Saturday, 23 September 2017

Days Without End by Sebastian Barry



Reading Group Read
301 pages

Blurb

Twice Booker-shortlisted author Sebastian Barry returns with a sensational new novel set in mid-19th Century America, an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt.

'Time was not something then we thought of as an item that possessed an ending, but something that would go on for ever, all rested and stopped in that moment. Hard to say what I mean by that. You look back at all the endless years when you never had that thought. I am doing that now as I write these words in Tennessee. I am thinking of the days without end of my life. And it is not like that now...'

Having signed up for the US army in the 1850s, aged barely seventeen, Thomas McNulty and his brother-in-arms, John Cole, go on to fight in the Indian wars and, ultimately, the Civil War.

Orphans of terrible hardships themselves, they find these days to be vivid and alive, despite the horrors they both see and are complicit in.

Moving from the plains of the West to Tennessee, Sebastian Barry's latest work is a masterpiece of atmosphere and language. Both an intensely poignant story of two men and the lives they are dealt, and a fresh look at some of the most fateful years in America's past, Days Without End is a novel never to be forgotten.

Review        

“John Cole was my love, all my love”

I have to be honest and admit that I’m somewhat at a loss as to what to write about this book. The only thing I’m sure about is that I’m intrigued by it for several reasons.

For starters there’s the way ‘Days Without End’ was written. Thomas McNulty is the narrator of this story and we get to hear it in his own, uneducated, voice. And there were moments when his voice drove me up the wall, irritated me. At times, the way in which the story unfolded felt like little more than a rendering of facts and the temptation to skim was almost irresistible. And then there were instances of such vibrant simplicity, that I found myself reading the same sentence or paragraph three or four times in a row, because I couldn’t get enough of it.

“You had to love John Cole for what he chose never to say.”

Reading this book was, to me, almost like reading two stories, the contrast between which was stark.

On one side there is Thomas and John’s military life, fighting both against Indians and in the Civil War. The descriptions of battles and slaughter are brutally honest and vivid, as are Thomas’s feelings about what they have to do.

“We wanted the enemy stilled and destroyed so that we could live ourselves.”

I wouldn’t have missed about half those battles and fights if they’d been left out; after a while they felt like overkill (pun intended). But a different reader may well find that aspect of the book fascinating. Just as other readers may feel less strongly than I did about the second storyline.

I however was mesmerized by the beautiful and understated story of the love between John and Thomas.

“And then we quietly fucked and then we slept.”

Because it is really ‘just’ a story of their love. They don’t encounter any problems. Not while they work as dancing ‘girls’ — when Thomas discovers that he prefers dresses and enjoys being Thomasina — not while they’re in the army, not when they take a young Indian girl under their wing, and not when they return to civilian life. Their love just is. And while the story does once or twice mention the need to be careful and secretive, Thomas and John are never in any danger as a result of their relationship. Used as I am to the MM romance arc, their story was almost anti-climatic and all the more refreshing for it.

Then again, maybe the book is a lot more than those two stories. Maybe it’s the totality of one man’s life; the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, the brutal and the heartwarming. Thomas doesn’t hide who he is, what he has done, or how he felt about it. Not all of it is beautiful or honourable, but by the end of the book Thomas(ina) had nestled their way into my heart.

See what I mean when I say I don’t know what to say about this book, or how I feel about it?

I do however know that I love the title. ‘Days Without End’; those days when we were young and convinced we would live forever. The days we don’t appreciate until they’re long behind us.

“I am thinking of the days without end of my life. And it’s not like that now.”

Which brings me back to the language in which this book is written. It seems to me that there’s a beautiful conceit to this book. While the language appears to be ungrammatical and simple, this tale is filled with thoughts, observations and ideas that made me stop and think, such as this inspired little gem:

“A man’s memory might have only a hundred clear days in it and he has lived thousands. Can’t do much about that. We have our store of days and we spend them like forgetful drunkards.”

Or this one:
"
"His skin is made of the aftermath of smiles.”


So I guess I’ll give this book a very solid four stars. It was a bit too easy for me to put down to give it five stars. But I know without a doubt that this book, this story, and these characters will stay with me for a long time. And that counts for a lot.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Torn Avenger (A Dark Viking Romance) by Lea Bronsen

Hi, and thank you for hosting me on your blog!

When asked what inspires me to write books, I usually say it’s something I’ve seen or heard, or I’ve been challenged to dig deeply into my imagination and come up with a crazy idea. This time, it was a premade cover. The moment I saw this dark, sensual, slightly homo erotic image of a half-naked man in a fur coat on an exquisitely colored background, I knew it had to be mine. I decided in which historical period to set the story – the obscure, mythical age of the Vikings – and the ensuing process plunged me into an exciting and not so foreign world where everyday heroes lived the same dramas and battled for the same values and desires as we do in modern society. I hope you enjoy the read!  

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  As the second son of a Viking earl, Alv Gunnulfsen wasn't meant to inherit a throne or avenge a murder. But when his brother is slain during a raid and their father dies of grief, Alv is expected to take command and claim the killer's death. In a world of ruthless retaliation and strict social codes, he must also maneuver cleverly to protect a troublesome secret: his attraction for men. 

Roeland van Dijk, a wealthy Dutch merchant settled in Norway, has done the unthinkable to protect his family — hacked off the head of a Viking rapist. The wrath of the blond savages will cost him his freedom, and possibly his own head… Unless he's willing to accept the love of another man.  

Available from

Add it to your shelf onGoodreads
 
Torn Avenger_cover
 

Excerpt 


After a moment, Alv looked up again and almost gasped from the erotic vision in front of him. While shaving Roeland, he’d only seen his wet, hairy chest and stomach, but the handsome man moved to a kneeling position in the basin and washed his lower body. His stunning maleness made Alv hot and bothered. They had discussed, argued, shared personal details, and apologized to each other, but now, the seriousness of their conversation faded. The sight of Roeland’s cock bathing in white foam between his legs had Alv’s own cock jolt and press painfully against his pants. 

Oh, Roeland attracted him on several levels—mental, emotional, and physical—and Alv longed to discover and develop more of everything with him. Hedin was an exciting lover, but nothing like what Roeland had the potential to be. 

Speaking of Hedin, it’d been a surprise to see him again this morning, right after Elke left. He’d arrived in a terrible mood and refused to excuse his disappearance act. It was outrageous of a slave to come and go like that, but Alv had too much on his mind to think of punishing him. 

For one, he worried about Roeland’s future. He’d inherited part of Father’s wealth, but not his title. After returning to Eðni, he’d claimed to be the only one who could decide of what to do with his brother’s murderer, but it wasn’t true. He had no standing, no support from his fellow citizens. They could choose to kill Roeland if they wanted to—all it took was a word from Mother. It made her idea to have Alv marry Elke and adopt the community’s natural heir that much more important to push through. 

“There’s something we need to talk about,” he said, hoping Roeland wouldn’t oppose to the plan. 

“What?” 

“Normally, I would ask you, but since you’re not in a position to make decisions, I’m just going to tell you.” 

“About what?” Roeland frowned. 

“I’m marrying your sister.” Roeland stood so fast in the basin, water splashed to all sides. He stepped out and leaned into Alv’s face. “Don’t you dare to touch her!” 

“But I’m not…” “Hasn’t she suffered enough?” Roeland bellowed, his dark eyes slit with anger. 

By Thor, he was insanely sexy, standing naked and wet, so near Alv could feel his damp bodily heat, water drippling from his hair and rolling alongside his tanned, chiseled cheeks. Alv couldn’t help hardening more, and needed to focus on the words that came out of Roeland’s luscious mouth to be able to answer. “She has already accepted.”  

About the author


Lea Bronsen


Lea Bronsen likes her reads hot, fast, and edgy, and strives to give her own stories the same intensity. After venturing into dirty inner-city crime drama with her debut novel Wild Hearted, she divides her writing time between psychological thriller, romantic suspense, and dark erotic romance.  

For more information about Lea Bronsen
 
* * *
 

Coming Oct. 20

A dark erotic crime ménage by Lea Bronsen
If you like your men dangerous and dirty…
 
The Audition_cover
  
Ruthless drug lord Ricardo “El Loco” Ferrer launders his black money by investing in movie productions. As a teen, he learned to enjoy blow jobs in jail. Now a man of power, his favorite pastime is checking out new acting talent…and convincing them to “please” the team of producers. 

Young wannabe actor Jaden Moore comes to a shady side of town to audition for a movie part. He longs to shine, wants to walk the red carpet with cameras flashing and a crowd cheering. He assures the film director and the investors he’ll do anything to reach the top, but is he willing to comply with their dirty fantasies?  

Available for pre-order

Add it to your shelf onGoodreads
 

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

Waking the Behr (A Foothills Pride Story) by Pat Henshaw - Release Blitz

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Book Title: Waking the Behr (A Foothills Pride Story)

Author: Pat Henshaw

Cover Artist: AngstyG

Genre: contemporary gay romance

Length: 29,689 Words/88 Pages

Release Date: September 20, 2017

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Buy Links

Add on Goodreads

Blurb 

Both Ben and Mitch think they know exactly what they want. Turns out, they don’t even know their own hearts. 

Good old boy Ben has dated women his entire life, while gay nightclub owner Mitch has never considered unsophisticated country boys his type. But after they start hanging out, the small-town contractor and the urban entrepreneur are both stunned by the electricity sparking between them. 

As they step outside their comfort zones to spend time together, Mitch finds he enjoys rural car rallies, and Ben is intrigued by the upscale bars Mitch owns in San Francisco. When they share their lives and grow closer, they start to question the way they’ve always defined themselves. Then they kiss and fling open the door to love. Now they must step up and travel the road that may lead to happily ever after—even if that path isn’t one they ever expected to walk. 

Excerpt 

MEETING A potential client for the first time was usually a mixed bag. As a contractor and partner in Behr Construction, I never knew what I was going to get: a fanciful dreamer, an actual customer, or a combination of both. 

So I was surprised when I opened the door to the gutted restaurant and found a giant of a man twirling Julie Andrews–style. He was grinning like a loon as the light poured over him.

That should have been laughable since he was alone, but he was kickass savoring the moment. Instead of appearing loco, he struck me as a big overgrown Peter Pan. He looked so happy, I had an urge to join him, which gave me a moment of panic because I’m not an old boy who does much dancing or cavorting—in public or in private. 

“Uh, hello? Mr. O’Shea?” 

When he turned toward me, my jaw dropped. I’m sure I musta looked like the village idiot.  

The guy was unbelievably gorgeous. I don’t usually think men are good- or bad-looking. They’re men. Before that moment, I would have said men weren’t my type. But, damn! He was smoking hot. 

He looked about my height—six four or maybe a little taller—and was dressed in a classy three-piece suit with a gleaming tie tack, had one pierced ear, and wore a sparkling watch. His raven hair stood up in a tall buzz cut in front and tapered long enough to curl around his ears in back. 

But what stopped me and turned me to jelly were his wickedly merry eyes and his shit-eating grin. 

He acted like a kid who’d found Santa or the Easter Bunny. 
In the middle of the total disaster of the old Thompson’s steak house, this guy looked like he’d hit the jackpot. 

Fuck me. I’d come to a standstill and was staring at him openmouthed. Since I’m your basic laid-back good old boy, nothing usually bothered me. Now I was poleaxed. He was bewitching. Too hot for somebody like me to handle. 

He’d stopped spinning. Without missing a beat, he strode over to me with his hand held out. In the blink of an eye, he changed from the picture of kidlike excitement to a polished city businessman. 

I stood stock still, wondering what the hell had just happened. Had I hallucinated the twirling around? Maybe it was time to get away from work for a while, take a vacation, maybe go do some fishing. 
“Isn’t this place great?” he greeted me. His voice held a leftover tinge of joy. 

He didn’t look embarrassed or bothered that I’d caught him dancing around like an ass. Up close, he was even more powerfully sexy and self-assured. Face-to-face, his lively, assessing stare unnerved me. His unbridled enthusiasm wrapped around me and lifted me off my feet. 

The guy seemed to be pulling my personality and soul toward him as he decided whether I was friend or foe. Then he grinned even wider, stuck out his hand, grabbed mine, and shook like we were on the verge of becoming tight. Why did I find this move hot as fuck? 

I shook his hand, stunned, and almost wanted to run back to the alley, where I’d left my regular, easygoing self. 

His eyes brightened and his smile turned sexy, as if he’d discovered a delightfully lascivious secret. 

“Mr. Behr? May I call you Ben? I’m Mitchell O’Shea. Call me Mitch.” He squeezed my hand one more time, then dropped it. “Great space here. I’m going to buy it.” 

His hand swept up in an extravagant Vanna White gesture. I was about to tell him he couldn’t afford a vowel, much less a remodel, when he grinned and sucked me in again.

Fuck. Oddly, my body agreed with that sentiment. Why was this happening? To me, of all people. I wasn’t gay. Even a little bit. 

My brothers, Abe and Connor, had come out a while back, but everybody knew I was the straight Behr. I’d been dating girls since I was twelve (but looked sixteen). I wasn’t attracted to guys. Ever. I didn’t go for tall girls, especially ones as huge as me, so why was I attracted to a big man? 

I stepped back and gave him the once-over. My body sure as shit was a little interested. Okay, maybe more than a little. 

Like all the Behrs, I’m tall and squared off. As my grandpa always said, I’m built like a brick shithouse. A brown brick shithouse. Brown hair, brown eyes, brown tan. Nothing exotic about me. 

But this guy? This guy had dark blue eyes flecked with light blue and green. His big body was lithe, with a tapered torso, and he moved like a dancer. He hit me like a gorgeous morsel of urban life. Somebody polished and sophisticated except for a patch of boyish fun. His smile was so engaging, I figured my friends would even like him. 

My buddies had always said I was attracted to bright, shiny things. Was that all this was?

Noise from outside burst my bubble. Mitch O’Shea and I’d been standing too long staring at each other and not talking. 

Through the blush heating up my cheeks, I cleared my throat and shifted uneasily. 

“What can Behr Construction do for you, uh, Mitch?” 

There was no way under God I was asking him what I could do for him. Or to him. Or whatever. I made myself stop overthinking. Just focus. 

His grin grew, embracing me. My prick rose. Dammit. 

“I’d like you to take a look at this place’s structure and tell me if it’s sound enough to remodel. Or should I just raze it and start over again?” His voice had changed to one only board presidents and big money used around us peons. 

I took a shuddering breath. I’d dealt with hundreds of Mitches as a contractor. Estimates and suggestions I could do. 

We both turned to the dismal interior of the former steak house. I cleared my throat, then took a breath.  

“Okay. Sure.” I took a step away from him and looked up at the lung-cancer ceiling. “What do you plan to do with this place?” 

His grin tried to lasso me again, but I was onto him. I met his gaze with a frown. His eyes twinkled in response. Damn him. 

“Well, I own a bunch of clubs in San Francisco, but I’ve always wanted to start a family restaurant, kinda like Chuck E. Cheese’s but not with the costumed characters.” He fucking winked at me. “I want to start a place with an Old West theme, where parents can get a great steak for a reasonable price and kids can play old-fashioned arcade games without their folks watching them the whole time. You know, where families can come and enjoy a night out.” 

Okay, his idea wasn’t as flashy as he looked. I would have thought he’d want more Vegas—bright lights and pink cocktails—while he was thinking more Main Street, America. Thompson’s would be a great place for his vision if the Silver Star gourmet restaurant wasn’t nearby, feeding the rich and famous. 

“Uh, yeah. You did see the place across the street, right?” I thumbed toward the Star. 

He laughed, a hearty bellow of delight. 

“Oh, Chef Adam de Leon won’t be challenged by my little family place. This is a big block. Our clientele won’t overlap at all.” 

I was skeptical. We’d done some work for Adam, but I didn’t really know the guy very well. From what I’d gathered, the celebrity chef didn’t like to be messed with. Ever. Would he want chattering kids and cranky parents cluttering up the street in front of his place? 

I shrugged. “Okay. Whatever. If you give me fifteen to thirty, I’ll have a rundown of what needs to be done and write out a preliminary cost estimate so you can make up your mind.” 

He nodded as I bent my head to get an appraisal sheet and pencil from my shirt pocket.

“Oh, Ben,” he called over his shoulder as he walked away. 

I glanced at him. 

“Mind if we talk about this over lunch?” 

“Sure, no problem.” My dick was on board even if the rest of me was wary. 

“How about I meet you outside? Maybe we could drive somewhere? I bet you’ll want to try out my car.” 

I shrugged again. What’d he have? A Maserati or something? Since I’d come in through the back, I hadn’t seen him drive up. 

But I was more concerned about my reaction to him than his ride. Was it possible to turn gay? Is that what had happened to my brothers and it was just now catching up with me?

Damn. I didn’t know how I felt if that was the case. Maybe being gay was a family thing? 

I waved to him. Then, as I got one last eyeful, I shouted a piece of advice. 

“I’d lose the jacket, vest, and tie if I were you. We’re pretty laid-back around here.” 

If nothing else, he wouldn’t stick out quite as much as he would in the suit. He’d certainly attract the single gay men the way he was dressed. I didn’t need… competition? 

Shit, what was I thinking? 

Read more at Dreamspinner Press

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Release Blitz Schedule

WAKING THE BEHR RB SCHEDULE

SEPTEMBER 20
SEPTEMBER 21
SEPTEMBER 22

Meet the Author 

81K35AAJl2L._UX250_Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, has spent her life surrounded by words: Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs. 

Pat was born and raised in Nebraska where she promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California. Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube. 

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion. Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.


Social Media Links

Blog | Website | Facebook | Twitter | Google+ | Amazon | Email

Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for a chance to win one of THREE $10 Coffee gift cards 



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Saturday, 16 September 2017

Dish of the Day by Clare London


55 pages
Buy links: Amazon US | Amazon UK


Blurb

Three men together. Diverse tastes … one common love.

Richie Morton’s sunk all his hopes and savings into a new restaurant in South London promoting British ingredients and recipes. Yet on opening night, it all seems to be heading for disaster. Lost ingredients, manic chefs, no sign of customers … he’s in despair. And where are his best friends Craig and Ben, who’ve been helping him set up the new Venture? The least they could offer is moral support.

When they do eventually step in, though, they offer support of a very different kind. They tell Richie some home truths —— that he pushed himself too much, and must learn to share and trust his life with others. With them, specifically. And then, when Richie’s still unconvinced, the decide to let actions speak for their love instead. They’ll help him relax and dish up a caring, sexy, and far more intimate menu.

Review

Now here is a tasty (pun totally intended) tale. I’m not sure I’ll ever look at hors d’oeuvres, red wine and chocolate dessert in the same way again.

This is the story of Richie who has convinced himself he is nowhere near as accomplished or sophisticated as his two best friends, Craig and Ben. When what is supposed to be the grand opening of his restaurant turns into a disaster, Richie is ‘this’ close to admitting defeat. Before he has the opportunity to surrender to his attack of despair, his friends step in.

All is not quite what it seems; not with the opening night and not with the friendship. Richie has a few lessons to learn and Ben and Craig are all too happy to show him that he is more than good enough, that he doesn’t have to do it all alone, and that together, the three of them can create magic — both professionally and on a far more intimate level. 

And that’s really all I want to say about this story except that I have to add that it is a delightful read, a very steamy story, and that you probably shouldn’t read it while hungry. Clare London writes with a wonderful touch that pulls you into the story and drops you right in the middle of the unfolding tale. If you’re looking for about an hour worth of hot, funny, charming, and tasty you ought to read Dish of the Day.

Thursday, 14 September 2017

Exposure by Aly Hayden (Drawn Together #1) - Release Blitz

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Title: Exposure

Author: Aly Hayden

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Aria from Resplendent Media

Genres: Contemporary M/M Romance

Length: 61,000 words/150 pages approx.

It is the first book in the Drawn Together series.
Each book follows a different couple, so there's a HEA and no cliffhanger.

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Blurb

Sam Hayward's parents think he has a boyfriend. And he does... in his dreams. But when they insist Sam bring his partner to the annual Labor Day family reunion, his options are to either admit it was all a lie or find a stand-in in a hurry. The trouble is that his lies have all been based on one very real man. 

Ben Matheny has been hurt before. When he's bribed into playing a part by his friends, he fleshes out Sam's dreams, but it's like flying too close to the sun. He's always had a crush on Sam, and now they're going to the Hamptons to spend a week pretending they're lovers, everything is getting harder. 

When Ben uncovers another lie Sam has told - that Ben is every bit as rich as Sam is - things begin to unravel. If Sam isn't happy with who Ben is, Ben can't stick around to get burned again. 

With their hearts on the line, the two must fight for their dreams as the pressure mounts. It would be so easy to admit that it was all a sham, but some dreams are worth the risk.

EXPOSURE BLURB

Excerpt 

“Guess we have the hot tub all to ourselves,” Ben said with a smile. 

He didn’t know whether he meant the words to be flirtatious or not. It was one thing to flirt when there were other people present. That was just what he did, how he interacted with people. Deliberately flirting with Sam was different. Dangerous. 

“Guess we do.” 

Sam’s voice was lower than usual. Almost seductive. There was no one around that would make Sam feel like he had to play the part of the boyfriend, which meant only one thing: Sam was actually into him. The signs were all there, if Ben was reading them correctly—the way Sam had taken to holding his hand, the morning wood after cuddling all night long, the look Sam had given him when he’d seen Ben in the shorts. And then there was that thing he had started to say right before they had gotten on the boat. 

Much as Ben wanted to believe that Sam might have feelings for him too, there was still a part of him that wasn’t sure. There was certainly one way for him to find out, though. The hot tub was big enough for about six people, so naturally they had taken corners along the same wall. Slowly, Ben moved closer and closer to Sam, until they were sitting side by side. He took a deep breath, steeling his nerves, and let his leg brush against Sam’s. 

“What are you doing?” Sam’s voice was low and husky, and when Ben looked up, he found Sam’s pupils so large that only a sliver of hazel showed around the edges. 

He swallowed hard. “Getting closer to you.” 

His heart beat so fast that his chest ached as he waited for Sam to do something. Say something. Have any reaction at all. It had been so easy when it was just flirting, but this…this was terrifying. 

Seconds passed, though, and Sam didn’t move away. Instead, he leaned back against the side of the hot tub and slid his hand into Ben’s, underneath the water. 

“I’m glad you’re here,” he said softly. 

Encouraged by the reaction, Ben shifted down a bit and let his head rest on Sam’s shoulder. “Me too.” They sat in silence for a few seconds. Ben didn’t want to ruin the moment, but he knew that if he didn’t say anything, he would regret it. “Before, when we were about to get on the boat. What were you going to say?” “I um…” 

Sam scratched at the back of his neck. “I was going to say, what if—” 

“Sammy, Benny!” 

Ben whipped around to see Karrigan. Someone had escaped from nap time. He fought to suppress a groan. Looked like this conversation would have to wait. 

Buy Links 

Amazon USA | Amazon UK 

Goodreads Link 

Meet the Author 

Aly Hayden has loved writing ever since she learned to pick up a pencil. As a child, she used to write short stories, then progressed to novels of various genres, none of which were ever published – for good reason. She started writing fanfiction in 2011, publishing on Archive of Our Own. After finding M/M romance in 2012, she fell in love and made it her mission to write one of her own one day. When Aly isn’t writing, she can be found playing with her lovable Yorkie and watching old reruns of House Hunters. 

Social Media Links 

Blog/Website Facebook Author Page

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Giveaway 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway: WIN ONE OF THREE e-copies of Exposure 


Release Blitz Schedule

EXPOSURE SCHEDULE 2 

SEPTEMBER 14 Millsy Loves Books The Way She Reads Tangents and Tissues Geekymama's Reviews 
SEPTEMBER 15 Books Laid Bare Boys The Reading Addict Reviews by Crystal 
SEPTEMBER 16 Diverse Reader Bayou Book Junkie Top 2 Bottom Reviews and More Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words Making it Happen My Fiction Nook Valerie Ullmer | Romance Author Megan's Media Melange A Book Lover's Dream Book Blog 
SEPTEMBER 19 Drops of Ink

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Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Tidal Series by K. Evan Coles & Brigham Vaughn - Review Tour



Buy Links: 

Wake (Book #1) - PrideAmazon US | Amazon UK 
Calm (Book #2) - Pride| Amazon US | Amazon UK 

Cover: Emmy Ellis

Wake

Carter Hamilton and Riley Porter-Wright room together as Harvard undergraduates. An immediate friendship forms, but as the years pass it deepens into something neither man understands. As attraction simmers under the surface, lines begin to blur. When they move back to Manhattan, they gradually slip into the lives their families have envisioned for them.

Both men marry, but in time, Riley realizes he’s ended up in a passionless relationship like his parents’ while his career takes center stage. Although he loves his wife, Carter misses the emotional and physical connection he shared with Riley.

The weight of Riley’s feelings and his growing discontentment with his life eventually push him to tell Carter the truth about how he feels. Shocked and unable to face his own feelings, Carter rejects Riley.

As each man comes to terms with the lies they’ve told themselves, each other and the people around them, they find their lives changing in ways they never imagined. They soon discover that the truths they’ve been longing to tell shake the foundations of their friendship.


Calm


A love worth the wait.


When Riley Porter-Wright comes out as bisexual and confesses his feelings for Carter Hamilton, it severs their friendship. Carter’s rejection forces Riley to move on and he’s shocked to learn Carter’s marriage has fallen apart.


Overwhelmed by his failure as a husband and father, Carter misses Riley, but feels guilty for disappearing after Riley's coming out. After Riley extends an olive branch, the former friends agree to repair their relationship.


Slowly, Carter pieces together a new life. He admits his attraction to men, and confesses his feelings for Riley. Leery of Carter's initial rejection, Riley turns his focus on a new man, Will Martin.


Riley and Carter’s renewed rapport intensifies, and Will becomes insecure. Will's resentment increases until he issues an ultimatum, forcing Riley to refocus his energies away from Carter.


Disappointed, Carter fosters new friendships with men like Jesse Murtagh. Aware of the changes in Carter’s life, Riley is uncomfortable knowing Carter has moved on.


Carter and his ex-wife, Kate, navigate new waters as their children learn their parents are dating other people. Will can’t deal with his jealousy and ends his relationship with Riley.


Unattached for the first time in years, Riley and Carter slowly transition their friendship into a relationship. Carter comes out and leaves his job, accepting the reality of being disowned.


Riley and Carter go public with their relationship, but worry the fallout will affect their families. Drawing strength from each other, they meet the challenges of being an out couple head on.



Reviews

Calm:



About a week ago this tweet showed up on my timeline and Twitter feed quite a lot. Today, while reading Calm I was reminded of the tweet again. Not because Riley and Carter act like teenagers so much — they’re actually very grown up and sensible about how they’re dealing with their lives and their relationships — but because of all the things they have to figure out all over again, and for certain developments that closely resemble growing up and moving on to lead your own life.

I apologize, I was horribly vague in that previous paragraph but that is very much on purpose. While I am perfectly comfortable revealing that this book centres around Riley and Carter figuring out who they really are, both as individuals and together, I much prefer not to go into details. Trust me when I say that the journey these two men undertake is beautiful, realistic, and unputdownable.

I’ve said it before and I’m not afraid to say it again: I love books that take me away from the tried and trusted and give me a new (to me) sorta story. Calm, like Wake before it, is such a story and it managed to totally take me by surprise. For example, I had prepared myself for high levels of angst (which, as regular readers will know, I’m not very good with), only to discover that while the story is bursting with emotion it’s not angst-driven at all.

There was so much in this book I absolutely adored I could easily write a novella length review without sharing all the details. I’ll spare you that and will try to limit myself to one or two things that really stood out for me.

First and foremost, the story-lines in these books can all be caught under the same label: realism. All too often in romance novels there are one or two moments when the reader has to suspense disbelieve and just go with the flow. While there’s nothing wrong with that, it was wonderful to read a book in which the story and the character development felt so real that I could almost believe I was reading an (auto) biography or memoir rather than a novel. And, for me, this was most obvious in the way the various relationships played out. Carter building a new relationship with Kate, his ex-wife and the mother of his two children, felt real, not to mention that it closely resembles how I feel divorces should play out, especially when there are kids involved.

Furthermore, I loved that there are no perfect characters or easy solutions in this story. This is a slice of life and while the happily ever after was definitely there when I reached the end of the book, even that was coloured by realism rather than fairytales. And that is what made this book so very special; I not only believed that Carter and Riley would be happy ever after, I’m also convinced theirs is the sort of happy ending all of us can aspire to.

The secondary characters in this book were wonderful and I can’t begin to tell you how delighted I am that the authors are working on a spin-off series in which we’ll get to see more of Jesse, Kyle, and hopefully Will. And the fact that I can’t imagine Riley and Carter not making regular appearances in those new books too only heightens my delight.

Long story short, Calm and Wake are well written, captivating, and truly unique stories featuring characters I came to care for deeply and a story that will stick with me for a very long time. Well done ladies, you created an absolutely stunning two book series! I’m looking forward to any future co-writing you may end up doing. 

Related Review: Wake


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Author Bios


K. Evan Coles is a mother and tech pirate by day and a writer by night. She is a dreamer who, with a little hard work and a lot of good coffee, coaxes words out of her head and onto paper.

K. lives in the northeast United States, where she complains bitterly about the winters, but truly loves the region and its diverse, tenacious and deceptively compassionate people. You’ll usually find K. nerding out over books, movies and television with friends and family. She’s especially proud to be raising her son as part of a new generation of unabashed geeks. 





Brigham Vaughn is starting the adventure of a lifetime as a full-time writer. She devours books at an alarming rate and hasn’t let her short arms and long torso stop her from doing yoga. She makes a killer key lime pie, hates green peppers, and loves wine tasting tours. A collector of vintage Nancy Drew books and green glassware, she enjoys poking around in antique shops and refinishing thrift store furniture. An avid photographer, she dreams of traveling the world and she can’t wait to discover everything else life has to offer her.