Tag Archives: anxiety issues

I struggled with one of the MCs but loved the quality of the writing

Top Shelf (Seacroft, #1)Top Shelf by Allison Temple

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I struggled for quite a bit of this book. Not with the quality of the writing, that is excellent, but with the characters.

While I could find sympathy for Martin, for the vast majority of the narrative I thought Seb was an utter arse and didn’t feel any connection to him as a character I wanted to root for.

This is very clever writing on the part of the author, it bucks the trend in romance to have the reader fighting for the couple over everything else.

But, I wasn’t sure really whether I actually wanted them to be together. Even finding out why Seb behaved as he did wasn’t enough justification for me. For most of the book he just comes across as a whiny and entitled drama queen (sorry!)

Strangely though, I loved Seb when he talked about his art, when he encouraged his young friend Cassandra with her artwork, when he oozed charm to help the efforts of the fund-raising Blues Festival, I wish I’d seen more of that Seb.

Even when he and Martin get together, he still behaves like an arse and, for me anyway, I just couldn’t believe he was justified in it and that took the edge of what could have been a really great slow burn romance.

So, great writing, a good solid narrative, but a character who proved just a bit too unsympathetic to win me over made me drop down a star for my rating. I will definitely be checking out the second book in the series about Seb’s brother Oliver though.

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review

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Release Blitz: Clean Break by Erin McLellan

Clean Break | Erin McLellan

Farm College Series #2

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Release Date: March 19, 2019

Buy Links:  

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PKMLRMM

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Clean-Break-Farm-College-Book-ebook/dp/B07PKMLRMM

Blurb

A romantic story about two men with opposing life plans find a way back to each other.

Connor’s To-Do List:

  • Learn to accept my future on the family farm
  • Be social, to a degree
  • Make a secret bucket list
  • Have a real conversation with Travis Bradford

Travis’s To-Do List:

  • Get into my top law school
  • Get the hell out of Elkville, Oklahoma
  • Stay focused on my dreams and goals—no crushes, no distractions
  • Get spanked by hot and perfectly fussy farm boy, Connor Blume

Travis and Connor do not like each other, but after being paired together in Entomology 101, their mutual hostility explodes into secret after-class hookups and unexpected feelings.

With graduation looming near and their careers taking them in different directions, they’ll have to decide if a future together is worth adjusting their to-do lists and letting go of their carefully laid plans.

Warnings: Explicit sex including mild kink; explicit language; instances and /or discussion of racism, homophobia, and transphobia; depiction of anxiety and OCD; consumption of alcohol; character with a deceased parent; lots of insects.

For more info about these warnings: http://smarturl.it/cleanbreakcws

***Please note: To celebrate the upcoming release of Clean Break, the first book in the series, Controlled Burn, has been discounted to $0.99 (USD)!***

Pick up this sexy, angsty MM college romance now!

Excerpt

TRAVIS

I was frozen, arms and legs heavy with desire or shock. I wasn’t sure which. I wanted Connor to keep kissing me, and I wanted him to stop right fucking now.

He must have sensed my unease because he pulled back and stared at me. My vision had adjusted to the dim light, so I could make out the muddy hazel of his eyes and the way his jaw ticked. He had faint acne scars on his cheeks that I’d never noticed, giving his face a rugged quality that was almost offset by all his adorable freckles.

“I’m sorry. I should have asked you first,” he said.

“It’s fine,” I whispered. My voice was shot.

“Can I kiss you again?”

This was the weirdest day. First, I’d discovered I was going to get a pet cockroach, and now the guy who I’d lost an entire semester pining after was asking permission to kiss me in a closet. There was a metaphor in there somewhere, but I was not in the right mind to analyze it.

I was curious. And he was sexy as all fuck. Maybe because he was so repressed and stoic? I wanted to be the one to unravel him.

“I suppose,” I said.

This time he sucked on my bottom lip, and my knees immediately went weak. He didn’t kiss like other guys. He kissed like he wasn’t totally sure of himself, and maybe it made me a jerk, but I wasn’t helping him out at all. I stood stock-still, and let him explore.

He kissed slowly around my mouth, his lips slipping against mine, almost reverently, and my head spun.

This was not a breath-stealing kiss. His tongue wasn’t stuffed so far in my mouth I couldn’t think. In fact, he hadn’t used his tongue at all. He captured my top lip, suckled lightly, then nibbled on it.

I couldn’t help it. I groaned and pulled him closer so our bodies touched. He pressed me into the door with an intensity that scared and excited me all at once. The back of my head ground into one of those plastic glowing stars.

“Shhh,” he mumbled, his mouth not leaving mine.

“Don’t shush me,” I snapped before gripping his face in both hands and biting his lip hard.

He grabbed my hands, ripped them off his cheeks, and pinned them above my head against the closet door.

We stared at each other, both breathing hard.

“I liked that,” he said. His voice was wary, as if he didn’t want to give too much away.

I wanted him to give everything away.

About the Author

 Erin McLellan is the author of several contemporary romances, all of which have characters who are complex, goodhearted, and a little quirky. She likes her stories to have a sexy spark and a happily ever after.

Originally from Oklahoma, she currently lives in Alaska and spends her time dreaming up love stories set in the Great Plains. She is a lover of chocolate, college sports, antiquing, Dr Pepper, and binge-worthy TV shows. Erin is a member of Romance Writers of America and its Alaska chapter.

 Social Media:

Website: https://www.erinmclellan.com

GR: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16700859.Erin_McLellan

Twitter: https://twitter.com/emclellanwrites

FB: https://www.facebook.com/authorerinmclellan

FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/244545999752447/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/erinmclellanwrites/

Newsletter: http://smarturl.it/mclellannewsletter


Giveaway

To celebrate the release of Clean Break, Erin McLellan is giving one lucky winner a choice of one of her backlist titles (reader’s choice!) plus $5 Amazon gift card

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Second time around and I loved this complex issues-focused romance

43527040Dirty Laundry by Heidi Cullinan

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Re-reading the revised and expanded edition due out soon from Dreamspinner.

***

4.5*

Well, second time around I’m not sure if I can tell what’s been changed from the first edition but I have to say, I vastly enjoyed this more than I obviously did the first time round when I only gave it 3* but didn’t review (for whatever reason I can’t remember now)

I’d forgotten how deliciously filthy – in the absolute best way – it is, with Denver and Adam’s BDSM taking them into some seriously sensual and highly erotic scenes which burst with not only sexual tensions and lust, but also with clearly developing emotions and the start of relationship connections which only strengthen with time.

It’s also a stunning examination of the outcomes living with OCD and clinical anxiety can do to a human’s mind and how it can twist beyond recognition the normalities of day to day life into nightmarish proportions.

But, that’s not to say that the exploration of BDSM brings with it a cure or that Denver has a magic dick with which to stop all of Adam’s issues. He doesn’t. What he provides is an outlet through which Adam learns to find managing techniques which help him process the tics and the panic attacks and the irrational fears.

There’s also a wonderful cast of helpful and supporting secondary characters. I’d forgotten just how much I loved Louisa, the trans woman Adam bumps into shortly after his dickhead ex has managed to drive him into an anxiety spike.

The new cover for this book also beautifully illustrates Denver’s strengths, the cowboy who has his own issues to deal with, who thinks he’s dumb but actually has what’s probably dyslexia or a similar learning processing disorder.

So, second time round and it’s a massive hit for me.

#ARC kindly received from the publishers Dreamspinner Press in return for an honest and unbiased review

Pre-order your copy here from Dreamspinner Press: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dirty-laundry-by-heidi-cullinan-10335-b

View all my Goodreads reviews

Release Blitz: Acts of Service by Jessie Pinkham

Acts of Service | Jessie Pinkham

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Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

Length: 22,000 words approx.

Publisher: JMS Books

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Blurb

Tom can’t catch a break when it comes to his love life. He’s not good with romance, as his exes told him in uncharitable terms, and he’s starting to wonder if there’s something wrong with him.

So when he finds himself attracted to his temporary roommate, he’s afraid of being called inadequate all over again.

Alex has serious anxiety which makes his life a challenge and his dating prospects slim to nonexistent. He assumes Tom isn’t interested in him because men never are.

It’s a pleasant surprise to start a friends with benefits relationship, so Alex goes out on a limb in an attempt to impress Tom. When it backfires spectacularly, he thinks all hope is lost.

Both men are held back by past rejections. Will a minor crisis bring them together … or tear them apart?

Excerpt

This is undoubtedly the stupidest thing I’ve ever done to impress a guy. 

“Go ahead, start it up,” said Tom.

Alex took a deep breath and turned the key. Tom’s truck roared to life. No such luck as a fortuitously-timed engine malfunction. Though he shouldn’t think such things, as Tom was only being nice and wishing expensive repairs on him was hardly fair.

He looked around trepidatiously. The parking lot really was almost deserted, with only a few vehicles parked and those much closer to the doors. He wondered what role those people played in the postal service that required them to work on Sundays, then realized the line of thought was just a mental delay.

“You’re not going to cause any damage,” said Tom. If he was impatient, it didn’t come across in his voice.

“Your brakes are in good order, right?”

“Yes. The truck just passed inspection last month with no problems at all.”

It was a valiant attempt to make Alex feel better, and he appreciated the intent even though it failed.

The brake pedal went down smoothly under his foot. Such a small little piece of metal, and it could be a matter of life or death. Did people who worked at brake factories realize how much trust was being placed in them every single day?

Once he had that all-important device pressed firmly against the floor, he reached for the gear shift. The first notch down put the truck in neutral, the second in drive.

“Now ease up on the brake,” Tom said, remarkably cavalier about putting his safety, not to mention his vehicle, in the hands of a man who couldn’t drive.

Nothing happened when he lightened his touch on the brake as instructed. Maybe it was a sign. Alex had never believed in such things, but he was willing to consider the possibility.

“Wow, you had it stomped all the way down, huh? Okay, let it go. Take your time so you’re comfortable.”

As if that will ever happen.

“How about less terrified? I believe in setting realistic goals.”

“Sure. Whatever works. Just remember, there’s nobody around us, so you can’t do much damage.”

“I could drive into a light pole,” countered Alex, not because he was trying to be ornery, but suddenly concerned about damaging Tom’s truck. Those poles were stuck into cement, a material not known for being kind to vehicles.

“I’m not worried.”

Well, that made one of them. Alex eased up on the brake a bit more, but nothing happened aside from a vague sense of power waiting to be unleashed, though that could have been his imagination.

“Good,” said Tom. “Now give it some gas.”

If I crash into a light pole, he can’t say I didn’t warn him.

Of course he knew the truck was an inanimate object and thus had no feelings. All the same, it seemed as though the massive beast was eager to move, and it lurched forward when he pressed on the gas pedal just the slightest bit. He wasted no time in going back to the nice, safe brake.

“Not bad. Try again, and let it go a little more.”

Alex tried to ignore the churning in his stomach and nervous sweat rolling down the back of his neck, and he depressed the gas pedal again.

This time, the truck moved a good six feet forward before he threw down the brake. The parking lot was beginning to spin around him, something which hadn’t happened in years, and suddenly the truck’s ventilation system seemed entirely insufficient.

“That was good,” said Tom. “A little jerky on the brake, but with practice …”

He was still talking, but Alex didn’t hear a word because he was trying to get his traitorous body to obey him for once. It wasn’t working.

Five years since he’d last had a panic attack, half a decade, and he recognized the oncoming storm as though it had been five days. His heart raced, he struggled to breathe, and if he’d eaten recently he’d probably be on the verge of throwing up. Most of all, the whole world raged around him, out of his control while he couldn’t even manage his own physiological response to stress.

Never mind driving, at this point he’d have happily settled for not breaking down in front of Tom, but he knew it was too late for that. Once a panic attack started, there was no cutting it off.

So much for making a good impression.

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Some kids have imaginary friends. Not content with that, I dreamed up an imaginary village, and I never stopped, though these days my stories feature a lot more hot men.

I love a rich fictional universe as much as a happy ending, and I have a tendency to get so lost in worlds of my own creation that I have to rush out at the door the last minute in a panic, desperately hoping I don’t hit too many red lights.

Other ways to describe me: avid reader; chocoholic; historian; sci-fi geek; proud New Englander; koala lover; travel enthusiast.

Author Links:

Website: https://www.jessiepinkham.net/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JessiePinkhambooks/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/16835564.Jessie_Pinkham


Giveaway

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Release Blitz: His Uptown Guy | Felice Stevens

His Uptown Guy | Felice Stevens

The Landmarks Series #1

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Genre: MM Romance

Release Date: January 24, 2019

Hosted by: Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43386703-his-uptown-guy

Buy links

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2FOsDNj | Amazon UK: http://bit.ly/HisUptownGuyUK

Amazon CA: http://bit.ly/HisUptownGuyCaAmazon AU: https://amzn.to/2CD5Ssd

READ MY REVIEW:

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Blurb

When Jesse Grace-Martin loses his father on 9/11, his charmed life is gone forever. People look menacing, and the streets no longer seem safe. After experiencing a brutal mugging, Jesse retreats to his apartment in the landmark Dakota building.

Five years later, his first attempt to walk outside those famous gates again is a disaster—except for meeting the gorgeous maintenance worker who helps him through his crushing panic attack. Jesse can’t stop thinking about the guy but hesitates to reach out, knowing he has little to offer.

Dashamir Sadiko has big dreams. Money in the bank tops his list, and his peek into the life of the uber-wealthy at his job at the Dakota is all the incentive he needs. Struggling to work full-time and go to college, Dash desperately wants to break the cycle of poverty his parents had hoped to leave behind in Albania.

When the two men become friends, Dash isn’t sure what to expect but can’t help his growing attraction to sweet and sexy Jesse. It’s nice to see how the other side lives, but his affections can’t be bought; Dash wants to be his own man.

Defying the Dakota’s co-op rules, the two share lunches, their hopes and dreams, and ultimately their hearts. Jesse slowly regains his courage, but he’s worried he’ll never be the person he once was and that he’s not good enough for Dash.

And Dash isn’t convinced the son of poor immigrants’ has a place at the table with a blue-blood, trust-fund man. Jesse needs to realize that money can’t buy happiness and love, while Dash must learn to trust that what they have is real, that he’s more than Jesse’s walk on the wild side with an uptown guy.–

Excerpt Teaser

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Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. She believes that while life is tough, there is always a happy ending around the corner, Her characters have to work for it, however. Like life in NYC, nothing comes easy and that includes love.

Felice has written over twenty books in the gay romance genre. Her books have been translated into German, French and Italian. Her novel One Call Away, part of her Soulmates series, was mentioned in Buzzfeed as one of the best Out for You gay romances of 2017.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. She recently retired from the practice of law and now daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach somewhere and write beautiful stories of men falling in love.

Although there are bound to be a few bumps along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.

Website: https://www.felicestevens.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/felicestevensauthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/FeliceStevens1

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/FeliceStevens/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/8432880.Felice_Stevens

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2Olzcs2

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/felice-stevens

 

giveaway

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Buoni Amici Press, LLC.

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This twist on the Cinderfella romance is a real pleasure read

hisuptownguy-1400x2100His Uptown Guy by Felice Stevens

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So far my 2019 romance reading has been a joy, filled with stories which don’t follow a traditional contemporary path to love.

Felice Stevens’ latest is no exception and in this she gives us what seems like a bit of a Cinderfella style relationship until you realise that it’s the handsome prince who is need of help, not our erstwhile Albanian porter.

Jesse has suffered a slow decline since his world was ended so abruptly – like so many others – when his father was killed in the 9/11 attack.

His anxieties worsened until he ended up with agoraphobia in his late 20s and he’s not left his apartment in the famous Dakota Building in New York for the last five years.

Now, it’d be easy to say Dash saves him, but really he doesn’t, he just gives Jesse another foundation stone to rely on.

They’re such wonderfully drawn characters, the Dakota Building as much as the rest bringing a unique strand to this lovely romance.

One of the best from this author imho and a real delight. I can’t wait to see what Landmark comes next and find out which men will be finding love around it!

#ARC kindly received from the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Blitz: The Victorian by Rosalind Abel

The Victorian | by Rosalind Abel

Lavender Shores #9

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Fall in love with the next book in the Lavender Shores Series.

Download Your copy today

Amazon – https://amzn.to/2PD7fvD

Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2CdfYBm

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Blurb

Sexy bartender Seth Marino is the epitome of the allure and sophistication for which the town of Lavender Shores is known. For twenty years, Seth has found contentment and happiness as co-owner of the Blue Blossom Bed-and-Breakfast. Seth’s kind heart, good looks, and humor charm both locals and tourists—except the one person who despises him.

Charley Perez began building the life of his dreams a few years before Seth moved to town. Just as his hard work was about to pay off, Charley saw his hopes for building a restaurant worthy of his abuela’s recipes slip through his fingers when Seth arrived. Sure, maybe Charley has a temper, perhaps he should smile more, but does the whole world have to lay out the red carpet for the slutty bartender while never giving Charley a break?

When Lavender Shores welcomes a star-studded food-and-wine celebration, Seth and Charley are forced to work together, leading to an explosion of anger and passion. Both men find the heat and fire of hatred morphing into an irresistible attraction.

But even as Seth sees a different side of Charley, the hurt and anger of the past simmer below the surface, threatening the future. And a lifetime of struggle isn’t easy for Charley, who must find the courage to show his true self in seeking help and reaching for his dreams.

Contains Lavender Shores maps and family trees.

Read Chapter One

http://bit.ly/TheVictorianC1

 

 

ADD TO YOUR MUST READ SHELF ON GOODREADS

http://bit.ly/TheVictorianGR

Complete series FREE with KindleUnlimited

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Amazon – https://amzn.to/2oTi8yy
Amazon UK – https://amzn.to/2NA3ERW

Rosalind

Rosalind Abel grew up tending chickens alongside her sweet and faithful Chow, Lord Elgin. While her fantasy of writing novels was born during her teen years, she never would have dreamed she’d one day publish steamy romances about gorgeous men. However, sometimes life turns out better than planned.

In between crafting scorching sex scenes and helping her men find their soul mates, Rosalind enjoys cooking, collecting toys, and making the best damn scrapbooks in the world (this claim hasn’t been proven, but she’s willing to put good money on it).

She adores MM Romance, the power it has to sweep the reader away into worlds filled with passion, steam, and love. Rosalind also enjoys her collection of plot bunnies and welcomes new fuzzy ones into her home all the time, so feel free to send any adorable ones her way.

Connect With Rosalind

Amazon author page: https://amzn.to/2x2V1VR

Rosalind’s Newsletter: https://www.rosalindabel.com/contact-rosalind.html

BookBub Page: http://bit.ly/2E5fgUe

Audiobooks: http://adbl.co/2w9c0be

Facebook Author page: http://bit.ly/2rH8C4o

Rosalind Abel Website:  http://www.rosalindabel.com

Rosalind Abel Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2v6iuXI

Lavender Shores Website:  http://www.lavendershores.com

Twitter: @rosalind_abel

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/rosalindabelauthor/

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