do I convince people to read this amazing, thoughtful, crazy and beautiful creation? Is just that statement enough? Yeah, I didn’t think so…

The thing is, there is so much to experience in this book, giving even a little bit of it away would be criminal. And no, I’m not exaggerating. There were times that I thought I had everything figured out, but I wasn’t even close. There were times that I was in awe of a character and the next moment that same character all but disgusted me with their actions. There were times that… well… Needless to say, Amorea was an interesting place to get lost in.

I honestly apologize for being so vague, but there’s not much more I can say. Just know that Murmuration is probably not like anything you’ve ever read, it will make you consider things that you never thought possible and if you’re anything like me, you’ll be ready to recommend it to anyone and everyone as soon as you’re done.

On Solid Ground by Quinn Anderson

Chance Crawford and Kit Gibbons are on the cusp of an epic office romance. After months of saying hi in the elevator and making small talk at parties, they’re both dying to make a move. Too bad neither of them can work up the courage. Nerdy, risk-averse Chance is waiting for Kit to give him a sign, whereas Kit’s too afraid of being out in his professional life to date the cutie from IT. If only one of them could find the proper motivation, their shaky flirtation could become something real.
Then an earthquake rocks their city. They band together to help others escape, until an aftershock leaves them trapped in a collapsing office building with little hope of survival. The very earthquake that brought them together could also tear them apart.
Drunk on fear and adrenaline, passions run high, but how can they think about romance when any minute could be their last? They’ll have to face danger, themselves, and each other before they can get back on solid ground.

On Solid Ground wasn’t a long book, but a lot happened within those 139 pages. The description does a pretty good job at laying the ground work for this book.

Kit and Chance work in the same office, but have totally different jobs. Kit has a job that is moving him up the ladder, which is why he doesn’t want to risk anything, even his attraction to Chance, to keep him from his goal. The thing is, he’s not sure that it’s worth it anymore.

Chance is too afraid of rejection to do much more than throw a subtle, awkward flirt Kit’s way from time to time. He doesn’t see what someone like Kit could see in someone like him. Too bad the motivation mentioned in the description came in the form of a life and death situation.

It may not have been the ideal situation, but it gave both the characters and the readers a chance to see what kind of men Kit and Chance really were. It would be hard not to respect both of them by the way the sacrificed their safety to get everyone else out safely.

On Solid Ground was a fast paced, nail biting and yet sweet romance. I’ve only read one other book by Quinn Anderson and I’ve got to say that I liked this one a lot more than All of the Above, mainly because of the characters. Which obviously means that I need to check out some of her other books 😉

New Hand (Bluewater Bay #23) by L.A. Witt

Months after his husband’s death, Garrett Blaine desperately needs a fresh start. He sells his house in Seattle, leaves his accounting job, and starts bartending in Bluewater Bay. There he meets a man who wakes up his nearly forgotten libido.
Jesse Connelly’s friend with benefits bolted after Jesse disclosed his HIV status. Stood up and stinging, Jesse tries to drown his sorrows . . . and finds an unexpected connection with a lonely bartender.
Jesse and Garrett quickly bond over a shared love of comics and card games, and they can’t get enough of each other between the sheets. Not even a bumpy start and a fifteen-year age gap can derail them as they go from strangers to lovers, then friends, then much more.
But as Garrett’s feelings for Jesse deepen, so does his grief for the man he lost—especially as he sees hints of his late husband in his new boyfriend. Now Garrett has to figure out if Jesse is his second chance at true love, or if Jesse’s just filling in for the man he’s never fully grieved. And he needs to figure it out soon, because Jesse’s starting to wonder the same thing.

I have to admit, I was more than a little sad when I found out that New Hand would be the very last book in the Bluewater Bay series. Even so, I’m happy to say that it ended on a high note and it was rather appropriate that L.A. Witt wrote both the first and last book in the series (plus a few in between.) I really like these multi-author series. They not only introduce me to authors that I may not have otherwise known about, but they also give perspectives on a whole spectrum of ideas, situations, issues… that I didn’t know existed or never considered. In the Bluewater Bay series, there were even a couple of F/F books thrown into the mix, which isn’t one of my go-to genres. I can’t say that I’ve become a true fan, but I like stepping out of my comfort zone from time to time. Even though most of these books would have been easy to read as a stand alone, I personally think that you get a lot more out of each book if you’ve read them all. New Hand is a good example of that. Not only were some of the characters from Starstruck (the first book in the series) but Jesse was introduced in Outside the Lines, and characters in that book played an important role in New Hand. Just my opinion though. Honestly, there are very few books in the series I wouldn’t recommend. 😉

As for Jesse and Garrett’s story – these guys took turns breaking my heart. They were equally broken for very different reasons. Garrett was grieving and trying to run away from the memories. Even though he was attracted to Jesse from the first time he saw him, he spent a lot of time in his head second guessing his feelings. It didn’t help that he had well meaning (and some not-so-well meaning) friends and family re-inforcing those doubts. It seemed like for every positive step forward he took, he was pushed back two or more.

In the mean time Jesse was dealing with rejection and he couldn’t risk his heart any more by being a rebound for a grieving man. Once he realized that Garrett’s response to his admission wasn’t rejection, things got better, but he still wasn’t sure. The crazy part was, neither was Garrett, but he didn’t want to give Jesse up. He just had to convince him of that before it was too late.

There was a lot to love about this book. If you’ve been here before, you know how I feel about supporting characters and New Hand had some of the best. I fell in love with Lydia, Simon and Ian from Outside the Lines all over again, but especially Lydia. There were even more characters from previous books thrown into the mix which was also fun. Garrett went a little fan boy from time to time, which was kind of adorable, especially since he was the older man in this May/December romance.

So yeah, New Hand brought this series to a satisfying end. I’m kinda hoping that some of the authors treat readers to at least a peek at a few of the characters in the series in the future. Even if that never happens, I’m pretty sure that this is a series that I’ll pick up again.

Reckless Behavior (Bad Behavior #3) by L.A. Witt & Cari Z.

After too many years of putting his job first, Detective Andreas Ruffner is getting his priorities straight. He’s ready to spend some quality time with his adult kids, not to mention come clean about some things he should’ve told them a long time ago. And introduce them to his partner and boyfriend, Darren Corliss.
But in a heartbeat, a family dinner turns into Andreas’s worst nightmare. When the dust settles, one of his kids is hurt, and the other three have been abducted.
Andreas is going to find his kids, and nothing, not even a broken ankle, is going to stop him. Thank God for his sharp, level-headed partner . . . who has a crisis of his own pulling him away when Andreas needs him the most. As both men try to support—and lean on—each other, they get no closer to finding the kids. And the longer the children are missing, the less likely it is they’ll ever be found.

This series has always been packed with emotion. Not surprising, considering the fact that a powerful #EvilAuthor duo combined forces to create the Bad Behavior series. They pulled out ALL the stops with Reckless Behavior.

In Reckless Behavior, both Andreas and Darren are dealing with their own personal nightmares. They’ve never needed each other’s support more than now, but neither one of them is in a good place. They wanted to be there for each other but events spiraled out of their control. When Darren tried to be there for Andreas, he was hurt by the fact that Andreas tried to give him the space to deal with what he was going through… and it went both ways. They were a mess, but they wanted nothing more to be there for each other, even though both of them were crushed. It was totally heartbreaking which made this book impossible to put down. I just wanted things fixed for both of them.

There was no easy fix and the bad guy was not who I expected it to be, but I can’t say I was totally surprised either. This book was full of suspense, love, heartbreak, and craziness. There was even a little bit of time for some heated romance… which was a much needed distraction for both the characters and the reader. Yeah, Reckless Behavior was that intense.

On the plus side, I liked getting to know Andreas family – including his ex’s. There was still a lot of love and respect there, which says a lot about Andreas. He still has a way to go to make up for some precious lost time, but he’s getting there. With Darren’s influence and help.

There’s at least one more book in the Bad Behavior series and I’m really hoping that Romantic Behavior lives up to its title 😉 This couple definitely deserves a little more romance and a lot less danger.

Outside the Lines (Bluewater Bay #22) by Anna Zabo

Miniature artist Ian Meyers has one week to rebuild his damaged set. Needing help, he goes to End o’ Earth, the local comic and gaming shop. Owner Simon Derry pushes all of Ian’s buttons, and he also has steady hands and the skills Ian needs.
Before they can even grab a beer, Ian meets Lydia Derry, Simon’s wife. If Ian had any interest in women, he’d suggest a threesome, but then Simon explains that he and Lydia are polyamorous, and if Ian wants Simon, neither of them will complain. If anything, Lydia encourages the relationship.
Ian’s all in, and it’s fantastic working with Simon to piece together his set and then take each other apart at night. His friendship with Lydia grows too. The only problem is, the more time he spends with Simon, the more he wants everything Simon already has with Lydia: A house. A cat. A commitment. So Ian runs, and shatters the trust he has with them both—right when they need him the most. Piecing their relationships back together might prove harder than a smashed set.

Well, this was a first and if it hadn’t been a part of the Bluewater Bay series, I might have passed it up. Can I just say that I’m so glad that I didn’t.

I don’t think I’ve run into a couple in a book that I loved more than Lydia and Simon. Okay, that may be a stretch, because I’ve run into a LOT of couples that I love, but these two were so perfect for each other and so obviously in love. They just knew each other so well and respected, worried, cared… Lydia knew what Simon needed and she wanted him to be happy. Adding Ian to the mix just worked… but Ian wasn’t so sure. He saw the love and connection between Simon and Lydia and he didn’t want to ruin it. It breaks his heart when he walks away, but he knows it’s for the best – at least for Simon and Lydia.

I’m not sure exactly what I expected from Outside the Lines, but I walked away with a lot more. The romance was sweet, hot and heartbreaking. (Yeah, there were a couple of teary moments…) There was also an artistic aspect that I really enjoyed.  I also liked that there was drama outside the romance, which brought in even more characters from previous books in the series that I loved. There are even some new characters that readers will get to know even better in New Hand, which is sadly, the very last book in the Bluewater Bay series. *sigh*

On a side note, this was my first Anna Zabo book, but I doubt it will be my last. 😉

Two Feet Under Virtual Book Tour

Two Feet Under began life as a conversation in a car, when my eldest daughter and I got stuck in a traffic jam on the way to an author/reader event. It gained a criminal mastermind as a result of another conversation in the car with her younger sister. It got its background thanks to the popular television series “Time Team” and a setting care of the northern part of Hampshire. The plot came from the author’s twisted imagination, via a lot of checking. And at least one character is based on people I know. You have been warned.

About Two Feet Under

Things are looking up for Adam Matthews and Robin Bright—their relationship is blossoming, and they’ve both been promoted. But Robin’s a policeman, and that means murder is never far from the scene.

When a body turns up in a shallow grave at a Roman villa dig site—a body that repeatedly defies identification—Robin finds himself caught up in a world of petty rivalries and deadly threats. The case seems to want to drag Adam in, as well, and their home life takes a turn for the worse when an ex-colleague gets thrown out of his house and ends up outstaying his welcome at theirs.

While Robin has to prove his case against a manipulative and fiendishly clever killer, Adam is trying to find out which police officer is leaking information to the media. And both of them have to work out how to get their home to themselves again, which might need a higher intelligence than either a chief inspector or a deputy headteacher.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About the Lindenshaw Mysteries

Adam Matthews’s life changed when Inspector Robin Bright walked into his classroom to investigate a murder.

Now it seems like all the television series are right: the leafy villages of England do indeed conceal a hotbed of crime, murder, and intrigue. Lindenshaw is proving the point.

Detective work might be Robin’s job, but Adam somehow keeps getting involved—even though being a teacher is hardly the best training for solving crimes. Then again, Campbell, Adam’s irrepressible Newfoundland dog, seems to have a nose for figuring things out, so how hard can it be?

Check out the Lindenshaw Mysteries!

About Charlie Cochrane

As Charlie Cochrane couldn’t be trusted to do any of her jobs of choice—like managing a rugby team—she writes, with titles published by Carina, Samhain, Bold Strokes, MLR and Cheyenne.

Charlie’s Cambridge Fellows Series of Edwardian romantic mysteries was instrumental in her being named Author of the Year 2009 by the review site Speak Its Name. She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, Mystery People, International Thriller Writers Inc and is on the organising team for UK Meet for readers/writers of GLBT fiction. She regularly appears with The Deadly Dames.

Connect with Charlie:


To celebrate the release of Two Feet Under, one lucky winner will receive a swag bag, including magnet, napkins, bookmark, pencils, hanging decoration, postcards, and a coaster! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 13, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Relay Virtual Book Tour

Welcome to the RELAY Blog Tour, presented by Layla Reyne and Riptide Publishing! RELAY, by Layla Reyne, is Book 1 of the Changing Lanes sports romance series featuring Olympic swimmers. RELAY is an enemies-to-lovers, second chance romance between Alex, the team captain, and his closeted ex, Dane, swimming’s biggest star. Read on to learn more about RELAY, Changing Lanes, and Layla Reyne!

About Relay

Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.

Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.

Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.

Available now from Riptide Publishing!

About Changing Lanes

A chance at gold or a chance at love? Members of the US Men’s Swim Team fight for both in this sports romance duology following two couples on one medley relay team as they train and compete in the world’s biggest sporting event: the Olympics. To reach the top of the podium, they’ll need to depend on one another and be willing to change lanes—in their lives and hearts, and in the biggest race of their athletic careers.

Check out Changing Lanes!

About Layla Reyne

2016 RWA® Golden Heart® Finalist Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bicoastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart-pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

Social Media:

Website: http://laylareyne.com
Twitter: www.twitter.com/laylareyne
FB Profile: www.facebook.com/laylareynebooks
FB Fan Page: www.facebook.com/laylareyne
FB Reader Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/216903272072959/
Tumblr: laylareyne.tumblr.com
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/laylareyne
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/laylareyne
Amazon: amazon.com/author/laylareyne
Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/bN9ncH


To celebrate the release of Relay, one lucky winner will receive a signed paperback copy of the book and a $25 Amazon gift card! Leave a comment with your contact info to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on January 13, 2018. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

The Complete Sookie Stackhouse Stories by Charlaine Harris

For the first time together in one volume, here is the complete short story collection starring Louisiana’s favorite telepathic waitress, Sookie Stackhouse—from #1 New York Timesbestselling author Charlaine Harris. New fans can fill in the gaps in their Sookie lore while old friends can revisit some of their favorite moments and characters. From investigating the murder of a local fairy to learning that her cousin was a vampire, from remodeling her best friend’s house to attending a wedding with her shapeshifting boss, Sam, Sookie navigates the perils and pitfalls of the paranormal world.
Belly up to the bar at Bon Temps’s favorite watering hole and hear stories that will make you wish Sookie never left.
This definitive collection is the perfect binge read for people who like their stories with bite!

I know a lot of readers read the short stories and novellas as they were released, but I wasn’t one of them. If there was any in this collection that I happened to read, it’s been so long I forgot. Having them all in one place was a definite advantage for me and it was fun catching up with some of my favorite (and not so favorite) characters. Since the stories were short, my reviews on each one will be too. 😉

“Fairy Dust” – those fairies… I forgot how much ‘fun’ they could be. In Fairy Dust, Sookie helps the triplets (who knew?) figure out who killed their sibling, then leaves them to their own brand of justice.

“One Word Answer”

“Dracula Night” – Eric flustered doesn’t happen very often. I kinda enjoyed seeing him ‘off.’ The Great Pumpkin reference made me chuckle, but somehow I doubt the vamps would have found it quite as Humorous. 🙂

“Lucky” – I forgot how much fun (at time) Amelia and Sookie were together. Amelia didn’t always do things the way that Sookie would have liked, but in this case, she helped get the job done 😉

“Gift Wrap” – Once again Niall proves that he doesn’t always show his love of his granddaughter in the most conventional of ways.

“Two Blondes” – Pam and Sookie’s friendship was always… strange? In Two Blondes they took a little road trip, had some fun, almost got themselves killed… a typical night on the town where Sookie was concerned.

“If I Had a Hammer” – Spending time with JB and Tara would have been more of a treat if it weren’t for the fact that they unearthed something even more sinister than the undead.

“Small-Town Wedding” – I know I’m one of very few readers who was actually okay with how the series ended. This weekend with Sam kind of cemented that for me.

“Playing Possum” – Sookie used her powers for good this time, with a little bit of help.

“In the Blue Hereafter” – I haven’t read any Charlaine Harris’ other series, but In the Blue Hereafter made me want to pick up one or two (Harper Connelly & Midnight Texas) . It was the only short story that wasn’t told from Sookie’s POV, but she was most definitely front and center.

The Remaking of Corbin Wale by Roan Parrish

Last month, Alex Barrow’s whole life imploded—partner, home, job, all gone in forty-eight hours. But sometimes when everything falls apart, better things appear almost like magic. Now, he’s back in his Michigan hometown, finally opening the bakery he’s always dreamed of. But the pleasure of opening day is nothing compared to the lonely and beautiful man who bewitches Alex before he even orders.
Corbin Wale is a weirdo. At least, that’s what he’s heard his whole life. He knows he’s often in a fantasy world, but the things he feels are very real. And so is the reason why he can never, ever be with Alex Barrow. Even if Alex is everything he’s always fantasized about. Even if maybe, just maybe, Corbin is Alex’s fantasy too.
When Corbin begins working at the bakery, he and Alex can’t deny their connection any longer. As the holiday season works its magic, Alex yearns for the man who seems out of reach. But to be with Alex, Corbin will have to challenge every truth he’s ever known. If his holiday risk pays off, two men from different worlds will get the love they’ve always longed for.

This was such a sweet Holiday read. I loved Alex from the beginning and Corbin may have considered himself a weirdo, but he was adorable. There was oh so much to love about this book, I’m not too sure where to start…

Alex needed a change. Actually, this is the second book in the past couple of months where the ex in a relationship totally blew me away… and not in a good way. But as fate would have it, Alex’s ex did him a huge favor… he brought him home. Right where he obviously belonged.

Corbin had an interesting, creative mind. I loved being inside his head. He kind of over thought everything, but he had little or no self confidence and he was raised in a unique way, by very unique individuals. His back story was a little sad, but it also proved how strong he really was.

One of the things I liked most about The Remaking of Corbin Wale was the Jewish background that Alex and his family brought to the story. It’s not something that happens often enough and it was a fresh take, at least for me, on the Holiday season.

These were characters that I was glad to get to know and sorry to say good-bye to. Actually, I felt that way about most of the characters in this Charity Bundle offered by Riptide. I’m kinda hoping that some of the authors that took part in this treat readers to more from them and some very special supporting characters in the future.