Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme where we have the opportunity to let others know about books that we are eagerly waiting for.

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Listen To Your Heart
Author: Kasie West
Genre: Young Adult
Find it on Goodreads

Releases on: May 29th 2018!!

 Talking to other people isn't Kate Bailey's favorite activity. She'd much rather be out on the lake, soaking up the solitude and sunshine. So when her best friend, Alana, convinces Kate to join their high school's podcast, Kate is not expecting to be chosen as the host. Now she'll have to answer calls and give advice on the air? Impossible.

But to Kate's surprise, she turns out to be pretty good at the hosting gig. Then the podcast gets in a call from an anonymous guy, asking for advice about his unnamed crush. Kate is pretty sure that the caller is gorgeous Diego Martinez, and even surer that the girl in question is Alana. Kate is excited for her friend ... until Kate herself starts to develop feelings for Diego. Suddenly, Kate finds that while doling out wisdom to others may be easy, asking for help is tougher than it looks, and following your own advice is even harder.

Kasie West's adorable story of secrets, love, and friendship is sure to win over hearts everywhere.

Why I'm waiting:  This sounds super adorable, and Kasie West always has the cutest book covers!  I've still only read one book from Kasie West (Lucky in Love) but I've got two more on my shelves that I've been meaning to give a try (P.S. I Like You & The Fill-In Boyfriend).

What books are you excited about?

Review: Alasdair by Ella Frank

Monday, October 23, 2017

Title: Alasdair
Author: Ella Frank
Series: Masters Among Monsters, #1
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Publication date: October 13th 2015
Find it here: Goodreads, Amazon

 A dangerous allure…

Alasdair Kyriakous is one of the most feared and ruthless vampires in existence. Bestowed eternal life by the Ancient Vasilios, his name carries much weight across the continents. 
But he is a mystery to his kind, an anomaly among the self-indulgent. While he enjoys the pleasures of the flesh, he is exceptionally particular in who he takes them from, priding himself on his ironclad self-control. 
Yet with one look, and one man, his control will become a thing of the past, and Alasdair will discover—eternal life doesn’t always last forever…

A deadly attraction…

Thrust into a world he never knew existed, Leo Chapel has awoken in his worst nightmare. One that is being orchestrated by the dangerously, mesmerizing vampire, Alasdair. 
He’s taken him hostage, convinced that Leo is hiding something after he managed to incapacitate him, and has vowed to do whatever is necessary to discover what that is—even if Leo himself has no clue.

A forbidden desire that could destroy a race…

Brought together by a force neither are aware of, both Alasdair and Leo are ignorant that they are pawns to a higher power. All they know, is the more time they spend trying to uncover the others secrets, the stronger the attraction becomes. 
But enemies are watching, from afar and from within, and when decisions that will alter lives and destinies have to be made—can a dead grey heart learn to beat again?

I've read a couple of Ella Frank's MM romances and I enjoyed them for the most part, so I was really excited when I found this series available through Kindle Unlimited.  This series is so different from anything that I've read from her before, and I love vampires, so I couldn't say no.  Every year around Halloween I find myself wanting to read thrillers or books with vampires to help me get into the spooky holiday spirit. lol!  While I really loved the world that Ella Frank created with all of the vampires and mythology, I thought the romance aspect fell a bit short.

Alasdair is a "first sired" vampire, meaning he is one of the most powerful and feared vampires in existence. He was sired by Vasilious, who is even more powerful than he is. Vasilious owns him and can command him at will.  Alasdair is ruthless with a magnetic sexual appeal. His looks have lured plenty of humans to their death, while experiencing a pleasure unlike anything they've ever experienced. He's also a vampire of particular tastes, so not just anyone experiences the pleasure of receiving his carnal attentions. But after seeing Leo one night that seems to change everything for him.  He finds himself drawn to him, even if he doesn't understand why.

Leonidas Chapel has a dream involving a sexy man, but quickly learns that it wasn't a dream like he thought.  He remembers being bitten and then waking up in a room alone.  He is thrust in a world unlike any he's ever imagined existed. He finds himself inexplicably drawn to Alasdair, while also fearing Alasdair will end his life at any moment. Every time they kiss Leo receives visions from the past, and they find that they may be connected more than they originally thought.

There was A LOT of sexual tension and chemistry in this one but not very much "follow through", if that makes any sense.  Things were built up and built up but then halted, so when things finally did happen, I wanted a little more and I also felt a little let down.  I'm still really confused about how this relationship is going to pan out.  Is it truly Alasdair and Leo, or is Vasilious also going to be part of their relationship too??  I don't really know, but I seems like that may be the case, which kind of bums me out.  We spent the whole book feeling the chemistry between Leo and Alasdair that it felt really frustrating when Vasilious involved himself repeatedly.  Maybe after I see how all three interact in the next book, I can get more on board with them all together but as of now, I don't love it.

This story had a pretty slow start and took a while to get going but I was really into it by the end.  Things still aren't completely clear to me as to what is really going on, but I'm hoping that is going to be a little more clear in the next story.  I was really disappointed with the ending in this one.  There's nothing gradual at all about it.  Nothing is figured out, but there isn't really a huge cliffhanger moment either.  It just ends.  It felt really abrupt and strange.

Even though I didn't absolutely love everything about this one, I feel intrigued enough to continue on with the next book in the series because I need to know what happens.  The next book in this series is going to be a M/F romance, but it will still involve all of the characters we met in this book.  Although the next book is supposed to focus more on Isadora, I'm still hoping for a little more insight on how things are going to work with this couple from Alasdair.

Find it here:

My Artwork: Hocus Pocus

Friday, October 20, 2017

Just in case you are new here: I've been sharing my artwork on my blog for a couple months now.  I was a little unsure about sharing it at first because this is primarily a bookish blog, so I decided to share my book inspired artwork to sort of tie it in.  I switched things up a little bit this month because Halloween is coming up, and I wanted to do something for the holiday.  This one isn't book inspired but it was still a lot of fun, and I wanted to share it with you all!  I've got plans to eventually start an Etsy/Society 6 site but I STILL haven't made the jump.  I'm just nervous to take that first step, I think.  I hoping to have things started and ready for the beginning of 2018.  That's my goal, at least.

This is the 8th painting of mine that I've shared so far on my blog.  I've included the links to the others below my newest painting. I decided to go with Hocus Pocus because it's my favorite Halloween movie. lol!  I'm a big sissy so the scary movies aren't really for me, but this one is so much fun that I watch it every year.

Now I'm trying to figure out what my next painting will be....Any fun suggestions for me?

(some progress shots because I think they are fun to share. lol)

Other art posts:

What do you think?

Mini Reviews: Wheels Up & Off the Ice

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Wheel's Up by Annabeth Albert

Synopsis: Their love is forbidden, but their hearts aren't listening to rules and regulations.

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he's his SEAL team's new XO-and a man with a secret. Or seven. He's kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semianonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction-they're taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.

Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn't always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He'll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.

But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they're just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team's newest member, they're in for the shock of a lifetime...and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good.

With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.
Review: I didn't end up loving this one as much as the others in the series. They had some sexual chemistry but nothing that made me want to root for them as a couple.  We are told that they've become close online throughout their many talks, but we don't get to see many of those as they have been talking online for a few months prior to the beginning of this story.  There were quite a few steamy scenes involving some light kink and dirty talk but I wanted to see more "couple-y moments".  I didn't feel like I ever connected to the characters and they drove me pretty nuts with their hot and cold behavior. It's became VERY repetitive after a while: "We can't see each other anymore because it's against the rules and we could be court-martialed", followed by a sex scene. Then right back to "We can't see each other" again...over and over.  I also didn't love the ending as much as I had hoped.  With as much of the back and forth behavior and guilt over repeatedly allowing it to happen over and over I wanted things to be solid and wrapped up tight, and I didn't get that feeling with this ending.  Things were still in a HFN state, with plans for the future.


Off the Ice by Avon Gale & Piper Vaughn

Synopsis: Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire—if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.
Review:  I really enjoyed this one.  I read Permanent Ink, that was written by both authors, and I enjoyed it even though I had a few issues with it.  I ended up liking this one even more than that one.  Off the Ice had a lot of the things that I love in romances: great banter, some humor, steamy chemistry, and it's an opposites attract story.  This one also has a little bit of kink and an age gap, which I'm normally not a huge fan of, but I didn't mind it in this one.  The storyline is primarily relationship focused but that didn't bother me too much.  Sebastian and Tristan have a ton of chemistry together which makes for some steamy scenes but I thought the gradual feelings in the relationship were handled realistically. 

Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme where we have the opportunity to let others know about books that we are eagerly waiting for.

Hosted by Breaking the Spine

Title: Starry Eyes
Author: Jenn Bennett
Genre: Young Adult
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Find it on Goodreads

Releases On:  April 3rd 2018!

In this romantic dramedy from the author of Alex, Approximately, a teen girl’s way-too-ordinary life is driven off the beaten path when she’s abandoned in the wilderness with her worst adversary—the boy who broke her heart.

Ever since last year’s homecoming dance, best friends-turned-best enemies Zorie and Lennon have made an art of avoiding each other. It doesn’t hurt that their families are the modern day, Californian version of the Montagues and Capulets.

But when a group camping trip goes south, Zorie and Lennon find themselves stranded in the wilderness. Alone. Together.

What could go wrong?

With no one but each other for company, Zorie and Lennon have no choice but to hash out their issues via witty jabs and insults as they try to make their way to safety. But fighting each other while also fighting off the forces of nature makes getting out of the woods in one piece less and less likely.

And as the two travel deeper into Northern California’s rugged backcountry, secrets and hidden feelings surface. But can Zorie and Lennon’s rekindled connection survive out in the real world? Or was it just a result of the fresh forest air and the magic of the twinkling stars?

Why I'm Waiting:  I LOVED Alex, Approximately and I can't wait to read more from this author.  I really love the idea of best friends-turned-best enemies turned second chance romance!! Yes, please!!  This one sounds soooo good!

What books are you excited about?

Review: Tender with a Twist by Annabeth Albert

Friday, October 13, 2017

Title: Tender with a Twist
Author: Annabeth Albert
Series: Rainbow Cove, #2
Genre: MM Romance
Publication date: October 2nd 2017
Find it here: Goodreads, Amazon

 One kinky wood carver. One younger chef looking to try new things. A series of lessons that bring both men more than they bargained for… 

Curtis Hunt has made a name for himself as a chainsaw wood carver, winning national competitions and operating a small business in Rainbow Cove, Oregon. As winter whittles away his tourist traffic, his goal is just to survive the season and try to not get lost in grief for his dead lover. It’s been two years, but he’s sure he’ll never be over the love of a lifetime. However, his body has a certain restlessness that he doesn’t quite know how to calm. 

Logan Rosner knows a thing or two about restlessness. It’s what drove him to Rainbow Cove to be a chef at a bar and grill run by his friends. And it’s what drives him to a single sizzling encounter with the local legendary lumberjack. Both men get far more than they expected and learn that first impressions aren’t always accurate… 

But when Logan proposes a series of sexy lessons, Curtis must decide how much he’s willing to risk. He knows he can’t afford to get attached to Logan’s good cooking, his easy smiles, or his caretaking, but he keeps going back for more, even as deeper emotions become involved. Soon, Curtis must decide whether to risk his heart again or risk losing Logan for good. 

This is the second book in the Rainbow Cove series, we met both Logan and Curtis in the previous book. Logan is one of Mason's business partners and chef at the restaurant and Curtis is Nash's grieving friend. 

There were so many things I ended up really loving about this one. One of my absolute favorite things about this one was that the characters were different than their typical stereotypes.  The alpha-looking woodcarver was a submissive, and the smaller and younger, baby-faced guy was the dom.  I loved this switch!  I also really love the small town setting.  There's something about a small town love story that gets me every time!  The secondary characters in the small town are so much fun.  We see a lot of the same people from the first book and I personally, love seeing the previous book's couple in the second book.  It's like another look into their little HEA.

Of course I also have to mention the chemistry between these two.  Annabeth Albert is great at writing chemistry.  Logan and Curtis were the perfect blend of hot and vulnerable.  I'm not a big BDSM fan but this one didn't bother me too much.  I really loved Logan's vulnerable moments since he was new to being a dom.  Logan was really caring with Curtis as soon as their scenes were done, and I loved the way Curtis tried to deny how much he loved being taken care of at first.  There was a lot of tenderness between them in those moments and I love it.  Because of their friends-with-benefits arrangement there are quite a few steamy scenes.  This book is very relationship focused.

There were a couple little things that I didn't absolutely love, but they didn't take too much away from my enjoyment of their story.  The first one is that Logan's parents drove me crazy!  They treated him like he was a child.  They even went as far as to tell him what hairstyle to have, how to dress, and who he should be dating!  I was so happy when Logan finally stood up to them.  Don't get me wrong, they are loving parents, but they are the overbearing and smothering type.

Another thing that I didn't absolutely love was that Curtis was a widower.  That sounds really bad, but here me out!  I can understand the grief that comes with losing someone and how hard it would be to open yourself back up, but I think some of his behavior was a little bit much at times.  It just got a bit repetitive with his constant feelings of "you deserve better than me".  He ended up pushing Logan at a time when he really needed him and that bothered me a lot.

Even with those couple little issues, I liked this one a lot and can't wait to read book #3!  I almost always pick up all of Annabeth Albert's books, but I really want to see more from this little town and a certain secondary character!

Find it here:

Review: Close Quarter by Anna Zabo

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Title: Close Quarter
Author: Anna Zabo
Series: Close Quarter, #1
Genre: Paranormal MM Romance
Publication date: August 15th 2017
Find it here: Goodreads, Amazon

 On a transatlantic cruise to New York, sculptor Rhys Matherton struggles to piece his life back together after losing his mother, inheriting a fortune, and finding out his father isn't his father after all. He spills a tray of drinks on a handsome stranger, then he finds himself up against a wall getting the best hand-job he’s ever had. And for the first time in his life, he feels whole.

Rhys enjoys the company of Silas Quint, but for the eerie way no one pays attention to them even while they kiss in a crowded bar. Silas explains he's a forest fae able to glamor the room around them—and more importantly, that he's on the cruise to hunt vampires. Rhys thinks Silas is full of it, until he discovers vampires are real, and he’s part of their main course.

Silas Quint can’t be distracted by a human lover, even one as lovely as Rhys. Stuck in the middle of the ocean, he has barely enough of energy to hunt the vampires he’s been sent to destroy. Rhys is full of the one thing Silas needs needs most—the element of living plants. Only sucking energy from Rhys would make Silas as soulless as the creatures he hunts. How can he keep Rhys safe, without becoming like the very monsters he hunts?

 This one was a lot of fun!  I've only read one other book from Anna Zabo before, but this one was much different being a paranormal romance.  Zabo did a great job creating this fun world with fae and vampires and angels, and I can't wait to read more in this series!  

There are so many things I really enjoyed about Close Quarter.  First of all, These two had explosive chemistry.  Any time they were around each other, they couldn't keep their thoughts or hands off of each other.  There are quite a few steamy scenes and I loved every one of them. lol!  That being said, I thought some of the steamy scenes were a little unbelievable:  the ones that occurred directly after they had just encountered some form of danger or another.  I don't feel like that would be the first thing on my mind in that moment.  Maybe I'm wrong and the adrenaline would kick in and make me want to turn things hot and heavy, but I don't know, I feel like I would be worrying if I was safe first. The author did do a really great job of having a good balance between steamy scenes and action tho.

Another thing I really loved was Anna Zabo's world building.  It never felt like a huge info dump, but I still felt like I learned a lot about fae, vampire/soulless, and even the Messengers/angels.  It was all so interesting to me and I found myself wanting to know more and more.  I loved the way Silas was able to draw energy from the living plants around him.  I really loved the "surprise" was handled with Rhy's character as well.  This entire book takes place on a cruise ship, so I was worried about that becoming boring but it never did.  That being said, I am really curious as to how everything is going to work out with the other fae once they get off of the ship.

There was a lot of action packed into the pages too.  Not only is Silas a forest fae but he's also aboard the ship to hunt vampires, and there's also a little more to Rhys than they both originally expected.  I had trouble putting this one down, and actually ended up reading it in one sitting because I needed to know what happened.  There are still a few things left unanswered at the end of this book but I believe they will be covered in the following books in the series.  I would have given this one a 5 star rating if a more of my questions would have felt answered towards the end.  I can't really write what my questions were because I don't want to give too much away.  I need book #2 in my life asap!!

Find it here

Review & Giveaway: Sightlines by Santino Hassell

Monday, October 9, 2017

 Title: Sightlines
Series: The Community, third book in a trilogy
Publisher: Riptide
Release Date (Print & Ebook): October 9th
Length (Print & Ebook): 257 pages/68K words
Subgenre: paranormal, romantic suspense
Book contains: Violence, attempted sexual assault
Buy link: https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/sightlines

 Book Blurb:
Chase Payne is a walking contradiction. He's the most powerful psychic in the Community, but the least respected. He's the son of the Community's founder, but with his tattoo sleeves and abrasive attitude, he's nothing like his charismatic family. No one knows what to make of him, which is how he wound up locked in a cell on the Farm yet again. But this time, the only man he's ever loved is there too.

Elijah Estrella was used to being the sassy sidekick who fooled around with Chase for fun. But that was before he realized the Community wasn't the haven he'd believed in and Chase was the only person who'd ever truly tried to protect him. Now they're surrounded by people who want to turn them against their friends, and the only way out is to pretend the brainwashing works.

With Chase playing the role of a tyrant's second-in-command, and Elijah acting like Chase's mindless sex toy, they risk everything by plotting a daring escape. In the end, it’s only their psychic abilities, fueled by their growing love for each other, that will allow them to take the Community down once and for all.

Chase opened his eyes and slid his hand away from Elijah’s face. Slowly, he raised it to touch his own cheek, and was amazed to find it damp. Elijah’s tears had become his tears. All that pain and hopelessness. The fear and all those building doubts at the end . . . had become his own.
He inhaled slowly, surprised when it shuddered audibly, and tried to take deep calming breaths. All the while, he stared down at Elijah. The pinched brow and dark circles. How exhausted and thin he was.
If Chase compared the torture he’d endured for his entire childhood, the mind games they’d played with Elijah might look like nothing. But that was wrong. The ability to turn someone as strong, as durable, as Elijah into a mess of self-doubt and guilt, actual fucking guilt, was incredible.
For the first time, Chase doubted his own self-assurance that Elijah would make it through this. The fear welling in Elijah’s chest became his own, and it drove Chase to lean down and brush his lips against Elijah’s temple. Then across each closed eye, the tip of his nose, and then his mouth.
Elijah made another soft sound, but he sighed through the kiss.
“Chase . . .”
Chase started to pull away, but Elijah’s hand shot up to hold him in place. There was strength in that grip that should have been impossible given the past two weeks, but Elijah’s fingers dug into him hard enough to cause pain. A desperate clawing grip that sent chills down Chase’s spine.
“Is this real?” Elijah whispered, his eyes cracking open. Only a glint of damp light-brown showed beneath his feathery lashes. “Are you really here this time?”
Chase’s relief was so powerful that a lump swelled in his throat. He tried to clear it, but it still came out shaky. “I’m here.”
Elijah opened his eyes wider, a trembling smile growing on his face. “Did I do good?”
The burning behind Chase’s eyes meant fucking nothing. He wasn’t going to cry. He wasn’t going to let Elijah see him break. He wasn’t.

“You did fucking perfect, baby.”

 This is the third book in Santino Hassell's Community series.  This series should be read in order so you can understand the continuing plot line.  Each book focuses on a different couple but also follows the same plot.  This book was about Chase and Elijah.  This was the book I feel like I have been waiting forever for!  I wanted their story so badly!  Especially after the cliffhanger in the second book!  I enjoyed this one a lot, and I'm so sad to see this series ending.  I do have to say that I feel as if this last book was much more action focus than relationship focused.  I loved all of the action and seeing things finally come to a conclusion, but I did feel like I wanted a little more Chase/Elijah moments.

At times Chase made me want to pick him up and shake him out of frustration, and then other times I just wanted to hug all of his broken pieces back together again.  He spent most of his life being tortured and feeling like the "throwaway" son, so he has problems trusting anyone enough to let them close.  My heart broke for him so many times because he was just so damaged by the things that have happened to him in his life and always feeling like he was "less than".  He constantly doubted himself and the way Elijah felt about him.  I hated how hot and cold his behavior with Elijah was, but I also feel like some of it was understandable.  After a certain point, I did want to start shaking him for being so difficult.

“You’re a punked-out ragey cynical bastard, but you have hero potential.”

Oh Elijah.  I just loved him so much. He was much more patient with Chase than I ever could have been. lol!  I'm not saying he didn't give him hell now and then for his behavior (which I also loved!) but he was loyal and waited Chase out too.  There were so many times that my heart ached for Elijah when Chase would say or do something cruel to him.  I know it was out of self-defense but Chase could be really mean at times.  Elijah came from a rough background and went from being the character that was always singing praises about the great things Community did for people, to having his eyes opened about a lot of  bad things that were happening very quickly.

“When it came to Elijah . . . Chase’s chest was like a cage with wide bars. Easy for the beautiful boy with the smart mouth and luminous eyes to reach in and touch Chase’s heart, even if those feelings never managed to get out.”

I don't feel like we got as much of a connection with Elijah and Chase, compared to the previous couples.  We were at a slight disadvantage with these two because they had already physically been together before this book started so we didn't get to see those moments of them growing closer.  I wanted more of them having some nice moments together.  Chase spent so much time pushing him away and being downright nasty at times that I didn't click with them as much as I wanted to.  I would love a little novella with them in it, or even including all of the characters!

I thought the ended ended up feeling a little bit rushed, if I'm being honest.  There was so much build up and then it just felt like it was over too fast.  I also felt like things felt a little unfinished when it came down to the politics side of things between Community and ex-Comm.  We have the beginnings of possibly something good but I would have liked to have an epilogue to see how things turned out.  OR like I said before, a novella would be great to see everything neatly tied up, and things secure with everyone.

* I received an ARC of this title in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. *

What Santino has to say about Sightlines: Anyone can be a hero. Rising up. Fighting back and revolutions. Coming together as a team despite differences.

Quotes from Santino about the book:

“Chase is one of the most vulnerable bad asses I’ve ever written.”

“I haven’t written a hero with a mouth as smart as Chase’s since In the Company of Shadows.”

“Chase is one of those heroes who thinks no one reasonable would ever be in love with him, and anyone who claims to be is probably lying.”

Praise for INSIGHT:

"A fast-paced cavalcade of psychics, intrigue, and a young man's powerful discovery of his own nature." -- Jordan Castillo Price, author of Psycop

"Hooked me on page one! Another winner from one of the most appealing voices in romance." -- Suzanne Brockmann, New York Times bestselling author

Author Bio:
Santino Hassell was raised by a conservative family but grew up to be a smart-mouthed, school cutting grunge kid, a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a grumpy introvert and unlikely romance author with an affinity for baseball caps. His novels are heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, and his desire to write relationships fueled by intensity and passion.

He’s been a finalist in both the Bisexual Book Awards and the EPIC Awards, and was nominated for a prestigious RITA award in 2017. His work has been featured in BuzzFeed, Huffington Post, Washington Post, RT Magazine, and Cosmopolitan Magazine.

Connect with Santino: Website | Twitter | Instagram | FB Group | FB | GR | Tumblr

Win 1 of 2 e-copies of any backlist book by Santino Hassell:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Cover Up by L.A. Witt

Friday, October 6, 2017

Title: Cover Up
Author: L.A. Witt
Series: Skin Deep, Inc., #3
Genre: MM Romance
Publisher: Swerve
Publication date: October 3rd 2017

 After ten years of blissful marriage, Navy Pilot Nate Chandler is divorcing his cheating husband. Single for the first time in years, Nate is numb to all emotion and kisses any chance of another relationship goodbye.

Not only is Nate struggling to get through this divorce, but his body is branded with a permanent reminder of his failed marriage: a matching tattoo with his ex. Searching for a place to cover up his old tattoo, Nate finds himself at the Skin Deep, Inc., where he meets the young and charming cover-up tattoo apprentice, Lucas Brandt.

From just flirty glances to steamy hot encounters, Nate and Lucas dive headfirst into a fling of hookups. But worried that he’ll forever be Nate’s “cover up” rebound relationship, Lucas fears that their love won’t be anything more than just skin deep. What was once just a casual attraction, Lucas now hopes to turn into a real relationship. But will he be able to convince the still tender-hearted Nate to fall in love again?

This is the third book in L.A. Witt's Skin Deep Inc. series, however all books can be read as standalones.  That being said, I feel as though you will get more satisfaction out of this one if you read the previous books first because you do see the couple from the first two books.  I've said it before but I'll say it again, L.A. Witt is one of my auto-buy authors in the MM romance genre because she writes chemistry so well!!  I love her steamy reads, and this one didn't disappoint.  This one is probably my favorite of the series so far because I thought the chemistry/plot ratio was a little bit better in this story.  The previous books seemed to be a little TOO focused on the steamy moments and this one I felt had a better balance.  There were still plenty of those sizzling moments tho.

Nate was a happily married man for ten years until he discovered his husband Caleb cheating and now he's in the process of an ugly divorce.  He hasn't taken a moment to really stop and deal with the emotions of his long term relationship dissolving.  He keeps pushing those feeling aside, but he is now trying to take his first step: he's decided to get the tattoo that he got with his soon-to-be ex-husband covered up.  They have matching tattoos and he can't stand looking at it because it just brings all of the hurt and anger to the surface again. His best friend Jon is dating a man that works at  Skin Deep Inc. so they go there to discuss a cover-up tattoo and the cover up artist is a man named Lucas.  Lucas is younger than Nate but has already been divorced twice so he has an idea of what Nate is going through. When they meet, there is an instant attraction.  They decide on a no-strings-attached arrangement but it isn't long before things start to get more serious between them.

I really loved Nate's character from the previous book, so I couldn't wait for him to get his HEA.  We read about the moment he found his ex cheating on him in the previous book, so my heart was hurting for him.  He had so much baggage that he wasn't quite ready to deal with so he kept pushing it aside to deal with later.  The only problem was that he never ended up dealing with it until Lucas brought it to his attention.  At the beginning of their relationship, they are both pretty aware that Nate is sort of using Lucas as a way to get over his ex and forget things for a while, but when things get more serious between them, Lucas wasn't comfortable being used anymore.  I liked the way the situation was handled in the end.

Lucas is younger than Nate but wise for his age.  He's working 3 jobs to pay back his student loans, and he's also been divorced twice before.  Their age gap is mentioned but it was never a big deal between them.  Same thing with Lucas' sexual orientation, he's bisexual but it was never an issue.  They have a conversation about how his previous marriages were to women, but it was handled well.  I've read a lot of MM romances when there is a huge issue with one of the character being bisexual and those drive me crazy, so it was nice seeing one that it was barely mentioned.

The chemistry between these two was explosive.  They couldn't keep their hands off of each other but there were also a lot of tender moments.  This one is pretty much the complete opposite of a slow burn. lol. I still thought their attraction to each other felt natural though. As I said earlier, L.A. Witt definitely knows how to write those steamy moments that just burn up the pages.  There were quite a few intimate scenes between them but with a casual rebound/no-strings-attached relationship I feel like that makes sense.

* I received an ARC of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. *

Review: Brave & Beautiful by Elizabeth Varlet

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Title: Brave & Beautiful
Author: Elizabeth Varlet
Series: Sassy Boyz, #3
Genre: MM Romance
Publisher: Carina Press
Publication date: October 9th 2017

 Sexy, seductive and hiding dark secrets, the Sassy Boyz return to the stage in Brave & Beautiful

There’s only one relationship that matters to Tameron "Tam" Kis—his love affair with dance. Life’s been pretty shitty, but dance got him through it and now he’s ready to focus on what he loves. He doesn’t have the bandwidth for any distractions—especially not his sexy, not-quite-straight new neighbor.

Driver Ellis doesn’t need anything but his bike and the open road. He wouldn’t trade his drifter lifestyle for anything…until his friend calls in a favor and Driver suddenly finds himself pet-sitting. Driver isn’t thrilled being stuck in one place, though things start to look up when he sets eyes on the gorgeous girl next door. 

There’s just one problem… She isn’t a girl at all.

All it takes is one spontaneous dance to turn both Driver's and Tam’s worlds upside down. They might not have been looking for love, but as things heat up between them, it’s clear life has very different plans.

 Brave & Beautiful is the third book in the Sassy Boyz series, but all three books can be read as stand alones focusing on a new couple in each book.  This is Tam and Driver's story, but the couples from the previous stories pop in fairly often.  This one has been my favorite of the series so far.  I really loved these two, and I was happy to finally get Tam's story.  

I really loved Tam.  I just wanted to wrap him up in my arms and protect him. He has had a very traumatic past that he still struggles with every day.  The memories of his past have left him with no sexual desire at all, so he's confused when that changes the day he meets Driver.  Even after all of the horrors of his past, he is still a bit naive with some things and incredibly sweet.  Tam is the the Sassy Boyz' choreographer and dancing is his passion, so he desperately wants the Sassy Boys to get back on track with regular work. 

I had a love/hate relationship with Driver.  Maybe hate is too strong of a word.  He really frustrated me at times with his immature and selfish behavior, while other times he had me swooning with how patient and sweet he was with Tam.  Driver has some baggage of his own.  He suffered a huge loss and has spent his whole life running from his emotions by always being on the move.  He's unable to stay in one place for too long. When he and Tam first meet he is house sitting for a friend. I LOVED that even though Driver originally thought Tam was a woman, it wasn't an issue because Driver was bisexual.  There was no bisexual bashing or huge discussion, he just stated it and that was it.  I'm glad it wasn't a long drawn out issue. 

 The chemistry between them was really sizzling and they were super hot together.  I really appreciated that Tam wasn't just "cured by the magical penis". lol!  He's been through a lot and it is not easy for them.  They even have a few failed/stalled attempts.  They have to take things slow and Driver was really sweet about making sure Tam was comfortable and he was very attentive to Tam's needs. Tam got to discover the joy of touching and kissing for the first time in his life. It was so sweet.  I loved them together

I felt like this book was much more relationship focused than the previous books in this series.  The only real plot is that the Sassy Boys are struggling to find a dance space, and have been doing a ton of auditions.  I didn't actually mind the thinner plot because there was so much in between the two of them that needed to be worked through.  Driver had his guilt and running issues, and Tam had the demons of his past and was discovering his own sort of sexual awakening with Driver.  I felt as if that was enough to carry the story.  I DID think the story ended pretty abruptly for my liking though.  I liked where things were headed but I would have liked a little more.  An epilogue would have been perfect.  This one would have been a five star for me without the abrupt ending and Drivers selfish/immature behavior.  I still really enjoyed this one a lot and can't wait for more from Elizabeth Varlet.

**One warning that I would give to someone going into this one is that there are themes of loss and sexual abuse.  Tam discusses his past and briefly talks about the sexual abuse that has happened to him.  So if those could be triggering scenes for you then maybe this isn't the book for you.  I normally avoid books that have rape/sexual abuse in them but I thought this was handled well and there are no present day or on page scenes.**

* I received an ARC of this title via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. *

Proudly designed by Mlekoshi playground