Love on the Spectrum by Alec Nortan

LoveOnTheSpectrumHervé has Asperger’s, a specific kind of autism that makes him unable to interact with other people.
Luc has been severely scarred by fire and flees human presence to avert the way people glare and frown when they see him.
It was impossible for them to meet, but life sometimes likes to cheat the odds. Is it just a trick or a way to bring together two men who could be each other’s lifeline?

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1Such a sweet, sweet story. Both Hervé and Luc have the cards stacked against them. Luc is broken and Hervé is resigned. Neither one of them is looking for love, they’re basically trying to live as normal a life as they can by simply trying to fit in as best they can.

I fell in love with both of these characters immediately. They were just trying so hard to be “normal” – whatever that is. Both of them spent their lives on the outside, looking in. On a chance meeting their lives and their outlooks changed. It wasn’t easy and they had to really work at it, but they saw in each other what no one else really did.

This is my first read by Alec Nortan, but I will definitely be checking out more of his work.


I Buried a Witch (Bedknobs & Broomsticks #2) by Josh Lanyon

Cosmo Saville adores his new husband, but his little white lies—and some very black magic—are about to bring his fairytale romance to an end. Someone is killing San Francisco’s spellcasters—and the only person Cosmo can turn to—the man who so recently swore to love and cherish him—isn’t taking his phone calls.
The only magic Police Commissioner John Joseph Galbraith believes in is true love. Discovering he’s married to a witch—a witch with something alarmingly like magical powers—is nearly as bad as discovering the man he loved tricked and deceived him. John shoulders the pain of betrayal and packs his bags. But when he learns Cosmo is in the crosshairs of a mysterious and murderous plot, he knows he must do everything in in his mortal power to protect him.
Till Death do them Part. With their relationship on the rocks, Cosmo and Commissioner Galbraith join forces to uncover the shadowy figure behind the deadly conspiracy…
Can the star-crossed couple bring down a killer before the dark threat extinguishes true love’s flame?

Funny story… this is my second read of I Buried a Witch. I read it at the end of last year, but it showed up on my TBR list on GoodReads. Now, I know that I could have backdated the read, because I definitely did read it, but I thought what the heck? It definitely wasn’t a hardship on my part to read the book again, so here we are. (This time I double checked to make SURE it was marked correctly on GR.)

You probably already guessed that I considered I Buried a Witch a great addition to Josh Lanyon’s Bedknobs & Broomsticks series. I have to admit that I went into this one a little leery after reading Mainly by Moonlight. Not because I didn’t like the book, but because John and Cosmo’s relationship was sorta doomed from the start and this book’s description is kinda ominous. I wasn’t wrong to be hesitant, but I’m glad I decided to dive in (twice). 😉

The mystery from the Mainly by Moonlight continues in I Buried a Witch, in a round about way. Much to John’s dismay, Cosmo finds himself playing amateur detective. John started growing on me by the end of the last book, but he lost some major points in I Buried a Witch. He had some definite old fashioned ways of thinking how marriage worked. Cosmo took it for the most part, mainly because he felt guilty for the secrets he was keeping from John. Eventually enough was enough and the inevitable blow-up happened.

Beyond the break-up, there was a mystery to solve and the danger was coming way too close to home. There were also some revelations about John’s family that threw and extra twist or two in the story. Things were looking a little bit better by the end of I Buried a Witch, so I’m not as worried about starting Bell, Book and Scandal. Even so, I’m also pretty sure that John and Cosmo haven’t gotten past all of their relationship hurdles. *sigh*

Old Sins (Lindenshaw Mysteries #4) by Charlie Cochrane

Detective Chief Inspector Robin Bright and his partner, deputy headteacher Adam Matthews, have just consigned their summer holiday to the photo album. It’s time to get back to the daily grind, and the biggest problem they’re expecting to face: their wedding plans. Then fate strikes—literally—with a bang.
Someone letting loose shots on the common, a murder designed to look like a suicide, and the return of a teacher who made Robin’s childhood hell all conspire to turn this into one of his trickiest cases yet.
Especially when somebody might be targeting their Newfoundland, Campbell. Robin is used to his and Adam’s lives being in danger, but this takes the—dog—biscuit.

I really love this series… just putting that out there… in case anyone hadn’t gotten that impression yet. 😉

Adam and Robin find themselves right in the middle of another mystery, but this one comes a little too close to home. Not that that hasn’t happened before, but this time Campbell comes way too close to being in the cross fire and that is totally unacceptable to both Robin and Adam. This time it’s personal from the beginning – even before there’s a connection between the mysterious murders and a teacher who made Robin’s life miserable in grade school.

There were a lot of “connections” in Old Sins, some more obvious than others. I can honestly say that I had no idea exactly “who” did “what” to “who” and “why”… until I was actually supposed to… The mystery was only part of the story though and that’s just one of the reasons why I love this series. (Did I already mention that?)

Old Sins is definitely not the end of the Lindenshaw Mysteries series… at least I hope not. After all, readers still have to make sure that Adam and Robin finalize their HEA. 😉

Perfect Day by Sally Malcolm

First love conquers all in Perfect Day, a captivating contemporary male/male retelling of Jane Austen’s Persuasion.
Love doesn’t burn out just because the timing’s wrong. It grows. It never leaves.
When Joshua Newton, prodigal son of one of New Milton’s elite, fell in love with ambitious young actor Finn Callaghan, his world finally made sense. With every stolen moment, soft touch and breathless kiss, they fell deeper in love.
Finn was his future…until he wasn’t.
Love stays. Even when you don’t want it to, even when you try to deny it, it stays.
Eight years later, Finn has returned to the seaside town where it all began. He’s on the brink of stardom, a far cry from the poor mechanic who spent one gorgeous summer falling in love on the beach.
The last thing he wants is a second chance with the man who broke his heart. Finn has spent a long time forgetting Joshua Newton—he certainly doesn’t plan to forgive him.
Love grows. It never leaves.

I’m ashamed to say that I haven’t read a lot of classics… not that I never wanted to – I just never got around to it. So, I can’t really compare Jane Austen’s Persuasion to Sally Malcolm’s Perfect Day. What I can tell you is that this story is a very good rendition of the familiar “second chance” story.

There’s all sorts of reasons why a “perfect” family would deem someone not worthy to associate with. Joshua knew that Finn had a couple of strikes against him, regardless of how much he cared about him. Finn’s family didn’t come from money – he was actually working for Joshua’s family at the time they met. That, coupled with the fact that Finn was gay or bi – which meant that Joshua was gay – left him with no other choice but to let him go. Finn had no idea that decision crushed Joshua just as much as it crushed him. Joshua ended up breaking both their hearts at the end of that summer.

Fate brought them back to where their story began in an interesting way. Neither man was ready to face the other and neither was ready to admit that they still had feelings for each other. Finn definitely didn’t want to – but some things you can’t hide from and eventually they couldn’t hide it from each other.

There was a lot to like about Perfect Day. I loved both Joshua and Finn. They were both young when they met. Who knows if what they had would have even lasted if they had stayed together then. I think that’s one reason why second chance romances work for me. I like to think that past mistakes help us grow. I also loved Finn’s family. His brother and sister-in-law were great and supportive – of both Finn and Joshua. I think I adored them as much as I loathed Joshua’s family. Even his aunt, who I suppose tried to be caring, went about it in all the wrong ways.

Perfect Day was the first book published by Sally Malcolm and I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes up with next.

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.

Risk Aware (Saugatuck) by Amelia C. Gormley

RiskAware_600x900Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill? 
Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.
Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust—on both their parts—is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1My mini pre-review on Goodreads went something like this… “Finally! An author who writes a series in the crazy mixed up way I usually read them!” If you look through my previous reviews, you probably won’t have to go back very far to see that I’m notorious for reading books out of order in a series. I don’t do it on purpose… most of the time. Sometimes a book catches my eye and I request it for review or pick it up without actually knowing that it’s a book that falls later in an existing series. I actually did this with the Saugatauk series. I read Saugatuck Summer before the prequel to the series, The Field of Someone Else’s Dreams. Even though Risk Aware isn’t listed as a part of this series, it definitely is, at least in my mind. Not only that, the timeline of this book falls before Saugatuck Summer because in that book both Geoff and Robin are already a couple. Now, of course I’m going to have to go back and re-read Saugatuck Summer… sneaky author. (But one I can totally relate to 😉 )

Risk Aware took the BDSM lifestyle to a totally unique level. Because of Geoff’s condition, he knew he could never have what he craved. Robin knew he could give him what he wanted, but not without Geoff’s trust that he wouldn’t go too far as well as Robin’s trust that Geoff would be totally honest with him about his condition. They were walking both a physical and emotional tight rope.

I’m not sure which one of this pair I felt for most. Geoff had his reasons for keeping things to himself. His mom kept him in a bubble – or tried to. He longed for normal. Robin had been burned by his former sub and couldn’t put himself in that position again, but he knew he could help Geoff. They had more than a few obstacles and almost lost it all… Throw in people jumping to the wrong conclusions – regardless of how well meaning they were –  and things became even more complicated.

I have to admit that I almost passed this one up because BDSM books aren’t my normal go-to. I’m really glad that I took a chance Risk Aware though. The life-style is a major part of the book, but the way the characters learn to trust and work through the obstacles that they’re faced with made it so much more than that. It also made me realize that I need to search out more books by Amelia C. Gormley.



Where There’s a Will (Panopolis #3) by Cari Z

WhereTheresAWillBeing a Hero in Panopolis means living the high life: parties, money, influence, even reality television. And I’m one of the most powerful Heroes in the city. I have plenty of fans, a manager who looks out for me (after himself), and a job that pays the bills. I should be enjoying myself.
Unfortunately, the downside of my superpower means I can’t touch anyone, which tends to puts a damper on things. I probably don’t deserve all those perks anyway, since I’m working in secret with two of Panopolis’s biggest villains to undermine GenCorp—my main sponsor and the company that controls what gets through my force field.
I obviously don’t trust my corporate overseers, but they’ve hired a new scientist who actually seems interested in helping me. Dr. Mansourian might have the answers to all my questions—not to mention a starring role in most of my dreams—but he’s hiding something big. If I let him have what he wants, I might not live to regret it.
Then again, the way things are going in Panopolis these days, I might not live either way.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Freight Train (Craig) since the beginning of the Panopolis series. The world that Cari Z created for her characters is twisted. A world where heroes aren’t always the good guys and villains aren’t always the bad. Craig has slowly proven himself to be one of the exceptions in the hero category and getting inside his head in Where There’s a Will confirmed it.

This is the third book in the series and the first where Raul and Edward weren’t the main characters. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel about that, but it didn’t take long for Craig to win me over. On the surface, he was someone who had it all, but he did a pretty good job of hiding how broken and alone he really was. He didn’t really trust the people he depended on. His only remaining family member seemed to care more about herself than him and he was risking his life by putting his trust in people he was supposed to be fighting against. Add to that the fact that he couldn’t touch anyone and they couldn’t touch him. He couldn’t even eat food and was dependent on GenCorp for pretty much everything keeping him going.

Dr. Mansourian is different from the other doctors who poke and prod at Craig when he goes to GenCorp. There’s something about him that draws Craig in, but it’s also obvious that he’s hiding something. Craig has secrets of his own and keeping Dr. Mansourian close may not be smart, but he’s the only person besides Edward who acts as if he truly cares about the man behind the hero. As things heat up in the war that’s escalating, Craig finds himself in more danger than he ever expected. People are shutting him out and the lines between who he should and shouldn’t trust get blurrier by the minute.

As usual, the message behind this story is as intriguing as the story itself. I can’t wait to see what Cari Z has in store for the residents of Panopolis next.


The Empty Hourglass (Deal with a Devil #3) by Cornelia Grey

DealWithTheDevilThomas Escott has always wanted to be a toymaker, yet just as he achieves his dream, an accident claims his right hand. He’s certain his life is over—until he hears about groundbreaking prosthetics being made by a reclusive inventor.
Jethro Hastings is perfectly content to live alone up in the mountains working on a secret masterpiece: a humanoid automaton that will change the scientific community forever. He’s behind schedule, and the date of the unveiling is fast approaching, so when Thomas shows up on his doorstep offering help in exchange for a mechanical hand, Jethro agrees. Time, after all, is running out on another deal he’s made: one with the devil.
The devil gives Jethro’s inventions life, but he can just as quickly take life away—Jethro’s, to be exact. As the sand in the devil’s hourglass falls, marking the time until the end of the deal, inventions go haywire, people get hurt, and Thomas realizes he needs Jethro just as much as his prosthetic. Now he must find a way to save Jethro’s soul, but negotiating with a devil is just as difficult as it sounds.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1It’s been a while since I’ve read a Steampunk book and even though it takes me a little longer to get into them than normal (at least for me) I forgot how much I liked this genre.

There’s a couple of things that should probably be pointed out about The Empty Hourglass. First, even though I numbered it as the third book in the Deal with a Devil series, you can read any of the books in any order. This just happens to be the third book written in the series. I’ve enjoyed all the books so far, but I have to admit that I enjoyed Devil at the Crossroads and Circus of the Damned a little bit more. The other thing I need to mention is that even though this is listed as a romance, everything was behind closed doors. That’s honestly not a complaint… just an observation.

The Empty Hourglass was also different from the other books in this series because the story was told from Thomas’ POV and he wasn’t the one who owed his soul to the Devil. For me, that was kind of a neat twist, but I still would have like to have been in Jethro’s head just a little, because honestly, throughout most of this book he was a really hard character to like.

So, basically I really liked the Steampunk aspect of this story and I had a semi love/hate relationship with the characters. Not sure that Jethro really deserved Thomas, but I love how it worked out for them in the end.


The Rain (Pendragon Chronicles #1) by Amos Cassidy

RainCoverUpdateWhat do you do when you lose what you love the most? What do you do when every breath is agony?
Jake has lost the love of his life. Desperate for a fresh start, he moves to Longbrooke – a small British coastal town. The people are friendly, the town is quaint and Jake finally feels as if he could start anew. Then The Rain falls – an ancient weapon that only Jake can manipulate – and Jake is thrust into a world where Myth and Legend are reality and his bloodline the only possible saviour of mankind.
The rebirth of The Rain is a beacon to all that is sinister and as Jake meets his first challenge, he must quickly learn to master the weapon inside him or risk losing his new found friends. Will he succeed before it’s too late or will the deadly threat accomplish its lethal goal?
What do you do when your actions determine the fate of those nearest and dearest? What do you do when there is nothing on the horizon but uncertainty?
You lift up your chin and you fight back with everything you’ve got and hope – no, pray – for the best. If all else fails, sic your dragon on the bad guys.

Destinies aren’t written, they’re forged, and Jake Winters is about to get a 101 in forging.
A quaint British coastal town hiding ancient secrets, a heavenly weapon that claims a host, a dragon’s egg that has a tale to tell – Jake Winters is the line that connects all the dots.
But Jake has much to learn, and very little time, because a serial killer is on the loose, a monster with the face of a fashion model, and it’ll take Jake’s special brand of intervention to stop him…

I can’t believe how many ‘that didn’t just happen’ moments were packed into this book.

For the record, this is the third time I’ve read The Rain and that statement above still holds true. Not that I needed a reason to reread the book, but I needed to refresh my memory (it’s been over a year since my last reading) before the next book in the series (Lost Souls) was released and there were a few updates made since its original release, not the least of which was a brand new cover. As a side note, I love both covers and there are things about each version that I like… no major changes to the plot or characters, so the rest of my review pretty much stands as is…

Confession time… (I do that a lot, don’t I?) I got my hands on The Rain about a month before its release. I had been meaning to read a book by Amos Cassidy for a while and when I saw this book I couldn’t resist signing up for the tour. Reading the book wasn’t part of my stop on the tour, but being the conscientious reader/review that I am I had to know if what I was promoting was good, right? And honestly, after reading that synopsis and looking at the awesome and unique cover, how could I NOT want to read it? So, how did I like The Rain? Let’s put it this way. Even though I received an ARC – with no strings attached – I still purchased the book as soon as it was released. I rarely do that folks…. this book was that good. Alright, now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s move on to the review….

Just a little warning… the first chapter is… well… it hurts. I know, that seems a little dramatic, but there’s no easy or better way to put it. Reading it the second time wasn’t any less painful than the first. It’s necessary though. Readers aren’t left with any doubt of what Jake lost and where he was emotionally when he moved to Longbrooke. It was a rough way to get to know him as a character, but it definitely made me sympathize with him in a very real way. *sigh*

Longbrooke and its residents were a huge reason why I loved The Rain – and I loved them all – well at least the ones that weren’t evil. Greg was the first person that Jake really interacted with and he was one of my favorites. His sense of humor and loyalty were  exactly what Jake needed. Ivy was almost a force of nature and I loved the way Jake reacted to her. They all added an extra layer to the story and they each played a very important role. They were well developed and had their own brand of wit and humor. (It doesn’t matter how many times I read a certain chapter *cough* 18 *cough*… I will always laugh out loud. I’ll also never look at a claw machine again and not grin as I look for a particular toy. 😉  ) Yeah, this is definitely a book that left an impression. I love it when that happens.

The characters were just one aspect of The Rain. The formatting was unique and told from several points of view – readers sometimes didn’t even know whose POV the story was coming from, but instead of being confusing, it just added to the mystery. Even the way that Jake was clued into what was really going on and the part he played in this new world he’d been thrust into was done in a unique way. (Nope, I’m not giving that away either… it’s just too good to spoil.) Jake’s flash backs were even an important part of the story. They were more than just filler. It was a great way to get to know him better and to understand exactly what it was that he lost. *sigh*

One of the other things that drew me into this story is that I have a weak spot for the legend that this The Rain centers around. Unfortunately, I can’t tell you what legend that is without giving things away. I can tell you that Amos Cassidy took an age old and familiar tale and gave it a unique spin. One that I didn’t expect but thoroughly enjoyed.

TheRainThe Rain was full of surprises. It was an epic fantasy set in a quaint British town with some quirky characters. There was a touch of bitter sweet romance, plenty of action, more than a few surprises, mythological creatures, some coffee spewing laugh-out-loud moments and some jaw dropping, heart breaking, tear inducing, cringe worthy moments. (I still can’t believe some of it happened.) And then there was the ending… gah! This is one book that kept you guessing until the very end and then sucker punched you. (I’m not complaining…. just still can’t believe it.) This may have been the first book I’ve read by the Amos Cassidy writing duo, but it most certainly won’t be the last.



Champagne Kisses by Lynda Aicher

ChampagneKisses_600x900The Christmas Eve wedding Evan Cleary pulled together in four weeks is crashing down around him and taking his fledgling event planning business with it. With an empty altar and over a hundred guests arriving soon, he turns to the resistant, gorgeous brother of the runaway groom for help.
When Richard Patterson’s flamboyant brother storms out hours before he’s scheduled to marry his equally dramatic partner, Richard is left dealing with the fallout. The last thing he wants is more drama, yet he can’t deny his attraction to the effeminate event planner trying to salvage the wedding.
Evan thinks his crush on Richard is a lost cause, but one steaming kiss later, he learns different. What starts as a night of hot sex turns into a connection neither expected. But Evan knows their relationship is hopeless unless the ultra-conservative Richard can embrace every part of him—both in private and in public.

CreativeDeedsReadsDisclosure1I’m not sure what I expected, but this was one of the sweetest Holiday reads I picked up this year.

Richard was sure that Evan wasn’t the guy for him and Evan was sure that his crush on Richard was as far as things would go. They both got more than they bargained for in Champagne Kisses. As short as this one was (just over 80 pages) it wasn’t lacking. Considering the whole story takes place in about 24 hours, that’s saying a lot. This may have been the first book by Lynda Aicher that I’ve read, but it definitely won’t be the last. 😉