GARETH’S CORNER: “SHADOW UNIT SERIES” by Jamie Lynn Miller

broken

TITLE: Broken Soldier
AUTHOR: Jamie Lynn Miller
SERIES: Shadow Unit – book 1
COVER DESIGN: Jamie Lynn Miller
PUBLISHER: lulu.com
GENRE: Contemporary
E-BOOK: yes
PRICE: $ 2.08 on Amazon
LENGHT: 150 pages
RELEASE DATE: 8th March 2016

 

BLURB: Sergeant Connor Finley and Sergeant Shawn Weller are dedicated soldiers working covert ops for Shadow Unit — a joint Uk/Us anti-terrorism task force. Partners in the field and out, they had been through hell together for the last four years and made it through standing side by side. But when their latest undercover op to bring down an arms dealer plunges them into a world of drugs, sex and violence, Shawn must literally get in bed with the enemy in order to complete the mission. And Connor is forced to watch, helpless, as his partner is broken into pieces. Will love be enough to put them both back together or will this be their final mission?

Warning: Contains scenes of drug use, graphic sex and realistic situations

 

Excerpt:

Connor cut himself off as Shawn let out an angry yell and swung a wild punch at him. Connor was forced to release Shawn’s wrist to avoid his partner’s fist, which would have caught him right in the face. He stumbled back a step, hitting the refrigerator, nearly losing his footing on the items strewn about on the floor. Just as he straightened up, Shawn grabbed a coffee mug off the counter and hurled it at Connor’s head. Connor dropped to a crouch and the mug smashed into the refrigerator.

Keeping low, Connor went at Shawn like an American football player, ducking under his partner’s arms and catching him around his middle. Shawn’s back hit the edge of the counter and both of them slid to the floor. Shawn’s fists began pummeling at Connor’s arms and chest as Connor got Shawn first onto his back then flipped over onto his stomach, straddling his waist. Shawn tried to buck him off, yelling angrily and Connor was amazed at the strength the desperate craving for the heroin gave him.

“Please, Connor, please,” Shawn pleaded with him, breathing hard. “I just need a little bit. Just a little and I’ll be fine…”

Connor quickly pulled the syringe out of his pocket and used his mouth to pull off the cap, which he spit out onto the floor.

He swallowed hard. “I’m so sorry, mate,” he said, voice rough, then injected Shawn with the sedative.

“I need it, Connor, I need it…” Shawn mumbled as his eyes closed moments later, succumbing to the effects of the sedative.

Connor slid off of Shawn’s body then, slumping against the counter next to him, his face in his hands, gutted to the core by what had just transpired. A lump formed in his throat as he lifted his head and looked at his partner, lying there unconscious. Shawn’s face was drawn, flushed and wet with sweat, battered and bruised with dark circles under his eyes that had looked at him with such pain and desperation.

Shawn was the strongest, bravest man Connor had ever known, now reduced to this broken soldier before him.

All because of duty and loyalty to his unit and his mission. For the first time Connor feared that Shawn had been shattered into too many pieces to ever be put back together again.

His chest constricted at the thought, the grief and anger inside him suddenly too much to contain any longer. He grabbed for Shawn’s hand and held on tight as he broke down, the first sob tearing through him. He cried for Shawn, who was fighting a battle he might not be able to win and he cried for the two of them, wondering how they’d survive if Shawn didn’t.

He cried until there was nothing left inside him, until his eyes ran dry and his throat burned. He gathered Shawn into his arms then and held him tight, wishing he could take his place, but instead willing every ounce of strength he had into him, the only thing he could do.

 

 

rogue

TITLE: Rogue Soldier
AUTHOR: Jamie Lynn Miller
SERIES: Shadow Unit – book 2
COVER DESIGN: Jamie Lynn Miller
PUBLISHER: lulu.com
GENRE: Contemporary
E-BOOK: yes
PRICE: $ 3.99 on Amazon
LENGHT: 203pages
RELEASE DATE: 6th September 2016

Excerpt:

Connor floated in a haze of pain and unrelenting heat.

As if from a great distance he heard Hamid asking him the same questions again and again, heard himself whisper his name, rank and service number again and again, his throat raw from thirst and screaming.

But Connor wasn’t there, in that room. He was on a beach in California with Shawn, lying on the hot sand, the bright sun shining down on them, turning their skin golden brown. He could smell the salt of the ocean, hear the cries of the seagulls overhead. Their motorcycles were parked up on the road above the secluded, deserted cove they had discovered on their road trip south.

Shawn was kissing him endlessly, his hands roaming over Connor’s warm skin. Connor pulled Shawn closer until his partner’s body blanketed him from head to toe. Eventually they let the kiss gentle and end. Despite the heat, Connor was in no hurry to end their embrace, nowhere he’d rather be than in Shawn’s arms.

He smiled up at Shawn, more content than he’d been in the last month. But his smile slipped slightly when Shawn looked down at him with a serious expression.

“Thank you,” Shawn murmured.

“For what?” Connor replied, confused.

“For putting me back together. For saving me.”

Connor swallowed hard at Shawn’s heartfelt words. He rubbed a thumb across Shawn’s cheekbone. “That’s what partners do.”

Shawn turned his head to the side and kissed Connor’s palm. “And I’ll always be there for you, Finn, whenever you need saving. I swear. Never doubt that and never give up.”

Never give up…

Another bucket of ice water hitting his overheated, aching body shocked Connor from the peaceful memory.

He gasped, his right eye opening fully, the left one nearly swollen shut. With effort he lifted his head. Hamid grasped his bruised jaw and squeezed hard. “You may have resisted answering my questions, but you will be unable to resist being my final human test subject,” he sneered, shoving Connor’s head to the side.

Hamid turned to his men. “Get him down! I want him in a containment room!”

Kashif released the leather strap holding Connor’s ankles in place as Ahmed disappeared behind him. A moment later the chain suspending him from the ceiling was released, sending Connor’s bruised and battered body crashing down to the floor. Too weak to move any of his limbs to break his fall, Connor couldn’t help the groan that escaped his lips as he landed hard on his side. He lay on the concrete like a crumpled rag doll.

Kashif and Ahmed unlocked the wrist restraints before hauling his body up by his arms. Connor cried out, his shoulders in sheer agony. Ignoring Connor’s pain, the two men dragged him from the room, Hamid close behind.

They went down the hallway and turned right, Connor’s legs and bare feet scraping against the floor, trailing behind him. Connor tried to keep his fear in check as they emerged into a larger area with six individual sections. Rooms, actually, but with clear Plexiglas walls, each containing a hospital bed and various pieces of medical equipment. It was difficult to see out of only one eye, but straight ahead and further down, Connor saw what appeared to be the main laboratory area with six or seven men in white lab coats holding test tubes or looking through microscopes.

Ahmed and Kashif pulled Connor into one of the containment rooms, unceremoniously tossing him on the bed. There were restraints attached to the metal frame and the two men quickly secured Connor’s throbbing legs and arms. His limbs burned and trembled now as circulation returned, his arms and fingers on fire as the blood rushed back into them.

As Ahmed and Kashif exited, Hamid entered, accompanied by one of the men in the white lab coats. Connor was not surprised to see the scientist was Chinese. Hamid had obviously been recruiting from one of Pakistan’s few allies.

Hamid held out his hand. The man gave him a syringe halfway filled with an amber liquid.

“I’ve wasted too much time with him,” Hamid told the other man, speaking in English. “We cannot risk discovery. I want everyone informed we are relocating immediately. The neurotoxin and antidote are to be prepped and packaged for transport.”

The scientist bowed. “Yes sir, I will see to it.” He hurried from the room.

Hamid stepped up beside the bed and looked down at Connor. He held up the syringe for Connor to see, as he pressed the plunger slightly, several drops of the amber liquid running down the needle.

“This is the final, most potent strain of the neurotoxin. As yet untested,” Hamid informed him. “So rest assured, your death will not be in vain. You will be providing valuable scientific data,” he sneered, pressing the needle against Connor’s skin.

For the first time Connor spoke directly to his captor, his voice raspy but strong. “My death was never going to be in vain. I will gladly give my life to protect my team.” He swallowed with difficulty and stared hard at Hamid. “Taking me was the worst thing you could have done. Because they will stop at nothing to find me. And you.”

Hamid glared at Connor as he stabbed the needle into Connor’s arm. “Then I shall let them find you. Or at least your corpse.”

With a triumphant smile, Hamid pressed the plunger, sending liquid death racing through Connor’s veins.

 

 

14483774_10202179950336519_1469719546_nHey, folks! Welcome to Gareth’s Corner … I see some new faces out there. Thank you for joining me. Quick apology for the absence of my co-hostess Miss Hattie who is on vacation this week …

Today I will be reviewing the first two books in the Shadow Unit series by Jamie Lynn Miller.  The first book BROKEN SOLDIER was released in early March of this year. It has made quite an impact on Amazon Stats and is currently $1.99 on Kindle. However, the paperback version is approximately $10.00 and would be an awesome stocking stuffer. The second book ROGUE SOLDIER was released only a couple weeks ago – so the stats are still cooking away at Amazon. Can they keep up with the demand for these unique works? It will be hard to say. Let’s examine each book individually before chatting with the author.

I don’t mind telling you that I almost fell into the trap of pre-judging this series at the get-go. As readers of m/m romantic fiction we each know what we like. For instance I don’t find the book premise of “shifters” very appealing. Maybe that is because I have never given one a chance. Although I can’t get enough James Bond, the idea of reading a book full of nothing but “jar heads” is not how I want to spend my time.

However, I am a fan of Jamie Lynn Miller’s previous works so I chose to give the “Soldier books” a shot (no pun intended). At first it was “Command this and Alpha Leader that” just the kind of stuff I expected. However, I continued to read and discovered that Jamie was setting the scene for a group of tightly knit soldiers facing almost certain death with only their wits and the emotional bond with their fellow squad members to keep them alive during their covert missions.

BROKEN SOLDIER paints a quick but thorough portrait of five strong and diverse personalities working both independently and as a unit to successfully complete their mission. The main characters of Connor and Shawn are immediately catapulted to the forefront of the book. The dynamics between these men are explosive yet heart-wrenching. The love they feel for each other is put to the test when Shawn willingly goes undercover and becomes hooked on Heroin for the sole purpose of taking down a “Drug Lord” who just so happens to have an arsenal of nuclear weapons available for quick sale to the highest bidder.

As we see Shawn losing the fight against a Heroin addiction, his lover and teammate Connor (also undercover) monitors the sad situation – helpless to stop the horrific events that are unfolding. I read with amazement how Jamie blended a story of love and helplessness within the context of covert military operation. My heart was in my throat the entire time I devoured this book. Without giving too much away, allow me to say that the final portion of this book demonstrates how only unyielding love and patient support can make our broken soldier whole once again. This was an awesome read from start to finish. BROKEN SOLDIER was chocked full of the romantic suspense I have come to appreciate. Thank you, Jamie!

ROGUE SOLDIER is the second book of the Shadow Unit series. There was a nagging doubt that this book could possibly “top” the intensity of the first installment. However, I was (to put it mildly) pleasantly surprised yet again. We have the same team on a new mission in a desolate locale. Shawn and Connor are once again front and center in a tale of intrigue, suspense and the long-forgotten demons of Shawn’s life before joining Shadow Unit and discovering the protective love of Connor Finley. This book reminds us of the difference between healthy, nurturing love and toxic lust. Shawn grapples with feelings of hatred and suspicion as he is forced to work alongside an “ex” with a personal agenda that literally puts the lives of Shadow Unit in jeopardy.

Will the love of Connor again save Shawn from the echoes of his past? In a unforeseen turn-of-events we find that it is Shawn who must do battle to save Connor from almost certain death.

Jamie Lynn raises the bar with this book. My heart was pounding and unshed tears obscured my vision as I chomped away at this book page by page. It confounds me how her next book of the series will rival these two. However, Jamie Lynn Miller will doubtlessly find a way.

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Since the goal of Gareth’s Corner is to provide a unique opportunity to provide you with a featured review along with an up-close interaction with its author, it is my pleasure to welcome Jamie Lynn Miller to our humble home ………..

jamie-lynn-miller-avatar

Gareth: Hello! Welcome my friend …

Jamie: Hey, Gareth. Wow! What reviews!

Gareth: Jamie, I am so happy you’re with us today.

Jamie: Wouldn’t have missed this for the world. As you know, Gareth, I have a small bakery business on the side. So, I couldn’t help but prepare a few doggie treats for Miss Hattie. [Sets a container on the coffee table]

Gareth: Well, thank you … Unfortunately, Hattie is in Atlanta visiting her uncles Thom and Eric for a couple weeks. Scott and I are driving down tomorrow to pick her up.

Jamie: Awesome! I’m sorry I missed her …

Gareth: Well, she will love these homemade cookies. The trick will be to keep Scott away from them in the meantime.

Jamie: I’m a pet lover too. I’ve had cats nearly my entire life. So you adopted Miss Hattie?

Gareth: Although it feels as if she’s adopted us, I got a call from my friend Dianne who was a volunteer for one of the local animal shelters. She knew that my dog Hemingway had died several months prior. So she contacted Scott and me and asked if we would foster a reddish-golden retriever until a permanent home could be found. We reluctantly said “yes”. Hattie moved in that day and the rest is history …

Jamie: That’s wonderful. How lucky for all of you.

Gareth: She’s quite a character.

Jamie: So I can tell from your Facebook posts!

Gareth: Jamie, I have so many questions about the Shadow Unit series that I am dying to ask.

Jamie: Ask away – that’s what I’m here for! LOL!

Gareth: How did you get the idea for writing The Shadow Unit series?

Jamie: I’ve always loved TV shows and movies about cops, paramedics, firemen and soldiers. My tagline for my writing is “Men in uniform…and out”. So far I’d written about all of those except the military.
We have a local TV channel here in Chicago that shows nothing but retro reruns. One night the stars must have aligned, for I caught an episode of Combat and an episode of Starsky and Hutch (my favorite one where Hutch is forced to take heroin) and bam! I suddenly had an idea for a new book! So that’s how Sergeants Connor Finley and Shawn Weller were born, and the first storyline, where they go undercover for a covert op mission and Shawn ends up getting addicted to heroin.

Gareth: How is this a departure from your usual subject matter?

Jamie: I felt I’d become a little stagnant in my writing. I’m all about “hearts and flowers” first-time romance with some angst thrown in. I wanted to challenge myself, and a military setting seemed like the way to do it. Just by its very nature covert ops work is dark and dangerous. No room for hearts and flowers. I also wanted to write an already established couple, which I’d never done.
In the end I surprised myself by how dark I went for Broken Soldier. I didn’t know I had it in me! LOL! Not that there aren’t lighter moments between Shawn and Connor, but this book (and Rogue Soldier) are definitely romantic suspense and not contemporary romance. I want my readers to constantly wonder if my heroes are going to survive to the end of the book.
I feel very accomplished as a writer now, after Broken Soldier and Rogue Soldier. I threw down a challenge to myself and I succeeded. And my readers took a chance with my new format and I’m thrilled to say that Broken Soldier has been my most successful book to date. Rogue was just released, so I’m waiting to see how it does, but things are looking good! I’m already plotting out Book 3.🙂

Gareth: What was it like to do research for this series? The action and dialogue is written in such a seamless fashion that it was obvious that you did more than use old episodes of the A-Team and 007 movies as templates for Shadow Unit.

Jamie: Thank you! That really means a lot. For research I read several best-selling novels that were written by former Navy SEALs and other covert op military organizations. I wanted to get a feel for how members of these teams worked, communicated, the equipment they used, how they executed raids on terror cells or arms dealers, etc. and who better to learn from than men who actually took part in covert missions?
That gave me a basis as to how I wanted Shadow Unit to function, their structure, their overall mission of a combined US/UK anti-terrorism task force.
For Broken Soldier I also watched several documentaries on heroin addiction/withdrawal and did medical research on it as well.
After that, Google was my friend for both books. I did research on Kuala Lumpur, the Triad, arms dealing, India, Pakistan, various terrorist organizations, biological weapons etc.

Gareth: In your opinion and experience, how vital is research of subject matter?

Jamie: I think that all authors need to at least have some sort of passing knowledge about the subject they’re writing about. You don’t need to be an expert, but be aware that someone reading your book *might* be. You need to put effort into making your book as factually correct as you can. I’m crazy about research. For my firemen/paramedic/police books, I spent countless weeks in Citizen Police and Fire Academy classes, literally embedded in the law enforcement world. Plus the two Writers’ Police Academy conventions I’ve attended. And I funneled all of that knowledge into those books. And it paid off. I received so much feedback praising me for how authentic those books are.
So far the feedback on Broken Soldier with the military and drug addiction aspects has been just as positive.

Gareth: No doubt! How many books will comprise this series?

Jamie: Three for sure. I’d love to do more, but sales will dictate if folks want more of Connor and Shawn’s adventures. I certainly hope they do!
Broken Soldier is, hands down, my most successful book. Rogue Soldier was just released two weeks ago and my blog tour just started this week and the review tour isn’t until next month. So it’s too early to tell Rogue’s success.
But if you want more Shadow Unit, tell your friends to check out my new series!

Gareth: You can bet on it! Will you use Connor and Shawn as your MC throughout your Soldier anthology … or may future characters be taking center stage (i.e. A cute young eager-to-please Irishman named Liam)?

Jamie: LOL! So you picked up on Liam, eh? That’s great! That’s exactly what I wanted my readers to do. While Shawn and Connor will remain my MC’s, I can say that Liam will have a bigger part in Book Three. [wink] And I plan on introducing a few new characters in Book Three that are set up for a possible spin-off series.

Gareth: Correct me if I’m wrong … Are Connor and Shawn approximately the same age? I get the mental image of Connor as being more mature than his partner. Is that because he is – or is that do to my subjective interpretation or an expression of their diverse personalities?

Jamie: They’re actually the exact same age, the only thing similar about them! But you’re correct, I’ve always portrayed Connor as more mature. The more rigid by-the-book company man Brit, whereas Shawn is the smart ass American. I’m very glad you picked up on their diverse personalities. I describe them in Broken Soldier as “darkness and light”.

Gareth: What is the biggest challenge in writing this series?

Jamie: Getting into the mindset of terrorists, drug runners/users and arms dealers.
The research can actually get really depressing, reading about the different ways people can kill one another. I’ve asked myself more than once why I decided to write a series based on terrorism.

Gareth: I can only imagine how depressing – and tough that would be. Without letting the cat out of the bag – would you give us a brief heads-up about the next book of this series?

Jamie: Book Three is tentatively titled Hunted Soldier. This time Connor and Shawn will be dealing with a drug cartel that smuggles not only heroin, but terrorists and kidnapped young women as well. Who the leader of the drug cartel is will have a direct tie-in to Rogue Soldier. I’ll also be bringing up several issues from Connor’s past that were mentioned in Broken Soldier. In the end Shawn and Connor become the hunted instead of the hunters, fighting for their lives in the jungle.

Gareth: How long do you plan on keeping us waiting for its release?

Jamie: Well, it was six months between Broken Soldier and Rogue Soldier, so probably the same amount of time. Though if I can get Hunted Soldier out quicker I certainly will!

Gareth: Do you come from a military family?

Jamie: Yes, my grandfather was in the Army and my father was in the Air Force.

Gareth: Have you written pieces for other genres? Explain …

Jamie: Back when I first started writing fan fiction I was writing m/f het romance. But once I discovered m/m there was no going back! I’ve written contemporary romance, sci-fi and romantic suspense.

Gareth: Why make the leap to m/m romantic fiction?

Jamie: Goes back to fan fic again! Back in the mid-90’s I was happily reading and writing m/f and looking for a new story to read. I came across one marked SLASH. Back then I had no idea what that meant. I thought it meant “slasher”, like a horror story. So I gave it a shot. Well I quickly discovered that “slash” meant same-sex relationship! As in: m (slash) m. Get it?🙂
My eyes were opened to a whole new world! I’d never thought of those two TV characters “like that” before but damn, it was HOT! LOL! I literally walked away from m/f that day and lost myself in the m/m world. That was 21 years ago and I’ve never looked back!
And if you must know, the story was about Mulder and Skinner from The X Files.🙂

Gareth: Explain to me what ‘fan fic’ is.

Jamie: Fan fic is where you write your own stories based on TV characters, movie characters, literary characters or even boy bands. Basically you’re playing in someone else’s sandbox. You take already established characters and run with it. The point of fan fic is to create stories you know you will never see on the actual TV show or in a movie. And a big part of that is same-sex relationships, be it gay or lesbian. I mean, seriously, have you ever seen Starsky and Hutch?? There was so much attraction between those two it nearly set the screen on fire! But the TV show would never go there. So we fans went there for them! You should see the millions of stories about Kirk and Spock, too.😉
I wrote prolifically in fandom for a long, long time. A lot of professional authors would never admit they got their start in fan fic, but I’m proud of it. Fangirls and fanboys are HARSH in their feedback on stories. They will tear you apart. I truly believe that I became a much better writer with my time spent in the tough fandom environment.

Gareth: I’ve never understood fan fic – thanks for clearing up the misconceptions I had.

Jamie: Not a problem. What did you learn from reading BROKEN SOLDIER and ROGUE SOLDIER?

Gareth: Most of all … I learned never to ‘judge a book by its cover’ so-to-speak. That is why I can’t wait to read HUNTED SOLDIER! Furthermore, I am going to read a few shifter books. Hopefully, a veteran author who is no stranger to that subject matter will agree to join us on Gareth’s Corner next month or so.

Jamie: Sounds like a plan! Gareth, I’ve always wondered who you and Scott met. Was it love at first sight?

Gareth: LOL! It was ‘something’ at first sight. Not sure if it was love, though. We are both from North Georgia. My favorite place in the entire universe (as I know it). I am from just outside Atlanta … and Scott from a city called Athens not far from the South Carolina border.
When I was in my late teens I became involved rather heavily in the BDSM life. However, I always gravitated to strong men who appreciate the emotional tie that binds a Submissive to his or her Dom. I believe the ties of emotional connection bind more tightly than any chains or rope.
There was a gay bar that hosted BDSM nights twice a month. The guys you tended to meet were the leather doms with anger leaking from their pores. Then there were the college twinks who came just so they could visit the mysterious world of BDSM. I think they expected guys who beat other guys mercilessly while they restrained them on a leash. I don’t know what was in their heads. I do think it surprised them to see regular people like this college Freshman who gravitated toward ‘something different’ than mere meatloaf and apple pie.
Then one night a tall man – about my age sat at the bar beside me. I introduced myself and he said he was a student at The University of Georgia. I may have otherwise left it at that. However, there was something in his eyes that I couldn’t avoid. We spent that whole night just talking and drinking Ginger Ale.
We exchanged numbers and he called three days later. He said he had to work up the nerve to call. Well, I was over the moon! We went out on a second date and a third and a forth … I introduced him to BDSM. I actually trained my Dom. He is the luckiest thing that ever happened to me, Jamie.

Jamie: You got married a couple years ago?

Gareth: Yes. I tell people we’ve been married one year – but had an 18 year engagement!

Jamie: LOL! Beautiful …. Gareth, I have so enjoyed being here with you this afternoon. I hope to visit, again.

Gareth: There is no doubt that you will be back. Besides, you still haven’t met Hattie. Lets keep in touch.

Jamie: I can’t wait to ask you to read the third book!

Gareth: I hope that you will buy the ENTIRE Shadow Unit series! A special thank you to our guest Jamie Lynn Miller and my bosses at Three Books Over The Rainbow and all our readers …. Jamie’s links are listed below and please visit me at http://www.akagarethowens.com

Until next time on Gareth’s Corner – so long my friends!

BUY LINKS:

“BROKEN SOLDIER”

AMAZON: http://tinyurl.com/zbbwpue

KOBO: http://tinyurl.com/job8hge

ARe: http://tinyurl.com/j5yx5on

SCRIBD: http://tinyurl.com/ze6nm5l

 

“ROGUE SOLDIER”

AMAZON: http://tinyurl.com/jpznqp3

ARe: http://tinyurl.com/zu5fv8w

KOBO: http://tinyurl.com/jb364ck

SCRIBD: http://tinyurl.com/jaevs8t

 

 

REVIEW: “CIVIL WAR – THE FINAL CHAPTER” by Shannon West

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TITLE: Civil War – The Final Chapter
AUTHOR: Shannon West
SERIES: Dark Hollow Wolf Pack – book 15
PUBLISHER: Dark Hollows Press, LLC
GENRE: Paranormal
E-BOOK: Yes
PRICE: $ 4,99 e-book on Amazon
LENGHT: 142 pages
RELEASE DATE: 14th September 2016

 

BLURB: Marco has made the heart wrenching decision to leave the pack after a stunning decision by the council.   To add insult to injury, Ian, his beta and best friend, agrees with the council, and they have  asked  a new alpha to take Marco’s place if he refuses.   Furious, Marco storms out, renouncing his leadership and vowing to start a new pack, one not bound by the old-fashioned laws and beliefs of the Dark Hollows pack. Joined by his most loyal pack members, Marco knows that the days ahead will be dangerous and challenging.

On an isolated mountain trail, Marco’s pack is ambushed and attacked by the very men he once called friends.  Nicky, Logan and Landry are all taken, and something shocking happens, something so tragic that it stuns all the alphas and unites them in their need for revenge. With violence and intrigue swirling around him, Marco has to rely only on his instincts and his ingenuity. He needs to discover who his allies and his enemies really are if he and Nicky are to make it out of this alive.

 

lorraine

For me, this whole series has been unequalled. Shannon West is incomparable in her talent, she pushes boundaries that others fear to tread, she marches forward and leaves a wake of conflict, heartbreak, betrayals, intrigues, love and WOW moments (and I love her wow moments).  But the bugle call has sounded and now after 15 books, it’s all over!

I would love to say that a truce had been called, casualties were minimal, but this was WAR and a bloody war at that and there could only be one winner.

Even now when writing this, I’m still in shock that’s it the last one, but I have to say that if you are going to end a Series, this is the way to do it. She delivered a stylish, well thought out plot line, settling unanswered questions, strengthening loyalties within the Pack, but at the same time, reminding us that wolves are top predators, they defend their territory fiercely, competition is not tolerated, the weak will be driven out as well as the un-loyal. Marco is Alpha, he’s going to remind everyone of that fact and he’s taking back what is his – Dark Hollow Wolf Pack.

That’s it. That’s all I going to give away, no spoilers from me, except……..(and it’s a big one), their’s a death! and it’s a big shocker of a death.  Shannon West didn’t take the gutless route of a minor character, she went guns blazing (or maybe rocks falling…) and went big time.  She went with a main MC who featured heavily throughout the Series.  I’m still howling at the moon, still in shock and still wiping the tears.

However, they say that true love will beat all odds and find a way, and without giving another spoiler, I think our very cunning and clever wolf has found a way…..

Is this the end or the start of new beginnings? Let’s hope it’s a new start, time will tell (hint, hint author).

Five, big fat war of secession stars from me.

 

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***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reviewing this ARC. My review was an honest opinion of the book***

 

REVIEW: “HAWK V FALCON: SURPRISE AT THE CANDY APPLE” by Elodie Parkes

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TITLE: Hawk v Falcon: Surprise at the Candy Apple
AUTHOR: Elodie Parkes
PUBLISHER: Encompass Ink
GENRE: Contemporary
SERIES: At The Candy Apple Series – book 3
E-BOOK: Yes
PRICE: $ 3.99 e-book on Amazon
LENGHT: 95  pages
RELEASE DATE: 15th September, 2016

 

BLURB: When Chris Falconer receives an email from his lost high school friend, Justin, ten years after he last saw him, Chris is overjoyed. The two boys had shared kisses and sworn love for each other, but before their love could be tested, Justin’s mother abruptly took Justin out of school, and they disappeared.
Multi-talented and handsome Chris is a cage fighter at Jack’s Clubhouse, and the Dungeon Master in the Candy Apple club. He writes a column for a fitness blog and keeps himself busy, but deep down he’s never forgotten Justin—turns out Justin has never forgotten Chris either.
On a modeling assignment in New York, Justin sees Chris in a café and can’t help contacting him, but his ex, Todd, who doesn’t want Justin but doesn’t want Chris to have him either, has plans to throw their reunion into disarray.
So begins a love story full of emotion. Will Todd succeed? Or this time, will Justin and Chris have the happy ending and delicious love they deserve?

 

 

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I don’t know about surprise at the Candy Apple but this certainly surprised me. I wasn’t too sure what to expect from reading the title? it didn’t give that much away but I was delighted to find it was a second chance romance, one of my secret favourites.  My romantic side loves the idea of lost love never really lost but hibernating until it’s found again and Chris and Justin were lucky enough to come out of hibernation and find it again.

There’s nothing quite like making up for lost time in the bedroom department when you have been separated for a long time and though my wonderful Chris never pushed hard, waited until Justin was ready, Elodie Parkes capitalised on that in a big way (pun intended)!

Her love scenes were not only sizzling hot but beautifully written, showing the caring side of Chris even in very heated situations.

Chris and Justin get back together after a 10 year separation from each other. Justin just disappeared from Chris’s life, but Chris never forgot Justin, no man ever lived up to Justin in Chris’s mind and he’s become lonely because of it.  When reunited, Chris knows instantly that it’s love for him, not instant love because his love for Justin never went away.

But this is Elodie Parkes here. Simple love stories are not her style, she always takes the difficult route (which is why I love her books) with many obstacles to overcome before we get our HEA.  In this case, it’s Justin’s story.  How what happened 10 years ago took away his options and dictated why he is the man he is today.  Yes, the tears fell and yes, my heart broke, so please read the blurb carefully, the warning triggers are there.

But that’s not the only baggage that Justin is carrying. His psycho ex-boyfriend is exactly that…psycho! and wants Chris out of Justin’s life.

Now I love a good psycho. But this is where I thought the author didn’t capitalise enough.  At first, the ex sent shivers down my spine but the shivers went to giggles nearer the end of the book, which is such a great shame, I wanted the big explosion between Chris and psycho but it was unrealistic and more of a damp sparkler.

I said before that I love Elodie Parkes easy, sexy style of writing and I stand by that. I’ve set her benchmark high because she writes great, riveting storylines and yes, it was all of things but just lost the Big Bang I was expecting, so it’s 4* from me.  Really looking forward to see what she has in store for us next time at the Candy Apple.

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****I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC.  My review is an honest opinion of the book****

REVIEW: “OF LOVE AND CORN DOGS” by Parker Williams

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TITLE: Of Love and Corn Dogs
AUTHOR: Parker Williams
SERIES: Of Love and…. – book 1
PUBLISHER: Self
COVER ARTIST: Author.Services
GENRE: Contemporary
E-BOOK: Yes
PRICE: $ 2,99 e-book on Amazon Store
LENGHT: 154 pages
RELEASE DATE: 23rd September 2016

 

BLURB: With more money than he could spend in ten lifetimes, Darwin Kincade still couldn’t keep death from stealing his lover. A little older and a whole lot wiser, flirting with his twice-a-week waiter is the perfect no-risk substitute for a real relationship. Until the night his routine is upended by the restaurant’s newest employee.
Ricky Donnelly loves people. While being a server isn’t his dream, he’s good at it. When a grumpy man is seated in his station, Ricky sees there’s more to him than he lets on, and when the man relaxes, he’s actually sweet.
As the two men bond over a discussion about corn dogs— something Darwin’s never heard of—he realizes how much he’s missed out on in his life. He vows to open himself to new experiences—including, perhaps, a chance at finding love again.
Not wanting anything to muddy their blooming relationship, Darwin hides part of himself from Ricky. He likes the look in Ricky’s eyes, unclouded by Darwin’s notoriety. Unfortunately, the truth can never stay hidden, and when it comes out, Darwin may lose any hope of holding onto the future they’ve begun to build.

 

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Of Love and Corn Dogs is the first story in Parker Williams’ upcoming series and I was really excited to read it. I am a big fan of corn dogs, especially the honey battered variety, so the title gave an extra layer to my anticipation. This is a sweet and heartwarming love story with some angst thrown in the mix to enhance your reading experience.

This book tells the tale of how a rich businessmen, who lost the love of his life to cancer at a very young age and closed himself off of the world around him, meets a kindhearted, friendly, younger man who oozes optimism and life, and how this meeting changes his view of the world and his purpose in life.

I liked a lot of things about the book. The writing is solid, the characters well-built though sometimes not too logical. I really liked Darwin and Ricky in the first half of the story. I enjoyed the build-up, the way they got to know each other.

However, when the conflict happened, the whole atmosphere changed, and I no longer understood Ricky and his actions, and I lost my connection with both main characters. Their chemistry faded in the midst of all the confrontation and conflict, and there were parts when I felt these two should not be together. Luckily, when they manage to solve their problems and find common ground, their wonderful chemistry comes back, and their blooming relationship moves back to the right track.

My favorite character is Henley, Darwin’s childhood best friend/driver, and I was hoping for his own story, but I guess our author had other ideas.

Although there are parts of the book that are a bit confusing to me, and I didn’t really understood why and how they happened like that, I truly hope it was just me, and you’ll enjoy this book a lot.

 

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****I would like to thank the Author for the opportunity and privilege of reading this ARC. My review was an honest opinion of the book****

 

Website: Parker Williams
Facebook: Parker Williams
Twitter: @ParkerWAuthor

REVIEW & INTERVIEW: “WEIGHT OF THE WORLD” by Riley Hart & Devon McCormack

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TITLE: Weight of the World
AUTHOR: Riley Hart & Devon McCormack
PUBLISHER: Devon McCormack
COVER ARTIST: Jay Aheer
GENRE:  Contemporary
E-BOOK: yes
PRICE: $ 3.99 e-book on Amazon
LENGTH: 241 pages
RELEASE DATE: 28th August 2016

 

BLURB: “The world’s an awfully big thing to carry by yourself.”

Zack lost his job, his apartment, and his hope, which is why he ends up on the roof of a high rise, certain that one final step will solve his problems. But a mysterious stranger named Rob happens to be on the roof that night too. He talks Zack down, convincing him there’s still hope left in the world. Zack thinks maybe he’s right, which is why he’s shocked when he turns on the news the next morning to find out Rob jumped himself. Disturbed and confused, he searches for answers, starting with Rob’s brother Tommy Rayburn.

It’s been Tommy’s job to take care of his brother since they were kids, taking the blows from their father so Rob wouldn’t have to. Tommy thought he could protect him, even if it meant carrying the weight of the world on his shoulders. Considering Rob threw himself off a building, he obviously couldn’t.

Then he meets Zack, a friend of Rob’s who’s suspiciously evasive about how they knew each other. But they’re both grieving and determined to find out why Rob jumped. Answers don’t come easily, and soon they’re soothing each other with sweat-slicked, passionate encounters. Hot as things get in the bedroom, it doesn’t take them long to realize there’s more between them than mind-blowing sex and their pain. But the heaviness is still there, threatening to pull them under, and if they can’t open up with each other to lighten the load, the weight just might be enough to crush them both.

 

 

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I haven’t been under the influence of a story this much for a very long time. Weight of the World is a true gem and a must read for everyone who enjoys raw emotions, genuine characters, real depth, and doesn’t mind a plot woven around the heartbreaking event of someone taking their own life. Yes. You heard it right. Although this is a romance novel, the basic idea of the book is how to overcome the fact someone you know, someone you love commit suicide. I’m not sure if there is a trigger warning, but if suicide is not a topic you want to read about, Weight of the World is not a story for you.

This is the first collaboration between the two authors and I believe they create a wonderful and very powerful match. This book is gripping and I couldn’t stop reading. The story is told from three first person POVs and it brings the story and the characters all the more closer to the reader. My emotions were all over the place while reading, as the story and certain elements hit way too close to home for comfort. I have lost friends to suicide. I did have periods in my life when being Atlas was the only option. This book made me think of periods in my life I’d rather forget, but reexamining, evaluating our lives may lead to progress, and give us hope that we can do more, we can do better, and we have to try to live our lives the fullest.

The writing is flawless, the storyline is perfectly built, and the chemistry is over the top between Tommy and Zack. Their pain is palpable, their emotions and struggles are beautifully portrayed, and their forming relationship is one of the best orchestrated unions I have ever read. The cherry on top for me was the epilogue. It brought the book in full circle, and I was crying like a baby reading it.

I’m saying Carpe Diem and read this book. Highly recommended!

 

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I’d like to welcome Riley Hart and Devon McCormack here with us. We are going to talk about their amazing book, The Weight of the World, which was released on August 28th, and writing in general.

-Congratulations on your first book together. I truly loved it and it gave me a serious book hangover! I know you just met in person the first time last week. Do you remember how you got to know of each other, how you got in contact with each other online?

Riley: I don’t remember exactly how we started talking but we spent quite a bit of time PMing on Facebook. We realized we share the same opinions on a lot of things. We’re similar in some ways so it was nice to have someone to talk to, who got me.

Devon: We were sort of discussing this when we met up last week. Trying to figure out when exactly it clicked, but I feel like it evolved slowly and naturally. I’d read some of her books as Nyrae Dawn, and I remember when she contracted a book with Harmony Ink, who I have three books with, I just sent her a “welcome to the club” message. Just trying to reach out because I like it when other authors reach out to me and let me know I’m welcome. After that, we would sort of hit each other up every once and a while, and like Riley said, we found that we had very similar opinions about writing and about LGBT issues. It’s really hard to find someone who when they’re chatting about a subject, you just keep going, “Yes…yes…yes!” And I felt that way whenever she posted online, too. Now that we’ve met, even more so. The bf was at lunch with us when we met up, and he just kept saying, “Oh, God. You two are cut from the same cloth.” That said, we’re a dangerous combo.

Riley: Aw, Devon explained it much better than I did. We are a dangerous combo and I can’t wait to see what kind of trouble we can get into. LOL.

-When and how did you decide to write a book together?

Riley: It just sort of happened. I am pretty sure I was rambling to him about something or another and was like…have you ever considered writing a book with anyone? And he was like, if you mean you, what are we writing and when are we writing it? LOL.

Devon: Yes, that’s verbatim what I said. I felt that there was some kind of chemistry from those early exchanges, and I was kind of feeling like, based on our conversations, we could write a cool book. But I never would have suggested it. When Riley did, I jumped at the opportunity. Not so much because I thought we could, but because I thought it would be fun to try even if we found out we couldn’t.

-Have you ever co-written a book before?

Riley: I have under my Nyrae Dawn name. I wrote two NA’s with Christina Lee and two YAs with Jolene Perry.

Devon: Yeah, Riley’ll write a book with anyone…obviously. Lol. I’ve collaborated on other writing projects, but never a book. That always seemed like a creative nightmare. I’m a control freak, so the idea of having to work with someone and negotiate character choices and plotlines seemed like something I would abhor.

Riley: Are you calling me easy??? LOL. And GAH, he is such a control freak! I was miserable the whole time! Just kidding😉

-Tell us about the writing process. How did you deal with working with someone? How could you cooperate?

Riley: We’ve talked about this often…it was such a smooth process. Once we knew what story we were telling and we each created our character’s backstory…we just sort of jumped in. We were open and communicated the whole way with things like… “feel free to change this. Or if you don’t like that, I can take it out.” But we both just wrote and we had no issues the whole time.

Devon: It was concerning how smoothly it went. I was constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. I kept thinking, “It can’t be this easy. It’s never this easy.” I figured we were always two seconds away from having some huge fight and just walking away from the book. Not because of anything happening in the book or between us, but because it seemed too good to be true. I would write something in her character’s backstory, and be like, “If you don’t like this, feel free to change it.” And she had the same mindset. More often than not, we worked off each other’s additions rather than reworking them. Very rarely, we would change the wording if we didn’t think our character would say something a certain way…or just make a suggestion. But after our preliminary discussions about our characters, it became clear that, like with our early messages back and forth, we were on the same page.

-How did you build your characters and the plot? Did you use any visual inspiration (can’t wait to read Devon’s answer… )

Riley: I can’t wait to hear Devon’s answer either! But no visuals for me. Devon came up with the basic plot—man is on the roof to kill himself, meets a guy who talks him out of it, discovers the next day he jumped and then finds his brother. From there it all fell into place so easily. Like, I knew I needed to write Tommy. I relate to him in a lot of ways. I was nervous to want him too much because I didn’t know if Devon would. But right away he knew he needed Zack like I knew I needed Tommy and we both sort of needed Rob, so we shared him. It was really like it was all meant to be. So once we knew I was the brother and he was the one on the roof, we created our own character backstory, shared it and jumped in.

Devon: Yes, I had this idea that Riley’s referring to. I wanted to work on it, but I knew I couldn’t handle it by myself. And if I worked on a book about suicide, I wanted it to be uplifting, and I worried that if I worked on it alone, it would turn dark and morbid. I remember pitching the idea with several other concepts. Almost hiding it in the mix, hoping she would see something novel about it, but not wanting to be like, “Please choose this one!” At the time, I really felt like I needed this book, and in hindsight, it healed me in so many more ways than I thought it could when we started it. I always wanted to write Zack. Zack is who I felt I needed to write. As for visuals, I know this is going to be horribly disappointing, but I didn’t use any. When I first started writing, I used tons of visuals, but nowadays, it’s all about music. Often, it’s just one song that I listen to over and over again. It sort of sets the mood for me when I sit down to write. For this book, it was Kate Bush’s “And So Is Love.” It conveyed the sort of loneliness and hopelessness that I was trying to portray in Zack and Rob’s characters. There’s a dance in the book, and it was written with that song in mind, but it’s a reference very few people would get, and it didn’t really work in that scenario.

-What was the easiest and most difficult thing about working together?

Riley: In a lot of ways, it all felt easy. But in others, it was hard because it was emotional. It’s a heavy book, so it’s hard to be in that headspace but it helped to share that with someone else. It’s also scary to send your chapter because every one I would be like…what if he hates it???

Devon: I’m terrified of sending people my rough work, so I would just write it and send it off immediately. I was like, “If she doesn’t like this, then we’re not going to be able to work together. I can improve it, but this is an accurate depiction of where I’m at as a writer.” As Riley said, the hardest part was handling the emotions. It was a very serious subject matter, but it was nice being able to go on the journey with someone else. To not feel like I had to do it on my own.

As you said, Devon, suicide is a very emotional and serious topic. Please tell us about the reasons of picking such a difficult topic.

Riley: This is a personal topic for both of us, but for different reasons. Honestly, when we decided to write together, I had no clue we’d take something like this on, but once it was on the table, I knew there was nothing else we could write about for this first book. It was deeply personal and important for both of us.

Devon: As Riley said, the topic was very personal for both of us. More than anything, we were scared out of our minds about getting it wrong. Not only getting it wrong, but writing this depressing book that would leave people emotionally dissatisfied. We wanted an uplifting book. A book that could heal. But there was always the fear that we would take people to a dark place and not be able to get them out of it.

Riley: I agree. It was incredibly important that the book was uplifting, despite the topic. Hope can heal.

-I think you did an absolutely amazing job. I was totally under the influence for a long time and I was crying while reading the epilogue, which was a brilliant touch. What was the reaction you have got since release day?

Riley: I can say that I’ve been speechless by the response. I’ve been in tears numerous times reading private messages, emails, and comments about the book. I’ve felt honored with some of the things people have shared with me, and the impact they said the book had on them. I feel so lucky that I got to be a part of this book and I’m so glad I got to share it with Devon.

Devon: I felt like it would resonate with some people in a powerful way, but I totally underestimated the number of people who would reach out and respond with such open and moving messages. One day, I was actually in tears over a book I was working on, and I messaged Riley to tell her how good the creative juices were flowing. Then she was like, “You haven’t checked your email, have you?” It was one of these messages from someone who the book had touched in the most personal of ways. It just tore me apart. Like Riley said, I feel lucky that I could be a part of something that’s been able to touch people like this, and I’m glad I got to share the journey with someone else. It wouldn’t have meant as much if I’d done it on my own and not been able to read those sorts of responses together.

Riley: It’s humbling and…unbelievable to see something you created having an impact on people’s lives. I will never get over that experience.

-Do you have plans for future works together?

Riley: We do! And let’s say that Devon likes to keep me on my toes. He’s not going to let me take the easy way with anything. I was like…I don’t know…can we do this? And he was like, yes! Yes, we can do this! LOL.

Devon: Yes! We both like taking risks. I felt like Weight of the World was a huge risk, and I think the riskiness brought a lot of life, energy, and excitement to the project. As readers, we like being surprised by authors, so I think we keep that in mind when we’re developing books. And there is some security in knowing that we have each other around in the writing process so that one of us can be like, “Um…Not sure that’s such a great idea.”

Riley: I do like taking risks but they scare the hell out of me too. It’s nice to have someone there to hold you hand. LOL.

-I’m so happy to hear that. You guys form an amazing writing duo and I can’t wait to read more by you two in the future. What is your personal favorite book that you have written and why?

Riley: That is hard. It’s really impossible for me to answer that. I love them in different ways for different reasons. I’ll always be extremely proud of Broken Pieces. It tested me in ways I’d never experienced. Façade, one of the books I wrote under the name Nyrae Dawn will always be a favorite, as well.

Devon: I love all my books, but I owe my writing career to Clipped. Without that book, I never would have taken that leap into the world of publishing. It’s also one of my most daring books. I didn’t play by any rules. Didn’t try to make it fit any particular genre. I wrote the book I wanted to write and destroyed all my notions about what should and shouldn’t be written about. Since that book, I’ve written some daring things that I’m proud of, but that was my first big moment where I broke away from all the limiting voices in my head and wrote something wild and crazy and raw…very raw, if you know what I mean.😉

-Could you name one book (by another author) you wish that you had written?

Riley: Yes, I’m going easy on this but it’s true—Harry Potter.

Devon: Fifty Shades. I want money and lots of it. Not that the JK Rowling money would be bad, but I don’t want to have to be clean on Twitter. If I was the author of Fifty Shades, I could write whatever the fuck I wanted on social media. And I would have an Instagram account where my followers would just see pictures of me taking baths in mounds of cash.

Riley: Devon’s answer just made me snort coffee.

Devon: Mission accomplished!

-Lol… luckily I wasn’t drinking anything… I’m sure you’d have done a better job of it, Devon.😉 Do you prefer standalone or series?

Riley: Both. It depends on my mood. I do enjoy visiting previous characters in a series though.

Devon: I love writing a series. I like crafting a world and characters that can keep growing in my head. There’s something very fulfilling about watching an idea just keep getting bigger and bigger and bigger. And watching characters get deeper and deeper. But I do enjoy being able to just write characters that I can fall in love with briefly and then walk away from. The best thing about writing is that I can have a new boyfriend every month. The bf knows this, and he’s gotten used to sharing me with my characters.

Riley: I’m feeling insecure about the length of my answers compared to Devon’s…

Devon: Now you’ve made me self-conscious about the length of my answers!

-I’m saying you are both doing great.😉 How important is the interaction with your fans?

Riley: VERY. I would lose my mind if I couldn’t interact with my readers on a regular basis. They cheer me up when I have a bad day. I’m able to share my excitement with them. I feel so lucky every day of my life.

Devon: I don’t know that I would be interested in having a writing career if I couldn’t interact with readers. Part of what’s nice about writing something is that you get to share it and generate a dialogue because of it. I’m not the kind of person who could just write in a box and let that be that. And as a reader, I like knowing about the authors I read. I want to know about their lives. I want to know who they are outside of their writing, so I try to offer some insight into my life to readers the way I would want it if I was in their shoes.

-Do you have any particular advice that you have learnt from personal experience that you would like to share with someone thinking about writing their first novel?

Riley: Don’t rush. Read. Write from your heart.

Devon: I’m gonna twist Riley’s advice a little. Rush. Get it done fast, because the first one is gonna suck, imho. Then rush through another three or four books. Just get them down on paper to see that you can do it and to get those more cliché ideas out of your brain. Those always creep out first. You have to exorcise them by having already written them. I wrote fifteen novels before I ever published one. Too often, I think people try to procrastinate with the first one, and they let it become this thing that seems too big for anyone to ever accomplish. It has to be perfect. It has to be the best book ever written. No. You don’t have to try to make it the greatest thing ever. If this is your first book, odds are it won’t be, so don’t put that kind of pressure on yourself. You just have to get it down on paper. Better to have written a shitty book than no book at all. A lot of people will disagree with me there, but you can learn something from a shitty book. You can’t learn anything from no book. You don’t learn to play the piano by trying to get it right every time. You learn by making mistakes again and again and again (and allowing yourself to make those mistakes). Writing books is no different. And writing a book isn’t just about crafting pretty prose. Or building good characters. Or writing realistic dialogue. It’s about a collection of things that you can really only learn by crafting a complete novel. Check it off your bucket list now. And second, but equally important, there are two things I never wait for in life: men or muses. They aren’t reliable, and they never show up when you want them to. Get to work!

Riley: I do agree with what Devon said about rushing, in a way. I think the thing to know is…most of the time, the first book isn’t the one to publish. That’s what I meant about not rushing. I’m not saying that it never is, so please don’t think that, and also not saying I know best, but I’m similar to Devon, in that my first book was crap. I wrote it and thought it was the best book ever. I found critique partners online and realized I didn’t know crap. Head hopping? What’s that??? I took a writing class taught by published romance authors. Joined critique groups that met in real life. I wrote another book, thought it was the best book ever, and this is where I rushed when I shouldn’t have… I submitted to agents. They were like, nope. No thank you. And they should have said that! I’m glad self publishing wasn’t a big thing at that time because I could have easily published that book when it shouldn’t have been published. I worked on my craft. Found more critique partners, and found some small press epublishers who I published novellas with (and learned more through their editing process). I didn’t get my first agent until I’d written and submitted three full length books to agents.

Devon: See what I mean, guys? We really agree with each other even when we don’t. I think it’s okay to rush the first books, but eventually, once you know you can write a novel and you’ve gotten out those shit ideas, that’s when you can start taking your time and really begin trying to improve your craft. I think where the big “don’t rush” comes in is “don’t rush to publish.” It’s not a race. But then I say this knowing there are so many people who are natural geniuses whose first book probably will be more incredible than anything I could possibly write with a lifetime of practice. Those people can publish whenever.

-Something you’d like to say but we haven’t ask?

Riley: Thanks for having me! And thanks to anyone who has given Weight of the World a chance.

Devon: Ditto! We’re so happy to be able to share a book that we are really proud of with readers, and I can’t thank everyone enough for letting these boys into their hearts and lives. It’s truly an honor.

You are seriously amazing duo. It was a pleasure to have you here. Thank you again for visiting us and for this unforgettable story you created. Wish you guys all the best and can’t wait to read you in the future.

 

REVIEW: “THE WEIGHT OF IT ALL” by N.R. Walker

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TITLE: The Weight Of It All
AUTHOR: N.R. Walker
PUBLISHER: BlueHeart Press
COVER ARTIST: Sara York
GENRE: Contemporary
E-BOOK: Yes
PRICE: $ 3.99 e-book on Amazon
LENGHT: 244 pages
RELEASE DATE: 12nd September 2016

 

BLURB: After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.
He joins a gym.
Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.
As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.
Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.

 

FedericaRight from the very start, Henry and I had something in common, something we could both identify with.  After a 8 year relationship, he breaks up with his boyfriend and now feels fat.  So he decides to enrol in a gym.  So what does he have in common with me?  Well, after a 10 year relationship, I broke up with my boyfriend and though not fat, my curves could do with a bit of trimming, so I also enrolled in a gym.
We are two peas in a pod (or should that be two bodies in the same gym towels? lol) so I could identify with him and his life – the nostalgia of the relationship in which you were totally committed and realised that it takes two commitments, not just one to make it work.  At first, I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry but that soon changed.  I laughed and laughed and you will too.
The magic of the book is Henry.  He is just so much fun, he’s genuine and a really nice person as well but he feels inadequate in so many ways.  Firstly, he sees himself as fat (like me, he loves his food and wine) and if that is not enough, his horrific ex-boyfriend succeeded in lowering his self esteem to virtually nothing by suggesting that Henry is socially unacceptable (he does have a tendency not to filter when he speaks) and therefore not to speak to his co-worker!  What an asshole….
Reed is his Personal Trainer at the gym he joins.  Immediately Henry determines to himself that Reed is out of his league, but that’s not the case at all.  They fit and fit well and the more time they spend together, the more natural it becomes.
Henry begins to understand that his previous relationship wasn’t what he thought it was –

“I thought I was happy, but I’m pretty sure that I was just comfortable.  I was     happy just knowing he was a constant thing, but we didn’t have a relationship. We had a mutually agreeable companionship”

Of course Henry’s complexes are not easy to overcome, but there was support and great sub characters to show Henry the way.  He finally understands that prejudices go both ways and maybe that Reed is not what he first thought, he is different.
If you are looking for a modern fairytale, that’s really sweet with no angst, then this is the book for you.  You know that N.R. Walker is a must read for me and this book proves why.
Now there is only one very important thing missing, like Henry, I want my own very personal Personal Trainer…..off to the gym to find one, wish me luck xx

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****I would like to thank the Author for the opportunity and privilege of reading this ARC. My review was an honest opinion of the book****

 

 

RELEASE DAY: “HAWK V FALCON SURPRISE AT THE CANDY APPLE” by Elodie Parkes

HAWK V FALCON SURPRISE AT THE CANDY APPLE

 

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Hi Chris,

 I wanted to contact you for years. I missed you so much. I’m sorry it’s been so long. I still picture your face. I still have the T-shirt you gave me when we got soaked in that storm. I still crave your kiss. If that’s pathetic, I don’t care. I wish we’d done more than kiss. I wish I had the memory of making love with you to sustain me. I saw you on the street one day recently. At first, I wasn’t sure it was you, but it was. I couldn’t help contacting you. I’m sorry. I hope I haven’t stirred up painful memories. We tried so hard not to love each other. Do you remember how great it was when we admitted it? I’ve never loved anyone the way I loved you. I still love you. I wish things had been different. Always yours, Justin.

 

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When Chris Falconer receives an email from his lost high school friend, Justin, ten years after he last saw him, Chris is overjoyed. The two boys had shared kisses and sworn love for each other, but before their love could be tested, Justin’s mother abruptly took Justin out of school, and they disappeared.

Multi-talented and handsome Chris is a cage fighter at Jack’s Clubhouse, and the Dungeon Master in the Candy Apple club. He writes a column for a fitness blog and keeps himself busy, but deep down he’s never forgotten Justin—turns out Justin has never forgotten Chris either.

On a modeling assignment in New York, Justin sees Chris in a café and can’t help contacting him, but his ex, Todd, who doesn’t want Justin but doesn’t want Chris to have him either, has plans to throw their reunion into disarray.

So begins a love story full of emotion. Will Todd succeed? Or this time, will Justin and Chris have the happy ending and delicious love they deserve?

FIND the BOOK on AMAZON

 

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About Elodie:

I’m a writer who is in love with happy endings, currently based in southern UK.

I love music, art, flowers, trees, the ocean. I work with antiques by day and words by night. Like a vampire, darkness is my friend, that’s when the silence is only broken by an occasional hoot of owls in the woodlands opposite my home, and I write.

Find Elodie online: Blog  Facebook  FB  Twitter Google + G+  Pinterest  Blog 2  Tumblr  ManicReaders Amazon

GIVEAWAY: A kindle copy of Love Unmasked, At the Candy Apple and a kindle copy of Heart in Chains

The winner will need to provide their kindle email address

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REVIEW: “TIED UP IN KNOTS” by Mary Calmes

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TITLE: Tied up in knots
AUTHOR: Mary Calmes
SERIES: Marshals – book 3
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Mystery/suspense
E-BOOK: Yes
PRICE: $ 6.99 e-book  on Dreamspinner Press Store
LENGHT: 260 pages
RELEASE DATE: 16th July 2016

 

BLURB: Miro Jones is living the life: he’s got his exciting, fulfilling job as a US deputy marshal, his gorgeous Greystone in suburban Chicago, his beloved adopted family, and most importantly, the man who captured his heart, Ian Doyle. Problem is, Ian isn’t just his partner at work—Ian’s a soldier through and through. That commitment takes him away from Miro, unexpectedly and often, and it’s casting a shadow over what could be everything Miro could ever dream of.

Work isn’t the same without Ian. Home isn’t the same, either, and Miro’s having to face his fears alone… how to keep it together at the office, how to survive looming threats from the past, and worst of all, how to keep living without Ian’s rock-solid presence at his side. His life is tied up in knots, but what if unknotting them requires something more permanent? What would that mean for him and Ian? Miro’s stuck between two bad choices, and sometimes the only way to get out of the knot is to hold tight to your lifeline and pull.

 

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The new installment of the Marshals series is here. My beloved Ian and Miro are finally back. And what a ride they get. I was glued to my Kindle till the last page, and I truly love these guys even more than ever before.

This is a signature Mary Calmes story with all the elements of her amazing writing style and action packed, fast paced storytelling. If you are a fan, you are in for a great treat. If you are new to this author, you should definitely start with the first two Marshal books to catch up with the backstory, and the amazing set of characters, being main, secondary, or recurring ones from previous books. (There’s even a cameo mention of Dre from Acrobat… thanks for that to the author btw.)

Miro and Ian have to deal with some serious problems in their relationship in the midst of all the action going on from an unexpected fallout from Ian’s past to a quirky rock star who needs protective custody, from Miro’s new sexy neighbor who wants to be more than neighborly to dealing with unforeseen events in this amazing family/group of friends. The plotline is probably the craziest I’ve ever read, with the quirkiest, funniest banter, the portrayal of the most admirable connection amongst the team members and their families, and the ever present hotness and rightness of Miro and Ian’s chemistry and their undeniable love for one another. While some parts of the storyline get final conclusions and some closure, many of them remain unanswered or at least open… hopefully giving the possibility for some more books to come.

I truly love these two guys and the way they love each other. This was probably the most difficult book for them as they had to deal with their emotions, and their priorities. Although the boiling point in the story was a bit too much for me, I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read more…

 

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**** The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press in exchange of an honest review.****

 

REVIEW: “SHIVER” by Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott

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TITLE: Shiver
AUTHOR: Jocelynn Drake & Rinda Elliott
SERIES: Unbreakable Bonds Series – book 1
PUBLISHER: CreateSpace
COVER ARTIST: Stephen Drake
GENRE: Contemporary
E-BOOK: Yes
PRICE: $ 4.92 e-book on Amazon
LENGHT: 330 pages
RELEASE DATE: 27th October 2015

 

BLURB:  Lucas Vallois is always in control. He’s building an empire in the glittering city of Cincinnati and created his own family from his three close friends. The self-made millionaire has everything he wants within his tight grasp. But his world starts to crumble after he’s jumped by a trio of thugs late one night after leaving a club. The warning is clear—give up his new property venture or end up dead. Caving to the demands of his friends, Lucas accepts the help of bodyguard, Andrei Hadeon, as he hunts for the source of this new threat. But as Lucas gets closer to uncovering the danger, he realizes the sexy Romanian bodyguard poses an even bigger risk to his carefully constructed world. Trapped by a need he never expected, Lucas must find a way to deny the shiver of longing he cannot control. His brother. His warrior. His heart. Four friends. Unbreakable bonds.

 

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How in the world did I miss this? I’m kicking myself because this was just wonderful,  I need more and ashamed of myself for not reading it sooner!
I saw this some time ago on Amazon, the cover immediately caught my eye as did the blurb, I knew it was something that I could enjoy but I never realised just how much and how these two wonderful authors would hold me spellbound, I really couldn’t get enough.
The characters are just wonderful, all four of them. I fell immediately in love with Lucas, Rowe, Snow and Ian.  These aren’t just a group of friends, they are family.
I was so envious of their friendship, the bond they have is strong and palpable.
Though this storyline focuses on Lucas, we see enough of all four together for you to want to read their stories and trust me on this, you will want too. Book 2 is already out, Book 3 will be out in October (hooray) but we will have to wait for Book 4, but judging from I’ve just read, it’s going to worth the wait.
Lucas is the head of this group. He is the rock. He’s a self made millionaire, the owner of the hottest nightclubs in the city and seriously grounded.
Because of a business deal, he gets attacked and injured. Rowe immediately decides that he needs a bodyguard.  And this bodyguard is what changed Lucas’s life forever…..
Anyone that reads my reviews, knows that I love the slow burn and Lucas and Andrei gave it to me, exactly as I like it.
As the story develops, we see all the different aspects of Lucas (great, interesting character) but also just how complicated Andrei is! Andrei was more difficult for me, I think I got so carried away by Lucas, Rowe, Snow and Ian, that he slipped under my radar a little bit as they stole all my attention.
This is suspense at its very best and as such, I can’t give anything away – you will have to read it for yourselves but I will tell you this, Lucas and Andrei are hot! your heart is going to beat faster – you’ve been warned.
I strongly recommend that you read book 1.5 “Lucas” immediately after this one, nope, not going to tell you why and spoil the fun.
Would love to tell you more but I’m off to read Shatter, Snow is waiting for me…..

 

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PRE-RELEASE REVIEW: “MAD LIZARD MAMBO” by Rhys Ford

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TITLE: Mad Lizard Mambo
AUTHOR: Rhys Ford
SERIES: The Kai Gracen Series – book 2
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
COVER ARTIST: Anne Cain
GENRE: Fantasy
E-BOOK: Yes
PRICE: $ 6.99 e-book  on DSP Publications Store
LENGHT: 240 pages
RELEASE DATE: 13rd September 2016

 

BLURB: Kai Gracen has no intention of being anyone’s pawn. A pity Fate and SoCalGov have a different opinion on the matter.

Licensed Stalkers make their living hunting down monsters and dangerous criminals… and their lives are usually brief, brutal, and thankless. Despite being elfin and cursed with a nearly immortal lifespan, Kai didn’t expect to be any different. Then Ryder, the High Lord of the Southern Rise Court, arrived in San Diego, and Kai’s not-so-mundane life went from mild mayhem to full-throttle chaos.

Now an official liaison between the growing Sidhe Court and the human populace, Kai is at Ryder’s beck and call for anything a High Lord might need a Stalker to do. Unfortunately for Kai, this means chasing down a flimsy rumor about an ancient lost Court somewhere in the Nevada desert—a court with powerful magics that might save Ryder’s—and Kai’s—people from becoming a bloody memory in their Merged world’s violent history.

The race for the elfin people’s salvation opens unwelcome windows into Kai’s murky past, and it could also slam the door on any future he might have with his own kind and Ryder.

 

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Mad Lizard Mambo is the second book of the Kai Gracen series and for the best entertainment, and better understanding the stories should be read in that order, so if you haven’t read Black Dog Blues, I suggest you start there to get to know Kai and this unique, amazing and equally disturbing fantasy world Rhys Ford created.

I normally read contemporary romance so this urban fantasy got me out of my comfort zone big time. It took me awhile to get into it but when it happened, I had a great time reading this exciting, action-packed story. I took a shine to Kai and going on this adventure with him gave me a unique reading experience. Kai is an intriguing character with a raw and very strong personality. He is every bit of the tough hero we expect him to be. He has a rough life and he has to fight for every hour, every day for his existence. His life is a constant struggle, a constant chain of battles. Honestly, I had to skip a few paragraphs about his childhood, especially his memories of being tortured.

This book takes us on his next mission, which is just as dangerous as everything else in his life. The story is fast paced, and it keeps you at the edge of your seat till the last page. The portrayal of this amazing and disconcerting world is very vivid and all the elements are perfectly detailed. You find yourself drawn into an unknown, cruel and scary world, being on an entertaining, adventurous roller coaster ride you hope to survive. Some parts were a bit too disturbing for my taste so I had to skip a few scenes, but there are enough twists and turns to keep you on your toes and enough flirting and emotions to give your heart a bit of warmth.

If you are a fan of Kai, or urban fantasy books in general, this is definitely a must read for you.

 

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**** I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC.  My review is an honest opinion of the book.****