Our Favorites Reads for the Week of April 16th – 22nd ~ Boy Meets Boy Reviews

Release Day Tag Team Review: A Day Makes by Mary Calmes

 

Mob enforcer Ceaton Mercer has killed a lot of people in a lot of different ways – he stashed the last two bodies in a toolshed belonging to a sweetheart marine researcher in an idyllic island community – but he’s really not such a bad guy. Over time he’s found a home of sorts, and he even learns he’s found a place in the hearts of the people he works with…at least enough so that they won’t put a bullet in his head because he’s outlived his usefulness to the boss.

But he never thought he’d find one day could change his life, and he’s about to discover how wrong he is.

Because in a single day, he meets the man who looks to be the one, the love of his life. It’s an improbable idea – a man who deals in death finding love – but it’s like it’s meant to be. That single day gets weirder and troubles pile up, forcing Ceaton to take a hard look at his dreary life and accept that one day can change everything, especially himself. His future might be brighter than he expects – if he can stay alive long enough to find out.

 

 

Red’s Review:

 

Holy Crack! This was amazing. This was so damn good. It was packed with adventure, intrigue, murdering mobsters, crazy and hilarious banter, surprises aplenty and the oh so swoony “MINE” style of romance that makes me giddy AF for a Mary Calmes story.

 

There isn’t much I can say about this book without giving it away so maybe I’ll just give a few highlights of sorts.

 

JL’s Review:

Oh the crack is strong in this one!  Mary brought her A game, she’s here to conquer and she ain’t taking no prisoners.  I loved this.  No, that’s not right.  I freaking adored this little story that popped up out of nowhere.  So much crack!  You’ve got your peacoats and your eyebrow waggles, your guns and violence, your over-the-top storyline and the longest flashback to ever flash, er… back.  Mary went Old School on us I’m thinking Mary had me in mind when she wrote this.  That could be a thing, right?

 

See Full Review

 

 

Review: A Gathering Storm (Porthkennack) by Joanna Chambers

 

When grief-stricken scientist Sir Edward Fitzwilliam provokes public scorn by defending a sham spiritualist, he’s forced to retreat to Porthkennack to lick his wounds. Ward’s reputation is in tatters, but he’s determined to continue the work he began after the death of his beloved brother.

In Porthkennack, Ward meets Nicholas Hearn, land steward to the Roscarrock family. Ward becomes convinced that Nick, whose Romany mother was reportedly clairvoyant, is the perfect man to assist with his work. But Nick—who has reason to distrust the whims of wealthy men—is loath to agree. Until Fate steps in to lend a hand.

Despite Nick’s misgivings, he discovers that Ward is not the high-handed aristocrat he first thought. And when passion ignites between them, Nick learns there’s much more to love than the rushed, clandestine encounters he’s used to. Nevertheless, Nick’s sure that wealthy, educated Ward will never see him as an equal.

A storm is gathering, but with Nick’s self-doubts and Ward’s growing obsession, the fragile bond between the two men may not be strong enough to withstand it.

 

 

Joanna Chambers is back with another brilliant historical romance!

Sir Edward Fitzwillian, known as Ward to his family and friends, moves to Cornwall in order to pursue a scientific experiment – to harness the elements in order to get in touch with his dead brother’s spirit.

At first, Ward may seem like a bit of a kook. However, he’s neither crazy nor particularly spiritual. A past encounter with the supernatural convinced him that he could reach his brother somehow. I couldn’t help but feel for Ward from early on. His grief for his brother was palpable.

Ward requires a volunteer to aid him, which is how he meets Nick Hearn, the land steward and half-Gypsy bastard of the Rosecarrock family. After the death of his mother, Nick never truly belonged anywhere or to anyone.

 

See Full Review

 

Guest Review: The Rainbow Clause by Beth Bolden

 

Heisman winner. Member of the National Championship team. NFL Rookie of the Year. Quarterback Colin O’Connor knows he’s become the ultimate romance novel cliché: all the success he’s ever dreamed of but nobody to share it with. Too bad it’s not as simple as asking out the next girl who intrigues him – because the next girl to intrigue him probably won’t be a girl at all.

Unexpectedly, the solution comes in one neat package: Nick Wheeler, lead journalist for a leading sports and pop culture blog. Hired by Colin’s team, Nick comes to Miami to shine a spotlight on the NFL’s most private quarterback.

The heat in Miami rises when Nick discovers that Colin is nothing like the hollow personality he pretends to be in interviews and he’s even hotter in person than on his Sports Illustrated cover. Nick knows this is the story of his career, and after spending his teenage years as a bullied, closeted teen, it hits very close to home. What he needs is to help Colin share his story while keeping their growing relationship from boiling over in the press, but what he wants is to tell the world.

 

 

Before I start, this was a hugely enjoyable book I would recommend with very few reservations. There was just a couple of annoying things, but this was an ARC, so I assume they’ll be fixed by publication? There were a couple of annoying typo niggles, and one huge one that set my teeth on edge. At one point, our lovely men were in Florida, sitting on the deck, watching the sun set over the Pacific. Yep, that’s right, the Pacific. I was screaming at the book at that point.

My pedantic nature aside, this was a great book with an excellent absorbing story, nicely written characters, I was engaged from start to finish, and its happy ending, is one I can only dream about for now in professional sports.

Nick is an out and proud journalist for a sports pop culture blog. He has a teeny-tiny obsession with a Heisman trophy winning quarterback whose Sports Illustrated cover had Nick drooling for months.

 

See Full Review

 

Audiobook Review: Dom of Ages (Collars and Cuffs #7) by K.C. Wells & Parker Williams

 

Eli may only be thirty, but he has had enough of pretend submissives. When he spies Jarod in a BDSM club, everything about the man screams submission. So what if Jarod is probably twenty years older than Eli. What does age matter, anyway? All he can see is what he’s always wanted—a sub who wants to serve.

Jarod spent twenty-four years with his Master before Fate took him. Four years on, Jarod is still lost, so when a young Dom takes charge, Jarod rolls with it and finds himself serving again. But he keeps waiting for the other shoe to drop. Because there’s going to come a point when Eli realizes he’s a laughing stock in the club. Who would want to be seen with a fifty-year-old sub?

After several missteps, Eli realizes that in order to find happiness, they will need friends who will understand. At a friend’s insistence, he visits Collars & Cuffs, where they are met with open arms. As they settle in to their new life, Eli begins to see things differently and he dares to think he can have it all. Until a phone call threatens to take it all away….

Listening Length: 10 hours and 9 minutes
Narrator: Joel Leslie

 

 

Jarod feels old. Old and lonely. His Sir, Philip, died four years ago, and the twenty-four years they had together before Philip was taken have left Jarod rudderless. He wants a new dom, but what self respecting dom wants to be seen with a 50 year old sub?

Enter Eli. He might only be 30 years old, but he’s had enough of pretend subs. He wants a sub who lives the role. He wants a sub to care for him. One night at his local club he spies Jarod, kneeling quietly, and wants the man for himself.

Eli is a young dom who makes mistakes, but is man enough to own them, and make them right. His friends at the Collars and Cuffs club play their part in helping him become the man and dominant he wants to be.

Jarod needs the friends he makes at the club, they give him a new appreciation of himself and his contribution to others. Seeing Jarod develop a more robust sense of self and learning to value himself and his experiences is truly lovely.

 

See Full Review

 

Lazy Reading Sunday – Steampunk

Lazy Reading Sunday - Steampunk - pixabay

Today is our weekly Lazy Reading Sunday. Each week we’ll choose a topic – a genre, pairing, or identity – and talk about our favorite reads on the Facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/queeromanceink/

Our topic today – steampunk. Do you love a little steam and anachronism with your fiction? Do clockwork animals make you happy? Is there nothing that can’t be improved by a little steam-powered gadgetry? What’s a favorite book or series that you’ve recently read?

Tell us about it.

AUTHORS: Please do not use this chat to recommend your own books

BOOK BLAST: Sexy to Go Gay Romance Anthology

Sexy to Go Gay Romance banner

Author: Eva Lefoy, Avery Duran, Leigh Ellwood, Dale Lowry, Shiloh Saddler, A.E. Wasp, Jodi Payne, Sam Thorne, Asta Idonea
Book: Sexy to Go Gay Romance
Page/Word Count: 286 pages, 71K words
Categories: Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance
Release Date:
Publisher: Sexy to Go
Cover: Ella Dominguez

Buy Links:
Buy Sexy to Go Gay Romance Anthology on Amazon Buy Sexy to Go Gay Romance Anthology on Barnes & Noble Buy Sexy to Go Gay Romance Anthology on KOBO Add Sexy to Go Gay Romance Anthology on QueeRomance Add Sexy to Go Gay Romance Anthology on Goodreads

Blurb:
Sexy to Go Gay Romance features nine scorching hot MM romances to make your blood sing. Whether finding love at a Jewish singles dance or while crossing the River Styx, these men remind us that love is always worth fighting for, no matter what the cost. Meet a handyman who’s an ace with his tools, a king who kindles the passion of a Greek god, and an architect who erectsBuy Sexy to Go Gay Romance Anthology on Amazon more than buildings. From the everyday to the fantastical, these stories explore male-male love in all its simmering intensity.

Excerpt From: Matzo Ball by Avery Duran :
I walked toward the hot bartender, wondering exactly what he wanted from me. He gestured for me to follow him. His long legs moved quickly, but I didn’t mind walking behind him since it meant I could watch that tight ass move in his clinging pants. The rest of him was just as sexy as I had expected, broad shoulders tapering down into a small waist that emphasized his perfect rear. He was a little taller than I, which would make him just over six feet. We walked through a door marked “Employees only” and down a long, winding hallway. I suppressed the voice in my head reminding me this was a set-up for an episode of Unsolved Mysteries.

Finally, some sense of self-preservation emerged and I asked him, “Where are we going?”

He turned around, smiled at me, and leaned against the wall. “Here is good.”

I looked around the barren hallway, “But…what am I helping you with?”

“It’s actually more of what I helped you with.”

I was stumped. I mean, the guy was hot as hell, but I was starting to feel as if I’d fallen down the rabbit hole. I really hoped he wasn’t going to try to sell me something, or rope me into a get-rich-quick scheme. The time for me to make my escape had definitely come. Pity such hotness was going to waste. “Look, buddy, I appreciate whatever you mean to do, but I’m meeting a friend and should get going.”

He started to laugh and I froze—seriously, I could not move. When he smiled, his eyes crinkled up at the corners and his whole face lit up; I had never seen anything more mesmerizing.

He put his hand out. “Wait a minute, was I reading you wrong? Because seriously, I did NOT think you were interested in giving that woman her dream of two-point-five kids and a white picket fence.” He put his hand on my shoulder. “C’mon, we can go back.”

“No!” I yelled, probably a little too enthusiastically. “L-Let’s not go back.”

“Well, I have to go back if I want to get paid, but I can get you out the back door—for a price.”

“What’s the price?”

One side of his mouth kicked up. “Your number and a kiss.”

About Eva Lefoy:
Eva Lefoy writes and reads all kinds of romance, and is a die-hard Trekkie. She’s also terribly addicted to chocolate, tea, and hiking. One of these days, she’ll figure out the meaning of life, quit her job, and go travel the galaxy. Until then, she’s writing down all her dirty thoughts for the sake of future explorers.

Where to find Eva Lefoy:
Eva Lefoy's Amazon Author Page Eva Lefoy on Facebook Eva Lefoy's Facebook Author Page Eva Lefoy on Goodreads Eva Lefoy Newsletter Eva Lefoy on Pinterest Eva Lefoy on Twitter Eva Lefoy Website

BOOK BLAST: Change of Heart by Liv Rancourt

Change of Heart banner - Liv Rancourt

Author: Liv Rancourt
Book: Change of Heart
Series: An Hours of the Night Story (standalone)
Page/Word Count: 70 pages, 20K words
Categories: Historical Romance, Lesbian Romance, Transgender & Transexual Romance
Cover: LeTeisha Newton

Buy Links:

Buy Change of Heart by Liv Rancourt on Amazon Buy Change of Heart by Liv Rancourt on Barnes & Noble Buy Change of Heart by Liv Rancourt on KOBO Add Change of Heart by Liv Rancourt on QueeRomance Add Change of Heart by Liv Rancourt on Goodreads

Blurb:
Buy Change of Heart by Liv Rancourt on AmazonPreacher always said New Orleans was a den of sin, so of course Clarabelle had to see for herself…

A body reaps what they sow, and Clarabelle’s planted the seeds of trouble. The year is 1933, and not much else is growing in the Oklahoma dirt. Clarabelle’s gone and fallen in love with her best friend, so she figures it’s time to go out and see the world.

If she’s lucky, she’ll find the kind of girl who’ll kiss her back.

Clarabelle heads for New Orleans, and that’s where she meets Vaughn. Now, Vaughn’s as pretty as can be, but she’s hiding something. When she gets jumped by a pair of hoodlums, Clarabelle comes to her rescue and accidentally discovers her secret. She has to decide whether Vaughn is really the kind of girl for her, and though Clarabelle started out a dirt-farming Okie, Vaughn teaches her just what it means to be a lady.

Change of Heart is a distant prequel to the other Hours of the Night novels, and can be read as a stand-alone. It’s a historic story, with NO paranormal elements, and previously appeared in a limited-edition anthology.

Excerpt:
“Clara!” Lorraine’s squeal greeted me on my way through the door. Her face was round and her hips were rounder, and she was the most excitable person I’d ever met. Most everything came out as a squeal or a giggle or a hoot.

“I got here early so you wouldn’t be late for your date.” I fluffed my skirt so the rayon wouldn’t stick to my legs. To hear Lorraine talk, each date was more important than the last.

White ruffles edged the shoulders of her polka-dotted dress, and her bright red curls were spunkier than they had any right to be. “Aw, thanks doll.” She aimed a cherry-colored kiss in the direction of my cheek. “This has your name on it, by the way.”

She slid an envelope across the counter, plain and white, with my name in a loose scrawl. Curious.

We worked in a small room with a wide window looking into the lobby. The window had a waist-high counter, and beside it we had one of those Dutch doors that opened in halves. A crowd came in, so I didn’t open the envelope right away. I’d have plenty of time to read it between selling packs of Camels and Marlboros and turning dollars into dimes. In the lounge, the house band did a pretty good Cab Calloway imitation, which set my toe to tapping. These Negroes sure knew how to play.

“Abyssinia, kitten!” With a flutter of ruffles and a squeal or two, Lorraine made tracks. Leaving me alone with a mysterious envelope and sticky skin and the St James Infirmary Blues.

Vaughn, one of the cocktail girls, popped off the main floor. She was tall, with auburn hair and the prettiest collarbones I’d ever seen. When I thought about doing bad things, her lovely face often came to mind.

She’d dolled up her black uniform dress with a jade scarf pinned at her throat by a marcasite brooch, and she carried her drink tray lightly no matter how many high balls were crowded on it. “What’s that?” she asked, tipping her head in the direction of the note.

Teasing myself, and maybe teasing her too, I rubbed the edge of the still-unopened envelope against my lips, marking it with a peony pink stripe. “Don’t know.”

“Open it, you nut.” Vaughn barely had to breathe to make my pulse flutter.

Maybe I should have learned a lesson from falling in love with my best friend, but I wanted to kiss her—especially when she smiled from under her bangs, her lips painted ruby red and her brows arched in perfect curves. Sometimes the way Vaughn’s gaze melted into me gave me the notion she shared my interest. I just didn’t know how to ask her.

I flicked the flap with my fingernail. Who would be sending me something? I pinched my lips to swallow the flutter of nerves. “Someone stuck this one down good.”

“Quick. I gotta get out on the floor.” A smile flickered at the corners of her mouth, and her hazel eyes glowed.

I peeled the flap open and slid out a notecard. On the inside of the card, someone had drawn a lovely, very detailed picture.

A picture of me. “Well, I’ll be.”

“Let me see it.” Vaughn snatched up the card.

I tried to grab it, but she held the card over my head. “No fair.” I was tall for a woman, but she had me by two or three inches. “You’re cheating.”

With the kind of laugh that turned my insides to warm honey, she let the card flutter onto the counter. “Now don’t blow your wig.” She pivoted on her heel, shooting a sly glance over her shoulder. “But I think somebody likes you.”

My eyes were drawn to the sketch. The artist’s affection came through as clear as the unmistakable chin-length waves I set in pincurls every night, the big blue eyes, and even the little gap between my two front teeth. “Me too,” I whispered to nobody in particular.

The knowing giggle floating behind her made me think Vaughn might be acquainted with my secret admirer.

About Liv Rancourt:
I write romance: m/f, m/m, and v/h, where the h is for human and the v is for vampire … or sometimes demon … I lean more towards funny than angst. When I’m not writing I take care of tiny premature babies or teenagers, depending on whether I’m at home or at work. My husband is a soul of patience, my dog’s cuteness is legendary, and we share the homestead with three ferrets.

Who steal things.

Because they’re brats.

5 Questions with Liv Rancourt:

  1. As an author myself, I know inspiration is everywhere and can strike at the most inopportune moments (like in the shower, when you don’t have anything to write with!). So, what was the inspiration behind Change of HeartA while ago I read an article about Dr. James Barry, a 19th century surgeon in the British Army. He was a contemporary of Florence Nightingale, and holds the distinction of being the first person to successfully deliver a baby by cesarean section on the continent of Africa.And when he died in 1865, it was discovered that his physical characteristics were those of a woman.

    His story has been claimed by feminist scholars as an example of doing what was necessary to practice medicine in the days before women were allowed to become doctors. The article I read, however, suggested he was transgender, that his choices were based on the desire to express the gender he felt most comfortable with. That idea intrigued me.

    It seems obvious to me that in the days before successful reassignment surgery there must have been people who made the same choices Dr. Barry may have made. In the 19th century, people who were what we now call transgender would have been considered insane and likely institutionalized, a strong motivation for keeping their true selves a secret.

    That’s the possibility I wanted to explore with this story. What would it take for someone to live their true gender in the days before we had the language to discuss such things, and at a time when being discovered was dangerous? The answer I came up with is Change of Heart.

  1. What’s your writing process? Are you a plotter or a pantser? With novels, I like to do a fair amount of plotting. I’ll work from a beat sheet, brainstorm with mindmapping, and even do character worksheets after I’ve written enough to get to know them. I don’t do the same level of prep work for novellas, however. The plot’s usually straightforward enough that I can start at the beginning and write the whole way through.
  1. What is the hardest part of that process for you? In some of my novels, I’ve been so focused on planning things out that I tend to force characters to fit a predetermined plot. The characters’ motivation doesn’t always catch up with the action. Since I’ve been co-writing a series with Irene Preston, a hard-core pantser, I’ve had to reevaluate my approach. Working with Irene has made me much more aware of making the action fit the characters instead of the other way around.
  1. What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writing considering the leap from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny? The only thing you can control is the words on the page. You can’t control whether an editor will buy your story, and you can’t control whether readers will leave you five-star reviews – or one-star reviews. You can’t control whether your closest writer friend will sign with your dream agent or get a career-boosting contract or make the NYT Bestseller list.All you can do is study your craft and support your friends and write the best damned story you know how to write. It’s just that simple…and sometimes it’s just that hard.
  1. What can readers expect from you next? Up next is Aqua Follies, an m/m romance set in 1955 Seattle. I’m really excited about this one! Think rock n’ roll and jazz and summer heat, and you’ll be close. After that, Irene and I will be publishing Nocturne, the next book in our Hours of the Night series.

5 Fun Quickies

  1. Favorite curse word:starts with an F….
  2. Favorite dance move (video?!?): Anything with a funky beat.
  3. Over or under (toilet paper, of course): I’m just happy if someone changes the roll.
  4. Weapon of choice: Words.
  5. Evil mastermind, easily convinced partner in crime, or innocent bystander: Depends on the circumstances. I’d hate to limit myself. 😊

Thanks again for having me as a guest. Irene and I are running a giveaway for a $10 gift card, and I hope you’ll enter!

Where to find Liv Rancourt:

Liv Rancourt Amazon Liv Rancourt Page Liv Rancourt on Facebook Liv Rancourt's Facebook Author Page Liv Rancourt on Goodreads Liv Rancourt Newsletter Liv Rancourt on Pinterest Liv Rancourt on Twitter Liv Rancourt Website

Giveaway:
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SERIES SPOTLIGHT: Shatterproof Bond Series Box Set by Isobel Starling

Shatterproof Bond Series Box Set banner - Isobel Starling

 

Author: Isobel Starling
Book: Shatterproof Bond Series Box Set
Series: Shatterproof Bond, Books 1 – 3
Page/Word Count: 45K, 51K, and 70K
Categories: Bisexual Romance, Contemporary Romance, Gay Romance, Mystery & Suspense
Release Date: August 29, 2016

Buy Links:

Get Shatterproof Bond Series Box Set by Isobel Starling on Amazon & Kindle Unlimited Add Shatterproof Bond Series Box Set by Isobel Starling on QueeRomance Add Shatterproof Bond Series Box Set by Isobel Starling on Goodreads

Blurb:
Get Shatterproof Bond Series Box Set by Isobel Starling on Amazon & Kindle UnlimitedThe Shatterproof Bond series will clutch at your heart and leave you aching for more. Come along on a thrilling adventure with Scotsman Declan Ramsay and Englishman Sam Aiken featuring soaring M/M romance, love, laughter and sizzling lovemaking.

  1. Sam and Declan meet at their siblings Scottish castle wedding during novel # 1 “As You Wish.”
  2. The couple’s relationship deepens in novel #2 “Illuminate the Shadows” and as they get to know one another the true nature of the Aiken family business is revealed.
  3. Novel #3 “Return to Zero” see’s Sam and Declan up to their necks in trouble in the Scottish Highlands, and Declan has to dig deep to save the man he loves.

Excerpt:
“Flight B-A-one-four-three-two to Edinburgh will be boarding from Gate A twenty-six.”

Sam Aiken paused and glanced up at the yellow airport signage directing that the walk to Gates A1-A26 would take ten minutes. “Shit,” he muttered under his breath. Sam’s flight to Edinburgh was also due to take off in ten bloody minutes. He shouldered his heavy rucksack and sprinted through Terminal Two at London’s Heathrow Airport, ducking and diving around fellow travellers.

It was partly Sam’s fault that he had been delayed. Initially, it was by choosing the wrong queue and getting stuck in the security check line for twenty minutes. And then, by attempting a conversation with a security guard and being given a thorough groping in response. If he hadn’t been so stressed, Sam might actually have enjoyed the attention.

Sam Aiken was over six feet tall and wore his sandy-blond hair to his shoulders. His boyish face, tanned by the Saudi Arabian desert winds, had sprouted a monstrous attempt at a beard. It looked ridiculous. It couldn’t even be called a beard, more scrub than forest! Sam had spent the past year in the Middle East, where the beard is the symbol of manhood and honour, so he’d grown it to try and fit in. It worked there, but back in the UK, it just made him look a bit grubby. Sam was dressed in knee-length khaki shorts and an over-washed, cranberry-red T-shirt. His appearance was that of your average backpacker, so why security had singled him out for the extra attention, Sam didn’t know. Maybe he should know better than to try and crack jokes with security officials, especially when they had his balls in their hands.

“Nice wand! Watch where you’re sticking that thing, I might like it!” Sam joked nervously in his soft British accent. The very well built, alpha security guard waving the metal detector wand over his body glared at him. Sam arched his brows and grinned, hoping to inspire an illicit smile from the man, but instead the security guard pulled him aside and got his friend to observe as he gave Sam a thorough feel up. He wished he had kept his mouth shut. That thirty minute delay left Sam on a knife-edge.

As he ran through the featureless, white airport corridors towards Gate A26, Sam wasn’t sure now whether he would make the flight. His mind raced with the snowball effect of that possible future event. All of his father’s well made plans would be shot to shit, and he would be the reason— in the dog house and only back in the UK an hour.

Sam turned into a wide, open-plan lounge. Out of nowhere another traveler suddenly appeared, cutting across Sam’s path, dragging a black, wheeled suitcase. Sam couldn’t stop himself from tripping. He fell forwards, and then halted in mid-air. The broad masculine hand of the traveler was gripping his bare forearm to prevent the fall. He pulled Sam to right himself. The two men glared at one another.

“Jesus. Watch what you’re doing with that thing!” Sam exclaimed, furious.

“You watch where you’re going, eejit!” the stranger retorted in a posh Edinburgh brogue. The Scotsman rushed off, dragging his suitcase, and Sam continued to run on to the correct gate, fretting internally about what idiot’s people can be.

When Sam arrived minutes later, he saw a throng of passengers milling around, and on glancing at the info board, he read there was a delay of ten minutes. Sam breathed a deep sigh of relief. He unhooked his rucksack and found a wall to slide down. He searched in the front pocket of his pack, drew out his phone, and made a call.

“Hi this is Samuel Aiken. I have a one thirty p.m. pick up from Edinburgh Airport. Well, my flight is delayed by ten minutes. I just wanted to let you know. Great, see you then.” Sam ended the call and glanced down at his left forearm. He saw the outline of red grip marks. He absently rubbed the imprints left by the Scotsman with the wheeled black case, unable to deny that being touched so roughly had made warmth flood into his gut.

Get Shatterproof Bond Series Box Set by Isobel Starling on Amazon & Kindle Unlimited

 

About Isobel Starling:
Born in Germany, Isobel Starling spent most of her twenty-year professional career making art in Ireland. She relocated to the UK and, faced with the dreaded artist’s creative block, Isobel started to write and found she loved writing more than making art. The Shatterproof Bond series is an Amazon Gay Romance bestseller. Isobel has just completed her ninth book and signed French and German and Italian, translation and publishing rights deals for the whole Shatterproof Bond series. The As You Wish translation “Comme Vous Voudrez” is a best seller on Amazon France. It was released in German in March 2017.

5 Questions with Isobel Starling:

  1. As an author myself, I know inspiration is everywhere and can strike at the most inopportune moments (like in the shower, when you don’t have anything to write with!). So, what was the inspiration behind the Shatterproof Bond series? The inspiration behind the Shatterproof Bond series began with a story prompt.  I had wanted to take part in the Goodreads M/M Romance Group ‘Don’t Read in the Closet’ event for a while.  At the time I was juggling the writing of two novels and convinced myself I didn’t have a spare minute for another story.  But then, author Kaje Harper put a post on Facebook, saying that a writer had dropped out and a prompt was looking for a new writer.  Curious, I clicked on the link, and as soon as I saw the accompanying prompt photograph, I was smitten.  I decided I would find the time, and claimed the story prompt straight away.The photograph in question was of two men dressed in Blue Tartan Highland dress standing by the counter of a bar, captured in a celebratory pose.  The man on the left was in his twenties, blond cropped hair, boyish, tall and slender, athletic.  The man on the right was older, in his early thirties, dark hair with a brawnier physique.  The older man had his hand on the younger man’s shoulder, squeezing.  He held a tumbler of whisky and gazed mischievously at the younger man as if he had just said something provocative to him.  The younger man held his own whisky tumbler to his lips and looked down coquettishly, his gaze avoiding the camera.This delicious photograph set my mind aflame, and then, when I saw the prompt letter that accompanied the photo, there was no turning back…

    “Two days before the wedding we met my brother’s bride’s family ― including her handsome, smart, funny brother.  I was immediately smitten, even if I wouldn’t have admitted it.  It took us some time to come together.  Could have been family, friends, relationships, culture, one of us was straight (or thought he was), jobs, distance ― whatever you see.”

    Immediately, I searched Google images and discovered that the tartan the men wore in the photo was Ramsay tartan, and thus my Scotsman was named Declan Ramsay.  In “As You Wish”, the novel inspired by the story prompt, Scotsman Declan Ramsay and Englishman Samuel Aiken are enlisted to share best man duties at their sibling’s wedding at a castle on the banks of Loch Ness, Scotland.  The images that are conjured by that line alone speak of spectacular, rugged wilderness and endless romantic possibilities.  The story virtually wrote itself in three weeks, and I knew while writing the first chapter that Sam and Declan had a bigger, wonderful story to tell and that neither man was as the reader first perceived them.

    Over the next two books “Illuminate the Shadows” and “Return to Zero”, not only do the characters develop and intrigue, but the love between Sam and Declan smoulders on the page.  The story arc moves from lighthearted to darker thriller themes inspired by current events.  I am currently finishing book #4 “Counterblow”, and with the way the world has turned on its head, there has been lots of inspiration.

  2. What is your writing process? (i.e. plotter or pantser, explain) I am both plotter and pantser.  Initially, I’m a pantser and just write until the story comes to a halt, then I will start to plot.  The deeper I get into the Shatterproof Bond series, the more I have to plot.  Writing thrillers is very intricate, and there are all kinds of story threads that I have to join up and tie together, so plotting is a must.  I find it really enjoyable and challenging.  I love putting my characters in tricky situations and try to keep my readers on their toes and give them the unexpected.  Currently, I have plots for books 4, 5, and 6 of Shatterproof Bond.
  3. There’s a big leap a writer takes from putting words down on paper for the love of it and actually publishing those words for public scrutiny. What was that journey like for you? My first ‘proper’ writing was Fantasy fanfic over three years ago.  I’d been reading a long fantasy trilogy and was really distressed at the end because the two MC’s, who were clearly soul mates didn’t get together.  And so I wrote my own fanfic about them as an m/m couple and uploaded it to AO3.  I had no expectations and wasn’t even sure if I could write.  The response from readers was overwhelming, and it was then that I realised I COULD write, and so set to writing my own original fantasy novel.  120K words later, I put that novel ‘to rest’ and decided to write a contemporary bi romance and self-publish it.  From then on I’ve been writing and self-publishing constantly.  I’m currently finishing my 10th book.  My books have been translated into German, French and will be in Italian soon too.  I also plan to finish my fantasy novel
  4. What one piece of advice would you give an aspiring writer considering that leap for themselves? I can’t stop at one piece of advice!  Write for the love of it, not for the kudos on social media, or for telling people you’re a writer, or even for money.  Readers can tell if you are cutting corners and are just in it for the money.  It takes time and hard word to become an author, and these days whether you are with a publisher or an indie author you will have to learn new skills, like marketing.  Marketing is a huge shock to new authors, some of whom think it will be done for them, but no matter what, we all have to learn to self-promote.
  1. What can readers expect from you next? The next book in the series “Counterblow” Shatterproof Bond #4 should be ready by May 2017.  Readers can expect me to pick up where we left Sam and Declan.  The couple has survived a really traumatic event which has brought them closer.  But now, the people who were supposed to be on their side and betrayed them must be dealt with.  Sam is recovering from injuries, and on the surface, Declan is playing house husband and caring for his man.  But beneath the surface, the broody Scotsman is planning payback on those who hurt Sam.  I hope readers will enjoy how I achieve this payback.  It was certainly fun to write.

5 Fun Quickies

  1. Favourite curse word: Fuckery. As in “What kind of fuckery is this?”  A sentence I use all too often these days!
  2. Favourite dance move (video?!?): Adam and the Ants –Prince Charming. Iconic dance moves
  3. Over or under (toilet paper, of course): Over
  4. Weapon of choice: Laughter
  5. Evil mastermind, easily convinced partner in crime or innocent bystander: I’m probably an evil mastermind, but ‘for the greater good’ evil, rather than money grabbing nut-job evil.

Where to find Isobel Starling:

Isobel Starling Amazon Isobel Starling Page Isobel Starling on Facebook Isobel Starling on Goodreads Isobel Starling on Twitter Isobel Starling Website 

Our Favorites Reads for the Week of April 9th – 16th ~ Boy Meets Boy Reviews

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Review: Forgotten Paradise by Shira Anthony

 

It’s dangerous diving for secrets.

When a mega company threatens to take over his family-owned business, programming prodigy Adam Preston escapes the stress with a much-needed vacation in the Dominican Republic. There he meets attractive, intelligent, insightful Jonah James, a scuba dive instructor, and what starts as a holiday fling soon blossoms into much more.

But Jonah has a secret: ten years ago he woke up on an island beach with no idea how he got there… or even who he is. Their paradise may not be as perfect as it seems. When Jonah’s memories come crashing back like waves on the sand, will it be Adam clinging to the proverbial life raft, or will the two men find a safe harbor to ride out the storm?

 

 

The dedication to this book is exactly why I read and enjoy the hell out of this series. I adore romance and the ride it takes me on. This series is simply fun and romantic and I will never get enough.

Adam Preston is on vacation in the Dominican Republic by the order of his sister in an attempt to relax and unwind from the chaos that is currently his professional life. Adam is the CEO of his family’s company that he took over after the passing of his father. When Adam began developing apps for Prestco Inc., the company showed profit and now a big Silicon Valley company, Entech wants to buy them out. The problem with that is Adam isn’t sure he wants to sell and he has his brother, mother and sister to consider in the offer too. It’s a good thing he’s on a beach vacation and loves to go diving. It’s also a good thing that in order to dive, he needs an instructor from the hotel to go with him.

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Review: Under Pressure (No Pressure, No Diamonds #1) by Kara Greenan

 

In the dangerous world of high profile theft, love is often a fantasy the wealthy and naive are sold. Grifter Sebastian Walker sells love like nobody else, leaving a trail of vacated bank accounts, empty champagne bottles and broken hearts in his wake. The one heart he never meant to break was London’s.

Considered by many to be the greatest thief of his age, London favours a minimalist life, devoid even of a surname. He lives for the next job, liberating art from museum walls and prized treasures from collector’s vaults. When he and Sebastian collide in Venice on a con to steal a priceless copy of Michelangelo’s David, the unthinkable happens: they begin to fall in love.

A long, lonely year later, Sebastian emerges as a new member of London’s team of world-class thieves. London knows he can’t trust him. Sebastian lies, better than anyone else, for a living. Sebastian wonders how he could ever entrust something as precious as his heart to a born thief. But as they team up for another perilous heist, they discover the true value might not be in the diamonds they’re stealing, but in each other.

 

 

There is something about a story that has a MC who is a thief that gets me. It’s the romanticizing of someone doing something so blatantly illegal and how much they get off on the thrill of it all. Them getting off helps this reader engage in the story and if you toss is a grifter, a professional con man as the thief’s love interest well then, just call me a goner. This book, this romance, this heist… I was gone for it so damn fast.
London is a thief, Sebastian a professional liar. Long story short, they’d never work out.
Told in dual POV’s as well as past/present storytelling, we get the story of London and Sebastian. As we first meet London, he is doing what he does best… balancing and planning as any young and infamous cat burglar would do when a huge heist is his next job. With his team of intelligent and bad ass misfits (Amelia, Hale and Frankie) they have the perfect plan to steal diamonds but are sadly missing one important piece; someone to distract the guards. When Frankie suggests they call in Sebastian Walker, London throws a fit and crawls out a window. Literally. He is all about taking the high road or at least the highest roads possible to get around town and he wants to get as far away from the idea of being near Sebastian again. Though he doth protest, he does it too much and we get the why of London’s unwillingness to work with Sebastian.

Review: Suck the Savage Beast (Sons of Outlaws #3) by James COX

 

Earth beasts are sexier than he expected…

Welliver is a scientist first and an Outlaw MC member second. He’s the smartest man in the crew that’s exploring earth to create a new home. But when a monster attacks them and he’s separated from the crew, he is saved by a savage and sexy beast.

The beast doesn’t remember his name. He was sent to the earth prison when he was just a boy but was left behind when the prison was evacuated. Beast has spent nearly twenty years alone on earth, trying to survive this dangerous world. He’s animalistic and maybe the best hope humans have for staying alive with these new threats.

Beast doesn’t understand it’s not okay to lick strangers, or the whole wearing clothes thing but neither man is prepared for the attraction between them. Welliver will have to pull on his Outlaw MC heritage to endure the wilds of earth but how will survive the savage beast?

 

 

I ask you, how does one not buy this book for the title alone?

Beyond that, I loved this installment of the Sons of Outlaws series. If you’ve been following along, and you should be, the Sons of Outlaws are in the process of relocating to Earth from Mars. Mars is becoming uninhabitable and the there’s a small scouting crew that has landed on Earth to check the viability of the place and to get some prepwork going. In Suck the Savage Beast we get to know Deviant and Tage’s kids Welliver and Lily. I have to say, it was pretty awesome how Deviant’s kids turned out. They aren’t much like Deviant at all, but the family vibe is strong. Tage is back on Mars so it’s just Deviant and his kids on Earth along with a few others.

 

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Authors Etc: Yaoi North Looking for Panelists

YaoiNorth

Yaoi North (part of Anime North) is seeking a few additional panelists to round out our convention schedule. The convention will be held May 26-28, 2017 at the Holiday Inn Toronto Airport East in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Despite the name, Yaoi North offers programming that covers the whole spectrum of LGBTQ content in anime and other media. We are particularly interested in filling panels related to lesbian media and interests. To learn more about being a panelist and the current list of open panels, please visit http://yaoinorth.com/panelist-registration/

Bubbling to the Surface

bubbles

Hey all…

There’s a lot going on under the hood these days at QRI, and it’s starting to bubble to the surface. 🙂

REVIEWS:

To start, we’ve signed up a number of review sites, so you’ll be seeing more and more reviews here on the blog for the books you love.

EVENTS:

We’re also starting to launch more events on our Facebook Group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/queeromanceink/

In addition to our promo day, Flirtatious Fiction Friday, we’ve added Lazy Reading Sunday, a weekly event where we’ll disucss a particular genre or subset of Queer Romance. And We’re also launching Author Takeover Saturdays and Release Days, where our authors will take turns hanging out on the group and connecting with y’all (and maybe even giving away some free eBooks).

WEBSITE UPDATES:

On the site itself, our developer will soon have a working prototype of search and page filtering for us. We’re excited to have this new feature coming online soon.

We had almost 8,000 visitors to the site in March, and it looks like we’ll top 13K in April.

GETTING THE WORD OUT:

Oh, and we’re sponsoring GRL and Yaoi Con this year, with others soon to follow, to get the word out. And we continue to work with Facebook ads to raise site awareness.

We’re thrilled with how the site is going, and can’t wait to see where it all leads.

🙂

–Scott & Mark

Lazy Reading Sunday – Mystery

Lazy Reading Sunday

Today we’re launching a new feature on QRI – our weekly Lazy Reading Sunday. Each week we’ll choose a topic – a genre, pairing, or identity – and talk about our favorite reads on the Facebook group:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/queeromanceink/

Today – mystery. Do you have a favorite queer sleuth? An author who keeps you guessing right up until the very end? A favorite book or series you’ve recently read?

Tell us about it.

AUTHORS: Please do not use this chat to recommend your own books

Our Favorite Reads for the Week of April 2nd – 8th ~ Boy Meets Boy Reviews

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Review: Soothsayer by Cari Z.

Cillian Kelly can look into people’s eyes and see their fates. He’s running from a past filled with mistakes, lying low and selling his services on the sly. When he learns that Sören Egilsson, a man who sacrificed himself so Cillian could escape imprisonment two years ago, is somehow still alive, Cillian has to find out how. What he gets is the body of the man he loves possessed by an ancient spirit who draws Cillian into a battle to the death for the right to control Sören’s fate, and the power that comes with it.

I don’t think I’ve read a Cari Z book I didn’t like, and this is no different. And that cover makes me want to sit and drool a little bit. Yum!

Full of fun supernatural adventure, Cillian takes on a ride as he tries to figure out how to get the ancient spirit out of the love of his life.

Cillian is sort of a typical societal outlier. He seems a little angry, and a lot defiant about life in general. He has a weird past with his mother, which is never really explained, but it is secondary to the information that is thrown out about his past during adulthood. Some of it fit into the storyline, and some seemed a little random and not elaborated enough, but all of it gave a sense of who Cillian is.

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Review: Too Close by R. Phoenix

 

Skylar Orion’s life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meet seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in — his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can’t give his sister all that she deserves without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.

For his sister he will do anything, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn’t free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms?

Warning: Graphic Domestic Abuse and Violence.

 

 

This shouldn’t have been a book I could read until the end. It made me raw and was a bit too real for me and yet, I made it.

I’ll start off with letting you know, this book has abuse in it, both mental and on page physical abuse so if that could be a trigger for you, tread with caution.

This was such an emotional read and yet through all the angst, there was the underlined hope that kept me going.

Skylar Orion is doing what he has to do so that he can survive and take care of his younger sister Evie. At the young age of 18, Tate has gone through the death of one parent and the abandonment of another all while trying to make sure he and his sister aren’t separated. When he gets desperate, he decides to sell himself to make ends meet and falls into the arms and under the control of Tate Chandler. Tate is Skylar’s first and only customer as a prostitute and when Skylar gets robbed for having enough to live on, Tate offers Skylar to move in with him and Skylar counter offers with “not without my sister.” This leads us to the present day, of Skylar and Evie living with Tate and Tate controlling everything they do and taking anything and everything out on Skylar with the visible marks of his handy work on Skylar’s body as proof.

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Release Day Review: Witches for Hire (Odd Jobs #1) by Sam Argent

 

All recovering drug addict and witch Jeremy Ragsdale wants is to shamble on to the next job without any disasters. Instead, the temp agency saddles him with a fellow witch who hates him, an Amazon one violent outburst away from deportation, and a knight from another world as his boss. Even worse, their jack-of-all-trades magic business stumbles upon a conspiracy to kill Desmond the Great, Atlanta’s sexy star magician. Jeremy must prevent it without letting his colleagues know that he not only has ties to the energy vampires behind the plot, but that his past misdeeds might have instigated the attacks.

Despite Jeremy sporting a suit and tie like a good witch, his lies snowball to bite him in the ass. The lack of trust brewing between him and his teammates could cost Desmond his life and Jeremy his progress on the straight and narrow path if his secrets are revealed. Because no matter how much Jeremy has reformed, there’s still enough bad witch in him to kill anyone who messes with him or the people he cares about.

 

 

This is gonna be a quick and dirty review ‘cause there’s nothing I can say about it without spoiling the book.

I’ll just come out and say… I. Loved. This. Book. I loved the characters, the action, the plot, the romance, the world building, the angst and the humor. But most of all I loved the writing. Oh, the writing! If ever there was something to debate about this story, it’s the writing. There will be some that don’t like the author’s style. In fact, I think most people will be frustrated by it and potentially abandon it before they reach the halfway point. Not me. I was so attuned to it I felt it deep in my soul.

There’s not one single bit of telling in this book. Everything is show, show, show. And what a show it is! The world building is extremely organic. You’re viewing the world as if you are expected to already know how it works. The story unfolds in bits and pieces and seemingly unnecessary offshoots, giving you absolutely no clue as to what is going on and feeling like maybe you missed something. You’re left to discover the secrets on your own. Once I got about a third of the way in, it all started coming together and suddenly I was riveted. I could not put the book down! And the way everything culminated in the end left me breathless. I was in absolute awe.

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