Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Release Day Review: Override by SJD Peterson #Review #Giveaway

Author: SJD Peterson
Book: Override
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: August 31, 2016
Length: 212 pages

Reviewed by Erin


Don’t judge a book by its cover….

At over six feet, with a body honed in the gym, auto worker Donavan Gregory is used to people assuming he’s a dominant top. Unfortunately, they’re wrong, and Donavan’s desire to explore his submissive side goes unfulfilled.

Smaller and older than Donavan, Doctor Seth Manning might not look like a typical dominant, but when the two men meet at Pride, Donavan realized Seth might be his perfect counterpart. The trouble is, Donavan doesn’t have as much experience with the BDSM world as he’d like. What could an educated, handsome, and confident man like Seth possibly see in someone like him? Seth must convince him that despite the differences on the surface, when it comes to kinky fun and discovery, they’ll fit together just fine.

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When I saw that SJD Peterson was starting a new series, I was really excited. I loved her Guards of Folsom series (especially Blake and Ty) so there is no doubt that SJD can write BDSM and do it well. Unfortunately, Override didn't live up to my expectations. I was so disappointed. There is a noticeable lack of chemistry between the two main characters, and with the exception of a bit of low self confidence on the part of Donavan and a bit of over the top and contrived (and confusing) drama at the end, there really wasn't much to this story to keep me interested. 

There are things to like about this book, though. Donavan Gregory isn't your average submissive. He's tall, he's built, and just looking at him no one would ever think he craves to be dominated. I'm a big fan of going against stereotypes so seeing this in the blurb grabbed my attention right off the bat. I also really liked that he's just an everyday kind of guy. He works in a factory, he works out after work with his best friend, Cain. He adores his mother, he plays poker with his friends, and likes to hang out and drink beer. I liked all that, a lot. I also liked that Dr. Seth Manning is slight and much smaller than Donavan. I also really enjoyed Seth's family. His brothers were funny, his sister is lovely, and his parents are supportive and sweet. 

Besides some pretty hot sex, of which tying someone up and telling them not to come until you say so does not BDSM make, there wasn't much else to the story. There isn't a mention of safewords until well after Donavan and Seth begin their relationship, and by that time, I felt like the BDSM part of things was more play acting than genuine. It all felt forced and I didn't buy into it at all. I much preferred them just cuddling on the couch and eating dinner. Those parts I enjoyed greatly. There is also a phrase that's used very early in the book that took me right out of the first sex scene and really kept me from enjoying any of them from that point on. I'm all for dirty talk, sometimes the dirtier the better, but this time, it just so did not work. And a personal quibble, the way Donavan's name is spelled made me cringe every time I saw it. Of course names and their spelling's are totally the author's prerogative, but this one really just grated on me. 

All in all, I think this might be a case of it's me and not the book. If you like your books with mostly fluff and next to no drama (or anything else but sex) then I suggest you give this book a try. And that cover? It's gorgeous, and might be enough to make me check out the next book in the series and hope for a win.


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Release Day Review: Lord of a Thousand Steps by Tara Lain #Review #Giveaway

Author: Tara Lain
Book: Lord of a Thousand Steps
Series: Love in Laguna #4
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publication date: August 31, 2016
Length: 246 pages

Reviewed by Meredith


To architecture student Ian Carney, family means everything. Taken in by his brother, Jim, when his father threw him out at eighteen for being gay, Ian yearns to create his own family with his boyfriend, Rico. But Rico’s in Mexico caring for a sick father, Ian hasn’t had sex in a month and a half, and his gorgeous boss, Braden Lord, CEO of the architectural firm Ian interns for, is looking better and better.

Braden’s life is chaos. Just out of the closet and going through an ugly divorce from his wife of fifteen years who’s trying to take custody of his two children, he desperately resolves not to succumb to a completely inappropriate attraction to Ian—even though his kids adore both the man and his crazy cat.

When Rico proves to be a snake in the grass and Ian exercises his powers of seduction, what starts as a “friends with benefits” fling turns into real life real fast. Can Ian give up his romantic dreams for an “old guy” who didn’t come out until he carried a mountain of baggage? It’ll only take a thousand steps.

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Love in Laguna is my favorite series of Tara Lain. I’ve read each one and loved each one. Book 4, Lord of a Thousand Steps was one particular story I was desperate to read. 

Remember Ian Carney Jim’s little brother and his cat Anderson Cooper? Well I remember him. We are getting little brother’s story and it took me by surprise. When we last saw him in Jim’s book he was dating Rico and talking happily ever afters. Well things have changed and it’s quite the tale.
Ian is a bright light even though he lost so much when his dad kicked him out 3 years ago. He was taken in by his big brother and Jim and Ken. They have taken amazing care of Ian. But Ian is so smart and creative so it’s no wonder as an Intern for a major Architectural firm that he’d get noticed and progress further than any intern before him. Of course he also catches the eye of his boss, Brayden Lord. 

Oh Brayden. He has a heartbreaking present life I tell you. Two amazing kids but a horrid ex-wife that’s trying to destroy his life.

Ian and Brayden don’t meet on level ground and of course that’s how Tara likes to do things. We are taking a journey…. A thousand steps journey. Brayden and Ian’s love story is emotional and challenging and I gasped and swore and hoped all the way through it.

This is a wonderful universe that Tara has created. Each character is unique and every story is creative and entertaining. There’s a lot of love in Lord of a Thousand Steps. The realism Tara brings to her characters is what makes them all the more engaging.
Amazing book and wonderful series.


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Blog Tour: Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens #Review #Excerpt #Giveaway



TITLE: Wide Open Spaces 

AUTHOR: Renee Stevens 

PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press 

COVER ARTIST: Maria Fanning 

LENGTH: 35,632 words 

RELEASE DATE: August 31, 2016 

BLURB: Devon fled Wyoming as soon as he turned eighteen, leaving behind his high school love, Levi. After six years in the big city, Devon returns to his hometown. Not much has changed, except that Levi is no longer in the closet. He’s also single and living his dream—managing the local wild horse population. Both of them are very interested in picking up where they left off, but Devon is no more ready to reveal his orientation than he was as a teenager. 

No one is going to shove Levi back in the closet—not even Devon. For a relationship to work, they’ll have to put the past behind them and find the courage to face the future as who they really are—a couple in love. But Devon doesn’t know if he’s strong enough. Maybe Levi would be better off without him—and his hang-ups. 

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States. 


Devon dug his keys out of his pocket and headed for the door. He’d get something to eat and then maybe stop at the store to pick up a few staples. Paper plates, sandwich fixings, some chips, and he’d be good for a couple of days. At least it would give him time to get a few things—like pots and pans—unpacked. Then he could do a full grocery shop.

An hour later he was comfortably full from a greasy burger, fries, and a shake. He’d never eaten a lot of fast food, but he had few other options. He headed to Walmart, determined to stick to his list of sandwich stuff and maybe some eggs. Surely he could dig out some pans before the food expired. He headed to the chips first and scanned for the familiar bag of Cheddar and Sour Cream Ruffles. They were his all-time favorite, though he also knew he’d want something else after a day or two. So he grabbed a couple of other bags and headed for the eggs and then the freezer aisle.

Sandwiches and chips would get old fast. He found some frozen breakfast sandwiches he could microwave, tossed them in the cart, and moved on. Frozen lasagna quickly joined the few other items in his cart, followed by some potpies, a few TV dinners, and a bag of chimichangas. So what if he wasn’t sticking to his mental list?

He was more focused on getting groceries for the next few days than on the people around him.


He froze when a familiar voice spoke his name. He closed his eyes briefly, ducked his head, and steeled himself. He knew it would happen eventually, when he found out Levi still lived there. He thought he’d have more time to prepare. He swallowed—hard—and turned to face the man who had at one time meant everything to him. The man he’d risked being found out for. He lifted his head and gazed into the moss-colored eyes.

“Levi.” He hadn’t changed much. The goatee was new, but the shaggy black hair was the same. Devon kept his gaze squarely on Levi’s face, despite wanting to look him over completely. Not that he needed to. Levi had always been his exact opposite when it came to looks. Green eyes to his blue. Black hair to his blond. 

Slender and toned where he was more stocky and muscular. The only similarity was their height. Devon was no giant, but he was a little taller than average, and Levi was only slightly shorter than him.

“I wasn’t sure it was you at first.” Levi smiled, but Devon could still see the same hurt in his eyes as the day he left. “I thought you were never coming back here. At least that’s what you said when you left.”

There was no accusation in Levi’s voice, but Devon winced just the same.

“I never planned to.” He forced himself to shrug like it didn’t matter. “I tried to stay away, but the city is nothing like here. Too many people, too much traffic, and you have to drive quite a ways to be able to see the stars.” Devon shifted from foot to foot, and he opened and closed his hands at his side. “We don’t have to do this.” He motioned from Levi to himself and back. “In fact I’d understand if you hate me and want nothing to do with me.”

“I never hated you.” Levi sighed. “I understood why you left. Even if I wished you didn’t feel the need to.” Levi scanned him from head to toe. He smiled, but there was a sad quality to it. “You look good. When did you get back?”

“A few days ago.” Somebody reached around him, and he realized he was blocking the burrito section. He moved out of the way and motioned with his head for Levi to follow him. He wasn’t sure if he was happy or not when Levi complied. He headed to the fruit and vegetable department, knowing there was a spot near the bananas where they could talk without being in anyone’s way. He stopped by the display and turned back to Levi. “I wasn’t sure if you’d still be here.”

“You know me.” Levi glanced away for a second and then turned back. “This is home. Are you back for good?”

“Yeah. I learned I’m truly a country boy at heart.” He chuckled. “Guess I should have listened when you told me I’d hate the city.”

“You never were very good at listening.” Levi shook his head. “I should let you go before both of our groceries start thawing.”

Devon wanted to stop him but wasn’t sure it was a good idea. He’d never completely gotten over Levi. Devon studied his ex as he walked away. He was still slender, but he had more muscle tone than he had at eighteen. Levi stopped and looked back.

“Maybe we could get together sometime. Catch up over a few beers?” Levi’s voice was barely more than a whisper, like he wasn’t sure he was doing the right thing, but Devon heard him. “I’m sure we have a lot to talk about.”


Every reader has their go to, the type of book that never fails to satisfy and leave you with a smile on your face. Mine is second chance love stories. I absolutely adore them. Throw in two guys from a small town who used to be best friends, well, then, I'm all over that in a heartbeat, which is why I was so excited when I saw the blurb for Wide Open Spaces by Renee Stevens. As part of Dreamspinner's States of Love series, I was really looking forward to this story set in Wyoming. There really is just something about imagining all that land and sky that pulls you right in. 

Devon Rhodes left his hometown of Rock Springs as soon as he turned eighteen leaving his best friend, Levi, in his wake. Levi left as well, to go off to college, only to come back out and proud. When Devon shows up after six years, both men have changed. As a teenager, Devon couldn't wait to escape his small town, but finds that city living isn't quite what he was expecting. Neither man has ever really gotten over the other and when their paths cross, old feelings that have been buried simmer to the surface. Only problem is, Devon isn't any more ready to be out than he was at eighteen. 

I'll admit, it took me a while to warm up to Devon, and since the book is so short, I didn't really have time to get to the point where I was rooting for him and Levi to get their HEA. There is quite a bit of back and forth as far as Devon is concerned. Sure he's still in love with Levi and wants to be with him, but not enough to be honest about who he is. After spending so much time out and proud, Levi's refusal to go back into the closet makes sense. There also really wasn't quite as satisfying an ending as I would have liked. The book is well written, but I found it a little hard to be too invested. All in all, this is a decent book and a nice way to spend an hour or two.


Renee Stevens first started writing in her teens but didn’t get serious about being an author until her mid-twenties.  Since then she’s written a number of contemporary stories, as well as delved into the paranormal.  When not writing, or spending time in the outdoors, Renee can be usually be found working on in her capacity of admin and Anthology Coordinator. 

Renee resides in Wyoming with her wonderfully supportive husband and a menagerie of four-legged critters.  Making the most of the nearly constant negative temperatures and mounds of snow, Renee spends much of the winter months in hibernation with her laptop, the voices in her head keeping her company while her husband works. When she needs a break from writing, Renee takes to the sewing machine to design, and make, beautiful quilts. 

When the snow finally disappears, usually around May or June, Renee can be found in the great-outdoors.  She spends her time on the mountain, at the lake, and just anywhere that she can do some camping, take some photos, and ride the four-wheelers with her hubby.  Once back at home, it’s back to writing.


Winner’s Prize: No More Hiding ebook, Challenging Fate ebook, $10 Amazon GC.

Runner Up Prize: No More Hiding ebook.


September 1: Author Dean Frech

September 7: BFD Book Blog

September 8: MM Book Escape

September 9: Louise Lyons

September 14: Prism Book Alliance

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Cover Reveal: Delaney and the Autumn Masque by Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon #Excerpt

Delaney and the Autumn Masque
Series: Victorian Holiday Hearts #4
Authors: Bonnie Dee & Summer Devon
Publication date: October 3, 2016
Length: 75 pages

Victorian Holiday Hearts 

Four seasons, four novellas about one theatrical family.
They were the source of entertainment in a world without movies or television. Magic, singing and dancing, acting—the adopted and biological sons the Andrews family could do it all. And in the warmth of their eccentric and large family circle, they could be anyone they wanted or love whomever they wished. In a world where men loving men was a crime, the Andrews and their friends had their own support for true love.
The stories
Simon and the Christmas Spirit
Will and the Valentine Saint
Mike and the Spring Awakening
And thanks to Meredith for letting us introduce the cover of our last Victorian Holiday Hearts story:
Delaney and the Autumn Masque


Bartholomew picked up the greasy deck of cards. They were sticky but he managed to do a few tricks that didn’t involve special decks. He put them down and decided to use a coin. That was easier to use when doing the basic tricks of vanishing and conjuring objects. He quickly went through his small repertoire, feeling silly, as if he were a child showing off school room drawings to a member of the Royal Academy of Art.
“You’re fast enough and you do fairly good distraction,” Andrews said. “But to take diamonds from a lady’s ear? That takes even more--”
He interrupted. “I don’t think I need to do that, I mean not right away. Oh, I say, how would it be if you removed my cufflinks for instance?” He hoped it sounded as if he’d only just come up with the idea. But Delaney gave him a sharp suspicious frown and held his gaze. “Come now, sir, tell me why you’d want me to do that?” He pushed forward and brushed his hand over Bartholomew’s coat sleeve.
A gentle touch. Oh Lord, Bartholomew’s heart sped fast and he had trouble drawing breath.
Did he recognize him at last? Was this the moment Delaney leaned close and put his mouth on his and drew him into a real embrace?
But then Delaney held up a closed fist. When he opened it, Bartholomew’s plain silver cufflinks taken from his shirtsleeves lay on his palm.
He couldn’t help it, Bartholomew applauded.
“And my jacket is tightly fitted,” he said.
“I noticed,” Andrews said. He wore that cocky grin that made Bartholomew’s heart beat almost as fast as his touch.
Not a swooning young lady, he reminded himself. He held out his hands for the cufflinks.
“Allow me,” Andrews said and gave his wrist a tug.
It wasn’t Bartholomew’s imagination. Those deft fingers ran along his wrist, the sensitive skin over his pulse. If Andrews didn’t want anyone to feel his touch, he wouldn’t. So that had to mean Andrews deliberately allowed the backs of his fingers to rest on Bartholomew’s skin, to delicately brush him and raise the small hairs of his lower arm and. . .
“Did we come to terms?” Andrews said. He moved away and Bartholomew was surprised to see his cufflinks back in place.
“Eh? What?” He cleared his throat. “What?” Oh very adroit speech, Bartholomew. Very smooth indeed.
“Do you agree to pay me a full three quid to learn three tricks?”
“Which tricks do you have in mind?”
Andrews stared off into the hanging lamp for a long minute as if debating what to answer then he shrugged. “I can teach you to remove a lady’s earrings, to remove gentleman’s cufflinks and to pick a man’s pocket.”
“Yes.” He had the money from Clara. And not only would it be worth learning the skills to thwart Russell, it meant that he could indulge in his new favorite hobby, standing near Delaney Andrews and enjoying the sight of the man, the scent of him, the way his smile lit his bright green-brown eyes. .
Not. Swooning.
“You already know the first thing you must do is distract your audience’s attention.” He inched even closer so the heat of his body seemed to touch Bartholomew with a phantom embrace.
Bartholomew grew dizzy—and realized he’d forgotten to breathe for too long. He sucked in a lungful of air and drew in more of Andrews. He might be smaller than Bartholomew but his presence enveloped and overwhelmed the room and everything in it, most especially Bartholomew. The sight, the scent, the presence of the man held more power than Bartholomew had felt before. It was a magic he didn’t know.
He backed away, put up his hands and closed his eyes. He must think.
“Are you ill?” Andrews sounded mocking. “Are you not fond of small places? Of being too close to another man?”
Bartholomew might be slightly dazzled in his presence but he understood. Andrews had recognized him. Likely the man had known him from the first.  Why had he been pretending otherwise? Bartholomew opened his eyes. “You know who I am.”
“You are Bartholomew Bancroft. You introduced yourself already.”
“No. You know who I am.” He stepped forward and saw a flash of something--a challenge perhaps—in those eyes. It gave Bartholomew confidence. “You couldn’t have forgotten of course, since it was only last night.”
Andrews licked his lips. His steady gaze fell for a moment. He seemed afraid or unsure—and perhaps that was why he had hidden. Bartholomew’s pique vanished at once.
“I wouldn’t tell anyone,” Bartholomew said softly and when he took another step, his body came up against Andrews’s. “I am not such a cad to do such a thing.”
“No kissing and telling for Death?”
There, out in the open at last. “Never. I will be silent as the grave.”
Andrews groaned. “That was a terrible joke.” But he smiled and raised his hands and touched Bartholomew’s cheek and his jaw. “Did you know you are quite beautiful?”
That was the very last thing he expected to hear. “Uh. No. Thank you,” he managed. “You too.”
Andrews laughed and pulled his face down to his. His kiss instantaneously lit Bartholomew. He reached out and grabbed Andrews and hauled him up against him--waiting another second would be too long. 
And the way his magician wrapped himself around him made it clear Bartholomew wasn’t the only one who had been thinking of their embraces.

About the Authors

Summer Devon

Award-winning author.
Summer Devon is the pen name historical romance writer Kate Rothwell often uses. Whether the characters are male or female, human or dragon, Summer’s books are always romance.

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Bonnie Dee

NY Times and USA Today Bestselling Author

I enjoy reading stories about people damaged by life who find healing with a like-minded soul. When I couldn't find enough books to suit my taste, I began to write them.
My online presence:Website,ON FACEBOOK or Twitter @Bonnie_Dee. Sign up for my newsletter on the main page of my web site.