REVIEW: Valor on the Move by Keira Andrews

I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review.51BwE+hbQzL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_

TITLE: Valor on the Move

AUTHOR: Keira Andrews

GENRE: LGBT Contemporary, Romance

TAG LINE: “He’d give his life to protect the president’s son. But he never expected to risk his heart.”

 

RATING: 1 Stars

SUMMARY:  Growing up gay in the White House hasn’t been easy for Rafael Castillo. Codenamed “Valor” by the Secret Service, Rafa feels anything but brave as he hides in the closet and tries to stay below the radar in his last year of college. His father’s presidency is almost over, and he just needs to stick to his carefully crafted plan. Once his family’s out of the spotlight, he can be honest with his conservative parents about his sexuality and his dream of being a chef.

It’s definitely not part of Rafa’s plan to get a new Secret Service agent who’s a walking wet dream, but he’s made it this long keeping his desires to himself. Besides, it’s not like Shane Kendrick would even look at him twice if it wasn’t his job.

Shane’s worked his way up through the Secret Service ranks, and while protecting the president’s shy, boring son isn’t his dream White House assignment, it’s an easy enough task since no one pays Rafa much attention. He discovers there’s a vibrant young man beneath the timid public shell, and while he knows Rafa has a crush on him, he assures himself it’s harmless. Shane’s never had room for romance in his life, and he’d certainly never cross that line with a protectee. Keeping Rafa safe at any cost is Shane’s mission.

But as Rafa gets under his skin, will they both put their hearts on the line?

BUY LINKS: Amazon

 

REVIEW:

 

I’ve been meaning to write this review for awhile. I was putting it off because I know I’m one of the few that didn’t like this book, and well, I hate saying bad things about novels, especially when I have nothing good to say about it.

I did finish it—so hey, that’s something—but I skimmed a huge chunk of the book. The writing wasn’t terrible. Keira Andrews has a style that’s very simplistic, not really igniting much spark, but still painting a basic enough picture that you get an idea of the characters and the environment. I’ve never read anything else from her, so I don’t know if this is a-typical of her writing, but I will admit, it was on the lackluster-side of things.

Going into Valor on the Move, I had high hopes. I love me some age gap, some forbidden love, and some interracial love. This book seemed like a tri-fecta. This is one of those situations where, when you think it’s too good to be true, you’re right. I’m going to try to break this down as succinctly as possible.

My first biggest issue was the writing. There was nothing that drew me in. I wasn’t eager to read the next page. I could set the book down, not come back, and even skip paragraphs and feel like I hadn’t missed anything. This also says much about the plot. There really wasn’t much of a plot, other than Rafa being whiny/sad. I get his plight, I do, but it didn’t make for an interesting read. There was some side plot about Rafa wanting to cook and not being able to. I didn’t understand why his parents thought it was too feminine to cook, especially since there are a lot of famous male chefs, a large chunk of who are heterosexual (since that’s the only reason I could glean from them being anti-cooking). It was a weak attempt at adding conflict and just didn’t really hold.

These weak conflicts carried on throughout the book. Towards the end, when Rafa is kidnapped, none of it made sense. The motive was poor. While I’ll give nod to the fact that Keira Andrews did do a good job of foreshadowing, it still came off as a stretch, and the execution was really messy.

I think what frustrated me most was that she had an opportunity to really make the story exciting, and she decided to go the safer route. Instead of giving us an amazing action scene with Shane, we had to read about Rafa being in a box. Personally, I believe that if you can’t write fight scenes, don’t set yourself up for them. Because you’re only going to let your readers down.

The characters were all really flat. I didn’t like any of them. None. Rafa was alright, but he got on my nerves. And he acted so much younger than his 21 years. Shane wasn’t much better. He was the opposite and came off very old. And while I don’t mind huge age gaps, it is an issue when your characters aren’t acting their appointed ages.

I didn’t get Rafa’s parents. I didn’t get the other agents. They all came off as shadow people, just background characters to fill in the void between Rafa and Shane’s interactions. When Rafa and Shane were with other characters the story really took a dip in the boring direction.

This brings me to my third issue. There was no chemistry between Rafa and Shane. I’ve said it throughout, I like age gaps, but only when it’s consensual and when both characters are also emotionally mature. Since Rafa had the mentality of a sixteen year old, this just felt weird and awkward between them. They never fully developed into a relationship.

After Rafa gets kidnapped, when they’re stuck in the cavern, we get the “big moment” which was nothing more than some blow jobs and such. Honestly, I didn’t like it. It wasn’t hot. It wasn’t romantic. They’re stuck. Rafa is emotionally upset about being kidnapped. He isn’t in the right headspace. He was in no way in a state of mind to consent to anything. Shane also knew how much Rafa cared about him. Shane should have been the adult and said no, because neither needed to be giving out blow jobs or handies.

Plus, it’s dirty, they’re sweaty, and bloody, and they have limited air supply. They should be conserving energy and focused on getting out. And yes, they decide to sit and wait because rescue is coming, that doesn’t mean they should reek up the place with spunk. Because the scent of sex would have lingered, especially since it was closed off, and people would have noticed.

After that we get a time jump and Rafa finding Shane in California, being kind of stalkerish. I actually did stop there (so okay, I guess I didn’t finish). I just didn’t care if they finally had penetrative sex. I didn’t want them to be together. I didn’t like them. And their relationship was weird.

TL;DR: Did not like. Did not ship. Would not read.

Advertisements

GUEST BLOG: Jonah Bergans on Anonymity Online | BOOK GIVEAWAY

BT_Banner

In the Time Magazine feature “question everything,” (Sept 21st 2015, Pg 66), the question was posed “Should we let ourselves be anonymous online?”  The responders, Ellen Pao  (former CEO of Reddit) indicated “yes,” and Jonathan Taplan, (Director of USC’s Annenberg Innovation Lab)indicated “no.” Their arguments were both sound but as is all too common in news media today, neither was able to provide a satisfying answer. It was a sound byte of a question, a sound byte of a feature and what they were able to provide was little more than a sound byte of an answer—leaving us with the sense that there is no answer—as if all thought is merely opinion. I disagree. There is an answer, but it cannot be found with the question asked. It is too great a topic for a sound byte of a question. It is not a philosophic question—it is not one of life’s imponderables, but rather it is a question of social responsibility and a question with a direct and immediate bearing on liberty and freedom of speech, and the free exchange of ideas that makes any society great.

Pau, being an entrepreneur and having had personal experience with innovative technologies answered “yes,” in favor of anonymity, and citied the personal stories of growth and the benefit of the open communication that often times does result from anonymity. “More voices expressing more ideas with more openness is a wonderful ideal,” Pao says.  She’s right of course—it is. She goes on to indicate that there are dangers, down-sides and the potential for misuse and so on, and she’s right about that too. But it isn’t a matter of personal stories, it’s a social matter. It is matter that effects the whole society—many societies, all of them and then every one of us within that society.

Taplan, an academic, cites Plato: “If we were shielded from the consequences of our actions, how would that change the way we act?” He insists, that as a result of anonymity online, we now know the answer, and he goes on to make some very solid arguments, including the argument that undermines the sense of any potential benefit from anonymity—that oppressive regimes can and likely do trace even anonymous users.  It’s a strong argument—rather, it is a strong response to an argument, and yet it fails to recognize that an oppressive regime is not necessary to silence a voice. A community standard can silence a voice. A commonly held belief can silence a voice. A belief that blacks should not marry whites can silence a voice. A belief that gay men are pedophiles and perverts can silence a voice.

As authors we all share in a long standing professional tradition of anonymity. Many of us use pseudonyms.  Some do this based on the tradition itself, while others use pseudonyms to shelter family and friends from the consequences of publishing what might be construed as controversial in their own local communities. We know that an oppressive regime is not the only reason anonymity is important and even necessary. We have, for the most part, learned the importance of using anonymity to introduce ideas into the public discussion, and those of us who have succumbed to sensationalism have suffered the consequences of doing so. Can you name a single author who supported slavery? Nazism?  No, it is not the anonymity itself that presents a social danger, but what we do with it, that determines its value to ourselves and to our society. Authors have learned to act responsibly even though many of us publish anonymously, and now so must the rest of the people in our society.

“Should we let ourselves be anonymous online? “  It’s a weak question. It’s a question with a faulty premise.  Recently, Facebook has begun banning authors who operate under a pseudonym. These are not authors of hate, but rather targets of hate. It works like this: Authors of LGBT fiction are sought out by the hateful and reported to Facebook for using “a false name.” They are banned. There is no recourse, no appeals process. Their access to what is arguably a public media is simply denied. Their access to their fans, coworkers and editors and to the public itself is eliminated as easily as that. Imagine the delight on those hateful faces as they take down (in their opinion) yet another pervert. Facebook, like a monolith of corporate indifference, does not respond to the emails, the pleas for assistance or even some reasonable accommodation. A voice is silenced. Then another. Then another. Do we “let ourselves” be anonymous? Ask these authors.

No, a better question might be:”What are your rights and responsibilities in a free society?”  We might ask that same question of a monolithic corporation (like Facebook) too. For the same reasons that we must tolerate Klan marches, for the same reason Tenure exists, for the same reason freedom of the press and freedom of speech exists in our country, anonymity online must exist—it must be permitted to exist. It is not a new question or a new argument. We must tolerate the Klan so the NAACP can gather and march—so gay people and all people with a less than majority voice can gather and march. We must have Tenure so a teacher can teach—even those subjects which are unpopular in a local community. We must tolerate the hateful and endure the tiny voices of hate and shame who may also act anonymously, so that the greater louder and enduring voices can speak. Anonymity allows that to happen, not just under oppressive dictators, but right here in America, and right now in our local communities. Maybe the question should have been, “If we silence the hateful, will we silence everyone?”

I am Jonah Bergan.

AboutTheBook

Off-World-Full-Front-CoverTitle: Off World

Author: Jonah Bergan

Publisher: Booktrope Publishing

Cover Artist: Michelle Fairbanks

Length: 240 Pages

Release Date: August 22, 2015

Blurb: What really brought Taine to that backwater little world? Taine’s a hunter. He’s a red-skinned, black-eyed Lowman by nature, and a hunter by trade. Some hunters work in flesh, others in secrets, and some few work to set right what’s been set wrong. It’s a big galaxy and there’s always plenty of work for a hunter like Taine, so you got to wonder, what with all that at his feet, what really brought Taine to that backwater little world?

Off-World is a M/M science fiction action/adventure set in F/M dominated space. The story takes place in an arm of the galaxy where slavery (sexual and otherwise) is legal and commonplace. Strictly speaking, it is not a BDSM novel in that consent is not a matter of concern for the characters, but those with an interest in BDSM should enjoy the story. Due to explicit content, Off-World is not recommended to readers under eighteen years of age.

CommonExcerpt

“You his father?” Taine asked.

“Uncle,” the man said, glancing toward his wife. She looked away, a terse expression on her face. He looked back at Taine, bringing his chin up defiantly. “By marriage,” he said. “I did right by the boy.”

Taine shrugged. It made no difference—these backwater worlds, with their backwater cultures, none of that mattered to him. It was bad enough he had to ride in from the starport on horseback. Bad enough he had to dress the humble part just to avoid offending these rubes. Still, if he’d come blasting into town in his Hover, he’d have found half the doors shut to him, and the other half damned slow to open. Taine was a hunter, a Lowman—a red-skinned and black-eyed alien, and his kind wasn’t welcome everywhere, no matter how much they paid for what they bought. No point in making things worse by flaunting wealth in a place of such poverty.

Taine turned his attention back to the human he was here to inspect. He took a quick inventory of the boy. Pretty face, decent frame, all good starts, but the boy was un-groomed, pale and too lean for his age. Malnourished, Taine thought. Most likely in body and mind both. That might be correctable, might not. Sometimes that kind of damage can’t be undone no matter how much you pay to fix it. Still, the boy looked appealing enough despite the slight frame—long legs, long arms and a pretty face with a halo of wild blond hair like the rays of some golden sun. He’s young, but not under, Taine thought. Taine checked the boy’s teeth, running his finger under the boy’s lips and along the gums. He tugged a tooth or two—still solid.

“How old?” Taine asked.

“Nineteen now,” the boy’s uncle said. “Twenty soon. Been here more’n half that time.”

“Lazy?”

“Hard worker,” the man snapped. “Wouldn’t have lasted otherwise.”

“So why are you selling?”

“Hard times,” the uncle said, “and harder coming.” This brought a scowl from the missus, but she didn’t say a word. She’d had enough of the gambling, and the drinking, and she’d said so often enough that the words seemed to have lost all meaning. If her husband had saved his earnings, instead of squandering them, none of this would have been necessary. When he said, “It’s him or me,” she didn’t argue. After all, it wasn’t an ultimatum, it was simply true. She consoled herself by thinking about the money. It would help them get off-world before the aftermath of the war came upon them like some kind of tidal wave, and swept both of them away from her. Choose one or lose both, bane or burden. It had been an easy choice, at least until now.

Taine slipped his middle finger deep into the boy’s mouth. The boy closed his eyes, and his face blushed red, but he yielded, relaxing his jaw and taking the finger as though it were a cock. Taine moved his finger in and out, fucking the boy’s face, watching him blush and tear up. Taine had good reason for doing it, but he earned a sharp look from the missus anyhow. She nudged her husband and glared at him. He scowled, and turned back toward Taine.

“You buying or not?” he snapped.

“Maybe,” Taine said. “Hard to tell with him all covered up.”

The uncle grunted and stepped forward. He tugged at the waist of the home weave the boy wore. The coarse trousers loosened and then slid down the boy’s long legs. A gentle tug and the shirt came loose in front. The uncle slipped it over the boy’s shoulders and let it fall the floor.

“There,” he said. “No need to make a show of it. Buy, or get out.”

Taine felt the boy’s tongue start moving against his finger. It surprised him, and he drew his finger back, but the boy sucked at it, trying to keep it in him. Taine obliged the boy, sliding it in and out a few more times and smiling as he felt the boy’s tongue bobbing and dancing beneath his finger. The boy wouldn’t speak, wouldn’t make eye contact either. His uncle had taught him that well enough, but the boy doing what he was doing with his tongue spoke volumes. That’s him just about pleading, Taine thought. What must life in this little hell be like, for the boy to yearn for a sale off into the unknown?

Taine leaned forward, drawing in just a taste of the boy from the air around him. He sampled the first scents of the boy’s essence. Sweet, Taine thought. Like honey must taste. It was a thick and golden flavor, and it made Taine smile. That’s all he needed to know to buy any boy—that there was something either savory or sweet in them that was still strong enough to reach the surface. The rest would be up to the trainers—the professionals back at the Temple on Taine’s home-world. But the boy’s dancing tongue sparked Taine’s curiosity, and he wanted to know more.

He reached up with his free hand, taking hold of the boy at the back of the head and began slowly moving his finger in and out. He knew he was humiliating the boy before his family, but Taine closed his eyes, and drove his awareness deeper. There were other ways to open a human. Most of those were forceful, and some were downright violent. The uncle and aunt might not understand, but for a Lowman, this was an act of kindness. It was the gentlest way to break through to the only thing a Lowman truly valued.

Taine pressed his awareness into the boy, moving through the ebb and flow of the boy’s many complex flavors. He was careful not to feed, not to take any of it in. As was so with most humans, the boy was a stormy wash of conflict within. Taine found urges and desires and regrets, a mind in constant turmoil, and rife with fear—predominantly fear. Some of that fear had been earned, and some had been instilled and it lurked in the boy, like shadows in some dark wood. Taine pressed forward beyond all that and went deeper, reaching toward the source of the boy. Taine found his way blocked. It was expected, a barrier—an obstacle to turn him back. It had a scent and a flavor—something akin to the bitterness of burned toast, but its aspect was like a sharp blade bearing a dark stain, it stabbed at him, threatening him and warning him to turn back. Taine instinctively flinched away from it, slipping around and behind it, evading it, and driving himself closer to the wellspring. He found and followed the predominant scents—that of seaweed, dark and rich, and the flavor of saltwater, and he found himself standing on hot sand, feeling the sensations of an empty beach, and the heat of a brilliant and golden sun. It was a rich and delicate feeling, and a smell, and a taste—the smell and taste of sunshine. Yes, Taine thought. That is who he is. Sunshine.

Taine slowly opened his eyes and withdrew his finger. He wondered then, and not for the first time, why humans waste their children so, as though darkening them would brighten the world. Didn’t they know the world would be less hard with fewer hard people in it? It’s not an easy thing to change, it takes some real effort, but didn’t they know it could be changed? Didn’t they know those dark urges could be controlled and even used?

The boy had given him nothing but the idea of burnt toast between him and the seashore. Not much to glean from that, Taine thought. To learn more he’d have to feed, and that wasn’t something he’d be doing, not with an uncultivated and feral human. Still, he was curious.

“You about done?” asked the uncle. The aunt had turned away, and the uncle was glowering.

“Not by a long measure,” Taine said.

The uncle shook his head and waved Taine on. “Just get it over with,” he said.

Taine ran his hands across the boy’s chest and down his flat stomach. The boy’s breathing quickened as Taine fondled his cock, teasing it to life. It responded by thickening and rising, though maybe not as fast as it should. The boy never raised his head, never moved a muscle, he just stood there like Taine had every right to touch and use his body. Taine gave the balls a firm squeeze, and the boy tensed, rising on his toes a little, but he never once raised his arms, never once tried to defend himself. Good submissive spirit, Taine thought, that’ll be important if we’re gonna heal him up.

Taine took the boy by the shoulders and turned him around. He meant to plunge his finger into the boy, just to check for damages, and maybe make the boy’s cock grow up full-sized, but the two cheeks were crossed with welts, some fresh and still white where the switch had marked him recently. Maybe not born to it after all, Taine thought. Maybe all that submission was just beaten into him. No way they nurtured it, no way they cultivated it, not the way the Lowmen would have with such a delicate specimen as this one.

Taine considered the welts across the boy’s ass. There were older ones across his back, a few sores, in-growns and pimples across his shoulders; nothing that couldn’t be tended to, and probably should have been before they offered him. These people had no idea what they were doing, but that wasn’t a surprise either, was it?

Taine would’ve slipped his finger in right then, but by the scent of things they hadn’t cleaned him, so he traced his fingers along the welts on the boy’s ass instead, and then looked up at the uncle.

“Trouble maker?” Taine asked.

“No,” he said. “That’s just from his dailies.”

Taine nodded. “So, what’s your price?”

“Sixty,” the uncle said.

“Waste of time,” Taine said. He snorted and turned for the door.

“Sixty’s fair,” the uncle said, raising his chin. “More’-n-fair.”

“Yeah,” Taine said, “Not for that.”

“Now, don’t be disrespectful,” he said. “The boy’s family after all.”

Taine turned and looked the man squarely in the eyes.

“I’m interested, so you name me a real price and I’ll consider it,” Taine snapped, “but sixty is just plain fantasy.”

The man stepped close. That was a brave act, or maybe just a desperate one. Not many people dared approach a Lowman hunter, not with their alien looks and their reputation for violence. The solid black eyes and all that red flesh intimidated humans—something about their ancient myths. Still, Taine had gone to a great deal of trouble to make himself approachable to these backwaters, and now he wondered if maybe he’d done that a little too well.

“Boy sucks cock good as any,” the uncle said, keeping his voice low, as if keeping it from his wife.”He’s a good earner, and that backside’s got years of action left to it. I wouldn’t be selling if I didn’t need to, and I know you got your own expenses, so you tell me what’s fair.”

“Ten,” Taine said.

The man grimaced.

“Ten and you’re lucky to get it,” Taine said. “He’s nineteen, nearly twenty, easily a year past prime, and by my guess, he’s spent that time squaring up plenty of your debts. You’ve done nothing to develop him. By the time I’m done fixing what you’ve botched, I’ll be lucky to clear a slender profit. So that’s my offer, ten, or I’ll head over to Jenkins Creek where I hear there are a set of twins coming up prime.”

“I can’t take ten,” the man said, shaking his head. “I gotta have fifteen, and that’s a loss for me, Mister. I had him ten years under my roof. Fifteen don’t half cover it, but I’m willin’ to concede some, if you are. So there we are, it’s fifteen, or I’ll wish you a safe trip over to Jenkins Creek.”

Taine reached for the door handle, but hesitated. He thought about Shilandra, and what he had done to her. The memory returned, unbidden and heavy, like betrayal. He still had some of the boy’s scent with him, so he turned and looked back. The boy was standing there just about trembling—his head down, and face red, and his cock still jutting up. Would she even accept this one? He thought.

The boy was as lean a colt as Taine had ever seen, but the flavor of him showed promise. It’d take some work, bringing this one up, but there was something alluring about him—a hint of what might be found in him by skilled hands. He’d already found the boy’s name: Sunshine, and that was no small thing. Making him live up to that name, that’d be some hard work, and some expensive work as well, but if he did, if the boy did live up to that name, he’d be valuable well beyond his family’s reckoning of wealth, and well worth Taine’s time and investment. She’d recognize that at least, Taine thought.She’d see the value in him, wouldn’t she?

“I know I’m going to regret this,” Taine muttered. “You got his papers drawn up?”

“All but the price and date,” the man said smiling.

BuyLinks

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Barnes & Noble

AboutTheAuthor

Jonah Bergan is a freelance writer living in New England. His publishing credits include a ten part serial, multiple short stories, and a collection of anecdotal humor. He has also published MMORPG game reviews and content, hypnosis scripts, online user manuals, and advertising texts. Please visit jonahbergan.com to learn more about him.

|| Website & Blog || Facebook || Twitter || Google+ ||

RafflecopterGiveaway

Winner’s Prize: A Paperback copy of “Off-World”.

Runner-up’s Prize: An e-copy of “Off-World”.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TourSchedule

August 31:

Man2ManTastic

Multitasking Mommas Book Reviews

September 1:

World of Diversity Fiction

September 2:

Wicked Faeries Tales & Reviews

September 3:

Gay.Guy.Reading And Friends

September 4:

The Purple Rose Tea House

September 7:

Prism Book Alliance

September 8:

Cia’s Stories

September 9:

Drops of Ink

September 10:

Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

September 11:

Queer Sci-Fi

September 14:

MM Good Book Reviews

September 15:

Nautical Star Books

September 16:

Amanda C. Stone

September 17:

Love Bytes Reviews

September 18:

Sue Brown

September 21:

The Fuzzy, Fluffy World of Chris T. Kat

September 22:

Evelyn Shepherd

September 23:

Because Two Men Are Better Than One

Eyes on Books

September 24:

Divine Magazine

September 25:

Bayou Book Junkie

Inked Rainbow Reads

//widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

REVIEW: Put A Ring on It by K.A. Mitchell

I received this book for free in exchange for a fair and honest review. My receiving this book in no way affects my opinion.

PutARingOnItLGTITLE: Put A Ring on It

AUTHOR: K.A. Mitchell

GENRE: Contemporary Romance

TAG LINE: “Now everyone wants in on the wedding, except the grooms…”

 

RATING: 1 Stars

SUMMARY:  Kieran Delaney-Schwartz—adoptee, underachiever, and self-professed slacker IT guy—lives his under-the-radar life by the motto: Don’t try, don’t fail. His adopted siblings are all overachievers thanks to his driven, liberal parents, but Kieran has elected to avoid disappointing anyone by not getting their hopes up. He’s coasting through his early twenties when he’s hit head-on by Theo. The successful decade-older Broadway producer sweeps him off his feet for a whirlwind thirteen months that are pretty sweet until it all comes screeching to a halt on Valentine’s Day, with an unexpected proposal via a NYC Times Square Flash mob.
BUY LINKS: Dreamspinner | Amazon

 

REVIEW:

 

I’m going to tell you right now that this book got shelved on the DNFR (Did Not Finish Reading) shelf. I grew so frustrated and angry with this book that I finally threw it down (figuratively) and gave up. I did skip to the end to see what happened and wasn’t happy with the resolve, so I stand by my decision with not finishing the book.

I’ve read K.A. Mitchell’s work before and enjoyed it, so I’m a fan of her work. But this book I just could not enjoy. I made it about 80 pages in (a little under halfway?) before I threw in the towel. Now I don’t want to say that my decision to quit reading was because of the quality of the writing.  K.A. Mitchell is a talented author, and as I stated before, I’ve enjoyed previous stories by her, but this particular one just chaffed me the wrong way. On a technical level the story was great. It wasn’t the quality of the writing, but the characterization and the actual plot of the story I didn’t enjoy.

This story had a lot going for it: pre-marital drama, which is always fun, and a nice little age gap between the two characters, a personal kink for me. I was completely psyched to read this. But things got really confusing from the get-go. The first thing we’re introduced to is a scene years before the actual story about Theo interacting with a group of college friends (characters who will appear throughout the series). This threw me off, because it felt really out of place. I understand the author was trying to set us up for the series, and while Theo’s friends play a crucial role to the plot, it felt out of place. It was meant to build Theo’s friendship with his college buddies, but all it did was feel like an unnecessary prologue. The information we gleaned from the first chapter could have easily been integrated into the story.

The second chapter we get to meet Kiernan and see him interact with Theo. This gets into the heart of the story. I immediately didn’t feel any chemistry between them. Kiernan didn’t seem as interested in his relationship with Theo as Theo was. It was obvious Theo adored Kiernan, but Kiernan felt aloof towards his emotions with Theo. This is an ongoing problem throughout the story. Kiernan’s lack of feelings towards Theo, despite the author’s attempt to show that Kiernan does indeed love Theo, made it hard to really root for them. I honestly wanted Theo to kick Kiernan to the curb and go find someone else.

Now I want it to be noted that I don’t agree with how Theo proposed to Kiernan (spoilers ahead). It was stupid of him to make a public display of a very intimate proposal towards someone who has social anxiety, so shame on Theo for that. But Kiernan also failed to explain his feelings properly and only made a bad situation worse.

There was way too much drama in the story. I was frustrated from the beginning. It was like the author took several ideas and then threw them all together, unable to decide which route to go. Where I left off as where Kiernan was agreeing to have one of Theo’s meddling friends help him break off his relationship. It was a childish choice and neither party seemed to have Theo’s best intentions in mind.

Books aren’t meant to stress you out and this book did just that. Because I couldn’t finish it, had no investment in the characters, and felt no chemistry between the main couple, I’m giving this book 1 star.

CHARACTER INTERVIEW with Alexis Duran | $10 GC GIVEAWAY!

I had the wonderful pleasure of speaking with Alexis Duran, author of Touch of Salarand was given the opportunity to speak with the protagonist of her latest story Betwixt and Between, Ian. Check out my interview and look below for information on how to win a Loose Id GC!


E: Hi Ian! Thanks for speaking with me today. You’re a reporter, right? How did you get into journalism? Were you always drawn to it, or was there something specific that brought you to this career?

I: Hi Evelyn, thanks for inviting me.  Yes, I’m a reporter for the Cosmic Eye, a rather trashy tabloid that covers paranormal activity in Seattle, but hey, they print the kind of stories I want to write so I can’t complain.  I got into journalism because ever since I was a kid I’ve been investigating and prying into strange occurrences no one could explain to my satisfaction, like the time the San Juan Islands Ferry disappeared on Puget Sound and turned up in the middle of Lake Washington. Bet you never read about that in The Seattle Times.

E: You’re really interested in the supernatural and magical. What exactly pulls you towards this strange and unique world? How long have you been interested in the occult or is this a new obsession?

I: I had a weird childhood.  My mom was off the grid and we moved around a lot, chasing after any rumor of magic that caught her fancy.  After she died mysteriously at sea chasing mermaids, I picked up the cause and yeah, I guess I became obsessed with proving she was right.  I always felt there was something about the magical realms that spoke to my soul.

E: So our fans want to know, what do you really think about Ezekiel?

I: Zeke?  Oh, he’s…um…well, I try not to think about him too much because when I do I get all flustered and confused and, uh, distracted.  Man, it’s hot in here. What was the question?

E: A lot of crazy things are going on right now, how do you cope with all of it? It has to be a struggle to balance your new life with your old. Any tips for our readers, in case they ever find themselves in a similar circumstance? You never know when another dark elf will come out!

I: Like the dormouse said, “Keep your head”.  Which is a lot easier said than done, especially when the dark elf is super hot and the sex is mind blowing and…wait. Scratch that last bit. I DO NOT recommend running after elves, no matter how cute they are. I suggest keeping your magical protections refreshed at all times and if you get ever a whiff of a hex brewing, run like hell.  You asked me how I cope and let me tell you, it’s a challenge.  People don’t adapt to magic and elves very well.  They get real squirrelly and make your life difficult, so it’s best to keep it all under wraps if you can, which goes against my reporter’s instincts.  It’s a fine line, deciding what to report and what to ignore.

E: The evil queen is after you, which has to be scary. What tips do you have for handling vicious elf queens?

I: Scary—that’s an understatement.  The fairy grapevine is saying the queen put a hit out on me and Zeke!  Luckily I’ve learned a lot since our first encounter.  It’s important to keep your connection to the realm of light strong, so don’t forget to perform your full moon rituals religiously and always keep a crystal or two on your person.  Never except an apple from a stranger.  Network with other magicals.  It’s good to have friends at your back.

E: After everything is said and done, what do you plan to do with your life? It’ll be hard to go back to the mortal realm after seeing something so fantastical. Are there any big plans for you and Ezekiel?

I: Actually, after all I went through in the dark realm, having good old ordinary ground under my feet is pretty comforting.  Living with an elf, especially a powerful one like Ezekiel, can really screw up your equilibrium.  While I recuperate and brush up on all this elf business, Zeke is back in the dark realm. Like Persephone, he has to go back to charge his dark energy.  Hopefully the dark queen won’t make a move before he returns.  When he does, we’re going to start searching for other Liosa (light elves).  I know they’re rare, but I can’t believe I’m the last one.


Excerpt

Ian’s first impression of the musician in the stairwell was that, yes indeed, he’d stumbled across a magical creature. Shadowed lines resolved into a dark-haired figure in a long, heavy coat and high leather boots. The outfit looked like something a down-and-out musketeer might wear, the coat being old-fashioned, fastened with two rows of brass buttons, and well-worn. His shoulder-length black hair hid most of his face. He was tall, and he posed in a jaunty fashion with one leg up, boot resting on a concrete block. His violin case sat open before him, and gleaming coins speckled the black velvet lining, though no one stopped in the few moments Ian stood watching.

The man radiated magical energy but otherwise looked perfectly normal except for the outfit, which could be considered normal among the odd musical and dramatic types that wandered the market. For a while he made no indication of being aware of Ian, but then with a flick of his head he tossed the hair out of his face and quickly moved his gaze from the violin to Ian. That was when Ian knew for sure the man was some sort of magician.

His eyes were smoky blue or stormy gray or some combination of dusty sapphire and silver. Whatever they were, they weren’t human. And he was ridiculously handsome like he should be fronting a rock band, not busking for quarters in a dark stairwell. This made Ian wonder if it was lust rather than magic drawing him in. Could just be an ordinary guy. He doubted it. The music was penetrating Ian’s soul, rooting him to the spot. He’d fallen for glamour casting 101.


BUY IT HERE

Loose ID: http://www.loose-id.com/edge-of-night-1-betwixt-and-between.html

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Betwixt-Between-Edge-Night-Book-ebook/dp/B010O6IP8S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1435725258&sr=1-1

All Romance: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-betwixtandbetween-1842131-143.html


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Alexis Duran was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. At the University of Oregon, her fascination with people and relationships led her to major in Sociology, but her main love has always been creative writing.  She’s worked in museums, fashion, finance and film production. Her favorite job so far was inventorying the collection of a haunted Victorian Mansion.  She’s had several short stories published in the mystery, horror and literary genres and is the author of the Masters and Mages erotic fantasy series.  Her fiction has won several awards including the Rupert Hughes Award from the Maui Writers Conference. She lives with one dog and four and half cats.  She’s currently working on the next Masters and Mages novel and several other erotic novellas.


GIVEAWAY

Alexis is giving away a $10 GC for Loose Id to one lucky reader. Just click on the rafflecopter to enter!

COVER REVEAL | KNAVE OF HEARTS by TARA LAIN

Knave of Broken Hearts 
(Love in Laguna Series, Bk #2)
by Tara Lain
 
Blurb:
Jim Carney has a full time job—running from himself. Since he walked out on his wealthy family at sixteen because he’d wrecked his best friend’s life over some yaoi graphic novels, Jim has lived a macho, blue-collar existence of too much booze and too little responsibility. Then Billy Ballew, the man Jim most admires, gives Jim a chance to come through as his construction supervisor. For once, Jim is determined to make someone proud. Then Jim goes in for a physical for his new job and his yaoi dream comes to life in the form of cardiologist Ken Tanaka. Jim discovers he has two heart problems—a wonky mitral valve and a serious attraction to his doctor. But Ken is a major player, and Jim might be just a notch on the doc’s stethoscope. To Ken, Jim is unforgettable—but the living embodiment of his traditional family’s worst nightmares.
How come the minute Jim decides to be responsible, he finds himself taking care of his kid brother, getting a proposal from a wealthy woman, making a deal with the devil, and winding up in the hospital—when all he really wants is the Knave of Broken Hearts?
Release Date: 
August 3, 2015
Pre-order available at 
Paperback from Dreamspinner 
Excerpt
The line for the
bars had shortened as people gathered to dance with the grooms, so Jim made it
to the bartender pretty quick. He popped a couple of bucks into the tip jar and
carried one soda bottle and two beers toward the table. Somebody cat-called,
and he glanced up in time to see Shaz spin and dip some blond guy. He laughed
along with most of the spectators.
Jim took one more
step. His foot caught on the edge of the wood dance floor, the slippery shoe
slid, and—whoa! He stumbled forward,
his arms flailing. Beer sloshed in a big gold arc. Shit, the tux! He raised the bottles high in front of him to keep
the beer away, slid into a half circle, and timbered toward the floor
face-first. “Damn!”
Strong hands
grabbed him from behind and he twirled into a tight, warm embrace, his feet
tangling but his body upright. “Got you.”
“What? Jesus!” He
tried to twist his feet back and lurched again, but the hands held. Finally Jim
planted himself steadily and looked up into eyes so shiny black they
practically reflected his face. Wide and almond-shaped. Yaoi man. Hellfire. About 100 percent more
beautiful up close than from a distance. Skin like beige marble, hair like
midnight. Eyes straight from his fantasy.
The guy smiled.
“How fortuitous. I was just coming to ask you to dance.”
“What?”
Dimples popped
out in places where lean hollows had been. “I’d love to dance with you.” Shit
if he didn’t just start dancing, holding Jim’s hands, which in turn held the
bottles. Dance or fall? That was his position, so he moved his feet. Jesus. He couldn’t resist without
spilling the beer down the guy’s expensively dressed back, but every movement
rubbed him in places that really needed rubbing and were getting a very
embarrassing reaction.
Wake up. “Uh, sorry. I’m, uh, I mean, I
don’t normally dance with guys.”
Gorgeous smiled
again, and it made Jim want to smile back. “You’re doing fine.”
Sweet Jesus, the
guy smelled like something spicy. Grapefruit and cinnamon. Real subtle but
sneaky. It kind of tiptoed in Jim’s nose and attacked—lower. “What?”
“The dancing.
You’re doing fine.” He spun, holding Jim in his arms gracefully, and for a
weird second Jim felt almost graceful too. That didn’t happen often. Between
the smell and feel, Jim’s head spun and his heart hammered. His eyes closed on
their own. He was floating like some gently moving leaf. Could move this way
forever.
The silky voice
whispered, “Want to deliver the beer to your friends and be hands free?”
Friends. He dragged his eyes from the
man and looked toward the table. Charlie and Raoul stared, full-on, no smiles,
amazement written all over their faces. Behind them in line, the women stared
too, but they were laughing. Except for Peggy. She looked half pissed. Hell, it
was okay for her to dance with gay guys, but not him? What the hell am I thinking? He stopped moving and tried to take a
step back out of this person’s arms. Every inch away felt cold.
Mr. Beautiful
cocked his head and dimpled again. “Oh dear, he’s come to his senses. Why do
all the gorgeous ones have to be straight?”
Gorgeous? “Man, you’ve got some
seriously bad taste.”
His face sobered
just a little. “Quite the contrary. I’m known for my exceptional discernment.”
What the hell
could he say to that? “Thanks for catching me.”
“Any time, dear.
Any time.” Yaoi man turned and walked like some jungle cat back onto the dance
floor, grabbing a handsome guy from the line as he went. By the time Jim’s
heart started beating again, the guy was dancing and laughing with someone
else.
Charlie and Raoul
both rushed up. Charlie waved a hand toward the beautiful one. “What was that
all about?”
Jim frowned. “The
guy caught me when I nearly fell flat on my face.” He shoved the beer bottles
at Charlie. “Here, take these.”
Raoul grabbed one
of the beers. “Looked more like a tango to me, man.”
“Cut me a break.
The guy was just joking around.”
Peggy’s voice
came from behind him. “Oh, I don’t know. That dude is prettier than me.”
Jim turned and
slipped his arm around her. Don’t force
me to agree
.
Charlie stared
out at the dance floor, where pretty-face rested his head against a handsome
blond’s shoulder. “Looks like you don’t have to worry, Peg. That dude’s got a
guy for every night.”
True, and Jim
fucking wished he didn’t feel jealous.
About the Author
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her best­selling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.
She lives with her soul­mate husband and her soul­mate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
You can find Tara at
               
Presented By

GUEST POST: Keelan Ellis | GIFTBASKET GIVEAWAY

BT_Banner

 As a writer, we all know there’s no shortage of things to distract us from our work. It’s important to weed out any and all that we can.

Some distractions can’t be avoided. If you have children, they have needs that are your job to address. If you have pets, they need walking and feeding and cleaning up after. Also, if they’re a cat, they probably like to walk all over your keyboard (why do they all do that?). Your home needs cleaning, groceries need buying, your body needs exercise, friends want to chat, romantic partners want your attention–you get the picture. We live real lives, and real lives contain obligations. Not only are we required to do these things, they are important to our well-being as people. They’re non-negotiable (except maybe for that house cleaning thing).

When I talk about weeding out, I’m talking about the things we use to distract ourselves when we’re blocked, or when we’re facing writing a difficult scene, or when writing just feels like a chore. We all know it happens. My go to at these times are either podcasts or mindless games on my phone. Or preferably, a podcast while I’m playing the stupid games. I started having a real problem with these games a while back. I’m pretty sure they release a series of dopamine rushes, like gamblers and smokers and other addicts experience. Finally, I did what I had to do and deleted them all from my phone and my Facebook account. It hurt in an almost physical way, but I can’t tell you how much it’s improved my productivity. What do you use to distract yourself? What can you weed out?

About the Book

Title: I’ll Still Be There

Author: Keelan Ellis

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Cover Artist: Catt Ford

Length: 200 Pages/63,879 words

Release Date: 1st June, 2015

Blurb: The summer after high school, Eli Dunn and Jess Early explore an abandoned brothel in the rural Florida Panhandle. They’ve always kept their mutual attraction unspoken, but in an upstairs room at the end of the hall, everything changes. Suddenly, all the longing Eli and Jess have tried so hard to conceal bursts free, and passion like they’ve never experienced comes to light, along with the ghosts of Clay Bailey and Silas Denton, murdered owners of the brothel. And Clay and Silas have no problem possessing Eli and Jess in order to express their love for each other, without thought for the living.

Deeply disturbed by the experience, Eli and Jess part and try to get on with life as best they can. But after several years, Eli returns to Florida, only to find that Jess has made some questionable choices. These eventually lead him back to the abandoned house and a confrontation with Eli. Old scores are settled and Eli and Jess reunite. But Clay and Silas’s ghosts aren’t finished yet, for they’ve always believed in the power of open and honest love.

Excerpt

CoverArtOne of them, the dark one, looked up at him in alarm. “Elijah,” the man said, but that wasn’t his name, so he shook it off like it bothered him.

“It’s not right, it’s not decent, and you can’t have this.” His body was shaking, but he held the gun steady on the men in the bed. The part of him he couldn’t recognize anymore was clamoring at him, trying to remind him of something, but he couldn’t listen and didn’t want to. He was just too angry.

The other one—Clay, his name was—moved in front of the dark one and pushed him back. “Get the hell out of here, Brown,” he shouted. From behind him, the dark man…. Silas, cursed in surprise and pulled Clay back again, whispered something in his ear.

“It’s not fucking right!” he said again, and then with a pathetic sob, which made him sick, he said, “It’s not fair.”

“No,” Silas told him in a placating tone. “It’s not fair at all, but Clay and Silas didn’t make it like that. They didn’t do that to you.”

He couldn’t understand why he would say it like that, why he was talking about them like they were separate people, like they weren’t both sitting there in front of him, half-naked. “You shouldn’t get to do that!” he cried. “No one should. It’s sick. It’s terrible.”

“I’m sorry. I’m sorry that you didn’t have love in your life. Everyone should have that. Clay and Silas, they just got lucky, and you didn’t. That’s—that’s not their fault.” He was sitting very still, his hand resting on Clay’s arm so he wouldn’t push forward again.

He still did not lower his weapon, though he could feel his mind faltering. He was no longer clear on who he wanted to kill, who he was angry with. Then he heard it again. “Elijah.” It was spoken very softly by the dark-haired man. He frowned at the men on the bed, who looked different now. He shook his head again, less sure now.

“Listen to me Elijah. I know you can hear me. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. I’m sorry for ever bringing you here. It ruined everything, and I know it hurt you. It hurt me too, so much. I should have just told you that I… cared for you—that I wanted you. I know now that it would have been all right. I didn’t know it then. I was scared. I didn’t know what to do.”

Eli felt himself coming back, but the anger wasn’t dissipating. He was still staring at Jess, he could see it was Jess now, but the rage was still there. He did not lower the gun.

“I’m sorry for everything. I never, ever wanted to hurt you. Remember who you are, Elijah. Try to see me like you used to, when we were kids.”

Eli blinked a few times and then looked at his hand, holding the gun. He looked at Jess, and Shawn Kinney, on the tarp covering the filthy bed. His face went blank with horror, and he lowered the gun to his side, all of him shaking, unable to get a grip.

Jess got up and went to him, reaching down to gently pull the gun from his hand. He drew him in close, and Eli went, even though Shawn was right there, and even though things were still fucked up between them. He just needed it, and he knew Jess did too.

Shawn had gotten up and walked over to them. He put his hand on Jess’s arm. “Si?” he said, his face confused. He reached up and put a hand to Jess’s cheek.

Jess took hold of his hand and smiled softly at him. “No. I ain’t him anymore,” he said. “Go on, now.”

Shawn looked disappointed for a second, and then his eyes cleared. All at once he looked mortified, and quickly pulled his hand away from Jess’s face. Jess was still touching Eli on the waist and standing very close, and it occurred to him that they might want to cease any more physical contact until they were out of this room.

“Let’s go. We shouldn’t be here,” Jess said. He moved away from Eli and started pulling on his clothes, then glanced at Shawn, maybe to make sure he was with it enough to do the same. The boy looked nearly catatonic, but he began to mechanically get dressed after Jess handed him his jeans.

Buy Links

DSP Link: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6448

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Ill-Still-There-Keelan-Ellis-ebook/dp/B00Y7I78II

ARe Link: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-i039llstillbethere-1803717-145.html

About the Author

IMG_3609Keelan Ellis is a true crime enthusiast, a political junkie, and a comedy fan. Despite a compulsion to sometimes wallow in the depths of humanity’s corruption and sadness, she considers herself a romantic at heart. The stories she really connects with are about love that’s been twisted into hatred, and she believes that with honesty and forgiveness, love can overcome. Keelan loves good bourbon and classic country music, great television and well-prepared food, especially shared with like-minded people. She’s not a fan of parties and large groups of people, but there’s nothing she loves more than a long conversation with friends. Her favorite part of the writing process is the collaborative stage, hashing out plot and characters with smart and talented friends. It’s where she truly comes to understand the people she’s writing about, and often falls in love with them. With the support and encouragement–as well as some serious editing help–Keelan has found the writing niche she’s always searched for.

Author Links –

Website: http://keelanellis.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/keelanellisauthor

Twitter: @KeelanEllisAuth

Tumblr: http://keelan-ellis.tumblr.com/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/43093604-keelan-ellis

Rafflecopter Giveaway

Get a chance to win a gift basket containing –

  1. A PAPERBACK copy of I’ll Still Be There.
  2. The I’ll Still Be There Coffee MUG.
  3. The I’ll Still Be There BOOKMARK.
  4. A gourmet CHOCOLATE bar.
  5. Some TEA.

Here’s how it all looks like –

Giveaway_Goodie_Pack

Isn’t it great?! Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway NOW!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Schedule

June 1: Queer Sci-Fi || Tempeste O’Riley

June 2: Garrett Leigh || Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

June 3: The Purple Rose Tea House || JP Barnaby

June 4: Drops of Ink || LeAnn’s Book Reviews

June 5: Evelyn Shepherd || Diverse Reader

June 8: Because Two Men Are Better Than One || Cherry Mischievous

June 9: My Fiction Nook || MM Good Book Reviews

June 10: A Celebration of Books || Molly Lolly: Reader, Reviewer, Lover of Words

June 11: Divine Magazine

June 12: BFD Book Blog || Sid Love Writes

June 15: Cate Ashwood’s Blog

June 16: Hearts on Fire

June 17: Love Bytes Reviews || Bayou Book Junkie

June 18: Emotion in Motion || Bike Book Reviews

June 19: Nessa’s Book Reviews || Multitasking Mommas Book Reviews