Guest Review: The Runner (Runner, #1) by Karma Kingsley

Alex Banez is a runner for a Los Angeles film set. When he has a chance encounter with executive producer Atwell Richards, he finds himself falling fast and hard. Atwell is rich, powerful, gorgeous, and everything Alex never thought he would have. But Atwell also has a dark side and an inflexible need for control that threatens to suffocate everyone around him.

Alex has to figure out if he can love Atwell without losing himself.


Guest Reviewer - Annery

You know when you plan, anticipate, and salivate at the thought of a book? When you look at the cover, read the blurb, and rub your greedy hands together anticipating a good time? Yeah. *sigh* That’s how I felt and then got kicked in the ovaries. I don’t even know where to start.

Let’s start with the cover. Though I admire and covet them as much as the next reader it doesn’t influence my enjoyment of a book, however I’ll point out that as pretty as the tattooed boy on the cover is he has zero resemblance to anyone in the book. Zilch. But whatever, right? If only!

I’m a fairly patient and generous reader and I allow myself to believe any number of BS stories if they’re well told. I believe in shifters, vampires, and lizard men having meaningful and fulfilling relationships with mortal humans. I’ve enjoyed tentacle porn, alien yaoi abductions, and Mpreg. I’ve sworn on a stack of Bibles for the truth of certain Insta-Lust books, I’m looking at you “Uneven” by Anah Crow or lesser trifles like anything by Charity Parkerson, Ella Frank or Tricia Owens. I enjoyed them all and was left with a smile on my face. No such luck here.

All of the events in this book take place within maybe two weeks as far as I could figure and they concern Alex Banez, a “runner” on a film set falling head over heels in love with Atwell Richards who I can only imagine as some sort of demi-God and producer extraordinaire kind of like Robert Evans in his heyday. About a million things happen and the author flirts and dangles about a thousand tropes. I didn’t believe a word of it.

I should’ve known I was in trouble when at about page 5 I came upon this little nugget of Alex first laying eyes on Atwell:


“Alex’s breath caught in his throat, and his gaze unconsciously softened at the beautiful set of brown eyes that lifted to meet his. But it wasn’t just the stranger’s eyes that captivated him -- it was the full package. The way his face jutted down in sharp angles, softening at his cheekbones to give his elegant features an almost homey touch. The mess of soft blond curls that fell delicately about his head, framing his face in a way that took the breath right out of anyone daring enough to gaze upon his beauty.

Let that sink in. This is not a shifter/fated mates story. Maybe it should’ve been. So many things would’ve made sense and been acceptable.

Alex wants to be a director so he’s making his way up the film industry ladder being a “runner” on a movie set. Perfect. Plenty of meat on that bone for narrative fodder. But no. Alex also comes from a troubled childhood complete with foster care, druggie brother, and a criminal past that’s never fully explored. One of the problems with this book is that it seems like the author threw in everything but the kitchen sink. IT’S ALL HERE. The no-good brother, the unsavory past complete with addiction, the sassy female friends/relatives who are utterly comfortable giving gay men dating advice and watching them screw, the hints of rough sex, dominance, and submission in the bedroom, the age difference, the all powerful man whose presence makes others quake in their boots etc. It’s all laughable.

Atwell (what kind of name is that to yell in the midst of orgasm?) like Alex is smitten at first sight so I guess that’s good news:


“Atwell found him intriguing, enthralling even. Hell, they’d only met for a few moments and he was damn near obsessed with the man.”

Atwell wines and dines Alex the same day they meet and the “boy” does half hearted protests but allows himself to be impressed by Atwell’s “luxury Cadillac”, in this case a Jaguar XJ, later a Maserati, and the unbelievable fact that he is part owner of an exclusive Hollywood restaurant:


“You own half of a restaurant? I didn’t even know that was a thing,” Alex said.

Amish people wouldn’t be impressed by these things. Ugh.

The rest is just more nonsense about Alex not wanting Atwell’s help to rise in the film industry but also can’t go to school because ‘reasons’ and Atwell though being an industry titan doesn’t seem to know who David Fincher is! WTF #@* Also I don’t think producers are as revered by the general public as the author seems to think and what kind of project are they working on that requires multiple directors at one studio lot and all powerful Atwell watching over them?
From there we’re off to the bedroom for some ‘mine’ moments and laughable attempts at D/s but it’s all good because Atwell’s refractory period is awesome!
Alex is not only a recovering addict but also seems to have some kind of eating disorder but there’s no time to dwell on any of that because he’s too busy crying over Atwell and looking pretty.

I could go on but I won’t because it would just be cruel. I’m going with two stars because the book is not intentionally malicious, there’s no erasure, technically it’s well formatted, there were very few typos or errors and who knows? Maybe it was just me. Maybe there’s someone out there who’ll love this and it will rock their world.

*** On a side note I know that authors want to signal the ethnicity of their characters but just saying so is enough. I’m Latina, so are my siblings, relatives, and many friends. We don’t go on all day dropping Spanish words into every conversation. Many Latinos don’t even speak Spanish. On the plus side there were no misspellings this time around. Praise for small favors.***


A review copy was provided.

Pre-release Blitz + Giveaway: Gatekeeper (Low Blow #5) by Charity Parkerson

Charity Parkerson and Embrace the Rainbow Promotions host a pre-release blitz for Gatekeeper (Low Blow #5)! We have an exclusive excerpt from the sexy standalone novel. Plus, the author hosts a Kindle Fire with Case giveaway!! Good luck!

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Title: Gatekeeper
Author: Charity Parkerson
Series: Low Blow #5
Release Date: October 30th 2017
Genre: MM Romance

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He’s a player. Everyone knows it. Except Sean isn’t a game to him.

Mateo has been the biggest contender for the Super Lightweight title for over two years. No matter how hard he works, he can’t seem to beat the current champ. Since boxing is all he has in the world, it’s an issue. His confidence is in the can, and his social life is non-existent. Mateo has had no real friends or relationships that have lasted longer than one night in years. That is, until he meets a man whose beautiful heart leaves him mystified.

Rescuing a drunk from the parking lot of his workplace, Slip, isn’t a new thing for Sean. People leave the bar and grill plastered and intent on driving all the time. Usually, Sean calls them a cab and sends them on their way. Mateo is the first one he’s ever taken home. There’s something sad about Mateo. Sean lost all his friends years ago, and he sees a kindred spirit in the sexy boxer. It’s easier than he ever dreams to consider the man his best friend in no time at all. Except he’s not. Mateo is so much more.

It’ll take the purest heart to save a broken man from a hellish life. Unfortunately, when it comes to Mateo and Sean, it’s hard to know who needs rescuing the most.

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EXCLUSIVE EXCERPT

“Damn, happy looks so fucking sexy on you,” Mateo said as if the words were meant more for himself. He shook his head as if shaking off a trance. Happiness roared through Sean. Mateo was right. His whole body radiated with joy. Thankfully, Mateo kept talking and stopped Sean from climbing on a table to announce his secret longing. He was an idiot over Mateo. “If I gave you a ticket to my match in New Orleans, do you think there’s any way you could come?”

Mateo’s question brought Sean back to reality. He wanted to say yes. Mateo never asked him for anything. It was like a dagger through his heart to say no. “It’s this Friday, right?”

“Yes.” Mateo looked crestfallen, as if he already knew Sean would turn him down.

Sean wanted to scream at the top of his lungs at how unfair life was. He didn’t want to hurt Mateo. He tried letting him down easy. “Mateo, it’s not that I don’t want to go. I can’t afford to go to New Orleans. Boston might let me take the time off, but I’m poor. I’d have to save two years at this point to get five miles north of Miami.”

“Oh, okay. I shouldn’t have put you in this position by asking.”

Goddamn it. Mateo looked defeated, and it was twisting the knife in Sean’s heart. After casting a quick look around and not seeing his boss, Sean pulled out a chair and sat. “Sweetie, you know I’d drop everything and be there in a heartbeat if I could. There’s just no way. I’m barely scraping by. My light bill is already two days late. Everything I own is on its last leg. If there was any way at all, I would be there.”

Mateo’s eyes lit. Sean got a bad feeling he’d been maneuvered. “Come with me. I’ve already got the room and a ticket to the match. It wouldn’t cost you anything but your time.”

“And a plane ticket,” Sean grumbled, because he had a strong suspicion he’d be headed to a fight on Friday.

Mateo shook his head. “You’re coming to support me. Let me take care of that.”

“What about your parents?” If roles were reversed, Sean’s parents would want to be there. He didn’t want to steal a ticket from them.

A heartbreaking smile touched Mateo’s lips before falling away. “They won’t be there. My dad says I’m a gatekeeper and always will be, so there’s no sense in him wasting his time and money to watch me lose.”



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About the Author

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Charity Parkerson is an award winning and multi-published author with Ellora's Cave Publishing, Midnight Books, and Punk & Sissy Publications. Born with no filter from her brain to her mouth, she decided to take this odd quirk and insert it in her characters.

*Winner of 2, 2014 Readers' Favorite Awards

*2014 Golden Ankh nominee

*2013 Readers' Favorite Award Winner

*2013 Reviewers' Choice Award Winner

*2012 ARRA Finalist for Favorite Paranormal Romance

*Five-time winner of The Mistress of the Darkpath

Links: Website | Facebook | Facebook Group | Twitter

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Blog Tour + Giveaway: Golden by R.L. Mosswood


Welcome new author RL Mosswood and IndiGo Marketing to the clubhouse as they promote the Golden blog tour! Read the author interview and excerpt! Enter the NineStar Press eBook giveaway! Good luck!


Title:  Golden
Author: RL Mosswood
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: September 25, 2017
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 33500
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, LGBT, Romance, fantasy, paranormal, gay, captivity, magic users, mythology, sailors, slave

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Synopsis

Harem boy might not be the most appropriate role for someone who’s never really seen the appeal of sex, but Elin’s status as dahabi: golden in a land of tan and brown, has marked him for The Dragon’s service since birth. He’s content enough with his life of uncomplicated, if restrictive, luxury, until an unremarkable chore becomes a case of love at first sight.

Mysterious newcomer Hathar, a roguish “merchant adventurer” from far-off lands, ignites an exploration of Elin’s first taste of physical desire, as well as a desire to experience life beyond the palace. Now, they must find a way to escape before Hathar’s ship departs, stranding them forever in The Dragon’s harem.

Excerpt

Golden
R.L. Mosswood © 2017
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One

Elin woke in his usual place on the silken pallet between Nikil and Rian. The haram was dark, and the night sky outside the elegant, grated windows was still inky. He wasn’t sure what had roused him. He couldn’t recall a dream, and the room was quiet but for the usual nighttime chorus of the men’s sighs and snores.

A moment later, he realized he could hear something else. Not in the room, but maybe down the hall or from the floor below, he could make out rough, raised voices. A fight? But who would it be at this hour, and in this part of the palace? He propped himself on his elbows a little and scanned the room—all the beds seemed to be filled. The men of the haram knew better than to fight anyway, at least not that kind of fighting, with yelling and tussling. The Dragon didn’t take damage to “her boys” lightly, and anyone caught inflicting that damage was likely to disappear without notice or explanation.

He listened a little longer, trying to make out words or recognize a voice, but whatever was happening was far enough off to make that impossible. Finally, he heard a door slam, and that seemed to be the end of it.

He rolled over and drifted off, still puzzling over what he had heard.

*****

At breakfast the following morning, everything seemed normal. The hall was filled with the groggy murmur of men beginning their day, the rich aroma of coffee, and the tap of wooden cutlery on fine china.

Elin, as usual, sat on his own, thoughtfully chewing a honeyed pastry. Though it was hard to ever be truly alone in the haram, his tendency to quiet contemplation left him out of most of the livelier interactions the other men favored. He wasn’t much for sport, which was one of the main entertainments among his comrades, and his thoughts tended to follow slow and dreamy pathways that didn’t lend themselves to clever banter.

As he was pondering the particular play of light on the grain of the highly polished tabletop, a shadow moved into his peripheral vision. One of the guards, a man named Emun, was approaching. The guards of the haram were in a unique position: They were, in most ways, subordinate to the residents they guarded, so they spoke in polite tones, made requests rather than demands, and would usually do whatever was asked of them. At the same time, they were in charge of keeping the men in their place—generally not a hard job. Who would want to escape the lap of luxury, after all? But it was known that, if pushed, the guards would muster force to keep order, which lent an edge to all their interactions with their charges.

Elin finished his bite and looked up, inviting Emun to address him.

“I’ve got something for you to do after breakfast,” he said. “A new resident who needs some cleaning up.”

“A new resident? To our wing?”

Elin was used to being assigned chores considered beneath the more favored men of the haram, but this was unusual. His wing was inhabited by the twenty-one- to thirty-year-olds. They had all entered the haram as children, as soon as they’d been found by The Dragon’s collectors, or ceded by their parents. New arrivals had trickled in through their younger years, a few carefully hidden late arrivals into their early teens, but it had been nearly a decade since anyone had joined the group Elin had grown up with.

“Yep.” Emun cut his thoughts short. “City guard found him skulking around the palace walls and assumed he was an escapee, but we’ve never seen him before. He’s The Dragon’s now, of course. Pretty rough around the edges though. Weird accent, needs a scrub and a shave. See what you can do. Jurah will have him waiting for you outside the baths after you’re done here.”

“Sure. Okay.” Elin wasn’t sure what else to say. How did a fully grown dahabi end up wandering outside the palace? Did he mean to get caught? He supposed he’d have a chance to answer all his questions soon enough, and returned to his breakfast as Emun returned to his post near the door.

*****

Outside the baths, Jurah was waiting as promised. With the guard was a man who could only be the new addition, looking much worse for wear than Elin had anticipated. His hair was so filthy and matted that Elin was surprised the city guard had known him as dahabi at all, and there was blood caked down his cheek and through his stubble from an angry split on his brow. He hadn’t come voluntarily, then. The sturdy rope binding the man’s wrists only reinforced that fact.

“Emun asked me to come down after breakfast,” he said, not quite ready to volunteer what he’d been asked to do. Maybe Jurah had a different understanding of the matter.

No such luck. “Yeah! I’ve got quite a job for you here,” the guard replied jovially, indicating the filthy man by tugging lightly on his bindings. The “job” in question scowled slightly, but said nothing.

“Does he, uh, need to stay bound like that?” Helping with a bath was one thing, but Elin didn’t think he had it in him to wrestle anyone into submission.

“Oh, no. Our friend here has settled down quite a bit since last night. He’s going to be on his best behavior for you. Right?” With that, Jurah elbowed the other man for a reply.

He looked up from under his brow, directly at Elin as if the guard wasn’t there, startling him with moonlit-silver eyes. “I’m no threat to you. There was just a…misunderstanding with these other gentlemen earlier, and they don’t quickly forget.”

Elin found, thankfully, that he believed the man. “Let him go then. I can’t get him cleaned up with his hands tied together.”

The guard did so and then hesitated a moment, as if unsure what do to next. “Would you like me to come in there…with you?” The guards usually gave the men of the haram their privacy in the baths—it was their job to protect, not to ogle—but Jurah clearly didn’t feel the same faith in the stranger’s intentions that Elin did.

Elin looked again into the strange, pale eyes. Seeing no malice there, he said, “We’ll be fine. You can watch the door to ensure a little privacy for our new guest, and I’ll call out if I have any need of you.”

Jurah looked uncertain, but released the man, clearly feeling himself on the subordinate end of the equation in this interaction.

Elin stepped forward and opened the door to the baths, gesturing for the man to follow. “It’s just a bath, really,” he said to the skeptical Jurah as he closed the door behind them.

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Author Interview


When did you write your first story and what was the inspiration for it?
My first work of fiction that I can remember was done in second grade, with a magazine ad as a prompt. It was about a couple trying to replace a part in their car, and included the line, “Ack! Women!” Apparently second grade me was some kind of misogynist Cathy Guisewite. I like to imagine I've progressed a little since then.

Do you have a writing schedule or do you just write when you can find the time?
I feel like I have to steal the time. I have a demanding full time job, a five year old, and a homestead, so time is my biggest limiting factor by far. Golden only got written because my partner committed to distracting the kid every evening for a month.

Briefly describe the writing process. Do you create an outline first? Do you seek out inspirational pictures, videos or music? Do you just let the words flow and then go back and try and make some sense out it?
All the plotting and planning happens inside my head. I play out whole scenes, work out most of the kinks, then fill in the detail as I write it down. The writing part is almost like taking dictation. This works beautifully for me, except that it requires swathes of quiet, uninterrupted time, which is woefully lacking in my day-to-day.

Where did the desire to write LGBTQIA+ stories come from?
Reading and writing m/m is tied up in my own exploration of my gender. It gives me a chance to inhabit male bodies and experience vicariously situations I have no other way to access.

How much research do you do when writing a story and what are the best sources you’ve found for giving an authentic voice to your characters?
So far, I've focused on genres and settings where not much research is required, because I want to spend my scant writing time on writing. I just do a quick internet search for minor points I'm unsure of, and invent the rest.

Meet the Author

RL Mosswood lurks in the depths of the Pacific Northwest rainforest, where they dabble in queer fiction in an attempt to add a little magic to their otherwise mundane existence.

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Review: Levi (Leopard's Spots, #1) by Bailey Bradford

A run through the woods turned anything but typical when Levi found the one thing he never expected to find-his mate.

After a week spent in family reunion hell, Levi Travis is more than ready for a little break. But who knew shifting into a snow leopard and loping around in the woods could turn into such a steamy event?

When Levi encounters a cougar shifter in the woods, the attraction is so hot it threatens to shoot off sparks. Levi has fantasized about having a stronger man than him want him, and he's sure the cougar is just such a man. Which is why Levi lets himself get caught, and the intensity of their mating is only equaled by Levi's confusion when the man shifts back into a cougar then turns tail and runs.

Lyndon Hines has been running for months. Hunted, taunted, he didn't know what else to do—until he met a man who made him realize that some things were worth fighting for. Two shifters, each a different breed, neither knowing much about their heritage, Levi and Lyndon come together and find the strength to take on the mad man who is out to end Lyndon's life.

Publisher's Note: This book has previously been released by Pride Publishing. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release. This book is best read in sequence, as part of a series but can be read as a standalone.



One made up word: Smutfest

Yes, this is a very smutty book, with lots of growling, biting, and pounding.

I can see how this series is going to develop, and I found the plot enjoyable, but I was completely distracted by all the sex these two were having. I actually think there is such a thing as too much erotica in a story, and this reached its limit for me. When I start skimming over the sex scenes, I know there is a problem, and it doesn’t matter how sexy the scenes are in their own right, it is too much.

Some may not agree with me, and that’s great, you will enjoy the fuck out of this story (pun absolutely intended). For me, after the first two times, I wanted to get on with the actual plot.

Lyndon is on the run because he is being hunted by another cougar. He doesn’t know who, but they have been marking his belongings and hotel rooms for quite some time. He manages to find himself in the woods, when he comes across another cat shifter, but not a cougar. And that cat shifter smells like they’re in heat.

Levi can’t believe he’s in heat, as it has never happened before and he didn’t think it would happen to the males of the Snow Leopard shifter species. However, he admits that his family doesn’t know much about shifters history as his grandmother’s entire clan was wiped out when she was a child making her the single survivor.

I actually like this part of the plot. This group of shifters are completely oblivious and don’t appear to have ventured out of their own town far enough to discover if there are other shifters. It leaves a lot of questions to be discovered, and I imagine that is what this series is setting up to reveal.

Levi and Lyndon have great sexual chemistry, and the wood scene when they first meet is heat level high. It definitely got my blood pumping, and kept me engaged.

I’m not really a fan of fated mates shifter stories. They’re just really predictable from a romance point of view, and it doesn’t leave much in the way of relationship development in this particular story. I know this trope can be done well, and I have a favourite series that is fated mates, but it is the exception for me, and this story followed the rule.

But…. the rest of this story (where they aren’t humping each other) makes for interesting reading, and I think the plot worked really well with the discovery of other shifter species.

If you like fluffy smut with a bit of drama, and a decent overall story arc, I think this could be worth the time. If you are averse to fated mate stories then you probably won’t be able to avoid the disdain of that trope here, but if you can tolerate it, this is a fun read.


A review copy was provided for an honest opinion

Review: Caught In Between (Daniel and Ryan #8) by Tamryn Eradani

As a natural extension of their last scene, Daniel and Ryan invite a third to join them for one night.

















So when the idea of this book came up, of them moving forward this way I was worried because it didn't seem like Daniel would want to share Ryan and I was right. He doesn't want to share Ryan, he wants Ryan to share him and Ryan absolutely is on board with the idea.

Once again I am going to keep the review short as this is a serial installment and therefore short on pages.

Caught in Between shows the amazing character growth in Daniel and the amount of confidence Ryan has given him with their relationship. It’s not as if Daniel is shy in bed or never voiced what he wants but this side, this exploration is new and it’s sexy as hell.

For Daniel to fantasize about a one night threesome with Ryan calling the shots isn’t out of the norm but it comes to bug him with wanting and guilt. He knows if Ryan were to propose they take a third Daniel would feel as if he weren’t enough for Ryan and he doesn’t want to lose Ryan. But when he finally gives up and tells Ryan what he wants, he’s mildly shocked that Ryan instantly agrees. He shouldn’t have been. From the beginning Ryan has always known what Daniel wants without Daniel having to be vocal about it. That’s what I adore about these two when they are together, the nonverbal communication is so intimate and sensual it give me goosebumps at how well they work together.

You think I don’t want to watch someone else make a mess of you and then watch as you pull yourself back together for me? Because you know if I arrange for someone else to join us, then you won’t be giving either of us sloppy seconds. If you want two cocks, then you better be ready to give them both the attention they deserve.

I like how Ryan sets up the Daniel to meet the third and I have to say I LOVED who it was to the point I want more of him. Not more of him with Ryan and Daniel though I wouldn’t be opposed to that, I just clicked with him as a character and wouldn’t mind exploring him a bit more.

I am curious as always where, not when, the serial will end with Ryan and Daniel. They are headed in the direction of a kinky HEA but what I would love before it all ends is to just once, get Ryan’s POV. I know we get a lot of him through Daniel and I love how he sees Daniel but a man with so much control who can demand so much control just with his voice needs to tell me a few things.



Blog Tour + Giveaway: Knight of Sherwood (Outlaw’s Legacy #2) by N.B. Dixon


N.B. Dixon and LoveBound Promotions drop by the clubhouse today in support of the latest in the Outlaw's Legacy series, Knight of Sherwood! Check out today's stop, review and giveaway! You can win an ecopy of Knight of Sherwood!

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Title: Knight of Sherwood

Series: Outlaw’s Legacy, Book 2

Author: N.B. Dixon

Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Release Date: September 14, 2017

Romance Genre(s): Historical, LGBT

Words: 145,000

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About the Book


Blurb


KnightOfSherwood

Robin returns to England after four years fighting in the holy land. On arriving at Locksley, he discovers that Guy of Gisborne, his most hated enemy, has been made Sheriff of Nottingham. Forced to flee into Sherwood, Robin sets himself up as champion of the poor.

But Robin has a secret. His feelings for his friend Will Scathelock have deepened, but to acknowledge the truth would mean facing up to his past. Meanwhile Lady Marian Fitzwalter, heiress to the vast Huntingdon estate is determined to claim Robin for her own.

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About N.B. Dixon


Author Bio


N.B. Dixon is an author of historical fiction. Her love for the Robin Hood legend began in a neglected corner of the school library and has continued ever since. She is a self-confessed bookworm and also a musician.

She began work on the Outlaw's Legacy series in 2013, and was accepted by Beaten Track Publishing in 2016. Outlaw's Legacy is a historical series based around the Robin Hood legend. The author describes it as Exciting Historical Adventure with GLBT romance.

Connect with N.B.


Website | Blog | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

Giveaway


To celebrate the release of Knight of Sherwood, the second novel in the Outlaw’s Legacy series, N.B. Dixon is giving away an e-copy to 3 lucky winners. For your chance to win, simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. The contest closes at midnight EST on September 29, 2017, and is open to entrants worldwide.

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Tour Stops


September 18:

Author Interview with Boys on the Brink
Exclusive Excerpt at Outrageous Heroes of Romance

September 19:

Author Interview with A.M. Leibowitz
Exclusive Excerpt at Fictional Rendezvous

September 20:

Spotlight on The Broke Book Bank
Exclusive Excerpt at Romance Novel Giveaways

September 21:

Book Review by Making It Happen
Exclusive Excerpt at Happily Ever Chapter

September 22:

Book Review by Drops of Ink
Exclusive Excerpt at Always Love Me Some Books

September 23:

Author Interview with Liz's Reading Life
Exclusive Excerpt at Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents

September 24:

Book Review by Bayou Book Junkie
Book Review by Boy Meets Boy Reviews

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Review: Knight of Sherwood (Outlaw's Legacy, #2) by N.B. Dixon

Robin returns to England after four years fighting in the Holy Land. On arriving at Locksley, he discovers that Guy of Gisborne, his most hated enemy, has been made Sheriff of Nottingham. Forced to flee into Sherwood, Robin sets himself up as champion of the poor.

But Robin has a secret. His feelings for his friend Will Scathelock have deepened, but to acknowledge the truth would mean facing up to his past. Meanwhile, Lady Marian Fitzwalter, heiress to the vast Huntingdon estate, is determined to claim Robin for her own.

""Never underestimate a man with a big stick," Will told him."


I have soooo much love for this book. So. Much. Love. It is my absolute favourite book of the year and I just want to gush and read it again and make everyone read it and tell everyone who disagrees with me that they are utterly wrong and...


I just love this book.

I loved the first one in the series but this just ups the game for me. I have so many words, so many thoughts, I'm not sure where to start.

Okay. The setting.
I love historical novels, especially those set in Britain, and the legend of Robin Hood is a classic tale told, and re-told, for generations, and I love that this is an M/M version of that tale. What I love even more is that it's believably so. It's not written for titillation, it's exploring another way of viewing this classic hero, written sympathetically for the time in which it's set. 

The hardship of life in the 12th century is portrayed so well. The way the lives of the poor were dictated by the whims of the rich. Where women held no power, where the poor held no power, where life was so easily thrown away, even the lives of children. Life was hard. Food was scarce, taxes were numerous (and increasing), and loyalties could have you killed in a second.

NB Dixon depicts this time so well. She makes the reader fall for the characters, understand the deprivations they face and how difficult decisions were. She's very clever though, because she still manages to give us strong female characters, even in this time of oppression of women. 

The story of good versus evil is an old, old tale. What makes this story important to me as a reader is how much I care for the characters. Not just Robin and Will, but all the 'good' guys ... and equally, how much loathing I had for Guy and Prince John and others.  The good guys aren't all honourable in every way, they are human and make mistakes too. Even Robin. Sometimes especially Robin... pride comes before a fall...

This was apparent in how Dixon wrote King Richard the Lionheart. Hailed as a hero in literature, we see his true colours and his love of war. We see how the choice to follow him was the lesser of two evils to many. To Robin especially. This story is about humanity and love-for-humanity. It's about politics. It's about religion. It's about choices and decisions and effect and cause and...

It's about right and wrong.  The black, the white and the grey. 

God, it's about love and trust and caring for others. 

It's about a harshness of life that is scary.  

It's about manipulation and honour.

It's about the harsh reality of life. It's so, so, so, so, so good.

Of course, this story is also about Robin and Will. I love these two. I love the hardness of their love. The trueness of it. For me friendship is the strongest, most important pull in a relationship. A soul deep friendship is more of a turn on than any amount of on-page, descriptive sex. I have to say, if you're looking for pages of sexual fantasy between Robin and another man, well you're in the wrong place. This book has very little on-page sex, and not even that much off the page if I'm honest. I only feel I need to mention it because I know for some readers it is important - for me though, it is not needed. Robin and Will have the slowest of burns and the relationship is primarily of friendship (and love). 

Dixon nearly had me throwing my kindle at the wall at the end, no spoilers but I need the next book. The only problem with falling in love with a review book is knowing that I will have to wait for the next instalment (as opposed to buying and binging on a whole series in one go). 

This is the book I am going to recommend as my 2017 must-read, I loved and adored every single word. I know this book won't be for everyone (though I encourage all to try) but for me it is a complete and utter winner who's destined to be a forever favourite.

A copy of this book was given in exchange for an honest review.


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Audiobook Review: Learning to Love by Felice Stevens

After ten years away from home, bad boy caterer Gideon Marks has a lot to prove. Getting the holiday catering job at his childhood synagogue is the first step in demonstrating to everyone he didn’t turn out to be the failure they predicted. What he doesn’t count on is Rabbi Jonah Fine, his high school nemesis and secret crush, stirring up old feelings Gideon thought long gone and secrets he’s buried deep for years.

An unexpectedly passionate encounter shocks Gideon, but he pushes Jonah away, convinced he isn’t good enough to be in a relationship and would never be accepted by Jonah’s father. But Jonah hangs tough—he won’t allow Gideon to hide or run away from life again. And when it comes to love, Gideon learns the most important lessons aren’t always taught in school.

Narrated by: Derrick McClain
Listening Length: 5 hours and 51 minutes



Guest Reviewer - Annery

***3.00 for the book, 3.5 for the Audio***

This is my third Felice Stevens read and I’m beginning to sense a pattern. The landscape is authentic and recognizable along with the usual cast of New York characters. In this case some nice Jewish boys from Brooklyn and their friends and family. I like to read about everyday people but this one was just on the ‘underwhelming’ side.

Usually when I do audios I follow along with the print just to ‘see’ the words or even highlight but in this instance I stuck strictly to my ears and the performance by Derrick McClain. I happen to like Derrick very much and once again he didn’t disappoint. There’s a clear distinction between characters and a nice but not over dramatized narration. He even does nice voices for the women in the story. I’m not sure he did any favors to the main MC, Gideon Marks. No fault on Derrick’s part but rather on who Gideon is or how he is written.

Gideon Marks has come home to Brooklyn from a self imposed Florida exile. He wants to make a success of his catering business but he also wants to rub it in the face of those who thought he wouldn’t amount to anything. He particularly wants to impress one Jonah Fine and Jonah is impressed. So what was my problem? Glad you asked. I had a few, though none of them were deal breakers, more like sand in your shoes. Not as bad as pebbles but annoying nonetheless.

The major stumble for me is Gideon himself and when you sort of dislike the main MC everything teeters. He had the standard issue fraught childhood, his mother and beloved grandmother were killed in an accident leaving him with an alcoholic father who was ill equipped to deal with Gideon’s needs which went beyond the usual teenage growing pains. What said needs were/are the reader can figure out pretty soon before being told. It’s very noble of the author to have a character with these issues and having him deal with them, but Gideon is a bit of an insufferable ass and with something like a boulder on his shoulder. For one thing all those nay sayers he’s come home to stare down are mostly in his head and while this attitude is perfectly believable and understandable in a troubled teenager it gets harder to swallow from an almost 30 successful businessman. It annoys me to no end to have people jump to conclusions about the intentions or motivations of others when their main complaint is being unfairly judged. Also when people do nothing but snap at others when they’re being shown nothing but kindness I want to reach in the book and slap them. I wanted to grab Gideon by his curly locks and drag him around a bit and hug him later.

Another hurdle is that though Jonah and Gideon knew each other since they were teenagers I don’t see how they would get hung up on each other. As far as I could tell they only saw each other at temple; they went to different schools and weren’t even friends. So how smitten could they have been to the point where Jonah seems to have been waiting for Gideon for ten years when they never had anything going?

In any case after some back and forth of Jonah being unbelievably patient with Gideon and letting him figure out that he is and always was into Gideon our love birds are living in bliss when we have the ‘out of nowhere’ righteous indignation from Gideon, subsequent stomping out, and some groveling from Jonah and forgiveness from Gideon. Thing is in my book Jonah had nothing to apologize for. Another instance of Gideon being a prickly diva. More stuff happens, Gideon confronts and makes some sort of peace with his past and Jonah solves his non-problems. Good people doing good things. Amen.

The theme here seems to be that your enjoyment of this book will depend on how much you like or hate Gideon. I don’t hate him but I can see us having words.


A review copy was provided.

Guest Review: Year One: Would it Be Okay to Love You? by Amy Tasukada

A robot fanboy. An erotic voice actor. Will their secrets overwhelm their love?

Sato doesn’t get out much. The anime company accountant spends his days at a desk and his nights working on his own small-scale robots. His geeky life is like a dream, but it has just one piece missing…

The world only knows Aoi for his moans. The erotic voice actor has legions of fangirls obsessed with his gasps of simulated ecstasy. And his new boyfriend Sato can barely handle the attention.

As Aoi’s popularity rises and secrets about his past begin to reveal themselves, can the accountant and the voice actor rise above their problems to create something real?

Year One is a short story anthology collection unlike anything you’ve ever read. If you like geeky settings, and sweet romance, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s slice-of-life story.


Reviewer: R *A Reader Obsessed*

This was cuuuuuute.

A quaint romance about Sato and Aoi, they’re an established couple who are just starting to become serious. Basically, this is a month by month look at how they live their lives and how their feelings evolve and strengthen.

Sato and Aoi may be complete opposites, especially in their interests and what they do for a living, but somehow they make it work. Their interactions, their respect, and their kindness and love for each other warmed my cold heart - and there’s a bit of smexy just to keep things interesting.

Overall, nothing fancy, nothing dramatic. Throw in a little insecurity, a little twisty doubt, and mix it with a lot of sweet. Maybe as a warning, this seemed to end all of a sudden; Sato and Aoi have reached a milestone and are strong… I just wanted more of this simple love story.

Perhaps as a consolation, you can sign up for the author’s newsletter to receive monthly snippets about these two. I did!

Thank you to the author/publisher for a copy in exchange for an honest review .




Don't miss the Would it Be Okay to Love You? Release Blitz HERE!

Release Blitz + Giveaway: Would It Be Okay to Love You? by Amy Tasukada


Amy Tasukada and Signal Boost Promotions celebrate the release of Would It Be Okay To Love You? See our review HERE! Enter in the giveaway to win 2 ebooks: Would It Be Okay to Love You? and Year One!




Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 41,000 words

Series

Would It Be Okay To Love You (Book #1)
Would It Be Okay To Love You: Year One (Book #2) Amazon US | Amazon UK

Blurb

A robot fanboy. An erotic voice actor. When love comes calling, will they shed their armor?


Sato’s only long-term relationship is the one he shares with his Gundam collectibles. He dreams about the kind of unconditional love his parents enjoy. If only he could break out of his shell, he might find his special someone…


Outgoing playboy Aoi has sworn off relationships. He knows they only distract him from his budding voice acting career. He’s earned a few loyal fans, and if he keeps at it, he may even earn enough to never worry about being evicted again…


When Sato meets Aoi at the local anime store, there’s definitely a spark. But even as they tread carefully, their commitment issues and Aoi’s troubled past soon muck things up before they can start. In order for Sato and Aoi to have their happily-ever-after, they’ll both have to take a leap of faith… and hope to be caught.


Would It Be Okay to Love You? is the first book in a gay romance series set in Japan. If you like original characters, nerd culture, and simmering chemistry, then you’ll love Amy Tasukada’s charming multicultural love story.




Author Bio


Amy Tasukada lives in North Texas with a calico cat called O’Hara. As an only child her day dreams kept her entertained, and at age ten she started to put them to paper. Since then her love of writing hasn’t cease. She can be found drinking hot tea and filming Japanese street fashion hauls on her Youtube channel.


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Review: His Pirate (Second Chance #2) by Stephanie Lake

Rhain Morgan is desperate to leave London and move his ailing sister to a climate that will save her life, so he books passage to their Caribbean plantation on the only available ship, captained by Alastair Breckenridge. Rhain fights his attraction to the alluring captain, who looks and acts like a pirate, but the man’s fairness wins Rhain over. The trip that once seemed endless is now too short.

For years, Alastair held people away from his heart, until Rhain. Finally admitting his feelings to himself, he tries to convince Rhain to stay on board, but it’s all in vain.

Despite his own burgeoning feelings for Alastair, Rhain wants to prove himself and refuses to let go of his dream of making a home for his sister and himself on their plantation. But as Alastair’s ship sails away, Rhain is left alone to make the best of disastrous circumstances and overwhelmed by regret, nurses his broken heart.

When all seems lost, could they dare hope for a second chance to set things right and love again?


If I had to describe His Pirate, the second standalone in the Second Chance series by author duo Stephanie Lake briefly: it read like Jack Sparrow porn.


But instead of the pirate chasing light skirts and rum, he was all about the men and pirating. (mainly men)

Not mad at it.

"I'm going to slip another finger into that hot hole of yours. Let your muscles play with them, stroke them, hold them tight."

Not at all.

His Pirate is set in the late Georgian era, orphan Rhain Morgan only has his ailing sister as family. The London air doesn't agree with his frail sister and the longer they live there, the worse it will be for her. Before Rhain's father died, he bought a plantation on the island of Dominica. Rhain sells his meager savings to have enough money to book a trip for his small family.

Sadly, it's late in the sailing season and no one but a dandy pirate, Captain Alastair Breckenridge is the only one around to set sail to the Caribbean. The spark of heat flares from the moment they set eyes on each other. Rhain vows not to dally with men anymore. He plans to find a wife and lie to himself to produce an heir.

But Alastair notices the attraction. And he day dreams about getting the tall and thick Rhain to pound him into next week. (I was wishing for something a little more devious or daring)

Now, the beginning of the story had potential to be an epic read. The reader gets crumbs on the main characters' back story: Alastair has family issues that make him the man he is today, Rhain is brokenhearted. They have some damage but the story tone is light and low angst.

In fact, it could even be described as fanciful and over the top. Historically accurate? Not really. It read modern for the time period. But it definitely is fun.

And the smut is heavy:

"--bent over the captain's table and tried to feel the man's tonsils with his cock by ramming it as far as he could up the man's arse."
For as pirate who has something to prove to his father, it gets pushed aside once Rhain's cock turned out to play. Unfortunately, this pirate lover had her socks knocked off earlier this year by another story and I can't help but compare the light and not really deep to something that had depth and characters that made you think and feel.


His Pirate had good secondary characters in Rhain's sister and Captain Jack Alastair's first mate. There is a cute little side love story going that doesn't over take the main plot. The issue is the main plot didn't go much further than nautical road trip and pirate banging. The guys are day dreaming and lolly gagging when I expected more pirating. Seriously, the penis was constantly on the brain. The characters barely pass the three dimensional mark, they have some back story but it's told rather than shown and sort of info dumped.

The series is titled Second Chance. I read the first book in this standalone series (and I found it slightly stronger). Both books featured second chances. But where as the first book used it as the main conflict, His Pirate really doesn't. The second chance bit was short (after 86%). And I wanted to throttle Rhain for his bonehead move. And since the second chance happens so late in the game, it read rushed and there was not enough grovelling in my opinion. Alastair just rolled over and opened his legs. It also made me question the sincerity of Rhain.

But I'm looking too deep for something that doesn't have much depth. It's a good time, a smutty time, lots of fun.

I'd recommend for readers who'd rather fun light pirating and heavy smut. It's low angst historical that didn't read too plot heavy.

Besides who wouldn't like to read about a bottom happy Jack Sparrow type?


Arrrr!