Gorgeously written Prohibition set novella

39222655Roses in the Devil’s Garden by Charlie Cochet

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Roaring Twenties, The Gilded Age, Prohibition – that time period between the end of the Great War and before the Wall Street Crash – when America seemed determined to live life to the max.

This re-release of Charlie Cochet’s delightful novella is packed with smokey speakeasies, dodgy moonshine and hard bitten cops in the finest of Sam Spade traditions.

Harley and Nate are partners in life as well as on the force and getting weary of the corruption, the strikeouts and the raids. I loved the atmosphere of this narrative, you could hear the clink of glasses, the piano tinkling away as some lounge singer extols the virtues of the Jazz Age.

Originally written for the Goodreads Love Is Always Write event, this has been given a beautiful new cover and re-released by Dreamspinner Press.

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

PS: Is it just me or does that look like the divine Ben Whishaw on the cover?! (I know it’s probably not but I could see him in a TV show based on this book!)

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Something a little bit quirky and different from VL Locey

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Life is a Stevie Wonder Song by V.L. Locey

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a short, quirky, somewhat whimsical and quite delightful sexual awakening and May to December romance rolled into one.

I honestly wasn’t sure where it was going when I first started reading it and, for a time, I don’t think the story quite did either as Stephen’s attraction to Declan did seem to come from nowhere.

Declan’s own behaviour was a tad strange but it did fit into the character of a much younger dreamer with his fey photography and idealistic experiences.

All in all though a quick read which was enjoyable and a bit different.

This is a re-release and it has a lovely new cover. I don’t believe there’s any changes to the text though.

ETA: The lovely VL Locey has let me know there is a new Epilogue 🙂

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

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Review Tour: Breaking the Rules by C.J. Lynne

Book Title: Breaking the Rules (Infinity series #3)

Author: C. J. Lynne

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: C. J. Lynne

Genre/s: LGBTQ, Romance, Erotic.

Length: 101 000 words/234 print pages.

It can be read as a standalone story.

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Blurb

Two self-assured men are about to find out what happens when they come face-to-face with what neither realizes they’re searching for…each other.

Ben Jameson is a very successful club owner who likes things the way he likes them. He tried the serious relationship routine a few years ago, and that ended badly. Since then, he’s put in place carefully-constructed rules that he steadfastly lives by: Work hard, treat people fairly and absolutely no fooling around with his employees—ever.

However, when his new head bartender waltzes into his life, Ben finds it nearly impossible to deny his attraction to the carefree, handsome man who makes him want to shatter his own rules, take a walk on the wild side, and live a little…if he dares.

Jared Jensen has moved to California from Chicago seeking a brand new start. In Chicago, he left behind an unsettling situation that caused monumental upheaval in his life. The very last thing on his mind is getting involved with anyone…but then he meets Ben Jameson, and all bets are off.

Not even the fact that Ben is his new boss can deter Jared from honing in on the gorgeously frustrating man who’s determined to keep their relationship on a strictly professional level.

As resolute as Ben is to keep Jared at arms’ length, Jared’s doubly focused on getting Ben to acknowledge—and surrender to–the palpable lust exploding between them. All he wants is a chance to show Ben how good they can be together…and he won’t rest until Ben breaks his ridiculous rules and grabs the unexpected chance they’ve both been given to find a love unlike any other.

What Jared doesn’t count on, though, is his past coming back to savagely bite him, just as Ben decides to give their relationship a chance. An impossible decision soon looms before Jared: Will he have to leave the one man who means everything to him in order to keep him safe?

Excerpt

Ben’s eyes widened and he rushed to the desk to look at the perfectly balanced spreadsheets with awe. “Fuck me, you did it.”

“Of course, I did,” I said with contrived offense. “I told you I would.”

“Yeah you fucking did.” He grinned and slapped me hard on the back as I stood. “Thanks, Jared. Shit, you saved my sanity.”

“Welcome,” I responded returning his grin. Stretching my hands over my head I asked, “Now how about our drink?”

“It’s on me,” Ben said, walking to the door and holding it open for me.

“That’s very generous of you considering you own the club,” I said and he laughed.

He winked at me and assured, “I’m a generous kind of a guy.”

I didn’t disagree with that assessment one little bit. I’d seen how kind and compassionate he was since I’d started working here. Granted that was only one night, but everyone I’d met tonight who worked at Infinity loved him. I hadn’t heard one bad word said about him, and in an establishment this large, that was saying something.

“Mmm, then you won’t object to my opening a bottle of Dom Perignon to celebrate?”

I expected him to tell me I was out of my mind suggesting popping the cork on such a ridiculously expensive bottle of champagne for just the two of us, but without missing a beat, he shrugged and said, “Sounds like a wonderful idea to me.”

When we reached the now-empty bar and club, I lifted the bar pass to retrieve the champagne. Once I’d uncorked it and poured us both a flute, I returned to sit beside Ben. Lifting my glass in a toast I said, “To your books being balanced.”

“I’ll fucking drink to that,” he said, relief evident in his voice as he clinked his glass with mine before taking a long drink. “Mmm, that’s good.”

“Yes, it is,” I agreed after sampling my drink.

“Thank you again, Jared, for your help.”

“I was happy to do it,” I assured, refilling both of our glasses.

We sipped our champagne enjoying the quietness of the usually buzzing environment…and I dared to think, each other’s company. I know I was relishing sitting here with Ben, sharing a drink, watching him unwind. As I lifted the bottle to refill our glasses, my eyes encountered his heated ones and I placed the champagne back onto the bar before I dropped it. Damn, the look he’s giving me is…fucking potent.

“Why are you staring at me like that?” I asked with a tilt of my head, barely able to contain myself while I waited for his answer.

“Your eyes are…” his voice trailed off as he searched for words.

“What?” I prompted raising my glass to my lips. I nearly choked on the sip of champagne I’d taken when his eyes dropped to my mouth and he—shit—licked his lips like he was thinking of—

“So incredible,” he finished, reaching out a hand to lightly touch the side of my face as he stared at me with hungry eyes. “You are—”

“Please, don’t stop…especially if you’re about to flatter me some more,” I joked with a crooked grin.

He shook his head, chuckled and gripped my chin between his thumb and forefinger. “You are such a smartass.”

I leaned closer and agreed, “Guilty.”

“I want…” His thumb caressed my chin, his light touch igniting a blaze of need in the pit of my stomach.

“Take whatever you want from me, Ben,” I seriously told him, waiting with baited breath to see if he would.

Buy Links – Available on KU

Amazon US Author Page

Amazon UK Author Page

About the Author

C.J. is first and foremost an avid reader of romance. Nothing is better than watching two strong-willed people meet, connect and work through personal challenges while fighting to overcome internal and external obstacles to be together.

C.J. is a southerner who believes that love is love, and if you’re ever lucky enough to find it, you should hold onto it with both hands and feet. C.J. writes love stories filled with emotion and hopes you—the reader—will enjoy them as much as C.J. enjoys creating them.

C.J. writes M/M romances with heart and heat. She believes that love is love and if you’re ever lucky enough to find it, you should hold onto it with both hands and feet.

Social Media Links

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More gorgeous romance from the pen of Lane Hayes

Leaning Into the Look (Leaning Into, #6)Leaning Into the Look by Lane Hayes

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is another gorgeous addition to the Leaning Into series and my favourite after Nick & Wes’ romance.

Grant and Miles were perfection, the absolute best person for each other, capable of dealing with all the crazy and helping each other find peace.

This book is also seriously steamy, with some explosive sexual chemistry and lots of action as Grant and Miles navigated their way from distant friends to proper friendship to roommates with benefits and then into the perfect soul mates.

There’s very little angst in this one but there is a thin layer of sadness across the surface which marks the insecurities and traumas left from younger days for both characters.

There’s a great and expanded secondary cast outside of the previous couples in this series and I adored Grant’s cousin, who acts as his office manager and big sister alike. While the male friendships in this series have always been strong, it’s also lovely to have a sympathetic female character too and I loved her.

We also get to catch up with all the other guys and see them all still overwhelmingly in love and next up is the one I’ve been waiting for – Geordie is getting his HEA and I can’t wait.

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

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Gotta love a good bodyguard love story

32994331The Bigger They Come by Ari McKay

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed this bodyguard and client falling in love during a job romance even with the slightly over the top towards the end stalker plot.

Both Cade and Jude were sympathetic characters and I liked their dynamic together and completely believed in their feelings for each other.

There’s good world building and a bunch of interesting secondary characters that I look forward to reading more about as the series progresses.

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

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Stunning debut novel from Robert Winter

September (Pride and Joy #1)September by Robert Winter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Yes I know, I’m late to the party!) but I have the ARC of Book Two so…

I don’t know quite where to start with this one. The fact I stayed up until 2.30am to finish reading it all in one go or the clever way the Prologue and Epilogue felt like the theatre directions for a play about to unfold, or the simply beautiful writing.

Each one on their own would have been a delight to find in a debut novel but to get all three really was a pleasure.

This book also has one of my favourite tropes – a May to December romance – or, as David’s friends put it, more of a May to September one. The 22 year age gap didn’t bother me in the slightest, I loved the connection that David and Brandon had.

There’s drama and there’s angst, but it never sways into what I like to call dramady, where it feels like something which happens as a plot tick box only rather than a natural progression of the narrative.

There’s so many parts of this book I want to rave about but I think it works best when uncovered during reading. I’m glad I wasn’t spoiled for the unexpected incident which occurs, the fall out from which is handled beautifully in the writing.

And also big props for not making David’s dead lover into some mythical perfect being. The scenes where David is “talking” to Kyle in his head were some of my favourites.

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My favourite of the Infinity series

breaking the rules.jpgBreaking The Rules by C.J. Lynne

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

3.5*

This was my favourite of the trilogy but even this one has a few issues and, as the others, turned into a sexual extravaganza on near my every other page at one point.

Ben and Jared went to the top of my list because they were the most ‘grown up’ – by which I mean they acted and read like a pair of guys in their 30s/40s – although there was still a daft bit of faffing about at the begin when Ben tried to ignore his attraction to Jared.

There’s a couple of side stories, one involving Ben’s toxic mother, the other descending a bit in to WTFery at one point before all is resolved quite nicely.

This book is also a much more reasonable length for the narrative and includes all the other characters from the previous two popping in.

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

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