Right now Smashwords is having a huge sale until July 31st. This link with take you to the Gay and Lesbian Fiction section.
There are some good deals from authors like Kaje Harper, R. Cooper, Josh Lanyon, Kim Fielding, Sara Dobie Bauer, Clare London, T. Strange, Ofelia Grand, Avril Ashton, Lisa Oliver, Cecilia Tan, Rough Draft Hero, Kris T. Bethke, Amanda Meuwissen, Nell Iris, Laura Harner, Lexi Ander, Mychael Black, Heather Mar-Garrison, Kendall Morgan, Erin M. Leaf, Diana DeRicci, Katey Hawthorne, Megan Slayer, Lily G. Blunt, Mel Bossa, Antonia Aquilante, Angelique Jurd, Lia Cooper, Kate Aaron, T.A. Webb, R. Phoenix, JP Sayle, Tanya Chris, T.M. Chris, Rob Rosen, Addison Albright, T.J. Land, K.L. Noone, Jacqueline Grey, M.D. Grimm, Tinnean, Tia Fielding, Louise Collins, Fabian Black, J.M. Snyder, Melanie Hansen, Harry F. Rey, J.V. Speyer…soooo many.
There are many great authors who choose not to participate in the sale, but I encourage you to buy from them here anyway to let them know you support other platforms.
Written in the first person POV of Jack, this is a portrayal of a lonely Asian man in a small rural mostly Caucasian town, coming to grips with being bisexual, and all the issues facing new adults. We get to know his best friend Lucas, through his eyes. The dialogue is minimal, as this author’s style is narrative. They have built camaraderie working together at a grocery store, but increasingly Jack feels more. Not just an attraction, but a need to take care of Lucas or be the person he leans on. Because he doesn’t want to lose the friendship, he fights his impulses. Then, because of the circumstances, he doesn’t feel it’s appropriate to bring up. Jack is one of the good guys, maybe too good, who is a bit defensive about it. The story is him having all of these feelings for the first time: being in love, dealing with grief and death, and making important decisions for himself. Really, they are already in the most important relationship they each have and they ignore it until they can’t anymore. I’m glad this happens after the power dynamics shift. The other main character of Mrs. Collins is a foil to help give them a combined focus and show who they both are–why they are a good match. Overall, I liked this story.
I do prefer this author’s Shifters & Partners series. Try one of her free books and if you like it, the boxed sets are a good deal. I have purchased them all; this was not an ARC. You can buy directly from her https://payhip.com/HollisShiloh. Visit her website https://www.sparewordspress.com/ for more information.
You might have already read it when it was in the Warlords, Witches & Wolves anthology. While it takes place in the Familiar Mates world, it could be read on it’s own. Bailey is not in the best situation when he mets his mate Kass. His Gran is involved in some shady business. He doesn’t know anything about other shifters or the Council. The best part of the book is actually the trapped, desperation Bailey conveys, which seems more real than the other emotions named. Since most of the book takes place through their mate bond as they are separated by geography, the romance is a tough sell. While an interesting idea, I feel like the premise could have worked better than it did. Rather than their physical intimacy when they are finally alone becoming the glue that holds this story together, for me it was another thing that didn’t help move the romance forward in a way that made me emotionally connect with the characters. The happy ending is there, I’m just not sure they’ve spent enough time together to have earned it.
This post will have real world stuff, so feel free to skip it and wait until there is a new review if you wish. I have only done two reviews since my last one on this website and I didn’t post them here, only on Amazon, Goodreads, and Bookbub. This just seemed…too much effort at the time.
I’ve felt adrift. Sometimes I read, and sometimes I don’t. I didn’t feel like making jewelry, so I started taking art journaling classes and that’s helped cheer me up, helped me do something. I’ve also been working on DIY stuff around the house. I don’t mean this to be one of the Covid posts…
My Dad died. My stepmother stole my Dad’s ashes. I mean, she’s his widow and can do what she wants…but she did NOT follow his last wishes and I find that offensive.We had so much construction on the house, due to flooding. I had a health scare and ended up in the hospital. Both cars broke down. Our cat died. Our dog died.
We did get a new dog and a new cat. There is some gardening happening. Life goes on.
I tried to get back to reviewing. Keeping it real, I owe Harry F. Rey a review. I was so excited about book five of The Galactic Captains series and I was able to get an ARC (https://ninestarpress.com/authors/harry-f-rey/), so I tried. There are so many characters that I didn’t have the bandwidth every time real life intruded because if you are following me you know I take notes while I’m reading all the books. I know I have probably been depressed, but I still feel bad about it. Obviously, I like this series because I bought four of them. I will go buy book five so I don’t feel so guilty. I still mean to review them all, I want to binge read them again. I want to be clear, that is pressure I put on myself, not from anyone else. Something similar happen two years ago when my mom had cancer and I felt I didn’t do a great job when I owed J. Scott Coatsworth and Marie Sexton reviews. I don’t need to put on a hair shirt, but I take this all very seriously and not only do I not like to let others down, I feel like I let myself down. Still, out of several hundred books even before I started this site, I have only fumbled a few. I’m only one person and I do my very best. If I have won a book, or been given a book and made no promises about a review, then I don’t owe you one no matter what hopes you had. I am only talking about books actually scheduled to be reviewed.
Orginally, my plan was to get ARCs for books I might not otherwise get the chance to read. But increasingly, I’m not sure I want to worry about reviewing books that are exclusive to Amazon. This should shock no one. I have been plain about not liking when things are exclusive to Amazon or KU. Say I get an ARC for a book exclusively in KU and I love it? That is just one book and I may not get ARCs for the rest of the series, so that totally sucks. Sometimes I win an Amazon gift card. That’s great if the authors sells elsewhere because I buy art supplies on Amazon, and then go buy the books from wherever I want. But, if they are exclusive to Amazon…that leaves me with an ethical dilemma. If the paperback is affordable and it’s only one book, I may do that. But if it’s a series…I’m not probably going to want to invest in that unless I already have some of them. I don’t have much more room for real books so I save that for books that are graphics intensive or books I consider reference books that I would not buy in ebook format–not fiction. I am always pleased when I win physical books and I cherish them, but I don’t go out of my way to buy more. I do read them too; they don’t just sit here. Also, I have no issue leaving a review at Amazon to help an author! Smashwords won’t let you leave a review unless you buy or are gifted the book from them. I worry one day Amazon, Kobo, and Barnes and Nobles will do the same.
Anyway, it’s made me think about the fact that I am rewarding the authors who are exclusive to a format I don’t like, whilst not rewarding the authors who sell from somewhere I do buy from. I have done almost no reviews for all the books I have actually bought from Smashwords. This seems wrong to me.
I always hear the same thing from authors when I ask if they are going to sell somewhere else after several months in KU, “I can’t afford to do that. I can’t make any money if I do that.” Plenty of authors do it, but okay. You are doing something wrong if all your eggs are in a basket you don’t own and you have no backup container…but that’s not my problem.
Some authors who I’ve reviewed for in the past ignore me now that Scattered Words has shut down. Okay. That’s fine. I’m treated with suspicion because piracy happens out there. I understand if you don’t know me. But I was just completely ghosted by an author in a Facebook group after I won a free book at a release party, but didn’t want Kindle Direct and that’s just rude. I do not enter contests for free books if they will be Kindle Direct. Just put that in your contest rules and I will avoid entering. Or, for a sense of community, I may participate in the games, meme wars, questions, etc., but say “don’t enter me.” I like to have fun too. I like to communicate with like minded people. I don’t have to get anything but enjoyment out of it. That makes the authors, even if they are exclusive to Amazon, who trust me with their precious things, worth taking the time to review for.
So, I’m thinking about some things. I usually try not to interact with authors very much. They are not my friends, but we are all people and occasionally it happens naturally. I had a lovely time messaging Taylor V. Donovan (https://taylorvdonovan.com/) one day when I needed human connection and maybe she did too, or she humored me. It costs nothing to be kind. I already have all her books. I have never promised her a review and I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed any of them anyway. Now I have to go look.
I do have one more T.J. Nichols (http://tjnichols-author.com/) book in the Familiar Mates series to review. I’d like to catch up on the Cole McCade (http://blackmagicblues.com/) Criminal Intentions series as I am very behind. I’d like to start reviewing my Smashwords library. I’ll leave those reviews in all the familiar places as well. That may mean that the books are older, or rereleased, so I wanted to warn you everything might not be shiny and new.
While I would never leave a bad review because an author was an asshole to me, my time is valuable and I don’t want to waste it on people who are not nice because if they aren’t nice in real life, all their book nice is fake. It’s not real. Love is real. Caring for people is real. Take care out there.
I like unique, so this book is a breath of fresh air. It’s told in vignette style from the first person POV of one part of a couple, whose names we never learn. Nothing happens here: the plot is man meets man, they are both attracted to each other and embark on a lust fueled tumultuous ride with an expiration date. But as we know, when you give someone that level of trust and intimacy, feelings get involved even if you don’t want them to. These are pivotal scenes of their relationship, but they exist in a bubble, not just because of Coronavirus, but because friends are mentioned but never met, work is done, but not important. The focus is how this man becomes his whole world; it is psychological, not narrative, world-building of the mind, not the environment. There are a lot of sexually explicit scenes, so I wouldn’t recommend reading it all in one go, but rather sip it and let it breathe. Though they do titillate, they are just a natural part of the relationship that quickly turns serious due to the level of jealousy and possessiveness along with the power games they play. I found all of this hot and interesting, but I didn’t feel the heart of it until about 80% in. Although this all takes place in one summer, it feels like longer because it’s everything one has to give to another.
Sheriff Quoitrel meets Omega Daisy whilst he is renovating the old bordello in North Leland into a new bordello. This is where North Leland’s progressive values about omegas having autonomy over their own bodies comes into conflict with their paternalistic or moralistic view towards sex workers. Ideas like: protection versus control, support instead of saving someone, and that sometimes you have to fight, actually fight, for what you believe in–are explored here. Many people support something in theory, but standing behind that in actuality may be entirely different. Since this is the final book in the series the overarching storyline of succession is finally answered. Although having previous knowledge of some of the characters might make one more invested, there is no reason why this couldn’t be read as a standalone.
I liked Quoitrel and Daisy, singularly and together. Quoitrel learns about himself and his own sexuality while adapting his view of what a relationship is. Daisy is still a sex worker, so if you think him that doing his job is cheating, this is not the book for you. They find the relationship that is right for them, filled with mutual respect. Good communication is key to a relationship like this, so I do wish I could have seen more of it. There is some violence as the political situation gets sorted, but the other five books have been building up to this. One of the things I like in the whole series is that the characters are both human and wolf; they hunt and use their teeth and claws, yet the best of them don’t allow their humanity to be overcome by animal instinct, nor use it as an excuse for bad behavior. That’s really what the series is about: striving to be the best version of themselves for equality and equity for all. With steamy sex scenes, heartfelt moments of caring and loss, and striving for a better tomorrows for their citizens, this book is very entertaining.
***The ebooks are exclusive to Amazon but you can buy books 1-3 bundled together as a paperback at Barnes And Noble here, so check back later after book six comes out to see if books 4-6 are published as volume 2. Ditto for Book Depository here.
How vampire lore works in this story is layered in through the musings of an unknown narrator, which we learn is Ethan. He uses his skills as a mercenary for a man named Marco. He becomes intrigued by a pretty man in front of a coffee shop, who is a student named Tristan. His protective urges grow, but I’m unclear as to whether vampires have a mating instinct or are obsessive by nature? I don’t like stalking as love, so frankly, I’m glad it’s illegal here, so I guess that answers the question really. Since Tristan has a vampire fetish and their kinks line up well, the story gets steamy very quickly. What saves this for me is that Ethan is actually trying to do the right thing, the struggle is real. It’s also hot, hot, hot. Parts of it are a lust fueled haze of toys, light blood play, bondage, and shibari. If the book would have stayed that way, I’d have been perfectly happy with it as an erotic romance.
This didn’t quite go how I thought it would, so I struggled to figure out why. First, the cover would fit in quite well with the dark erotic gay romance series Criminal Delights (twelve different authors), so I think I subconsciously put it in that category. Of course, Ethan is portrayed over and over again as a ruthless killer for hire, albeit he now kills “the bad guys” although I am unclear who decides that. Mario? So, when this turns into a sweet, sappy romance with flashes of dry humor and a meet the parents, I am perplexed. Then I figured out why: it heads into New Adult territory even though the sole POV is from an ancient vampire. Tristan’s parents are fantasy perfect. Tristan makes Ethan human again. Ethan goes from unlawful to legit without anyone blinking an eye. Tristan realizes his own self worth, thanks to Ethan’s love. It’s all very enjoyable with “all the feels,” but it could have been something more nuanced, more intellectually interesting–and I’ll probably still read it again.
Fortis and Keesh have their own complicated history of dancing around their attraction for each other for five years, each for his own reasons. As an alpha and a beta, they have a certain dynamic they maintain. When Prince Angel asks them to escort an omega named Owen back to his home in Western Pack, they agree. Owen has been treated badly by Prince Devin, who has canceled their mating. With an alpha’s ability to command compliance and an omega’s pheromones, both need Keesh’s beta abilities as a peacemaker to make their travel go smoothly, especially when Owen goes into heat.
This goes exactly where it says it will, there aren’t many surprises. Except for what is needed for each scene, there also isn’t much world-building. Neither does this move the overarching storyline forward much. If you have not read the first three books, you would still have no problem following this story. I’m not sure how Owen is so sweet, having been raised in a political household and trained for court life. Still, it’s nice to see him learn to be more independent. Much of the book has that feeling of being in a bubble as the three travel through the forest. Even when they detour to Central Pack territory to stop at Keesh’s hometown of Hybernia, the only other character to stand out is Keesh’s mom. The book is at its best as the three men work out their hurt feelings when jealousies arise. They are all willing to step aside for each other to be happy, as they all struggle with how to make a triad work. There isn’t any need; they just have to open their minds to it. Mainly, there are sweet, cute, and adorable moments in this, broken up by hot sex scenes and pining. Read this when you want fluffy, steamy goodness to enjoy without being too taxing.
**The ebooks are exclusive to Amazon but you can buy books 1-3 bundled together as a paperback at Barnes And Noble here, so check back later after book six comes out to see if books 4-6 are published as volume 2. Ditto for Book Depository here.
Grant is so unhappy being a worker drone in Seattle, he burns his whole life down six months after his divorce. His defenses are so high, the only one he seems to lower them for is his nephew Kai. When he ends up camping rough on Vashon Island to try and figure out his life, he meets an artist named Oliver who challenges him. Sparks fly as Oliver likes irritating Grant with a strange arrangement meant to get him back on his feet. Oliver has demons of his own and stripping Grant bare exposes his own defense mechanisms. Both of them will need to battle their own and each other’s walls if they are to have a chance at living happily ever after.
Grant ignores unpleasant realities. Yet, he has a big heart for those who accept him as he is instead of trying to change him. The tweens (his nephew Kai and his friends Jill, Clover, Penelope, and Abelino) are there as the catalysts to show who he is behind his anger, fear, and desperation to find himself for himself, instead of always bending to fit the will of others. Some might say, where are their parents? But, I grew up on an island and ran wild for hours, all day and night in the summer and no one knew where I was or who I was with, so this made me think of my own adventures. How wonderful they have someone to treat them like the individual people they are. One of Grant’s lessons is that sometimes order and boundaries are needed, that their are times they are appropriate and should be respected; another is that if the rules he lives by don’t serve him, it’s time to make up new rules.
Oliver flouts the idea that you can’t help people who don’t want to be helped. I’m glad Oliver had a come to Jesus moment about Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, but it didn’t make him more likeable for me at that moment. With his artistic nature, his fantasies often overcome or overwrite his reality…but people who are lonely or traumatized often live in their head. His circle (Talia, Clementine, Freddy) is only people who will respect his boundaries and not expect more from him. Freddie, Oliver’s friend with benefits for seventeen years, is a deceptively complex look into Oliver’s world as he has ordered it. I liked Oliver the most when his art therapy ends up saving him from his avoidance techniques.
Being creatives, this is a wild ride with characters that explore the absurdity of their inner worlds. Memories, nostalgia, how the past shapes our reality, and thus the present, is what is battled here. This is what it looks like when people take a self inventory. So many stories focus on violence or sexual abuse as the only thing that wounds people; you will not find that here. Having said that, I was not enamored with the stalking for love trope. In the end, these two wounded men fit like puzzle pieces–their strengths and weaknesses merging to create a stronger whole. My mind was a swirl of grief and enchantment, painted with vivid art and inner imagery. The ending left me touched, breathless, and happy knowing in all the world Grant and Oliver found the one special person who gets them, crazy and all.