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review 2019-01-13 13:01
Release Blitz ★ Deke

Release Date: January 9, 2019

Cover Design: Kellie Dennis / Book Cover by Design

 

Synopsis:

 

Ollie

 

Word of advice: don’t come out to random guys in public restrooms. Even if they’re charming and adorably nerdy and offer to help. My family believe I can’t be happy if I’m not out to the world. I have a bitter ex-boyfriend and an unstable NHL career to show for it. A fake boyfriend seems like an easy and quick solution to get my family off my back, and this guy is volunteering. I take him up on it without asking his name. I really should’ve asked for his name.

 

Lennon

 

Word of advice: learn how to introduce yourself properly. In my defense, I don’t recognize Ollie Strömberg right away. I cover football, not hockey. I’m not supposed to see him again, and he’s never supposed to find out I’m a reporter. That all changes when my editor reassigns me. It’s a lesson I should’ve learned by now. Nothing’s changed since high school. Jocks still hate nerds. But even worse, athletes hate journalists. Especially ones who know their secret.  

 

UNIVERSAL Amazon link

http://geni.us/DekeFakeBoyfriend

 

Goodreads

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deke (Fake Boyfriend #3)Deke by Eden Finley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is book #3, in the Fake Boyfriend series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding, and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this awesome series in order.

Ollie & Lennon AKA "Clark" meet in one of the most unusual ways possible. Then they agree to try to fool everyone that they are dating. Seems the only fooling is for themselves.

Lennon finds himself wanting a real relationship with the amazing Ollie. Knowing it is just a pipe dream, he enjoys every moment he can. Can he convince his fake boyfriend to try for real?

This was such a sexy book right from the start. I loved the characters and found them utterly charming. Like all books in the series, each page got devoured and I could not put it down. This author is definitely an automatic purchase for me now.


***This ARC copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

Available Now:

 

Fake Out (Book Boyfriend Book One)

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2pnjh27

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2FWRFtY

Amazon CA: http://amzn.to/2phmXSD

Amazon AU: http://amzn.to/2pjyJv9

 

 

Trick Play (Fake Boyfriend Book Two)

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2tvwkR0

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2Ks0XAi

Amazon CA: https://amzn.to/2tEc4f7

Amazon AU: https://amzn.to/2KrmoP2

   

Giveaway:

$25 Amazon Gift Card

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway  

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/b1257f8d407/?

 

 

 

About the Author:

 

Eden Finley is an Amazon bestselling author who writes steamy contemporary romances that are full of snark and light-hearted fluff.

 

 

She doesn’t take anything too seriously and lives to create an escape from real life for her readers. The ideas always begin with a wackadoodle premise, and she does her best to turn them into romances with heart. With a short attention span that rivals her five-year-old son's, she writes multiple different pairings: MM, MMF, and MF. She's also an Australian girl and apologises for her Australianisms that sometimes don't make sense to anyone else.  

 

Connect with Eden:

 

Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/2owAsgY

Facebook Author Page: http://bit.ly/2GMjfag

Facebook Reader Group: http://bit.ly/2t1KqM4

Goodreads Author Page: http://bit.ly/2ouFzya

Twitter: http://bit.ly/2HQnyCv

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/2EV9Roi

BookBub Author Page: http://bit.ly/2ouhBDq

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2019-01-12 07:10
Blog Tour w/Review - Out In The Offense

 

Title: Out in the Offense

Series: Out in College #3

Author: Lane Hayes

Publisher: Lane Hayes

Release Date: January 10, 2019

Heat Level: 4 - Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 54k

Genre: Romance, New Adult, Bisexual, College romance, Football, Coming out

 

Add to Goodreads

 

 

 

Synopsis:

 

Christian Rafferty is a talented quarterback with a big secret. He’s determined to make the most of his final season on the football field, and if possible, avoid any confrontations with his conservative parents about his future. It shouldn’t be difficult; he’s become adept at keeping his public and private lives separate. However, when a math class threatens to derail his plans to graduate on time, he realizes he may need outside help. Rory Kirkland has a reputation for being a tough guy. He’s a former wrestler and recent college graduate who needs a real job. Until he finds one, tutoring is a decent temporary gig. Luckily, his brain is his biggest asset.

 

Rory is a genius. He credits his sport for helping him deal with angst and rumors about his sexuality when he was younger, but he doesn’t care what others think anymore. He likes his new status as an out and proud bi man; and he recognizes something of himself in Christian. But Rory didn’t count on falling for him. When an unlikely friendship collides with intense attraction, both men begin to realize that coming out on offense just might be the surest path to love.

 

 

 

 

Excerpt:

 

"Can I do anything to help?” I asked, setting my backpack on one of the two barstools at the narrow counter space.

 

“Nope. As soon as the veggies are sautéed, we’ll be ready to eat. Want something to drink?”

 

“Yes, please. Water is fine. Where’s Buttons?”

 

Rory pulled a water bottle from the small fridge behind him and handed it over, then pointed at a basket next to the sofa.

 

“She’s hiding behind that basket. She’ll make an appearance if she decides you’re worthy. In the meantime, there’s bread in that basket on the counter next to your bag. Help yourself. I’ll bring dinner out.”

 

I thanked him, then twisted the cap from the water bottle and took a generous sip before rounding the corner in search of the bread. I was ravenous. I bit into the baguette with gusto before turning to check out my surroundings.

 

Rory’s apartment was tiny. Probably half the size of mine and much older. But unlike the rough exterior, it was…pleasant. Surprisingly so. A short wall delineated the narrow kitchen from the main living area. There was just enough room for a sofa, an ottoman, a TV console, and a smallish television. Two barstools were tucked under the small peninsula by the cut-out in the kitchen wall. The palette was basic “dude”…dark leather against stark white walls, though a large red throw rug anchored the room and provided a nice splash of color. It was simple—but tidy and very clean.

 

“Your place is cool,” I commented when he entered the room, carrying two plates and a large bowl.

 

“Thanks. Let’s sit on the sofa. We have more room to eat there,” he said decisively as he set his burden on the coffee table. “Help yourself. I’ll get some forks, napkins, and extra veggies.”

 

I obeyed and quickly got to work, scooping chicken fettucine Alfredo onto both plates. Rory joined me a minute later, handing over the silverware before taking a seat next to me. I shot a bashful sideways glance at him as I reached for a napkin.

 

“Do you eat like this every night?”

 

“It’s really nothing special. I make sauces in bulk and freeze them. Then it’s just a matter of adding protein and veggies. By the way, this Alfredo is a healthy version. If you want to drown it in parmesan, feel free. I won’t be offended. Cheers.” He tapped his water bottle against mine and winked.

 

“Cheers. And thanks again. This is incredible and very unexpected.” I smiled as I twisted the pasta around my fork.

 

“You’re welcome. You sounded anxious, but you said we’re cool. Are we?”

 

“Of course.”

 

Rory tilted his head and shot me a challenging look. “Then kiss me.”

 

“Um…now?”

 

“Yeah, now. The other night could have been a fluke. Instead of wondering, let’s get it over with. One kiss should be enough to tell. C’mere,” he commanded, leaning sideways.

 

I set my fork down and met him halfway until our noses brushed. Then I waited for him to make the next move. He stayed stubbornly still. When I couldn’t stand the growing tension, I pressed my lips to his. And wow…amazing.

 

Rory was a great kisser. He had the simple art of give-and-take down to a science. He molded his mouth to mine and gently pushed his tongue inside. The connection was sweet but bold. It was more about discovery than possession. I hummed as I snaked my arm around his neck, pulling him closer. He sucked my tongue, then bit my bottom lip playfully before pulling back.

 

“Definitely not a fluke," he said with a devilish grin.

 

 

Purchase at Amazon

 

 

 

Out in the Offense (Out in College, #3)Out in the Offense by Lane Hayes
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book is #3, in the Out In College series. This book can be read as a standalone novel. For reader understanding and to avoid spoilers, I recommend reading this series in order.

Christian has been keeping secrets. When he meets his new tutor, and has a wild and almost uncontrollable reaction to him, it makes keeping secrets harder. Can he grow and learn it is easier to just be honest?

Rory has been hurt before. His wanting Christian does not change the status quo - nor the fact it is basically forbidden. He cannot stop feelings once they start.

This was another great addition to the series. These amazing characters have such depth and courage. I loved devouring each page and could not wait to finish the story.


***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review only.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Author:

 

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won First Prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads |Amazon

 

 

Giveaway:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

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review 2018-12-30 20:22
Carnivore
Carnivore - Jonathan Lyon

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A dark thriller set in modern London, following Leander, a young man (20ish I’d say) who’s been living for years with a chronic illness that causes him constant pain, and isn’t properly recognised nor treatable. Tired of useless diagnostics and trips to the hospital, Leander has decided to give the finger to all this, and embarked on a life of drugs, sex, and mixing with more or less unsavoury characters who fuel his descent, and whose addiction he fuels in turn through constant games of sadistic/masochistic manipulation.

To be honest, I’m not sure where exactly this story sits on my spectrum. The first chapters felt rather disjointed and meandering (which in itself matched the narrator’s mental state, I’d say, since he’s pretty much doped on something or other almost all the time), and while there is a plot, it took some time to emerge and be recognisable as such. I guess it was somewhat lessened by the shock factor, and the many scenes of violence and rape (one may argue that Leander was somehow consenting, since at least some of them were the result of some of his manipulations, but that’s a very slippery slope here, so I prefer to call that rape). It felt like the characters as well as the underlying message had more potential than that, and perhaps weren’t given all the limelight and development they would’ve deserved, instead of being shadowed by the grit element.

On the other hand, said message—chronic illness, the way many of those ailments are still relatively unknown and not treated, not to mention considered with disdain by many people—was still a powerful one, carried by a poetic writing full of strange but curiously endearing metaphors. While I do not suffer from such an illness myself, I know a few people who do, and who keep struggling day after day not only to live with their symptoms, but also to make other people understand that, no, they’re not “faking it”, that it’s not merely a matter of “think positive, go out more and make more efforts”, and that because you can’t necessarily see their symptoms easily doesn’t mean they’re not there and causing constant pain.

As a result, in spite of Leander’s twisted games and of the way he treats most people, it was surprisingly easy to root for him nonetheless, because deep inside, he’s more broken than breaking, and all in all, most of his actions are the only way he’s found to bear his pain. In the end, it’s hard to know what is true and what is lies about him, whether’s he’s completely bound for a path of self-destruction or can still find a better life—his schemes sure don’t make the way easy for him.

I’m not giving the story more than 3 stars because I found it hard to really care about the characters: we get to be in Leander’s mind, but considering how much he also lies to himself, it’s difficult to really get to know him; and the rest of the cast is mostly seen as either prey or predator, as people he can use and harm or who can use and harm him. The few decent people he meets don’t necessarily last long in the movie of his life, and the ones who do have the potential of helping him destroy himself rather than bring him some healing.

Conclusion: An interesting theme, and if you want grit and rotten human beings, you’ll get that for sure, but I feel that the latter may have been just a little too much, and didn’t give the characters enough room to breathe.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-11-08 20:24
The Rules of Magic by Alice Hoffman
The Rules of Magic: A Novel - Alice Hoffman

Find your magic.

For the Owens family, love is a curse that began in 1620, when Maria Owens was charged with witchery for loving the wrong man. Hundreds of years later, in New York City at the cusp of the sixties, when the whole world is about to change, Susanna Owens knows that her three children are dangerously unique. Difficult Franny, with skin as pale as milk and blood red hair, shy and beautiful Jet, who can read other people’s thoughts, and charismatic Vincent, who began looking for trouble on the day he could walk. From the start Susanna sets down rules for her children: No walking in the moonlight, no red shoes, no wearing black, no cats, no crows, no candles, no books about magic. And most importantly, never, ever, fall in love. But when her children visit their Aunt Isabelle, in the small Massachusetts town where the Owens family has been blamed for everything that has ever gone wrong, they uncover family secrets and begin to understand the truth of who they are. Back in New York City each begins a risky journey as they try to escape the family curse. The Owens children cannot escape love even if they try, just as they cannot escape the pains of the human heart. The two beautiful sisters will grow up to be the revered, and sometimes feared, aunts in Practical Magic, while Vincent, their beloved brother, will leave an unexpected legacy. Thrilling and exquisite, real and fantastical, The Rules of Magic is a story about the power of love reminding us that the only remedy for being human is to be true to yourself.

Amazon.com

 

 

 

 

A prequel novel, The Rules of Magic explores the early years of Francis (redheaded "Franny") and Bridget (nicknamed "Jet" for her long black hair) Owens, eccentric aunts to Sally and Gillian whom we first met in Practical Magic. Here we read of Franny and Jet's experiences growing up in the 1950s - 60s. Along with their brother Vincent -- the youngest of the family -- the sisters are raised in New York by their mother, Susanna Owens (who tries her hardest to closet her magic roots) and psychiatrist father, Dr. Burke-Owens. You read that right, he took his wife's name! 

 

Having suffered a tragic loss thanks to the Owens curse, Susanna, the second time around, chooses a relationship of comfort and stability rather than love. She does her best to keep her children sheltered from their magical heritage, setting up a laundry list of rules and restrictions regarding their powers, but it's of no use. Curiosity gets the best of them, particularly in the case of Jet and Vincent once their powers begin to surface: Jet learns she can read minds while Vincent begins to get prophetic, though sometimes confusing or murky flashes of the future. Franny is gifted as well, but being the most logical, scientifically minded of the siblings, she is also the most hesitant to acknowledge the truth, instead focusing on trying to figure out how to rationally explain the magic out of her reality.

 

 

Image result for practical magic aunts

 

The year Franny turns seventeen, the siblings are invited for a summer stay at the Owens ancestral home in Massachusetts with Susanna's aunt Isabelle. This summer proves to be a monumental one for the Owens kids, as they learn lessons about life that will affect, maybe even alter, their personalities and life paths forever after. Themes / messages Hoffman weaves into these lessons include: embracing who you are at your core, pushing through fear and going for a chance at real love (regardless of consequences), finding yourself strongly nostalgic for home after a time of wanting so badly to leave it, dauntlessly pursuing what you truly want in life, and learning not to waste the finite time of your lifespan being petty or fearful. Instead, live in a space of love, joy and kindness.

 

 

Related image

 

 

 

It is also during this important summer that the Owens siblings meet April. Not only do they later learn that she is a distant cousin, but it is during this summer that April conceives a child. That child is Regina Owens, the mother of Sally and Gillian, the stars of Practical Magic. If you remember from Practical Magic, it was also mentioned that in the story of Maria Owens, the originator of the curse, the father of her child was left unknown. Hoffman names the father in The Rules of Magic, and I gotta say, I was surprised to read that she chose a real life historical figure! Thinking about it though, WHO she chooses DOES play in well to the whole witch theme threaded throughout the two books. 

 

"Maria Owens did what she did for a reason. She was young and she thought damning anyone who loved us would protect us. But what she had with that terrible man wasn't love. She didn't understand that when you truly love someone and they love you in return, you ruin your lives together. That is not a curse, it's what life is, my girl. We all come to ruin, we turn to dust, but whom we love is the thing that lasts."

 

 

Image result for practical magic aunts

 

 

Wow, did I like this installment of the Owens Ladies ever so much more than Practical Magic! Just all around, the plot is richer, the characters more entertaining and more developed, secrets or elements from the other book revealed, better explained, or just tied together in an impressive way.... Loved it all! Honestly maybe even one of my favorite reads of the year!

 

Anyone else get at least a tinge of Branwell Bronte vibes from Vincent? At least in the early portions of the story? I just couldn't shake that image ... what with Vincent's moodiness, mysterious outings all night, the heavy drinking. Even something about Vincent's early interest in the occult and the Magus book gave me that imagery of what I've read of Branwell (he always struck me as the most emo of the Bronte siblings lol).

 

The girl was carrying a backpack. A blue journal peeking out caught Franny's attention. It was one of the notebooks she {Franny} had left in the library. "Are you writing?" she asked. 

 

"Trying to," the girl said. 

 

"Don't try, do." She realized she sounded exactly like Aunt Isabelle when she was irritated. She hadn't meant to be a wet blanket and had no wish to discourage this clever little girl, so she changed her tone. "But trying is a start. What is your story?"

 

"My life."

 

"Ah."

 

"If you write it down, it doesn't hurt as much."

 

"Yes, I can imagine."

 

The girl scampered onto the rocks to join her friends. She waved and Franny waved back.

 

As she walked home, Franny thought that the girl at the lake had been perfectly right. It helped to write things down. It ordered your thoughts and if you were lucky revealed feelings you didn't know you had. That same afternoon Franny wrote a long letter to Haylin. She had never told anyone what her aunt had whispered with her last breath. But now she wrote it down, and when she did she realized it was what she believed, despite the curse.

 

Love more, her aunt had said. Not less.

 

If you, like me, struggled with Practical Magic, I urge you to give this one a go. Maybe the time gap is just what Hoffman needed to get this family's story just right, considering Practical Magic came out in the mid 90s, while The Rules of Magic was released just last year. 

 

 

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review 2018-11-05 20:16
XX
XX - Angela Chadwick

[I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.]

A provoking and interesting read, not so far removed (in fact, not far removed at all) from current political and scientific controversies when it comes to embryo research, LGBTQ+ rights, and rising intolerance.

Juliet and Rosie apply to a newly approved research program that will allow them to conceive a child “ovum to ovum”. The point: having THEIR child, of course, and not needing to rely on a stranger’s sperm. Huge uproar ensues throughout the UK and the rest of the world, led, it seems, not so much by fears for the children thus conceived (although some characters do voice concerns about potential genetic flaws), but by the fear of men being made redundant. Which didn’t surprise me at all, and was, I think, spot on: should such research be developed in our world, I bet that we’d face this very kind of arguments. (It’s like all that rage against abortions, really: so many anti-choicers are all about Saving The Embryos, but you don’t see them holding out helping hands to take care of the unwanted babies once they’re born. Anyway.)

Most of the opposition to the main characters and their unborn baby also comes from sources that don’t surprise me, including a politician who’s riding the wave of Family Values because that will garner votes. It doesn’t help that the incriminated research has been unveiled by a woman, because this adds fuel to the fire, in a “feminist agenda to get rid of men” way. So we can see that from the start, the whole research and its outcome is not going to get only friends.

I did enjoy the characters’ evolution, when faced with certain choices that forced them to question their own values. On top of the obvious scientific, political and social angle, the story also raises valid questions about conceiving vs. adopting, about what it means to want a child, and why one would love (or not) said child.

I had a little trouble to get into the story at first (also because, silly me, I grabbed too many books from the library at the same time, and had to read before they expired, so it’s not just the story’s fault). I think that was because of the somewhat dry narrative style and a repetitive feeling, with Jules (the narrator) doubting her motives, then trying to convince herself that it would pass, rinse and repeat. Things picked up after a while, though, and made this book in general a worthwhile read.

The other thing that I didn’t like here was, well, the negativity. On the one hand, as mentioned previously, it didn’t surprise me, and I would totally expect harsh reactions to such research in reality. On the other hand, it also felt like 99% of the world was against Becca, Scott, Jules, Rosie, and the other people involved in this. And it made me wonder, would there be -no- support at all for something like this? It was like every newspaper, every magazine, every website only had criticism to share, and there was no blogger out there encouraging these women, approving of the research. So, it was “realistic”, but I would’ve have appreciated seeing more support for Jules and Rosie, for lesbian couples trying to have a child, etc. Seeing a story where LGBTQ+ people get nice things, too, and not mostly negative ones. (In contrast, too, when some things went well, they did so all at once, without that many consequences, which felt strange, and lacking a proper middle ground.)

Conclusion: 3.5 stars. A slow beginning, with a pace that fortunately picked up, and a tackling of issues that was both very realistic but a little too pessimistic to my liking, too.

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