Tag Archives: comfort

Review Round-Up: Montana Series by RJ Scott

Crooked Tree Ranch (Montana, #1)Crooked Tree Ranch by R.J. Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love starting a series from RJ Scott because I know I’m going to get a well-crafted tale of family and romance with a side order of steamy encounters and a little bit of humour.

Montana is no different and this relatively short opener sets all the scene without ever being a wall of exposition. We see Jay and Nate connecting and falling for each other, we see Gabe and Ashley doing the same.

There’s tensions enough to stop the narrative all being one tone but they’re the everyday life kind, not mad dramady or unbelievable events.

I can’t wait to find out more.

The Rancher's Son (Montana, #2)The Rancher’s Son by R.J. Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

That was so different than book one in this series!

This is more of a mystery/thriller with a romance thread running through it and more of the series long storyline is revealed in this one.

After being missing for 12 years, Adam is found, but there’s no sign of his best friend Justin and he has no memory of where he’s been or what happened.

Ethan, Justin’s older brother, goes to fetch Adam back to Crooked Tree. Along the way, he’ll need to call on all his training as a cop to process information when he realises he’s just as much in love with Adam as he was when he was 17 and Adam was two years younger.

There’s a lot of slow burn in this, understandably so given the circumstances, but it’s clear from the start that these two have a history and feelings beyond friendship.

I felt so bad for Adam, unable to remember anything but still having emotional connections to Ethan and not sure what to do about it.

The main story arc, about the boys disappearing so many years ago, is advanced along quite nicely but we’re still no wiser to knowing why they ran.

I’m dying to know what happened with Justin, whose book is next, and not only where he’s been, but also why a meth lab was such a big deal that two teenagers ended up in the witness program!

A Cowboy's Home (Montana, #3)A Cowboy’s Home by R.J. Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another brilliant – and again quite different – addition to this series which is shaping up to be one of my favourites from RJ Scott.

In this, the prodigal son returns, but it’s Justin’s intention to die on Crooked Tree, not be welcomed home and accepted in spite of his 12-year absence and the whole plot narrative centres on how all the broken pieces come back together because of Sam.

Sam, chef at Branches and a man who is also in search of a home, is the anchor who Justin clings to when the proverbial hits the fan after he discovers the badly injured man hiding out in a cabin on the edges of the ranch.

The pacing in this book is pitched perfectly, there’s drama but it never becomes too much or overly angsty, Justin’s done things he thinks the others will hate him for but he can’t seem to accept he’s the biggest victim of them all.

I loved Sam in this. He has a quiet strength which he’s not really aware of but it shines through as he manages to breach through Julian’s incredibly high walls and discovers only a tiny snippet of the pain he’s hiding.

The rest of the gang is all present too, but unobtrusively, supportive but never overwhelming and I really liked how RJ let the narrative flow so that Julian is the one who slowly unbends and begins to see his life might be worth saving.

I also want to know more about Julian’s fellow black ops friend Rob, who seems to be a prime candidate for an RJ Happy Ever After!

Now, onto the final book so far and it’s another completely different tale – Sheriff Ryan and an actor!

Snow in Montana (Montana #4)Snow in Montana by R.J. Scott
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Sometimes I really hate Goodreads. I wrote a review for this which expounded on all the clever planning which went into the narrative and the great way in which RJ managed to pull them all back together into a cohesive storyline which was brilliant and it’s lost it.

So I’m not doing that again – this book is excellent, Sherrif Ryan is gorgeous and he gets his Happy Ever After with the lovely Jordan – read it!

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

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Release Blitz: Leaning Into Forever by Lane Hayes

Leaning Into Forever | Lane Hayes

Leaning Into Stories #7

Leaning into Forever Banner

Release Date: June 29

Heat Level: 4 – Lots of Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 75K

Genre: Romance, Comfort, Healing , Heartbreak, New Beginnings, Contemporary Romance

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Leaning into Forver Cover

Synopsis

Geordie de la Rosa is a legend among wine lovers in Napa Valley. His ultra-fabulous style paired with a penchant for leading impromptu sing-a-longs has made him a star attraction at Conrad Winery. Co-owning a well-respected winery was never Geordie’s aspiration but he likes the niche he’s made for himself. He won’t deny that his job and his friends have helped ease his heartache and grief after the death of his longtime partner.

Levi Yeager excels at the art of reinventing himself. He’s been a minor league baseball player, a college coach and now a restaurant owner. The problem is he doesn’t know a thing about the food business. And when his chef quits unexpectedly, he’s afraid his new venture is doomed.

But Levi isn’t a quitter. It may be the only thing he has in common with the beautiful, sassy man from the neighboring winery who agrees to help get his new business up and running. Neither man counts on their fast friendship or the wild attraction they feel for each other.

However, they know they won’t stand a chance until they let go of the past and lean into forever.

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Excerpt

“My game is coming back. If I keep talking and you keep listening, you’ll eventually warm up to me. Where was I?”

“The psychology of alliterations,” I deadpanned.

“Right. Your tone is imperial, you use alliterations like a poet and you dress like a diva. You’re pleasant to strangers but you hold them at bay. You’re kind but controlled. Most likely you were an elite member of a royal family in a former life.”

“You’re probably right,” I said, amused in spite of myself. “Since you have me figured me, let me see if I can do the same.”

“Be my guest.” Levi made a sweeping motion with his left arm before resting it on his steering wheel. The casual gesture was ripe with potent masculinity. And I hated that I noticed.

I tore my gaze from his stubble jaw and cleared my throat. “You’re a newly out sports enthusiast at a crossroad.”

“Sports enthusiast at a crossroads,” he repeated with a laugh. “I guess that’s better than has-been athlete looking for a new gig.”

“As you said, I do have a way with words and I’m a firm believer it’s crucial to accentuate the positives.” I set my hand over his without thinking then pulled back when a familiar spark of awareness skittered along my spine.

Levi smirked. “You’re weird. I like you.”

“Thanks. I like you too. Platonically of course,” I added.

“Of course. What exactly is my crossroad?”

“I’m not sure. Perhaps you quit your job to try a new venture with this lover who dumped you and now you’re heading to LA to woo him back—”

“Not a chance,” he snapped.

I raised a brow at his vehemence. “Or…you’re going on a fact-finding mission to salvage what you can of your original idea and determine what comes next.”

Levi nodded. “Closer.”

“Have you thought about selling the diner?”

“Yes. But I’m not going to.”

“Why not?”

“I have nothing to lose. And you know what? It’s kinda liberating. No net required ’cause I’m already free falling. Have you ever felt that way before, Geord?”

Every fucking day.

Silence fell like a blanket between us. Soft and warm and safe.  I didn’t want to break the quiet but I couldn’t allow myself to be pulled under either.

I licked my lips and whispered, “Yes.”

Suddenly, I couldn’t move and I couldn’t look away. Maybe I was a sucker for ruggedly handsome men who weren’t ashamed to reveal their vulnerable sides. I admired that he made free-falling sound like an adventure. I’d been doing it for nearly four years and my outlook was nothing like Levi’s.

I worked my ass off to make sure no one knew how tired and raw and afraid I felt every damn day. I clung to the best parts of my past like a lifeline, hoping my ghosts would ease the inevitable ‘splat on the concrete’ nosedive I had coming my way.

Levi’s story was certainly different, but I recognized something in him I knew too well. A desperate spirit that wasn’t quite ready to give up. I’d like to think that sense of acknowledgment was why I leaned across the console, closed my eyes and pressed my lips against his.

Meet the Author

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men.

Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions, and won first prize in the 2016 and 2017 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order).

Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband in a newly empty nest.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | Amazon

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Leaning into Forver Cover

Blog & Review Tour: In Wild Lemon Groves by Selina Kray

Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/WildLemonGroves
Length: 55,000 words approx.
Cover Design: Tiferet Design

 Blurb

 

A telltale knock on a quiet winter night is a sound no husband wants to hear.

Sébastien Osaki has spent the past three years surviving the loss of his beloved Henry. When Seb lands in Amalfi, Italy, for their would-have-been tenth-anniversary trip, he’s haunted by the memory of the man he loved. Following Henry’s notebook leads him to some breathtaking coastal views but also right back to his despair. Seb’s there to get his groove back, not let the past wrong-foot him at every turn.

Enter Andrea Sorrentino, chauffeur, part-time pet whisperer, a Bernini statue in a soccer tee and tight shorts. From the moment Andrea picks Seb up from the airport, he knows just how to soothe Seb’s case of the sulks. But Seb isn’t sure he’s ready for Mr. Right Now, let alone a potential Mr. Right, in a part of the world where all roads lead back to Henry.

Can sun, sea, and eating your weight in pasta mend a tragedy-stricken heart? Will wine-soaked Amalfi nights and long walks through lemon groves work their magic on Seb’s wounded soul? Or will he slink back into the shell of his grief once his grand Italian adventure is over?

 Excerpt
 

Scent of sea and palm,

Craggy and ancient, a world

Bathed in saffron

– #17, In Blue Solitudes, S. Wilson-Osaki

“A. S’okay.” Bleary eyed and bone weary, Sébastien stared at the sign for two minutes before it registered. He kept his distance, glanced around the bushel of sun-ripened cab drivers and chauffeurs waiting to squeeze every last euro out of their charges, but no.

This was him. Smile so bright it blinded, like glare off a windshield. Footballer’s frame decked in team colors and too-tight shorts. Face Bernini could have sculpted. Hair black as an oil slick, greased into a neat, perfect slope. His tortoiseshell eyes twinkled in Seb’s direction when he took a cautious step forward.


Signor S’okay?”

“Osaki. Yes.”

“Ah, Osokay.”

“Osaki. O-sak-i. Japanese.”

“You fly from Japan?”

“No. Canada. Montreal.”

“Si, si, Signor Osaki. Sebastiano.”

Seb opened his mouth to correct him but nodded instead. “That’s me.”

“Andrea Sorrentino.” He thumped a hand on his chest. “You want I take your bag?”

“Uh…”

Before he could decide, the driver clacked down the handle on his extra-fee-heavy suitcase and hefted it under his arm like an unruly toddler. “Vieni, vieni.” He dove into the crowd before Seb could get his bearings.

Spotting the clean line to the exit, Seb set his own pace, his tipsy head still mired in a post-flight fugue. Thirty-two sleepless hours, plus a morning spent tracing and retracing his path through the labyrinthine halls of the Rome airport to make his connection, left him listless. With exhaustion but also nerves. What had he been thinking, shipping off to a country he’d never been to and where he didn’t speak the language?

The answer, of course, was Henry. Who should have been there, propping him up with his rock climber’s arms, but also with his wonderment, the kid-in-a-candy store way he’d seen the world. Henry had puffed all his energy and excitement and fire into Seb’s lead balloon and—in his latest impossible feat—made him fly.

Clutching his backpack like a life preserver, Seb practiced his deep breathing as he waded through the stream of travellers. More of a trickle, really, now that he was in the flow. One foot in front of the other, he reminded himself, looking for a focal point. A taut jean-clad ass, with a carefree swagger all its own, lured him the rest of the way. Seb staggered out of the airport terminal…

… into a whole new world. The hazy afternoon sun swaddled him like a warm blanket. Ripe with the scent of palm trees and petrol, the parking lot was more social gathering than frantic hub, with drivers chatting, smoking, and laughing as they waited for clueless travellers to wander by. Stoic mountains—silent sentries at the gate to paradise—shadowed the horizon, rings of mist crowning their crater heads.

Woozy with relief, Seb lowered his lids to half-mast and basked in the moment. This was Henry’s world. He was safe.

A hulking black SUV screeched to a halt in front of him, blocking the view. Before Seb could decide whether to be terrified or outraged, his driver slid open the side door, beckoning him into his luxury air-conditioned chariot. Too polite to give in to the urge to collapse across the seats and zonk out, Seb stumbled into the nearest chair. His hands shook as he fought with the seat belt.

Something about that fateful click brought the reality back home—he was trapped in a jet-fuelled coffin with a man who could barely pronounce his name, soon to be zipping down a highway where speed limits weren’t even guidelines, thousands of miles from home, by a world-famous volcano that once scorched everything for miles—

Hand on his knee. There was a hand on his knee.

Signor Osakay? You want I get you espresso? Water? Food? Is no trouble.”

“No.” Seb shut his eyes, sucked in all the air he could. “I… I’m just tired. Didn’t sleep on the plane.” When he opened them again, he met soft eyes shimmering with kindness. His exhalation came easy. So did his smile. What was his name again? Andrea Sorrentino. A gentle name, full of music.

Granita al limone. Un momento.” A squeeze to Seb’s knee, and he hopped out the door.

February 8 – The Novel Approach

February 9 – Booklove

February 10 – Gay Book Reviews

February 12 – MM Good Book Reviews

February 13 – Hearts On Fire Reviews, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words

February 14 – My Fiction Nook

February 16 – Love Bytes Reviews

February 17 – Open Mind For A Different View

February 19 – Mirrigold: Mutterings & Musings, Sarandipity Book Reviews

 

Author Bio

Selina Kray is the nom de plume of an author and English editor. Professionally she has covered all the artsy-fartsy bases, having worked in a bookstore, at a cinema, in children’s television, and in television distribution, up to her latest incarnation as a subtitle editor and grammar nerd (though she may have always been a grammar nerd). A self-proclaimed geek and pop culture junkie who sometimes manages to pry herself away from the review sites and gossip blogs to write fiction of her own, she is a voracious consumer of art with both a capital and lowercase A.

Selina’s aim is to write genre-spanning romances with intricate plots, complex characters, and lots of heart. Whether she has achieved this goal is for you, gentle readers, to decide. At present she is hard at work on future novels at home in Montreal, Quebec, with her wee corgi serving as both foot warmer and in-house critic.

If you’re interested in receiving Selina’s newsletter and being the first to know when new books are released, plus getting sneak peeks at upcoming novels, please sign up at her website: www.selinakray.net

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Point of Contact will leave you hurting but it’s worth the pain

37763495Point of Contact by Melanie Hansen

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

4.5*

So, so, so many times this book made me tear up but I never full on ugly cried like I have with previous Melanie Hansen books and I think, for me, the reason for that was Carl.

I felt for Carl. It felt like Carl was there only to be discarded so that the “real” romance between Trevor and Jesse could begin and I felt like Carl was really badly done to.

Irrational perhaps because, don’t get me wrong, the romance between Trevor and Jesse was absolutely perfect, but it felt like that should have been the only one and Carl could have just been a really good friend instead.

I know he needed to be there for plot reasons at the party so Jesse could behave as he did, but it just still took the edge of the rest of the romance for me personally.

But, as for the rest, this book will rip your heart out at the sorrow and pain the characters experience. War hurts, no matter whether the cause is “righteous” or not. People die, families are devastated, friends are left to deal with the survivor guilt.

This book, like all of Melanie’s I’ve read, has meticulously researched elements which make it feel absolutely real. But there was one hiccup in this which surprised me. At one point Riley is trying to persuade Jesse to join the Army’s Special Forces and – instead of using the Hooah battle cry, he yells Oorah instead.

It’s a small detail but that’s the cry of the Marines, an entirely separate branch of the Military and one usually affiliated with the Navy (while being independant), so it threw me out a bit. If they were going to join the Army’s Special Forces, it’d have been the Rangers, Delta Force or Special Forces Regiment (amongst others).
Now I’m not saying they couldn’t have switched branches to the Marines, but it just didn’t seem likely and I was surprised at the error.

That aside, the rest of this book is impeccable as it shows the impact of Private First Class Riley Estes’ death in combat on his friends and his father. There is lots of pain, but also lots of comfort in this book as Trevor comes to rely on Jesse firstly for the connection to his dead son, but then for Jesse himself.

There is a tender romance at the heart of this and the writing style – of using time jumps to highlight key areas of the narrative – worked really well for me. The Epilogue is wonderful, carries some real hope and is beautifully bookended with the Prologue which opens the book.

The cover is tasteful, as befits the subject matter, and works perfectly. A book I won’t forget for a while.

#ARC kindly provided by the publishers through NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Intelligent and emotional love story is out of the ordinary

A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White CoatA Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat by Roe Horvat

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Right at the laptop now so this book. I’m not sure really what I want to say about it because – on the face of it – there’s no one real single point of focus. It’s a story which needs to be read to be experienced.

Not everyone is going to like it. I suspect it may be a marmite book because I honestly don’t think you could be indifferent to it. It stirs passions. At times Simon infuriated me so much I could hardly think, at others I just wanted to pour all my love into his heart and stop him hurting.

This is also a very European book. It oozes out of every word. This is Prague in all her ancient and medieval glory, a city of contrasts, a city where a father could be a threatening violent alcoholic and it would pass under the water.

It’s also a book about words, about emotions, about how the mind works. It’s a book which touches on the life of one of my favourite poets Arthur Rimbaud and his crazy life with fellow poet Paul Verlaine and includes lines from one of my absolute favourite pieces of poetry A Season in Hell


Once, if I remember rightly, my life was a feast where all hearts opened, and all wines flowed.
One evening I sat Beauty on my knees – And I found her bitter – And I reviled her.

(Find out more about him here.)

Rimbaud’s relationship with Verlaine mirrors how Simon sees his with his young student Matej Chrs. He is left in limbo, all colour leached out of the world, relying only on his strength of will not to crumble.

Oh, I could go on about the symbolism, the beautiful use of words and imagery, I could tell you about how Simon slowly, oh so slowly, changed in my perception from a cold, locked off shell of a man into one who I just wanted to put in bubble wrap and protect from the ravages of his own staggering intellect.

And Matej. He’s almost an enigma. For much of the book we only have Simon’s remembrances and recollections. He seems flighty, willing to turn loose and perhaps unwittingly, inflict pain on those he professes to love the most.
But he’s so much more than that and when he returns to the narrative in his own right, all the colours come flooding back, including the angry ones.

Roe Horvat is rapidly becoming one of my favourite authors. Their use of the English language to evoke emotions and inspire feelings really is genius.

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

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Riley draws Jared and Keiran’s story to a beautiful “conclusion”

Jared's Fulfillment (Jared & Keiran, #2)Jared’s Fulfillment by Riley Hart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5*

There is some stellar writing in this book, there’s an in-depth examination into parts of the BDSM world, there’s some truly enlightened discussion about mental health and BDSM, and there’s a really wonderful mutually devoted couple at the heart of it.

So why not a higher score?

Because, ultimately, the whole Daddy kink just isn’t one that appeals to me as the basis for a relationship to the extent to which it takes place here, alongside the complete submission and the desire to subjugate your own needs and desires into pleasing someone else.

It’s utterly alien to me, even when it’s as well written and clearly mutually beneficial as it is here. I just can’t put myself into that head space.

The sex is kink-tastic and by turning off my brain’s awareness of the ‘Daddy-ness’ part, I could truly appreciate the connection between Jared and Keiran.

Bravo to Riley Hart for writing this series, in moving out of her more ‘traditional’ MM romance style, I think she’s crafted two really wonderful characters.

I just wish my brain would let me appreciate them to their full worth but sadly it won’t.

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

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Seriously impressive debut romance

Fragile GroundFragile Ground by Louisa Keller

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a truly special love story. It could have been full of cliches focusing as it does on a man with amnesia who has no memory of his partner.

But, in the hands of another debut author, this romance turns into something more. It’s about choices and connections, about trust and life experiences.

It’s also, at the heart of it, about falling in love all over again with someone who’s never stopped loving you but is afraid to rely on those feelings remaining.

I loved both Olivier and Auriel. Each had vulnerabilities which gives the book its fragile title. Their previously solid relationship had been stretched thin after the accident and coma as each one tried to deal with the two year memory loss.

I was so very glad that Olivier didn’t get his memories back, there was no magic cure, they both put in the effort to choose to be in love and remain in love.

This is an impressive debut from Louisa and I look forward to more work from her.

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

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