Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Palisade by @rosalind_abel #REVIEW #AUDIOBOOK

The Palisade, Rosalind Abel
Lavender Shores #1
Confident businessman Joel Rhodes sees the small California town of Lavender Shores as nothing more than a business opportunity and a final stepping stone to the position he’s been working toward his entire life. It was supposed to be just one night in town to close the deal, and sleeping with one of the local men, no matter how gorgeous, meant nothing more than a few hours of fun.

Andrew Kelly is perfectly content with the life he has in his hometown. So much so that the only thing missing is someone to share it with. Going to bed with a tourist was never meant to be the answer to his dreams, just a beautiful distraction. He could get back to looking for Mr. Right the next day.
Both Andrew’s and Joel’s worlds are turned upside down when a few hours of pleasure get extended to a couple of days. Even that shouldn’t have been a big deal. You can’t fall in love in that amount of time. That isn’t how it works. However, if destinies collide, a few short days may be all it takes to find your soul mate. Even so, when secrets and motivations get tangled, fate may do nothing more than leave two hearts in pieces.




REVIEW:
Add Lavender Shores to the list of fictional towns, alongside Cattle Valley and Petal, GA, that I wish were real places I could live in.

I am hooked on this series not just because of the incredible chemistry between the main characters but because of the extended cast. Andrew's parents and their best friends were some of my favorite scenes to read, especially Andrew's dad. I want to know more about the town and it's people.

For as much as Andrew is content in his small hometown he is also a dreamer. His dream just happens to center around the town and his longing for his picket fence.

Joel needed someone to love him so badly this need jumped off the pages. His thought process made me want to shake him at times and made me mad on Andrews behalf. You can see the train wreck about to happen, but you can't do anything to stop it.

The attraction between the MC's is off the charts from the very beginning and things happen fast, but I didn't mind, because I was so into "them".

Kirt Graves does a wonderful job with the narration, bringing the characters to life and quickly pulling me into the story. His voice is smooth and he keeps the story going at a great pace.

I for one cannot wait to go back to Lavender Shores!


RATING: 4 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries for both the story and narration.  This book was given to us by the author.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Smitty's Sheriff by @CardenoC #REVIEW #AUDIOBOOK

Smitty's Sheriff, Cardeno C 
Hope #3
Todd is too flakey. Richard is too stubborn. Together, they're perfect. A May-December couple get a second chance at love.

Retired soldier Richard Davis wants a stable life in a quiet town with a forever man. Becoming the sheriff of Hope, Arizona, accomplishes two of his three goals, but instead of finding a serious partner, he falls for too-young-to-be-committed and too-flakey-to-be-serious Todd Smitty. Richard won’t find the right man if he’s obsessed with the wrong one, so he walks away from Todd.

It’s lust at first sight when Todd meets his sister’s army friend. He sets his sights on the worldly, strong, stable older man, and the more time he spends with Richard, the harder he falls. But after three years together, Richard cuts off all contact with no explanation.

When a mutual obligation requires Todd to move into Richard’s house, he’s thrilled at the opportunity to earn a second chance. Ignoring Todd from across town was hard enough. Can Richard resist temptation under his own roof?



Review:
Todd is young, youngest by several years in his family and young in actions. He just needs a little direction in his life and he thinks he finds that with much older Richard. And then Richard dumps he and won't speak to him about anything.

Richard is ready to settle down and he is incredibly attracted to Todd but he just can't handle sharing, so he has to let him go.

While this book is very well written I just did not connect to the MC's, especially Richard. I felt the way that he treated Todd was unfair, he never came right out and told him what he wanted, so I was annoyed with him through out the book.

The narration is very good at conveying Todd's confusion and desperation to understand what Richard wanted. I felt that Mr. Robinson brought the authors characters to life and captured their personalities perfectly.




RATING: 3 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries for the story and 4 for the narration. This book was given to us by the author.

Friday, January 12, 2018

To Touch You by @CardenoC #REVIEW #AUDIOBOOK

To Touch You, Cardeno C
Mates #4
“His name is Salvatore Rossi. He’s a vampire. And he’s my true mate.”

By not relying on anyone except himself, Salvatore Rossi escaped a dead-end existence and reached the height of corporate success. But just when he has everything he always wanted, fate throws Salvatore a challenge he can’t solve alone and a young wolf shifter comes to his rescue.

Since childhood, Yoram Smith’s family was certain he would grow to become Alpha and save their beloved pack from its slow demise. When the time comes for a new leader, Yoram is forced to juggle his duty to care for a splintering pack with his duty to care for an absent mate, and his own strength suffers.

Being turned into a vampire didn’t alter Salvatore’s life philosophy: if you don’t rely on anyone, nobody can let you down. But when the boy who saved his life becomes a man who needs his help, the icy vampire must find his humanity.


Audio Review:
I am a fan of this series, and appreciate the way the author has connected each story. She has a way of pulling you into the story and making you forget about the world around you. Add in Charlie David's narration and I was completely taken away.

The meeting between Yoram and Salvatore is almost as cute as Zev and Jonah's from Wake Me Up Inside. Yoram knows at 7 that Salvatore is his, but human Salvatore doesn't understand why the strange boy insists they are friends. It may take 20 years before the couple actually come together but when they do it makes for the best kind of AWWWW moment.

This world that Cardeno C has created is as flawed as real life, but she finds a way to make it a better place.

Charlie David's voice is mesmerizing and adds depth to the story. You can feel Yoram's need to care for his mate and his pack, and the confusion that Salvatore is feeling about the situation in which he finds himself.

A great listen to warm you up during the colds days.



RATING: 4 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. This book was given to us by the author.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Rebel by @Rhys_Ford @dreamspinners #BLOGTOUR



Hello and welcome to the 415 Ink: Rebel Blog Tour. I’d like to say I’m Rhys Ford, your host but the truth is, I am merely a stealer of space and time. Their space, your time. BUT I hope I can make it worth your while.
Because dudes, I’ve got a book I want to tell you about.

If you know me at all, you know I have a few tattoos and well, have a hardcore love for art. Skin art to be exact. It’s a difficult medium and well, there’s a culture surrounding it as well. Being a tattoo artist is more than a profession, it truly is a calling, or it is for the great artists, the ones who push at the boundaries of skin and ink and do fantastical things on a living canvas.

The 415 Ink series hopefully will capture a part of that culture and also showcase five foster brothers who have made their own family. Set in San Francisco, I will introduce you to each of the five in a series of books where they find love and in some cases, their true path in life. The first, Rebel, is about Gus, the true middle kid in the bunch, and the man whose love he’d won, lost and hopefully will love again.

As all of my blog tours, I want to present you with something unique at each stop as well as a giveaway. So, for each blog, I will give you a story (or part of a story as I’ve split most into two pieces) about a tattoo… involving a character from one of my series. Check out the blog stop list to get a sneak peek at the characters!

The giveaway? You’ll be entering to win a $20USD gift certificate to the online retailer of your choice! Make a comment to enter!

Now, onto the tales of tattoos and where you can find Rebel, on sale December 29th through Dreamspinner, Amazon and other fine bookstores.


§


Los Angeles — Cole McGinnis and Ichi Tokugawa 

Part Two of Two


The Little Tokyo top-floor apartment I shared with my husband Bobby would’ve been the smart choice to go get cleaned up but there were two reasons why my Hollywood tattoo shop was a better option. Bobby had a tendency to say I-told-you-so even if he hadn’t actually warned me off of doing something. In this instance, I went in knowing Cole was bad news to any plan, and yet I’d persisted, asking my brother for his help.

It was a staggeringly humbling experience to have one’s husband look up from what he was doing, his jaded smoky gaze raking over me and then glancing behind me to my brother — his best friend — when we both look like we had gone more than a couple of rounds with an Ent.

I knew how that conversation would go. I’d had it more times than I cared to count. There were variations, mostly situational, depending upon what Cole and I had gotten into but still… humbling. There was a certain way Bobby snickered silently. I’d never met a man who could with a curl of his lip and a lift of an eyebrow communicate so much mockery he didn’t have to say anything for me to know he was laughing at me inside.

And sometimes, he even laughed out loud.

This was going to be one of those times. Because my crew working the shop that night certainly busted out in an uproarious thunderstorm of applause and guffaws when Cole and I walked through the front door.

“Laugh while you can, monkey boy.” Cole muttered at Susan, one of my lead artists, quoting from a movie he loved. “Although, I suppose in your case it would be girl but that’s not what Bigboote says.”

“Oh, I’ll take the boy part,” Susan said through her giggles. Her round face dimpled as she chuckled, making a big show out of circling around me to inspect the damage. Normally, I liked the Seoul-born and raised woman but today I wasn’t feeling much love. “You have leaves coming out of your ears, oppa.”

“What the hell happened to the two of you?” Trey, the second artists on shift that night, was a child born to a generation of hippies, his long blonde hair twisted into thin dreads and held back by a chromatic scarf he’d woven himself. “I thought you two were just going to pick up the old man’s punch tools.”

“I got them… thanks to hyung but we ran into a small complication,” I started.

“We had to fight off the yakuza for them.” Cole nodded when Susan’s eyes widened in amazement. “Well if by fight, you mean runaway then we did a mighty battle. One minute we were standing around at a memorial — which was kind of awkward — and the next second, his friends were throwing punches on us.”

“You really need to work on your Japanese,” I muttered at my brother. “They were debating whether or not to remove his tattoos and donate them to a museum in Japan, which was what he wanted but his wife did not. They thought we were there to stop them.”

“And did you?” Trey cocked his head. “Because I’m not sure I’d want to be skinned and taxidermized like a jackalope. I mean how would you even display —”

My Japanese-ness reared its oddly ritualized head at the strangest times and apparently, it appeared consigning the dead’s skin offended some deeply rooted traditional thread in my being because I cut Trey off with a shake of my head then stalked into the large full bathroom at the back of the shop.

Cole joined me five minutes later to find me sitting on the bench near the showers with a towel wrapped around my waist and picking a few pebbles out from my right elbow. The grit was in deep and it stung when I sluiced cold water over the area, and I couldn’t tell if I was going to have to repair any of my ink.

“Hey, you’re bleeding.” Cole frowned, then dug his wallet out of his jeans’ back pocket. “Hold on, I have some antiseptic wipes.”

“In your wallet?” I eyed him suspiciously. “Although I suppose you no longer need the space for condoms.”

“I’ve never kept condoms in my wallet.” He tsked at me, straddling the bench and motioning me to turn so he could look at my arm. “Before…” Cole took a breath, his voice cracking. “Anyway, when Jae came along, most of our fun times were in the house so I didn’t need to have anything in my wallet. Unlike Bobby…”

I would’ve objected to Cole calling Bobby… ready for sexual intimacy at the drop of a dime but I knew my husband’s past. I knew my own. Monogamy was something neither one of us was looking for, but it found us. Actually, it did more than find us. It grabbed both of us by the balls, dragged us over in front of a priest with all of our friends around us, and we’d somehow found the words to promise each other a lifetime of fidelity and love.

There were times when I woke up and was shocked to see the gold wedding band on my finger, but I had no regrets.

Okay, a couple of regrets but they have nothing to do with Bobby and everything to do with us hiding our relationship from Cole only to have him find out because Bobby couldn’t keep his mouth shut. It made for a couple of awkward dinners and then eventually, Cole’s good nature took over.

Bobby wasn’t who Cole would’ve wanted for me to fall in love with. He wasn’t wrong. Bobby had been a volatile, loose, sarcastic bundle of contradictions… that I’d wanted to push down into a bed and fuck him silly from the moment I saw him. Even during the times that I hated him, he’d been there for me and now, always would be.

“You know, I was just teasing,” Cole murmured, gently scraping the sidewalk debris out of my skin. “I’m glad the two of you are together.”

The antiseptic stung, and I grabbed at the bench, knocking Cole’s wallet over. It tumbled open, falling to the floor and an old folded piece of paper slid out of one of the card slots. Cole and I both reached for it, knocking our heads together, and I almost lost my towel when my fingers closed over the edge of the paper. He’d grab the wallet then held his hand out for the note.

I’d been an only child for most of my life, and I still had problems with the camaraderie of brotherhood. For all of their squabbling, Mike and Cole were staunch in their support for each other, but it took me a while to figure out their bickering was mostly hot air and ego. I struggled with it myself. Mostly, because I’m Japanese and they are American, but also it requires a lot of faith that the other person won’t get angry at being poked at. I could tease my friends but somehow teasing the son of my mother was fraught with emotional danger.

Or at least that’s how I thought of Mike. Cole I could tease the fuck out of.

“It’s Korean.” I grimaced because I realized how stupid that sounded as soon as I said it but I was shocked to see it wasn’t in English for some reason. I recognize the handwriting. I knew Jae’s strong block printing well. “When did he write this?”

“About three months after we’d met.” Cole’s eyes always went soft whenever he spoke of Jae. The sentimentality of his expression lasted for about a second then he grinned at me, turning into the charismatic charmer he normally showed the world. “You know, he said I love you first. Or at least, I like to think so. I didn’t know it at the time because I don’t speak Korean, but he said something and when I asked him what it meant, he told me I needed to learn Korean.

“Later on, I realized he’d said saranghae-yo.” Cole chuckled, spreading out the paper so I could see those exact words written in Jae’s distinctive handwriting. “He wrote this at the bottom of a long note telling me where he was going to be on a shoot junket and when I asked him what it meant, he told me… I needed to learn Korean. So, I knew exactly what it meant.”

“And you carried with you? Always?” I asked gently. The paper was creased and torn, obviously handled in million and one times before.

“Always. I will never not carry it,” Cole replied. “There were times when I thought he would slip away from me but we fought so hard to be together, I will never take that for granted. I will never take him for granted.”

“So then, hyung, let me put that on you so you can carry it forever. Let me put it on your wrist so you could see it all the time.” I couldn’t breathe through the hug Cole gave me, but it didn’t matter. My effusive, golden retriever of a brother loved me enough… trusted me enough… to ink his lover’s words on his skin.

“That is a fucking fantastic idea,” Cole said, kissing my forehead noisily. “But first, for all that is holy, put on some pants.”





Rebel: 415 Ink, Book One
The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something — it’s standing up for himself.

Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After years of running from his past, present and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, Karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on; a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating break-up three years ago.

Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.
For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold onto. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.

When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.

Purchase 415 Ink: Rebel at…
Dreamspinner Press
§





Catch up with the stories and be sure to hit up each of these blogs for a chance to win at every stop! Check out the pairings preview and plan your visit!

12.26    Joyfully Jay (Kane, Part One)
12.27    Sinfully Gay Romance (Kane, Part Two)
12.28    It’s About The Book (Damien and Miki, Part One)
12.29    The Novel Approach (Damien and Miki, Part Two)
12.31    Boy Meets Boy Reviews (Cole and Ichi, Part One)
1.1        Ndulgent Bloggers (Cole and Ichi, Part Two)
1.2        Smexy Books (Gus and Bear)
1.3        The Blogger Girls (Kane and Miki)





About Rhys Ford
Rhys Ford is an award-winning author with several long-running LGBT+ mystery, thriller, paranormal, and urban fantasy series and was a 2016 LAMBDA finalist with her novel, Murder and Mayhem. She is published by Dreamspinner Press and DSP Publications.

She’s also quite skeptical about bios without a dash of something personal and really, who doesn’t mention their cats, dog and cars in a bio? She shares the house with Yoshi, a grumpy tuxedo cat and Harley, an off-kilter flower-faced grey and white cat-dog , as well as a ginger cairn terrorist named Gus. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird and enjoys murdering make-believe people


Rhys’ Blog: www.rhysford.com

Rhys Ford’s books can found at Dreamspinner Press (http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com), DSP Publications (https://www.dsppublications.com/) and all major online book stores.





Sunday, December 31, 2017

Rebel by @Rhys_Ford @dreamspinners #REVIEW #ULTIMATEINDULGENCE

Rebel, Rhys Ford, Dreamspinner Press
415 Ink #1
The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something — it’s standing up for himself.

Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After years of running from his past, present and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, Karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on; a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating break-up three years ago.

Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.

For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold onto. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.

When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.



REVIEW:
Damn Rhys, right in the feels again. I think the 415 boys may be even more broken then Miki.

Rey Montenegro, firefighter, survivor and all around good guy.

Gus Scott, tattoo artist, orphan and all around fuck up.

What could the two possibly have in common other than great sex? Maybe nothing, but maybe everything they both want and need.

Gus comes back to town after being gone for 6 months to face the consequences of a one night stand that happened 3 years ago. He needs to face his demons and get his life on track, so that he can be the father he never had. With the help of his "made in the trenches of hell" family and the only man he has ever trusted, he might just be able to do that.

Rey thinks he is done with Gus, he's tired of being just a booty call and wants something more, something long term. What he doesn't realize is that it may be right in front of him, if he has the courage to reach for it.

OMH, I fell for all of the men in this new series. I loved all of the crossover and cameo appearances and can't wait to see who pops up in the tattoo shop next. Fords characters are flawed and layered, her stories are rich and will pull feelings from the depths of your soul. You know going into one of her books that you are going to run the gamut of emotions, but come out on the other side knowing that family and love are real.

Read this series and you will know the magic that is a Rhys Ford world.






RATING: 5 Chocolate-Dipped Strawberries. This book was given to us by the author.

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