Tag Archives: low steam

The Sidhe are fully explored in this excellent slow burn paranormal romance

44662243The Marked Prince by M.A. Grant

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, that was good, even better than the exceptionally good series opener for me and absolutely jam-packed with everything I want in a fantasy novel.

It’s no secret to anyone who follows my reviews what a massive fan of this genre I am, and one of the overlooked gems for inspiration is Irish Mythology.

MA Grant has firmly established her world’s heritage in the legends of the Sidhe (Irish Fae) and this instalment focuses its gaze on the Summer Court of the Seelie.

I love the Fae, they’re my favourite paranormal inspiration and the Seelie/Unseelie in particular have such a wealth of stories that it’s a challenge to create something new but with a deep foundation in the mythology.

With this narrative we get a glorious and, at times, viciously cruel tale of the Unseelie High Prince Sláine and his captivity at the hands of the Summer Court’s High Princess.

There’s a huge plot twist which I absolutely loved and which fits so perfectly with the character of the villain inhabiting that role that I cheered even though he’s an absolute bastard because it so brilliantly exposes the trickster part of his history.

The romance, like book one, drives the narrative but in an incredibly subtle fashion, it’s what underpins everything without ever being the direct focus.

I loved Sebastian. He’s conflicted, hesitant and desperately naive but also so brave and compassionate and kind.

His friendship with the man he doesn’t know is Sláine trapped behind a Thrall and mask is slow burning but compelling and I loved how their dedication and devotion to each other grew throughout.

The book goes in directions I’d never have guessed and I loved that it surprised me from start to finish.

#ARC kindly received from the publishers Carina Press via NetGalley in return for an honest and unbiased review.

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Release Blitz: The Doctor’s Date by Heidi Cullinan

The Doctor’s Date | Heidi Cullinan

Cooper Point: Medical #2


Release Date

June 18, 2019

Buy Links

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 Dreamspinner Press

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Amazon (US) • Amazon (Canada) • Amazon (UK)




The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?

Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him.

Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.

With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.

This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work together—they’ll have to trust they can heal each other’s hearts.

Interview and Exclusive Excerpt

I’m delighted to have Heidi on the Blog today with a bit more information about the second book in her Cooper Point: Medical series

Thanks for having me today. I’m here to talk about my new book The Doctor’s Date, available in ebook, trade paper, and mass market from Dreamspinner Press. It’s book two in the Copper Point: Medical series, and it’s the story of Erin Andreas, no-nonsense hospital administrator, and Dr. Owen Andreas, the cantankerous anesthesiologist.

I’m here to share a short excerpt with you from the story. This gives you a little look at what happens after the auction where Erin buys Owen—and then Owen “rescues” Erin from his father by announcing they’re moving in together, missing the part where what Erin really wanted was for Owen to see that he wanted to date him.

I hope you enjoy The Doctor’s Date and all the books in the Copper Point series


Move in with Owen. Move in with Owen. Move in with Owen.

When Erin’s legs wobbled, Owen bore him up and took him away from the dance floor, leading him to the nearest table, where he glared at a bank president until he allowed Erin to sit. Erin wanted to apologize on his date’s behalf, but he couldn’t form words. It took all of his control to stifle the urge to whimper.

How was he supposed to move in with Owen?

The bank president and his guests vacated the table, and now Dr. Wu and Simon Lane approached, with Dr. Kumpel close behind them. All three men regarded Erin and Owen with concern.

“Did something happen?” Kumpel’s gaze darted between Erin and Owen. “What was that with John Jean?”

Owen ignored him. “Can someone go get Erin something to drink? A glass of water?” His hand rested gently on Erin’s shoulder as he crouched slightly to speak directly to him. “Have you eaten? When was your last meal?”

Erin’s cheeks heated, and he couldn’t stop touching them. Owen was looking at him with so much intensity all he could do was answer his question. “I… I ate lunch. A sandwich from the hospital cafeteria.”

“So you were working too much on top of everything else.” Owen aimed a finger at Dr. Wu. “Find him something to eat.” He shifted his focus to Lane. “Get him something to drink. Juice, if you can manage it. Nothing alcoholic. Water for me too, please.”

Dr. Wu took his fiancé’s elbow. “We’ll be right back.”

Dr. Kumpel claimed the seat opposite Erin. “Are you feeling all right?” He cast a glance at Owen. “Is he treating you okay?”

Owen’s hand slid more possessively over Erin’s shoulder. “Of course I’m treating him all right.”

Kumpel raised a dubious eyebrow at Owen. “I didn’t ask you.”

This was the moment to explain there had been some kind of misunderstanding. How to start, though? Unbidden, Owen’s searing kiss replayed in Erin’s mind, making him flush and stammer. His shoulders slumped forward in defeat. “I—I’m fine. Thank you.”

Except for the bit where Owen is begging me to move in with him based on a misunderstanding and I’m considering going along with it.

Kumpel continued to scan Erin as if he were one of his patients, which made Erin feel acutely awkward, since Dr. Kumpel’s patients were children. “Do you have secret hordes of cash hidden away, to throw around money like that for a date with Owen? Can you afford food now? Because if not, I’m making him feed you more than hors d’oeuvres.” Kumpel leaned in closer, frowning slightly. “Also, you’re aware you bid on Owen? Our Owen? A cranky, antagonistic wild card? I mean, he’s loyal as the day is long and will defend the ones he loves with his life, but don’t discount those first three elements.”

It was absolutely too warm in the room, no question. Erin swallowed against a dry throat. “Yes, I’m aware. And I’m fine, thank you for your concern. I have plenty of money. And I only very much wanted a date with him. That’s all.”

There. He’d said the truth at last. He glanced at Owen, wondering how it would land.

Owen was unmoved by his confession, too busy glaring at Kumpel. “I’m not antagonistic.”

Kumpel regarded him blandly. “Oh, yes. I see I was in the wrong on that point.”

Lane and Wu returned, Lane clutching a tray of drinks, Wu with both hands carrying plates groaning with the finger foods offered on the buffet tables on the sides of the room. Lane passed Owen a bottle of water and pressed a glass of what appeared to be pineapple juice into Erin’s hands.

“Here you are.” Lane smiled at Erin. “They didn’t have much juice, only what they mixed drinks with at the bar. I got you a bottle of water as well.”

“Thank you.” Erin sipped at the pineapple juice. It was tart and sweet, and it tasted good.

Dr. Wu set the plates of food on the table as his fiancé moved out of the way. “I brought enough for everyone to share, and spare plates so we could take what we wanted for our own.”

Owen immediately swiped an empty plate and handed it to Erin. “Take what you like. Unless you want me to select something for you?”

Erin couldn’t tell if Owen’s solicitousness was part of the boyfriend package or if this was genuine concern. He wasn’t sure why he didn’t make more effort to object. Was he seriously going to move out because Owen clasped his hands passionately?

He couldn’t think about that now. He needed to eat. He hadn’t realized how hungry he was. The pineapple juice had only stirred his appetite. “I can help myself, thank you.”

Everyone waited while Erin made his selections, but once his plate was full, the others descended on the remaining food like locusts. Owen went last, and as he chose his items, he hesitated, glancing at Erin. “Are you sure you have enough?”

Ducking to focus on his plate, Erin nodded. “I’m positive, thank you.”

He’d barely recovered from this episode when Owen threw another grenade at him.

“Jared,” Owen began, wiping his mouth on the napkin, “so you’re aware, Erin’s going to stay with us for a bit. I thought we could give him Si’s old room.”

Dr. Wu, Dr. Kumpel, and Simon Lane froze.

Erin tugged on Owen’s lapel as he spoke in an insistent whisper. “This absolutely isn’t necessary.”

Owen’s reply wasn’t a whisper at all. “Are you trying to back out of my single, solitary condition?”

Now. Explain it to him now, even if you’re mortified. “I’m trying to tell you, you’ve misunderstood—”

“Have I?” Owen’s gaze drilled into Erin’s, stopping him cold.

Abruptly, distinctly uneasy, Erin looked at the floor, the wall, the ceiling, anywhere but at Owen or his friends.

Owen continued speaking to the others as if Erin hadn’t interrupted him. “So, as I was saying, Erin’s going to be staying with us. That fine with you, Jared? And I guess Simon, since you technically still pay part of the mortgage until we get that squared away. Honestly, I suggest you regard this situation as Erin saving you a ton of money, since you didn’t have to buy my auction.”

Kumpel laughed, his tone full of disbelief but not upset. “I assume we don’t get to ask any questions about what’s going on?”

Owen popped a potato chip into his mouth. “Absolutely not.”


About The Author

Heidi Cullinan head shot_0.jpg

Author of over thirty novels, Midwest-native Heidi Cullinan writes positive-outcome romances for LGBT characters struggling against insurmountable odds because she believes there’s no such thing as too much happy ever after.

Heidi is a two-time RITA® finalist and her books have been recommended by Library Journal, USA Today, RT Magazine, and Publisher’s Weekly. When Heidi isn’t writing, she enjoys cooking, reading novels and manga, playing with her cats, and watching too much anime.

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Excellent opener in this new small town hospital set trilogy from Heidi Cullinan

The Doctor's Secret (Copper Point Medical #1)The Doctor’s Secret by Heidi Cullinan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

So many positive things to say about this new series from Heidi Cullinan, it’s ridiculously romantic, totally sweet, has a wonderfully detailed setting and fabulous secondary characters as well as multi-cultural representation.

My only ‘negative’ and its a minor one at that, is that on occasion it felt like the political awareness elements which Heidi is so good at incorporating into her stories were just dropped in like being hit over the head with a frying pan.

Her stories usually gently educate and inform but one particular passage in this one made me feel like I was being given a history lesson and a lecture on fair behaviour at the same time.

Now, it’s not necessarily a bad thing, it just felt a touch more heavy-handed than I’m used to from this author.

That said, in the whole this book is absolutely adorable, with two compelling and perfectly judged characters who are wonderful together. I loved Hong-Wei and I loved Simon.

The home town man and the Taiwanese doctor brought out the best in each other and the whole premise of personal liabilities and responsibilities married well into the wider plot about integration and the fight with an old-fashioned and controlling hospital board.

I’m not sure if it was because it’s a Dreamspinner publication or not, but this was way less steamy than I’d usually expect from Heidi, with only one on page encounter and then everything else off page or fade to black.

It was a slight disappointment only because of the very visceral feeling of love and emotion between the two men. I missed seeing more of it expressed physically on page.

Still, overall this delivers big time on great plot, wonderful characters and plenty of lead in for the next two in the trilogy. I’m dying to find out more about Owen and Erin (don’t worry, he’s a man even though his name is one I’d almost always associate with a woman) and their definite frenemies vibe.

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

Book releases April 23rd, pre-order your copy here: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-doctors-secret-by-heidi-cullinan-10296-b

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Complex and intriguing introduction to this new fantasy series

apple boy cover finalApple Boy by Isobel Starling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

There’s a lot going on here!

And it’s not concluded at the end of this first book in Isobel Starling’s new fantasy series either, but there is the start of a complex narrative which I’m eager to learn more of.

I believe the three books together will bring different characters’ backgrounds and stories so far into one over-reaching plot that will conclude once all is done.

First up was Adam and Winter and they’re very cute together and delightfully stumble their way not only into a relationship but also into an epic adventure.

It’s really hard to review this without giving the key parts away, which I’m not going to do, but let’s just say I was kept interested from start to finish even when it all got a little bit complicated.

The book itself is gorgeous, with internal illustrations and a stunning world map, there’s also a handy glossary at the start with a decent chunk of background information on each of the realms.

Like all good fantasy novels, it leaves as much unanswered as it does concluded so I can’t wait to see where the story goes next.

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This is a wonderful exploration of just what makes people connect

Blue Umbrella SkyBlue Umbrella Sky by Rick R. Reed

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I read a book written by Rick R. Reed, I never feel like I’m reading a story, he always transports me into a snippet of the lives of two – on the surface – ordinary men who together manage to find the right glue to hold them together.

In this one he gives us two vastly different men, different ages, different life experiences, different expectations and then he slowly, oh so slowly, brings them together into a glorious, but so very realistic, future.

There’s no real central plot to Blue Umbrella Sky, it’s more about accepting change, accepting you eventually will move on after loss, though the hurt will always remain, it’s about accepting your flaws and your frailties and learning how to live your best life with them.

It also has possibly one of the best representations of an alcoholic living in sobriety and the steps needed to remain in that state without it being overly dramatic, overly angsty or depressing.

I loved the characters of both Billy and Milt and even though this is low steam, all fade to black or off page, it didn’t annoy me as much as that often does because this story wasn’t about the passion of a sexual relationship, it was about finding a new place to call home.

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

Out March 19th, get your pre-order at Dreamspinner Press here: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/blue-umbrella-sky-by-rick-r-reed-10315-b

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The suspense element just didn’t work for me with this one unfortunately

ReboundRebound by Andrew Grey

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I usually enjoy Andrew Grey’s work but this one just didn’t mesh for me into a cohesive narrative at all.

The suspense element was out of place and I still don’t really think there was enough build up given to it or to the big reveal of who the bad guy was. It just made no sense to me at all.

The romance element also seemed subdued and the lack of sexual intimacy until right at the very end left me feeling disjointed and not really connected to the characters at all.

Individually though, Obie and Bri were nicely crafted and I liked the setting and the secondary characters helped flesh out the world.

Still, overall I would have loved more of them together as a couple and a little bit more depth to the suspect’s identity.

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

Get your copy here: https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rebound-by-andrew-grey-10185-b

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Release Blitz: In Case You Missed It by S. M. James

In Case You Missed It | S. M. James


Publisher: May Books

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Genre/s: YA, LGBT, romance

Heat Rating: 1-2 flames

Length: 98000 words/400 pages

It is a standalone story.

Release Date: February 12, 2019

Add on Goodreads

Buy Links:

Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK

Amazon AU


ICUMI ebook.jpg


Brooks is convinced his life is totally, one hundred percent happy.

Until Darien tracks him down.

Darien was supposed to be the guy he kissed once and remembered forever, but now he’s back in Brooks’s life, with easy smiles and big ideas.

The first of which … show the homeschooled Brooks everything he’s missed out on. But as the pair work through a spring of playing catch up on life, it becomes obvious to Darien that Brooks has a secret.

And as things heat up between them, Brooks’s secret might just be Darien’s worst fear.

Because Darien has always lived in the moment.

But Brooks has always lived for the future he knows is inevitable.

When life is set to tear them apart, will love be enough to keep them together?

All books in the #lovehim series are standalone. The series number is the recommended reading order.


We cross the front of the school, head past the football field, and into the courtyard. It’s eerily quiet, with filtered sunlight and a soft breeze breaching the concrete quad.

Darien heads for a bench that runs along the base of an enormous tree and flops down onto it. I sit next to him and silence settles gently over my shoulders. The courtyard is surrounded by buildings on three sides, and I vaguely remember one of them as the science wing.

“So this is where you’d eat at breaks on a nice day. Cameron and Chels sit there, and some of the others here, and over there.” He points to an opposite bench. “We’d sit right here, of course. Since you’d be in all the nerd classes, we’d be inseparable over break.” He grips the back of the bench and leans into his hands, grinning over at me.

I swing a leg over the back of the bench so I’m facing him. “And you’d be such a shameless flirt, I’d have to find new friends to save you the embarrassment.”

“No point.” He shrugs. “I’d just follow you there too.”

The thing is, I believe him. I don’t know how anyone can be so effortless about how they feel. He doesn’t try to hide it, but he doesn’t push me either, and the fact he can be so unashamedly into me, makes me want to give him more.

But he’ll get over it. And I have to help him.

I lean away from him a little. “So, is there anyone here who’s caught your eye?”

“There’s this one guy …”

His tone makes me arch my eyebrow. “He wouldn’t be me, would he?”

“See? You’re too damn smart.”

I duck my head as I hold back a laugh. “Seriously though. Nothing is going to happen between us, so it’s okay if you find someone else.”

“Yeah, we’re not doing this.”

I frown. “What do you mean?”

“We’ve been over this, like, a thousand times. Jesus, Brooks, I get it. I just want to spend time with you, as friends, and I don’t need you trying to push me onto someone else.”

“Darien …” I reach for his arm and he shrugs me away. “I’m sorry.”

“Good. Now no more mentioning that shit, okay? My memory is fine, I can make my own damn decisions.”

“You’re right.” But how does he make the right decision when I’m keeping a huge part of myself from him? I take a couple of short breaths, the very real possibility of telling him, looming at the front of my thoughts.

“Here.” Darien finally takes off his backpack and unzips it. He’s packed a heap of food, some I haven’t seen before, and he slides away from me on the bench to set it out between us. “Dig in.”

Lunch is delicious, and I try some of everything. Darien talks me through some of the foods his mom made, like zelnik and tulumba, and it’s so damn good, I’d hang out with him just for the food. After a week of barely eating I don’t hold back, but I didn’t bring my enzyme tablets with me, so it’s close to pointless.

Darien takes some more photos after lunch as we explore the school. He fills me in on little bits and pieces about his first two weeks, and we wind up under the bleachers. He dives into his bag again and pulls out two cigarettes.

I give him a flat look. “Fuck no.”

He smirks. “Goodie two shoes.”

“Nope.” I shake my head, trying to think of how I can get him to put those freaking things away. “I just don’t see the point in sucking on something that can fucking kill you.” My words come out way harsher than I mean, but if he starts on one of those things, I’m leaving him here.

His dark eyebrows furrow, and something goes on behind his eyes that I can’t quite make out, but he just shrugs and grinds the smokes into the ground. “Thank the lord. Don’t think I could have stomached it, even for you.”

I relax a little, though I’m not sure I really believe the words.

He steps closer. “You know, there are other things people do under the bleachers …”

It takes me a second to catch up, and my focus automatically drops to his lips. My stomach is a riot as I try not to focus on how good our first kiss was, all those months ago.

Darien smirks and steps back, breaking my runaway thoughts. He pulls a marker from his bag. “We have to mark we were here, otherwise it doesn’t count.”

“That, I can do.” I take the marker from him and uncap it with a click. Reaching above my head, I hesitate a second, trying to figure out what to write. In the end, I go simple.

BL + DM.

“Those letters look good together,” Darien says. His voice is low and warm and reminds me of summer. His fingers slide down mine as he takes the marker from me.

He reaches up and his shirt pulls higher on his back, leaving this smooth strip of brown skin exposed. The pull to touch him is so strong. I need to feel his skin under my fingertips. It’s a physical battle to hold back, and just as I’m about to fold,

To reach,

To touch,

To give in to him, Darien finishes up, and steps back to survey his work. I blink a few times to try and lessen the fog in my head, then turn my focus up.

He’s drawn a heart around our initials.


About the Author

S. M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee.

Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBTQ characters.

Author Links







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