Tag Archives: British-setting

Complex and beautifully phrased romance

grounded-t-kostova-customdesign-jayaheer2016-smallpreviewGrounded by Teodora Kostova

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

Teodora Kostova has an incredible talent for putting you into the heads of her characters and making you feel all their emotions.

She also manages to pass a subtle commentary on just how we treat our military veterans, home and abroad, and also on the futility of a war that no one can remember the justification for.

Greg’s experiences as an RAF pilot are expertly drawn out, placing the reader in the heat and destruction of the conflict in Afghanistan. We also live through the emotionally draining effects of being the one left at home.

With so many family members and friends in the various branches of the UK’s military, I could relate to this a lot. It’s an ordeal being the person serving’s rock, especially when dealing with crises of your own.

I think it was perhaps a tad overlong, Shane’s many moments of introspection could have been reduced a bit but, overall, there was so much other excellent story building, I let it ride.

I preferred this to Cookies in the end, but it was a close call. Greg and Shane just shaded it with the super cute epilogue.

View all my Goodreads reviews

Spotlight On: Grounded by Teodora Kostova

Grounded | Teodora Kostova

Cookies Series #2

grounded-T-Kostova-CustomDesign-JayAheer2016-smallpreview.jpg

Series: Sequel to Cookies but can be read as a stand-alone

Length: 85K

Release date: January 17, 2019

Cover photo: Varian Krylov at Strangeland Photography

Cover Design: Jay Aheer at Simply Defined Art

Available on Amazon and on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MQSN3WG

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Grounded-Teodora-Kostova-ebook/dp/B07MQSN3WG

grounded_teaser_01.jpg

Blurb

A chance encounter.

A passionate night.

An intense connection.

When medical student Shane Sanford and RAF pilot Greg Becker meet the air between them sizzles with mutual attraction. There’s nothing holding them back as they give in to their desire.

But once their paths lead them into a different direction, neither of them can forget the intense connection they’d shared.

When fate brings them together again a year later, they have a choice to make: try and make a long-distance relationship work or let this be a one-night stand again.

With war, tragedy and fear standing in their way, can Shane and Greg overcome the challenges life keeps throwing their way? Is their bond strong enough to survive?

Is love enough?

grounded_teaser_02.jpg

Theodora’s comments on the book

Grounded is a sequel to Cookies, but it’s Shane and Greg’s story and can be read on its own. I’ve had this book in the works for what seems like ages now. It was a difficult book to write, not only because of the subject matter but also because it doesn’t follow the typical romance novel arc.

I had a lot of decisions to make while writing this book, but in the end I just left the characters tell their story as they wanted. I feel that’s the most organic way to do it, especially because I’m a linear writer and have to follow the story as it happens.

What I can say for sure is that Shane and Greg are one of the most intense couples I’ve ever written. Their bond is so strong that as I was writing I felt nothing could hurt them or break them apart. As it often happens, I turned out to be wrong.

But don’t worry, HEA/HFN are guaranteed in all my books, so they eventually get there, but at what cost?

teodora main logo_small.png

About the Author

Teodora is a bestselling, award-winning author writing across genres, but has a soft spot for contemporary romance. As a passionate and vocal supporter of equal rights, LGBTQ+ themes are explored in most of her novels.

A Creative Writing and English graduate, Teodora began writing full-length novels in college, but only got the courage to show some of them to the world long after she graduated. She’s now been published by several publishers in five languages, and has attended book signings around the world.

She loves travelling, and her wanderlust has inspired several of her novels. Her other passion is musical theatre and she can often be found in London’s West End trying to score a last-minute ticket for a musical.

When she’s not writing, Teodora loves watching anime, rearranging her enormous bookshelves or walking around London, always looking for a cosy, quirky coffee shop to settle in with her Kindle and a cup of tea.

 Social Media

Website: www.teodorakostova.com

Amazon author page: www.amazon.com/author/teodorakostova

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Teodora_Kostova

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

Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/245720345600711/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/teodorika1

Newsletter: https://goo.gl/gwytxF

Email: teodora@teodorakostova.com

teaser_05 copy

 

Complex narrative deeply surrounds this romance from Garrett Leigh

43188699Cash by Garrett Leigh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

From ‘The Beautiful Game’ in Lucky to Blood Sports in Cash, Garrett Leigh’s new release takes readers through a tumultuous narrative which may be confusing to those not aware of all the ins and outs of Fox Hunting and the saboteurs that come along hand in hand.

This isn’t typical romance genre fare, there’s a deeper understanding to this story of how far under a saboteur can get involved in trying to disrupt a hunt and the unusual lengths some hunts go to try and get round the present ban on hunting foxes with packs of more than two hounds.

The romance in this is also a more complex one as it is so intricately entwined with that of the book’s message about blood sports.

It fluctuates between intense passion and understanding to dislocation and mistrust and all points in between and I honestly don’t think this will be for everyone.

My own opinion is that is exceptionally detailed, an incredibly strong narrative with great pacing and the characters are compelling but I’m not actually sure if I can say it’s a ‘sit back and chill’ read.

I have mixed feelings about the behaviour of hunt saboteurs in the same way as I have similar feelings about the hunts themselves. I’m not sure that two wrongs ever make a right and illegal activity shouldn’t be condoned on either side.

I think in this instance there is clearly a right and a wrong side to be on however, as it befits the storyline being told and it is told well.

Both Cash and Rae are engaging and equally frustrating men, with their own foibles and unique stubbornness and they play well against the other when they’re on the same page but also when they’re on the outs.

There’s wonderful extended cameos from Dom and Lucky, who are on hand throughout to offer up their own brand of unasked for help and advice but also unwavering loyalty and friendship.

There’s a fully fleshed out set of secondary characters and a clever plot which unveils itself steadily throughout.

So, while I haven’t 5*-ed this one, that’s more down to my own experiences growing up in a Yorkshire market town surrounded by active farming communities and my journalism history of being an agricultural correspondent and rural affairs specialist.

I perhaps have a slightly different view than most of the fox as a creature capable of devastating destruction as well as the beautiful subject of much wildlife photography. Not that I think chasing them to exhaustion with a pack of hounds is the solution either mind.

This is a brilliantly drawn narrative but focused on a subject I’m not truly at ease with and it’s certainly coloured my own enjoyment.

Ultimately I think the message about illegal hunting practices outweighed the romance just a little bit for me to thoroughly enjoy the book as a whole fully.

However, we do also get a sneak peek into book three of the series which is beyond tempting and I can’t wait to find out more about how that will play out.

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

View all my Goodreads reviews

Review Tour: Trusting Jack by Ruby Moone

Trusting Jack | Ruby Moone

MC Securities #1

RTBanner-13.jpg

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 45,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Trusting Jack jpg.jpg

Blurb

 

With only a few days to go until Christmas, Michael Cross has to admit there is something amiss about his latest employee, Jack Whelan.

Quiet, jumpy, thin… he never seems to eat. He is also incredibly gorgeous with dark spiky hair that Michael aches to touch. But as his boss, Jack is off limits. And when it comes to relationships, he…well, he sucks.

Jack Whelan is at the end of his tether. He’s living rough in the middle of winter, and paying off a massive debt, so getting a job with MC Securities is a lifeline. His new boss is also the hottest guy ever. Geeky, broody, and scarily clever.

When Michael stumbles upon the reality of Jack’s life, he offers to help. But as Michael’s feelings deepen, and Jack’s terrible past catches up with him, Michael has to decide between believing in the awful truth that is staring him in the face, or trusting Jack.

TourGraphic-11.jpg

Dec 10  OMGReadsKimmers’ Erotic Book BanterDec 12 – Amy’s MM Romance ReviewsDec 14 – Mainely StoriesBook Corner ReviewsThe Blogger GirlsDec 17 – Mirrigold: Mutterings & MusingsMegan’s Media MelangeSexy Erotic XcitingDec 19 – Scattered Thoughts & Rogue WordsBayou Book JunkieDec 21 – Valerie UllmerBook Review by Virginia LeeLillian FrancisGay Media Reviews

About The Author

My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal.

I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading.

I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head…he probably has a point!

Social Media

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/RubyMoone/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter – @RubyMooneWriter

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

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

New Release Blitz: The Island Angel by Alex Slorra

The Island Angel | Alex Slorra

Publisher: NineStar Press

Release Date: December 10, 2018

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Female/Female

Length: 72,900

Genre: Contemporary, thriller, fraud, conspiracy, framed, stranded, Lindisfarne, lesbian

Add to Goodreads

Purchase

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Synopsis

Jessica was a successful IT Director, but now she is on the run. Accused of fraud and orchestrating her company’s downfall, she travels as far as the island of Lindisfarne in Northumberland before breaking down.

There, an American, Anna Meyer, takes her in and offers kindness without questions. As they become closer, Jessica soon discovers Anna has her own much bigger problems and a past that comes knocking.

Excerpt

The Island Angel
Alex Slorra © 2018
All Rights Reserved

Chapter One
Anna’s eyes were shut tight. She held a coffee cup in both hands below her chin.

It had been a mistake, a huge rotten awful mistake, and now, as some additional sadistic punishment, Anna would have to pay. No, make that two mistakes. First, marrying him, and second, buying an overpriced dump she couldn’t afford to sell.

She remembered a third, signing the divorce papers without really understanding what they had owed on the farm. No, the last wasn’t a mistake. It was the only way out.

Forcing herself to lift her gaze above the rim of her cup, she focused on her mother across the table. Tourist season had not yet started, and they were the only people in the Crown Hotel.

“Honey, sell and come back to the States,” her mother pleaded.

“You know I’m not doing that!” Anna slammed down her cup, before noticing the shock on her mother’s weary face. “I’m sorry.”

Her mum had flown all the way from Michigan after hearing how distressed she’d been on her daily calls home. “Anna, how are you paying the mortgage at the moment?”

Anna leaned back in her seat. “In the divorce, John signed the house over to me with enough money for six months. So, right now, I only have four months left.”

“I don’t understand why you would agree when you don’t have any income. He’s a lawyer, you should’ve asked for a lot more.”

“Mom, I’d expected to get the business going, you know, I told you… And I wanted to see the back of him. But now, I couldn’t even sell up if I wanted to. When I had it valued, the farm was worth thousands less than what we paid for it. And then I found out what we owed. If I sell, after all the costs, there’d be nothing, and I’ll still owe what is on my cards.”

Anna rested her chin on her chest, and her blonde hair fell forward, concealing her eyes. She hated that her marriage had ended. Hated that all her plans to turn the old farm into a business were now broken. Her sanctuary had become a burden.

“Oh, darling, talk to John. Can’t he—?”

“Mom, I’m not talking to him.”

A moment passed before her mother continued. “Why not come back home and wait for prices to go up? They always do, you know.”

“I can’t. I feel safer here. Abbie is safer here.”

Her mother leaned forward. “Just come back. It would be all right. He won’t bother us, I’m sure.”

“He was released last month, you said. And he’s still in Michigan?”

“As far as I know… But enough about that. You know, you could just default on your house payments, and it’ll be repossessed. The banks won’t chase you.”

Anna had considered the idea of going back home, but she couldn’t face it. She knew the fear would return. Especially now he’d been released. She had to keep Abbie safe. But also, the thought of being a barista at twenty-nine, while listening to whispers about her British husband leaving her for a younger woman, made her stomach turn. She’d rather drown in the cold North Sea outside her kitchen window.

She put on a brave smile. “Well, I’ve got four months. Things will improve. Maybe I can make enough from pony trekking this summer.” She didn’t want to worry her mother more than she had, so she didn’t mention she only had one pony and the stable’s roof needed to be repaired. It was another thing she couldn’t afford.

“There you go.” Her mum squeezed her hand. “Darling, do you have a friend here to help you?”

“Yes, a few.” It was a blatant lie, but she couldn’t have her mother concerned that she was alone. The truth was the people here weren’t very friendly. They seemed to stick together in groups as if they might catch the Black Death from someone new. Being the American who had bought a croft on their holy island, she hadn’t been welcomed into the tight-knit community.

Anna reached into her pocket to retrieve her watch and check the time. The strap had broken earlier in the day, and it wasn’t as if she needed it. She had her phone, and there was always a clock somewhere. It was just, since she was sixteen, she’d always worn it. The thought reminded her of her older sister, Emma, and caused tears to well up in her eyes.

She blinked to clear them and forced herself to damp down her emotions before her mother noticed. “I’m sorry Abbie wasn’t here to say goodbye.”

“I understand. The timing wasn’t good,” her mum offered. “It was nice to see her on the weekend. It must cost a lot to have her go to boarding school?”

Anna shook her head. “It’s free. The council pays, it’s the local government. There’s no secondary school on the island and, because of the tides, it’s nearly impossible to cross and get back during a normal school day. So, kids older than ten have to go to the boarding school on the mainland. Right now, there’s only three students from the island who do it, though.”

“She’s happy there?”

“She never says she doesn’t want to go back and she’s picking up an English accent.”

“I noticed.” Her mum chuckled. “She’s becoming an English rose. Emma would be proud.”

Anna didn’t want to disagree. At fourteen, Abbie was more like a thistle than a rose, at least with her anyway. One minute they were fine and having fun, the next they would be at loggerheads. Perhaps, in the holidays, things will be better between us.

Anna remembered why she had looked at her watch and touched her mother’s arm. “It’s time for your bus.”

“I wish I could have stayed longer.” It was her mum’s turn to lie. Anna knew her mother thought England was too cold, as well as expensive and inconvenient.

Anna’s mother got up and took hold of the handle of her cabin bag. “I know you don’t want my help with money, but it’s there if you need it. And do come home. I worry about you and Abbie.”

“I know. But you don’t need to. We’re fine, really.”

Outside, they hugged goodbye. It was still pretty cold for mid-May, and the wind cut through the fibres of Anna’s burgundy all-weather coat. She buried her hands in her pockets and watched as her mother boarded the small bus that would cross the mile-long causeway back to the mainland before the tide covered it.

Anna’s hair was blowing into her eyes. She brushed the wavy strands aside, before bursting into tears and darting back in the direction of her home.

Hurrying through the small village with her head down, she soon left the few buildings of the hamlet behind.

The island was small, only a few miles in both directions. In the winter, no more than a few hundred people braved the North Sea storms. Spring was not much better, with high tides and cold easterly winds from Norway. It was a suffering romantic’s paradise. For Anna, only the suffering part seemed true now. She passed the ruins of the old monastery, said to be the birthplace of Christianity in Britain. Beyond it, waves crashed against the rocky coastline.

She tried to put her predicament into words, but all she could think of was a swimming lesson from her grandfather at his cabin in Michigan. As was the tradition, Grandpa Brent had the job of teaching the younger family members how to swim. Anna had begged her way out of swimming until, at eight years old, her mother insisted she must learn. It was apparently a necessary life skill.

So, there she was standing in her newly purchased white-and-pink one-piece at the end of the dock with Grandpa Brent behind her. He was explaining how to move her arms and legs. Looking back, she should have questioned why the man was fully dressed. Next thing she knew, he’d picked her up by her waist and had thrown her off the end of the dock into the lake.

Anna would have drowned if it wasn’t for the end of a bamboo fishing rod the old idiot offered her when she managed to surface. She’d desperately grabbed the thin yellow pole and used it to get back to the dock. Sobbing and hunched over, having literally been fished out of the water, she looked at the person she had trusted and screamed at him before running back into the cabin where her mother and older sister were making lunch. She still hadn’t learned how to swim and, now, she felt like she was underwater again.

On the exposed barren land, she followed a single-track road that hugged the jagged coast until Lindisfarne Castle could be seen on the south-eastern corner of the island. It was perched on a pinnacle, half-hidden by sea mist.

Anna found some solace in the old fortress, knowing it had been there for four hundred years, withstanding all that had been thrown at it. But more so, it comforted her knowing people had lived, worked, and survived in its walls. If they could, so could she. She turned down a narrow muddy lane and scampered towards the eighteenth-century farmhouse that was her home.

Meet the Author

Alex is a lesbian fiction novelist based in the UK. She grew up in Canada and completed a BSc degree in Nova Scotia, before moving back to work in central London. Alex has also lived in the United States and France.

Since a young age, she has consumed a mixture of historical fiction, fantasy, and romance. Alex enjoys music creation, photography, painting, and the guitar, but most of all, things she doesn’t understand.

For her, writing is a way to inspire virtues that should happen more often. Follow Alex on Twitter.

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Release Blitz: Trusting Jack by Ruby Moone

Trusting Jack | Ruby Moone

MC Securities #1

RBBanner-18.jpg

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK

Length: 45,000 words approx.

Cover Design: Meredith Russell

Trusting Jack jpg.jpg

Blurb

 

With only a few days to go until Christmas, Michael Cross has to admit there is something amiss about his latest employee, Jack Whelan.

Quiet, jumpy, thin… he never seems to eat. He is also incredibly gorgeous with dark spiky hair that Michael aches to touch. But as his boss, Jack is off limits. And when it comes to relationships, he…well, he sucks.

Jack Whelan is at the end of his tether. He’s living rough in the middle of winter, and paying off a massive debt, so getting a job with MC Securities is a lifeline. His new boss is also the hottest guy ever. Geeky, broody, and scarily clever.

When Michael stumbles upon the reality of Jack’s life, he offers to help. But as Michael’s feelings deepen, and Jack’s terrible past catches up with him, Michael has to decide between believing in the awful truth that is staring him in the face, or trusting Jack.

About The Author

My name is Ruby Moone and I love books. All kinds of books. My weakness is for romance, and that can be any kind, but I am particularly fond of historical and paranormal.

I decided to write gay romance after reading some fantastic books and falling in love with the genre, so am really thrilled to have my work published here. The day job takes up a lot of my time, but every other spare moment finds me writing or reading.

I live in the north west of England with my husband who thinks that I live in two worlds. The real world and in the world in my head…he probably has a point!

Social Media

Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/RubyMoone/?ref=bookmarks

Twitter – @RubyMooneWriter

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

Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

Release Blitz: Under the Felt Mistletoe by Nell Iris

Under the Felt Mistletoe | Nell Iris

RBBanner-17.jpg

Length: 13,000 words.

Publisher: JMS Books

Buy Links:

Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

underthefeltmistletoe.jpg

Blurb

The most wonderful time of the year is about to get even better.

On a cold, rainy December morning, Finn’s beloved Grampa, his best friend and rock, makes a friend outside their home who he invites in for coffee. The last thing Finn expects is Nelson, a man with a painful past, who is beautiful and generous and turns Finn’s knees into jelly.

What starts out as a chance to get out of the rain, soon becomes more as Nelson helps Finn get ready for the Christmas market. They bond over coffee and fabric and Mariah Carey.

Can handmade Christmas ornaments and an understanding heart give Nelson the love he’s been denied?

Excerpt

Sunday arrives with clear skies and no rain, but instead, the temperature has dropped overnight and hovers in the low thirties.

I arm myself with a thermos of coffee and dress accordingly: long johns under my orange bellbottom corduroy pants, a long-sleeved t-shirt and a turtleneck layered under my windbreaker, a fluffy scarf wound around my neck and a beanie that makes my hair look ridiculous. It flattens everything under the hat, but at the ribbed cuff, my curls explode in every direction with a vengeance.

A lot of people attend the first market of the season and despite the cold pluming my breath in front of me, everyone is in high spirits and full of holiday cheer. My neighbor to the right, Mrs. Winterbottom — yes, that’s her real name — is dressed as Mrs. Santa and sells magnificent hand-crafted fir wreaths. On my left, Mr. and Mrs. Carruthers sell gold-brushed chocolate pralines that are too pretty to eat and taste even better.

Every vendor plays holiday music, greets the shoppers with a jolly ho-ho-ho, and a comment on the weather. The shoppers, in turn, have deep pockets and are eager to acquire the merchandise. People love my ornaments, and my stuff flies off the table. I will be cleaned out completely before the market closes if this continues. I need to spend more time sewing so I can bring lots more next week.

After a couple hours, huge powdery snowflakes start sailing leisurely from the sky, adding to the holiday feeling. The only downer on this fabulous day is that I ran out of coffee early. Mrs. Winterbottom forgot hers at home, and I shared mine with her. I wouldn’t let my worst enemy go without coffee if I could do something about it.

But in a lull between customers, a savior arrives.

Nelson. Carrying two paper cups in mittened hands.

Warmth flashes in my chest at the sight of him; his shy smile and brown eyes that are warm enough to thaw the thin layer of ice from the pond in the middle of the park where the market is held.

“Hi,” he says, sounding out of breath. “I know you like coffee, but I thought maybe hot chocolate would be nice in this cold?” He holds out of the cups and if we weren’t separated by the table I would show my gratitude by hugging the stuffing out of the man. New acquaintance or not.

“My hero!” I accept the offering, tear off the lid, and inhale. The sweet, slightly bitter aroma makes my mouth water. I take a small sip, but it isn’t too hot to drink so I have some more. I hum in happiness and smile at him. “This is awesome. Thank you so much.”

Nelson’s gaze is glued to my mouth with eyelids heavy and lips parted. “You’ve got …” He sets down his cup and pulls off his red and white mittens, then he leans forward and swipes the pad of his thumb along my upper lip.

I draw a stuttering breath.

“You had chocolate on your lip,” he rasps, his voice so deliciously rumbly I feel it all the way in my bones. “There. All gone.” He does a final sweep before withdrawing.

I can’t help it; my hand flies to my mouth and I finger my lip as though I’m trying to stop the lingering warmth from evaporating.

“Thank you.” My voice is hoarse. Our eyes lock as he picks up the mittens and put them back on. My breathing grows shallow and the Christmas music cacophony and loud buzz of the market-goers fade into the background. All I see is him. All I hear is his breathing.

“Finn. I …”

Copy of 24991370_175408643046624_9127428363845275843_n

About the Author

Nell Iris is a romantic at heart who believes everyone deserves a happy ending. She’s a bona fide bookworm (learned to read long before she started school), wouldn’t dream of going anywhere without something to read (not even the ladies’ room), loves music (and singing along but, let’s face it, she’s no Celine Dion), and is a real Star Trek nerd (“Make it so”). She loves words, poetry, wine, and Sudoku, and absolutely adores elephants!

Nell believes passionately in equality for all regardless of race, gender, or sexuality, and wants to make the world a better, less hateful, place.

Nell is a forty-something bisexual Swedish woman, married to the love of her life, and a proud mama of a grown daughter. She left the Scandinavian cold and darkness for warmer and sunnier Malaysia a few years ago and now spends her days writing, surfing the Internet, enjoying the heat, and eating good food. One day she decided to chase her lifelong dream of being a writer, sat down in front of her laptop, and wrote a story about two men falling in love.

Nell Iris writes gay romance, prefers sweet over angst, and wants to write diverse and different characters.

Social Media

Email contact@nelliris.com

Web www.nelliris.com

Twitter @nellirisauthor

Facebook page www.facebook.com/nellirisauthor

Facebook profile www.facebook.com/nell.iris.12

Goodreads https://www.goodreads.com/nelliris

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

QueeRomance Ink https://www.queeromanceink.com/mbm-book-author/nell-iris/

 


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hosted By Signal Boost Promotions

 

« Older Entries