Tag Archives: loss

Release Blitz: Of Sunshine and Stardust by Riley Hart & Christina Lee

Of Sunlight and Stardust |  Riley Hart & Christina Lee

Of Sunlight and Stardust RDB Banner

MM ROMANCE

RELEASE DATE: 21.09.18

Cover Design: JAY AHEER/ Simply Defined Art

Cover Image: Strangeland Photography

Of Sunlight and Stardust Cover

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41579410-of-sunlight-and-stardust

Blurb

After the death of his wife, Tanner Rowe takes a step toward making her dream come true and buys the house with the dilapidated barn she’d been inexplicably drawn to in the picturesque Upper Peninsula. But after a year, he still can’t get past his grief long enough to make the repairs he’d promised.

Recently out of prison, Cole Lachlan has little to his name. Homeless, broke, and without many options as a felon, Cole heads to Red Bluff with hopes of a second chance. There, he meets Tanner, whose loneliness mirrors his own and soon, Cole is trading room and board for rebuilding the burned-out barn on Tanner’s property that hasn’t been touched in seventy years.

Turns out, the barn holds a lot more secrets than either of them could have imagined. After unearthing a hidden journal from 1948, Cole and Tanner spend their evenings poring through the pages and reading about a young man pining after his best friend. As they delve deeper into this forbidden affair from the past, the more Cole and Tanner’s own relationship shifts—from acquaintance to friend…to undeniable attraction.

But as they begin to deal with the newness of falling in love amid Cole’s past and Tanner’s loss, they also become more determined to unravel the mystery of the young lovers who’ve captured their hearts, the rumors about the fire, and what really happened that fateful night.

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Excerpt

Every so often, Tanner found his eyes drawn back to the window. With the exception of a small lunch break, Cole didn’t stop working. He might not know much about building a barn, but the things Cole was doing now he could help with. There was no reason he couldn’t clean or haul debris to the truck. He didn’t for a couple of reasons.

First, this was what he’d hired Cole to do. It might have only been a short amount of time, but Tanner knew Cole well enough to know he wouldn’t feel as if he was earning his keep if Tanner helped too much.

But also, even though he’d promised Emma he’d follow her dream for them, part of him resented it because it hadn’t been his dream, it had been hers. They were supposed to do it together, and now she was gone and he was here, with a man he didn’t know, trying to make it happen.

Those thoughts made him an asshole, he was pretty sure, but they were true.

He was lonely, Christ, he was lonely. He’d almost asked Cole to share lunch with him earlier, but his phone had rung instead. He didn’t know why he kept himself from talking much with Cole.

He was an interesting man, and obviously well read. He had a pride about him that Tanner respected. It intrigued him. They had common ground, so why was he resisting? Their arrangement was temporary and a working relationship. It wasn’t as if any harm could come from it. It would give him someone to talk to until Cole was on his way.

That’s the man I know, Emma’s voice whispered in his head. He was beginning to worry he was going crazy. He heard her more often than was probably healthy. Not just memories either, but moments like this one, where it was almost as if she was talking to him. Logically, he realized it was just that he knew Emma, knew what she would say and how she would feel, but it was also concerning.

Tanner continued working until he reached a good stopping point, then went downstairs.

He was craving spaghetti and meatballs, which usually wasn’t one of his favorite meals. Since he had ground beef in the fridge, he washed his hands and started dinner. He sautéed the meatballs while he got the sauce going. An hour later he had the meal ready, complete with a salad. He went to pluck a plate from the cabinet to fix some up for Cole, then paused.

What’s it going to hurt, Tan?

He closed his eyes, pursed his lips because a part of him wanted to answer Emma. It would make him feel closer to her. But he didn’t. Goddamn it. He put the plate away and made his way outside.

Cole was standing by the truck, with his shirt off. Beads of sweat rolled down his sun-kissed skin, over the tattoos on his arms. Did they mean anything? He found himself wondering. He didn’t have any himself. Wasn’t sure what he would get if he ever decided to get one.

Tanner’s eyes darted away when Cole turned around to look at him. He figured that was silly and glanced back to see Cole’s brows pulled together.

“If you’re hungry, dinner’s done.”

He saw Cole’s eyes lower to his hands since he usually carried the plate out.

“It’s hot as hell. Figured you could eat in the kitchen with me, if you’d like.”

Again, he averted his gaze, this time looking toward the barn. Did Cole not want to share a meal with him? Would he prefer to eat alone in a half-burned barn?

“You don’t have to if you don’t want, of course. I just thought—”

“No, no,” Cole interrupted. He had a slightly raspy voice that was unique to him. “It’s not that. It’d be nice to eat inside, enjoy the cool house. But I don’t want to take advantage of your hospitality.”

“You’re not,” Tanner replied. Really, what in the hell had he done for Cole? He wasn’t very hospitable at all. He was paying him for work.

“Okay,” Cole replied. “Let me get my things. And I should shower first. I’m awfully sweaty.”

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About The Authors

Riley Hart Logo Banner

Riley Hart is the girl who wears her heart on her sleeve. She’s a hopeless romantic, a lover of sexy stories, passionate men, and writing about all the trouble they can get into together.

She loves reading, flawed characters, and hanging out with her husband and children, who she adores. She and her family live in Southern California, soaking up the sunshine while also missing seasons. Not a day goes by that she isn’t thankful she gets to wake up and do what she loves.

Life is good. Riley also writes young adult and new adult under the name Nyrae Dawn.

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Christina Lee Logo

Once upon a time, I lived in New York City and was a wardrobe stylist. I spent my days shopping for photo shoots, getting into cabs, eating amazing food, and drinking coffee at my favorite hangouts.

Now I live in the Midwest with my husband and son—my two favorite guys. I’ve been a clinical social worker and a special education teacher. But it wasn’t until I wrote a weekly column for the local newspaper that I realized I could turn the fairytales inside my head into the reality of writing fiction.

I write Adult, New Adult, and M/M Contemporary Romance. I’m addicted to lip gloss and salted caramel everything. I believes in true love and kissing, so writing romance novels has become a dream job.

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A simply beautiful tale of love

Of Sunlight and Stardust CoverOf Sunlight and Stardust by Christina Lee & Riley Hart

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

NOTE: This doesn’t contain spoilers directly but may influence your direction of reading so I shall hide it behind a tag and try to make it harder to read my words.

**SPOILER**

I didn’t want it to, I hoped with all hope that it wouldn’t, but truthfully there really wasn’t anywhere else it could have gone and still evoked the same reaction. 

**END SPOILER**

The beauty of this book, from these two amazing writers who produce magic in their own right but whose collaborations take things into the stratosphere, was that even knowing where the narrative was likely to go, I devoured it.

Cole and Tanner are such incredible characters who burst from the pages, but Charlie and Tom, and their steadfast friend Paige, were just as brilliantly drawn.

**SPOILER**

My heart aches from reading this book, it’s a bittersweet pain which mixes in with the joy that, while times have changed in so many beneficial ways, we still have such a long way to go until events like those chronicled here become nothing more than a memory, a way to create tension in a fictional setting.

**END SPOILER**

Christina, Riley, once again as a pair you have created a tale of love which has depth and so many layers to it, and which is about so much more than just the people in it.

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

View all my Goodreads reviews

Quirky mystery suspense romance from Amy

TheHeightseBookThe Heights by Amy Aislin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So, this book. I have thoughts, lots of thoughts but mostly I really loved the whole premise of the plot and I think that element was carried out perfectly.

Now, my other major thought is that, due to the vast majority of the romantic elements – including the smexy times which help to build up an emotional connection between the characters and the reader – happening mostly off page or fading to black, I wasn’t as invested in Nat and Quinn as a pairing as much as I was with their individual story arcs.

Don’t get me wrong, I loved them together, I’d have just liked to have seen more of them together and I don’t necessarily mean steamy erotica, but just more of the emotions that come through physical intimacy.

But, the main plot itself, about dealing with loss and guilt and the idea of what makes a family, was mostly well done, with the exception of Quinn’s real parents.

It may be, as this is a new series, that this element is continued on in future books, but I did feel something was missing there.

Overall, this book was a success for me and I liked that it wasn’t a traditional romance or a traditional suspense/mystery but married the two together.

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

View all my reviews

A love story which is as beautiful as the cover promises

Truth & BetrayalTruth & Betrayal by K.C. Wells

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved this, absolutely loved it. This is Kc Wells at her very best – an emotionally driven tale of overcoming what seems like the most impossible obstacle.

There’s hurt and healing in this, anger and passion, fear and hope and, ultimately, there’s two perfect souls connecting after a moment of utmost tragedy and finding a new future.

Jacob and Liam are wonderfully rich characters, the setting is drawn with a deft hand, you can smell the fried chicken and feel the dusty heat of these Southern towns.

There wasn’t one bit of this story I didn’t enjoy, even the parts that made me tear up, and I can’t wait to get Taylor’s story next!

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

View all my Goodreads reviews

I hated the ending but this book is still on my mind two days later!

51thecPBRaL._SX332_BO1,204,203,200_Sky Full of Mysteries by Rick R. Reed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I need time to process my thoughts on this one. Brilliant storytelling and such a compelling narrative but I absolutely hated the ending.

19/7 – Okay, two days later and I think I’m ready to write this review and I should say that even though I absolutely hated the ending – and I mean to the point of wanting to hit something or chuck my Kindle out of the window – it totally worked for the story’s narrative.

Being honest, much as I would have liked a different outcome, it really would have ruined the whole premise of what was, at heart, a story about living life to the fullest, even in the face of loss. I don’t want to go too much into the plot, this is definitely one which needs to be experienced as you read the book.

But I think perhaps the blurb needs to make it very clear that this is what I would seriously consider to be a sci-fi or paranormal story with an element of romance and even that part doesn’t follow a traditional path.

Reading this is an experience, the language and the plotting is really compelling as I said, the book draws you through the story of two young men who had a perfect love for a perfect moment in time.

What happens after those first few perfect days makes up the rest of the book and it’s brilliantly done. Rick R Reed is such a talented writer, even when I hated him for how he ended this book, I was secretly applauding him for actually going there.

And, ultimately, his book worked, because I can’t stop thinking about it, and Rory and his mum and Cole and Tommy, even if my thoughts veer onto the rageful at times!

#ARC kindly provided by the publishers Dreamspinner Press in return for an honest and unbiased review

View all my reviews

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.

View all my reviews

Release Day Blitz: Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

When a SEAL medic inherits three young children, he must battle to keep the family together and keep his long-held feelings for the man challenging him for custody at bay.

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Squared Away by Annabeth Albert

Series: Out of Uniform #5

Publisher: Carina Press 

Release Date (Print & Ebook): April 16. Print, ebook, and audio all available.

 Length (Print & Ebook): 80,000 words

 Subgenre: m/m military romance

Includes: military romance, insta-family, hurt/comfort, angst, interracial, heroes-with-kids, gay romance, demisexual/gray ace hero, first time, loss, reunion, forced proximity

Buy Links:

Amazon: http://amzn.to/2ptQhFHPaperback: http://amzn.to/2ptc00A

Audible: https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Squared-Away-Audiobook/B07BGJ3FRF

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/squared-away/id1326105516?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/squared-away-1

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/squared-away-annabeth-albert/1127659238?ean=9781335980809

Carina Press: https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781335980809_squared-away.html

Synopsis:

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

What Annabeth Albert has to say about this book in her Out of Uniform series:

“I wanted to write a book about the nature of family and how loss and tragedy can shape family, mold it into something stronger, force growth and change. I’m enormously proud of SQUARED AWAY as a result because how I fell in love with this little family.”

“When Wizard first appeared in ON POINT as a secondary character, I was intrigued by him, but it wasn’t until I let myself get into his head that I really saw how complicated he was. I feel honored and privileged to have been able to tell his story.”

“No book gets written in a vacuum and this one is no different. I owe a huge debt on this book to my sensitivity readers who really encouraged me to dig deep.”

Praise for the series:

“Mark and Isaiah’s budding relationship happens with sensitivity and steamy moments…” RT Book Reviews on SQUARED AWAY

“Annabeth Albert’s Out of Uniform series is a unique look at SEALs’ lives, showing us the insides of their hearts and homes and the love that drives them.” ~Layla Reyne, author of the Agents Irish and Whisky series.   

Excerpt:

To his surprise, Mark didn’t laugh. Instead, he looked thoughtful. “What if I asked you to?” he said softly.

“To put out?” Isaiah’s throat had never seemed drier.

“We’re sitting here. Talking. Like adults. Just a couple of guys. And I can’t quit thinking about your lips, and I don’t know why.” Mark’s voice had a sleepy, dreamlike quality to it, and Isaiah was fully prepared to wake up any second because he’d been dreaming about Mark saying shit like this for years.

“I do.” Moving slowly as to not bang heads or—more likely—spook Mark, Isaiah moved so that their faces were level, inches apart. “You want to kiss me.”

Annabeth Albert

About Annabeth Albert:

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.  The #OutOfUniform series joins her critically acclaimed and fan-favorite LGBTQ  romance #Gaymers, #PortlandHeat and #PerfectHarmony series.

To find out what she’s working on next and other fun extras, check out her website: www.annabethalbert.com or connect with Annabeth on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Spotify! Also, be sure to sign up for her newsletter for free ficlets, bonus reads, and contests. The fan group, Annabeth’s Angels, on Facebook is also a great place for bonus content and exclusive contests.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter.  In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two active children.

Connect with Annabeth:

Twitter | Facebook  | Facebook Group | Newsletter | Instagram | Website

Giveaway

Win 1 of 2 e-copies of any back catalog book by Annabeth Albert:

Rafflecopter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

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