This is the best yet – such a surprise in Sweden!

CoverSwings & Roundabouts by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Best one yet

I love this series so much, it would make a brilliant TV show because the tension and the pacing in conjunction with all the family’s tribulations, is just perfect.

There’s also lots of British humour, full on sarcasm and a wry sense of the absurd at times.

Also the different types of criminal activity which Jackie has used to hang her stories on are really imaginative.

I’m not going to reveal anything of the plot points for what happens in Sweden but let’s say, it’s nothing you’d guess at in a million years!

I know this one’s only just come out but I am desperate for more Jack and Gareth.

#ARC kindly provided by the author in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Review Round-up: The Power of Zero Series by Jackie Keswick

The Power of Zero (The Power of Zero Book 0)The Power of Zero by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Great intro to this series

I read this first in the anthology created for the late and much missed author Eric Arvin but it’s been expanded and extended by Jackie to give a prologue to how the adventures of Jack Horwood began.

Jack’s earliest beginnings of how he met Rio and started out on his career as a spy are painful reading but also uplifting with the small acts of kindness.

All proceeds from this book also go to two British charities which help the homeless and that’s a great thing.

Job HuntJob Hunt by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfectly paced romantic suspense

This is the first full length story which features Jack Horwood and his merry band of spies, police officers, ex-military bods and hackers and it’s a doozy.

Jack’s after a pimp who’s offering up underage boys and he’s skirting a fine line in dealing with the fall out of his own youthful experiences.

Him and Gareth are muddling along and trying to find a way of being together without all the baggage that comes along with it and Jack’s having to learn how to deal with having people he might just be able to trust and rely on.

I love these books, the setting perfectly captures London in all her seedy underbelly, the Met provides a backdrop along with Jack’s new place of employment and there’s dodgy doings going on all over the place.

The intrigue and mystery elements are perfectly handled and the romance between Jack and Gareth sits comfortably on top. More please!

Ghosts (The Power of Zero Book 2)Ghosts by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

More brilliant romantic suspense from Jackie

Jack and Gareth’s relationship continues to grow stronger while they carry out an emotionally draining investigation into the pimp who had Nico and Daniel.

These books are perfectly paced to mix the romance with the suspense without one suffering for the other. There’s a lot of hard reading as the events taking place are not for the faint hearted.

But, as always, the strength of Jack and his new found relationships with both Gareth and his newer friends, provides an on going element of hope throughout.

House Hunt (The Power of Zero, #3)House Hunt by Jackie Keswick

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh it just gets better and better

This book is brilliant. The pacing, the plot twists, the dodgy dealings, the spooks and their games, Jack and Gareth, the rest of the gang.

The narrative is ramping up in tension as all the strange goings on at Nancarrow start to bleed into something else.

Jack has to go undercover and things get complicated on his mission and go rapidly downhill once he’s out.

There’s definitely something rotten in the woodshed and it takes all of Jack’s skills, and Gareth’s patience for the threads to u unravel.

Even at the end of this one, I’m no wiser to what’s going on deep down but Jack and Gareth are working hard at their relationship and moving forward with their life together and I love them both so much!

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Series Blitz: Responsible Adult by C F White

Responsible Adult Series | C F White

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Book #1 – Misdemeanor – currently 99c

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Book #2 – Hard Time  – currently 1.99

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Book #3 – Reformed – currently 2.99

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Blurb

The Responsible Adult series follows bad boy Micky O’Neill as he attempts to better his life to bring up his disabled little brother.

A past full of juvenile delinquency and living in a small town rife with idle gossip means Micky struggles to be seen as anything other than a no-hoper from the wrong side of the tracks… until he takes a job at the local supermarket and meets his boss, Dan, a university graduate and self-proclaimed shy, awkward bookworm.

Dan, older and burned from a past relationship, is the one person who sees through Micky’s tough-guy facade to the true heart underneath.

With fear and mistrust on both sides, the two must steer their way through a complicated relationship where outside forces are determined to break them up at every turn.

Responsible Adult is a series about growing up and learning that falling in love always brings responsibility.

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Excerpt from Misdemeanor

 

“You can join us if you like. Enough to go around.” Dan pointed at all the food and drink.

Micky looked down, licking his lips, but shook his head. He glanced at the play park and Dan followed his line of sight to see the blond bloke by the swings surrounded by a gaggle of girls, one of whom he picked up in a fireman’s carry and proceeded to slap her arse. Micky snorted and turned back to Dan.

“Thanks, but I got Flynn.” He scrunched up his legs, hugging his knees to his chest and hung the glass down over the top.

“Your parents not around then?” Dan asked, voice full of concern.

“Nah,” Micky said with a shrug. “Mum passed away. A while back now. And Dad’s, well, Dad’s not round so much anymore.”

“Workaholic?” Dan asked, almost hopeful.

“Something aholic, yeah,” Micky said. He shuffled his feet on the blanket, bunching it up and flattening it back down. “He’s just not good to be around Flynn.”

“So you take care of him by yourself?” Dan asked.

Micky nodded.

“Wow. That’s…” Dan searched for the word. Three years spent lovingly studying the English language hoping to come into good use this time. “Commendable.”

“Not really,” Micky said, ducking his head. “Any sibling would do it.”

“I don’t know about that, mate,” Dan said. “My big sister can be a right cow. She would’ve left me on a doorstep somewhere.”

Micky chuckled. He didn’t pay Dan much attention, choosing to watch Flynn and Tamsin as she spun him on the seated roundabout. Dan watched them, too, for a bit, before turning back to Micky.

“He’s a character,” Dan acknowledged. “There a reason he’s so small?”

Micky finally turned his attention on Dan. “Yeah,” he replied, voice tiny and tight. He scraped his teeth over his bottom lip several times, dragging away the congealed moisture forming over them. “He’s got a condition. He’s a little behind in years, too.”

“Oh,” Dan said. He might have that etched onto his gravestone. “What’s the condition?”

“Williams syndrome?” Micky replied, then, with a shrug, shook his head. “Don’t worry. No one’s ever heard of it. It’s pretty rare. One in twenty thousand or so.”

“Oh,” Dan said. Again. For fuck’s sake.

“So, yeah, I’m sorry about earlier. I probably snapped at you.” Micky twirled the glass in his hand. “The friendly thing. One of the things he’s lacking is any stranger danger. They’re a bit overly social, if you know what I mean. Susceptible to being taken advantage of. Scares the crap out of me.”

Micky dipped his head, shaking it from side to side. He shuffled again and Dan sensed he was clamming up after having been so forthcoming. Dan didn’t want Micky to stop talking.

He was strangely fascinated by him. It wasn’t just that the bloke was nice to look at, which he evidently was. But his voice had an undertone of something more and Dan desperately wanted to find out what that was.

“How else does it affect him?” Dan wondered aloud.

“Multitude of things.” Micky exhaled. He took a deep breath before responding any further. “Medical stuff like a weak heart. Had two major heart surgeries as a baby. Will probably need another one in his lifetime. He has stomach troubles. Bowel issues. Weak muscles. The eyes. Teeth. Hyperthyroid. Plus he’s got learning difficulties.”

Micky’s eyes glazed over as he swished the glass in his hand. “He’s an eternal child. Sees the world like it should be in a fairy tale, minus the evil characters. Everything is bright and beautiful and everyone is his friend.” Micky paused. “It’s a real shame that life isn’t like that. Because a world full of Flynns would be the one I wanna live in.”

Dan paused for a moment, trying to take it all in. What Micky said. Flynn. The condition. The ideal. And how Micky described it all.

“I’m sorry you’re dealing with all that by yourself,” Dan finally said. “I had no idea.”

He’d just been lusting after his body all week. Now Dan knew the bloke had a soft, loving and caring side, what the hell was that going to do to him now?

Author Bio

 

Brought up in a relatively small town in Hertfordshire, C F White managed to do what most other residents try to do and fail—leave.

Studying at a West London university, she realised there was a whole city out there waiting to be discovered, so, much like Dick Whittington before her, she never made it back home and still endlessly searches for the streets paved with gold, slowly coming to the realisation they’re mostly paved with chewing gum. And the odd bit of graffiti.

And those little circles of yellow spray paint where the council point out the pot holes to someone who is supposedly meant to fix them instead of staring at them vacantly whilst holding a polystyrene cup of watered-down coffee.

She eventually moved West to East along that vast District Line and settled for pie and mash, cockles and winkles and a bit of Knees Up Mother Brown to live in the East End of London; securing a job and creating a life, a home and a family.

Having worked in Higher Education for most of her career, a life-altering experience brought pen back to paper after she’d written stories as a child but never had the confidence to show them to the world. Having embarked on this writing malarkey, C F White cannot stop. So strap in, it’s gonna be a bumpy ride…

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In honour of Williams Syndrome Awareness Day, Pride Publishing are putting Misdemeanor, Hard Time and Reformed on a price promotion. You can get all three books at 99p/c each on Friday 18th May.

Link here: https://www.pride-publishing.com/serial/responsible-adult, but you can also buy it at this price at most other retailers.

If you’d like to learn more about Williams Syndrome, then you can find out all the excellent work that the charities in both the UK and US do here:

www.williams-syndrome.org.uk
www.williams-syndrome.org

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A change of pace with Mark’s sweet romance

38910362Guns n’ Boys: A Breath of Innocence by K.A. Merikan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Well, where to begin. I’m going to start with the end and the post credits scene and just say – wtf ladies! I don’t like the look of that and it seems like things are going to be heating up again soon.

Now, back to this actual story and oh my, I don’t think Mark and Griffin could have been any cuter if they tried. This really is a breath of innocence in the ever more murky world of Dom & Seth and the Mark we get here is almost like a new man.

He’s followed Charlotte back to the UK but finds something else way more important and real when he meets her brother. I loved the dynamics between these two.

Mark’s background and upbringing – and his experiences in the last book – have left him scarred but not bowed and he’s determined to make a fresh start with an honest job after his studies.

Griff’s 17 at the start, but his birthday follows quickly after the two meet, and he’s young and naive and sees the world through the veneer of a rich but somewhat lonely upbringing.

There’s the usual shocks galore but this one is missing the violence which is usually a hallmark of the series. That’s not to say there isn’t hurt aplenty and I wanted to hug them both many times (and punch Charlotte in the face a lot too!)

It was a different pace to the usual Guns n’ Boys but no less enjoyable an experience and I was rooting for them both as much as I do for Dom & Seth. And how beautiful is the cover?!

#ARC kindly provided by the authors in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Blitz: Owned by the Sea by L M Somerton

Owned by the Sea | L M Somerton

Publisher: Pride Publishing

Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis, @studioenp

Genre/s: contemporary gay romance, BDSM

Length: 60869 words/164 pages

General Release Date: May 8, 2018

It is a standalone story.

Blurb

Storms pass and, in their wake, new beginnings can be found.

Talented young artist Jonty Trelawn paints the sea as self-inflicted punishment. For almost a year he has hidden away from life, survivor’s guilt consuming him, but the time has come to move on. He conceives the idea of a charity art auction in support of the local lifeboat station and the men and women who saved his life. He hopes the tribute to his family will release him from the sea’s invisible chains.

Carpenter Jed Curnow is bound to the water in a different way. As deputy coxswain of the Govenek, the local lifeboat, his world revolves around the close-knit crew. He thinks nothing of risking his life to save others. Saving Jonty is less dangerous but just as important to him. He wants nothing more than to give Jonty the love and security he needs.

Jed’s dominant personality calls to Jonty’s more submissive nature but will he ever allow himself to be happy? It’s up to Jed and his best friend Marmite to help Jonty put his tragic past behind him and live for the future.

Buy Links

Pride Publishing

Amazon UK

Amazon US

Goodreads

Excerpt

Jonty stood on the swaying deck and took a last, longing glance at the shore. His stomach was already heaving and the Caroline, named after his mother, had only just left the shelter of the bay. The next three days at sea were going to be torment. He hated the annual family ritual that took him away from his painting, but his father insisted on it and, at twenty-five, Jonty still hadn’t found the courage to refuse him.

Rex Trelawn, who headed a private bank when he wasn’t torturing his son, had given up on Jonty ever being a ‘proper’ sailor, so Jonty was consigned to the galley with orders to keep the rest of the family fed and watered. He dealt with supplies, stocked the cupboards and made sure the boat was ready for a short sea voyage.

He was also responsible for reporting their position to the coastguard at regular intervals, which he managed between visits to the head where his stomach contents insisted on making unwelcome reappearances.

The Caroline was a forty-six footer and manageable with a crew of four. She was just big enough that Jonty could avoid his father for some, if not all, of the trip. Rex always took the wheel while Jonty’s mother and younger sister, Evie, managed ropes and sails with ease.

Evie had a sturdy build and relished the challenges of sailing while Jonty favored his recently deceased grandfather, being slight and less than average height. They were a small family, just the four of them, and Jonty found it impossible to refuse the one outing of the year that brought them all together, much as he wanted to. Three days battling his father’s disappointment was not his idea of a fun time.

Jonty slipped below deck to the narrow, claustrophobic galley and began preparations for a light supper. Soup and bread, fruitcake and hot chocolate would suffice—not that he’d be able to eat any of it himself. Just the idea of food made his stomach flip over.

The four of them would take breaks and sleep in shifts, sailing out past Land’s End and into the Atlantic during the night. It would be something of an endurance test but Jonty could cope with that. He kept strange hours when he painted, sometimes forgetting to sleep.

His father was first to descend into the cabin, brushing a hand through his windswept silver hair. He shed his waterproofs, hanging them on a peg before taking a seat at the table.

“Wind’s getting up, Jonathon. Be sure to check the shipping forecast later.”

“Yes, sir.” Jonty didn’t need the reminder, but said nothing. He ladled soup into a bowl then placed it in front of his father.

“Not eating?” The usual note of disapproval colored Rex Trelawn’s tone.

“No.” Jonty didn’t expand. His father knew full well that Jonty got seasick every time he sailed.

“Come and join me.”

Jonty held back a sigh. He wasn’t feeling up to defending himself yet again.

“Shaw tells me your earnings are exceptional for such a young artist. He wants more work from you.”

The sigh escaped. “Shaw has no business discussing my finances with you. He’s my agent, not yours.”

“I hope you’re investing well?” Rex waved a soup spoon at him, ignoring Jonty’s objection. “I’ll have to put the rent up on Cliff House.”

Jonty’s family, including his sister who was studying at King’s College, resided in London. Jonty chose to live at the family’s second home in Cornwall where the pure light was perfect for painting. He needed a place of his own where he could cut another tie to his domineering father but somehow he’d never gotten around to house hunting.

He didn’t rise to Rex’s taunt. Housing discussions were preferable to those that questioned his ‘dubious lifestyle choices’. Rex Trelawn had never quite accepted his son’s sexual orientation and it was a topic best avoided.

When Jonty came out at eighteen, Evie had shrugged, his mother had wept for a while then refreshed her makeup, hugged him then commenced trawling her copious address book for prospective boyfriends. Rex had given him the silent treatment for months until Jonty’s first gallery showing had sold out. He’d proved to have some worth, so they’d reached a truce of sorts.

“It’s time I found a place of my own,” he said. “Property is a good investment these days, isn’t it?”

Rex grunted. Checkmate had been reached. Rex wanted his son as a live-in caretaker for Cliff House, a place where he had a hold on him. Rex knew it and so did Jonty. “It’s time for the shipping forecast.”

Jonty switched on the radio then relaxed into the familiar litany of strange names and wind speeds, paying particular attention to Lundy and Sole.
“It’s brisker than I expected,” Rex muttered. “Bloody weather changes on the toss of a coin. We could be in for a bumpy ride.” He cut himself a slice of fruitcake, grinning.
Jonty’s stomach did a jig. He just made it to the head in time.

An unpleasant five minutes later, Jonty returned to the cabin to find Evie swapping places with their father at the table.
“Have you been worshiping the porcelain god again, big brother?”

“The boy has a weak constitution,” Rex grumbled, disappearing up the steps to the deck.
“And he could eat roadkill on a rollercoaster without retching,” Jonty sniped. “You want soup, sis?”

“Only if you haven’t thrown up in it.” Despite her words, Evie’s smile was sympathetic.
“There’s nothing left in my stomach. Besides, you’re like Dad. You’ll eat anything.” Jonty did his duty with the soup then watched as Evie demolished the entire bowl and two sizeable chunks of bread.

“Hungry work out there.” She grinned. “Dad been giving you grief again?”
“Same as usual.” Jonty shrugged. “He won’t change.”
“Next year when he proposes this trip, tell him to go take a running jump off the nearest pier.”

“So says the favored child.”

“I’m straight, gorgeous, I love sport and will provide him with grandchildren. You are not straight, far too pretty for a man, refuse to cut your hair, you hate sport and you have a talent he doesn’t, which will no doubt make you richer than him. Of course he loves me best.” She raised her mug of hot chocolate in a toast.

About the Author

Lucinda lives in a small village in the English countryside, surrounded by rolling hills, cows and sheep. She started writing to fill time between jobs and is now firmly and unashamedly addicted.

She loves the English weather, especially the rain, and adores a thunderstorm. She loves good food, warm company and a crackling fire. She’s fascinated by the psychology of relationships, especially between men, and her stories contain some subtle (and some not so subtle) leanings towards BDSM.

 

Social Media and Links

Pride Publishing

Website

Blog

Facebook

Twitter @LMSomerton

Pinterest

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GIVEAWAY

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win one of two books from LM Somerton’s backlist

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Price Drop – Without A Compass by Helen Juliet

Without a Compass | Helen Juliet

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Special limited price drop from Tuesday, May 8 for 10 days – down to 99c/99p

Also available on Kindle Unlimited

Buy Links

Amazon UK: 

Amazon US: 

Add to Goodreads

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Blurb

Riley Anderson has always been smitten with his older brother’s best friend, Kai Brandt. But Kai is straight and he and Riley have nothing in common. Riley’s a desk jockey and hunky Kai is obsessed with the great outdoors, just like the rest of Riley’s family.

It’s bad enough that Riley is forced to go camping for his dad’s 50th birthday. Even worse when gorgeous Kai shows up too and Riley isn’t sure how long his crush will remain secret.

Kai always liked his best friend’s cute but shy little brother. When they reunite after a few years apart, Kai is surprised to find that Riley has grown up…and Kai can’t get him out of his head. Maybe now that Riley is an adult they can be friends?

When their trip takes an unexpected turn, Kai and Riley find themselves stranded together in the wilderness. The chemistry between them is undeniable. But Riley is too afraid to believe this could be real, even though Kai knows this is no longer just about friendship for him.

They don’t have long before they will have to rejoin civilisation. Can they face the truth in front of them before their lives pull them apart once more?

***Without a Compass is a steamy, standalone MM romance novel with campfire kisses, a dog with a mind of her own and a guaranteed HEA with absolutely no cliffhanger.***

Author Bio

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Helen Juliet is a contemporary MM romance author living in London with her husband and two balls of fluff that occasionally pretend to be cats. She began writing at an early age, later honing her craft online in the world of fanfiction on sites like Wattpad.

Fifteen years and over a million words later, she sought out original MM novels to read. She never thought she would be any good at romance, but once she turned her hand to it she discovered she in fact adored it.

By the end of 2016 she had written her first book of her own, and in 2017 she fulfilled her lifelong dream of becoming a fulltime author.

She also writes contemporary American MM romance as HJ Welch.

**

You can contact Helen via social media:

Website – www.helenjuliet.com

Email – helenjulietauthor@gmail.com

Twitter – @helenjwrites

Instagram – @helenjwrites

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Facebook Page – @helenjulietauthor

Facebook Group – Helen Juliet Books

COMPASS REVIEW BANNER

 

Review Round Up – Why series from Colette Davison

Why I Left YouWhy I Left You by Colette Davison

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Where to start with this one. It’s a powerful exploration of the pain of depression in a young man and it’s also a romance between two young men who’ve been in love since they were teenagers and who were separated by one desperate act and the consequences of it.

I don’t think I “enjoyed” it in the way I would usually enjoy a young adult romance, there’s too much pain and suffering I think to truly let go of the aspects of dealing with a mental illness.

There’s also, for me anyway, a definite feeling of realism over how neither man wants to deal with the serious conversations they’re owed from each other over what happened four years earlier.

And, also, the incident which caused Jamie’s initial breakdown – while perfectly possible and believable in its own right – didn’t work for me and I don’t have a logical explanation for why. I just read it and felt it was a bit “plot pointy” as there’d been nothing even remotely clued in throughout the rest of the narrative

Still, the writing is exemplary and care is taken to never diminish the effects of depression and how it alters people’s perceptions of themselves and others.

Why I Need YouWhy I Need You by Colette Davison

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I preferred this one over book one because, while it still dealt with serious issues and there was still a ginormous lack of communication, these two didn’t mask over things with sex.

Both Noah and Fin are dealing with grief and both have huge hang ups over what they think the other person is feeling or likely to do if they reveal the truth.

Their fears were completely believable and quite realistic, but I just got a bit fed up by the push/pull over each of them opening up about what was going on inside their heads.

The ending, with characters of just 24 and 21, also felt a little unlikely but then again, when you know you’ve met The One, why wait.

Why I Trust YouWhy I Trust You by Colette Davison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Definitely my favourites in the series and the one with the least amount of angst and most focus on just the development of a loving relationship.

I liked that these guys talked to each other, there was no miscommunication or misunderstanding between Ryan and Martin. Their obstacles were practical and legal ones and it worked well.

Ryan’s fears over having to rely on someone else were perfectly understandable, as were Martin’s over people being with him for his money.

Together they were seriously sweet and a lot of fun to read, as well as being crazy sexy. Overall I’ve enjoyed this series from an author New to me and – as a Leeds born girl – it’s always great to see stories set in and around my part of the world.

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

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