Tag Archives: grief

Blog Tour and Review: 24/7 (The Subs Club #4) by J.A. Rock

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Hi! I’m J.A. Rock, and right now I’m touring the internet talking about my latest release, 24/7—Book 4 in The Subs Club series. Thanks so much to the blogs that are hosting me on this tour, and be sure to leave comments on the tour posts for a chance to win a $15 Riptide Publishing gift card!

About 24/7

We started the Subs Club to make the kink community safer for subs. Except now the others are so busy chasing their happy endings, it’s like they’ve forgotten what Bill did to Hal and the fact that he got away with it. They used to think I was betraying Hal’s memory by hooking up with the owners of the club where he died. Now they don’t seem to care about any of it anymore.

Maybe I am sometimes angry with GK and Kel for giving Bill a second chance, but they’ve been mentoring me for a year now, and whatever else they’ve done, they make me feel incredibly safe. So I want to try something: I want to offer them my complete submission, 24/7. To serve the people who forgave Bill. That’s the way I want to hurt.

Except I’m starting to care about them in a way I never meant to—and I think they feel the same way. But after Hal, I don’t know if I want to be in love again. Because what I really need, more than anything, is to see Bill brought to justice. Even if I have to do it myself. Even if it means losing GK and Kel.

—Gould

24-7 Cover

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About the Subs Club series

After the death of their friend Hal at the hands of an irresponsible dom, submissive friends Dave, Kamen, Miles, and Gould band together to form the Subs Club—an organization seeking to expose dangerous local doms. The club slowly evolves as romances blossom, loyalties are tested, and tensions mount in a community already struggling for unity in the wake of Hal’s death.

From domestic discipline to knife play to fashion paraphilia, and from family drama to new jobs to first loves, the members of the Subs Club explore life’s kinks inside and outside of the bedroom as they attempt to let go of the past and move forward.

About the Author

J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including By His Rules, Take the Long Way Home, and, with Lisa Henry, The Good Boy and When All The World Sleeps. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

Website: www.jarockauthor.com

Blog: http://jarockauthor.blogspot.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jarockauthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ja.rock.39

Giveaway

J.A. Rock is giving away $15 in Riptide Publishing credit. Leave a comment to enter the contest. Entries close at midnight, Eastern time, on June 11, 2016. Contest is NOT restricted to U.S. entries. Thanks for following the tour, and don’t forget to leave your contact info!

Our Thoughts

From the beginning of the series, Gould is the one friend we know the least about. What we do knows is that he was Hal’s best friend since childhood and they became involved in a relationship that didn’t quite work out. Hal is taken from Gould in the most unfortunate way, during a BDSM scene at club Riddle. The whole situation was tragic and handled in such a way that no one really knew what really happened and who was to blame. Gould feels it is 100 percent obvious. Bill, the Dom Hal was playing with, was responsible and he got off. He didn’t pay. He is alive living his life (not in jail, not paying for his crime) and Hal is dead.

Gould was the quiet one of the bunch. When they wanted him to take part in their group conversations, they could always count on him to be there and respond in the affirmative. It’s like Gould was just part of the furniture. This is why we don’t know him well going into his story. What we quickly discover is that Gould is a mess. Thank goodness for the internal dialogue JA Rock writes for Gould. Without it, we’d have nothing on him. He just doesn’t speak his mind. Ever. It’s actually frustrating at times and impacts his relationships and potential play partners. He never really says what he wants or needs in a scene let alone when with friends. He just goes along with whatever is done, suggested, or planned.

Gould starts to play with Greg and Kel, the owners of Riddle. I truly wondered if he was doing this to get revenge for them forgiving Bill and mentoring him after the trial. Soon, it is apparent that he actually is attracted to Kel and has a growing fondness for Greg as well. The whole Bill and Hal situation just muddies up everything for Gould. He’s still grieving but does it silently and internally. No one can help him because he just won’t talk! Gould asks Kel to be his Master so he can be her slave, thinking the degradation and humiliation will help break him and remove all the pain. That might have worked if he wasn’t holding onto so much pain and guilt. He thinks so lowly of himself but he’s also seriously missing Hal. He’s not whole and trying to become whole through humiliation isn’t the answer.

Needless to say, it becomes a total shit storm (sorry for the language but it is) for everyone, Gould, Greg, Kel, Dave, Miles, and Kamen. Even as the story finishes I felt Gould was still unstable. Finally healing, yes. Better, yes. Still unstable, yes. He was just so all over the place emotionally and he had no outlet. no communication skills to work through everything and heal. Instead, he deflects and thinks that giving up who he is through being a slave will make everything better. The pain from losing Hal would disappear. Thing is, Gould was holding onto Hal so tightly that he would never be able to let go of the pain. He sought memories of Hal out, trying so hard to hold on to every memory that he was self-sabotaging.

If I had to choose one word to describe Gould and his story, it would be complex. I still don’t feel I fully know him or understand his wants or needs. I do believe that’s because he doesn’t either. Gould will continue to be an enigma in chaos until he fully heals and that’s totally okay. He has amazing friends and they are there for him in good and bad times.

Cherry Pie (Mercury Rising #1) by Samantha Kane

Cherry Pie CoverRelease Date: September 16th 2014, 2nd Edition
Published by Samhain Publishing
Purchased Copy from Amazon

ABOUT THE BOOK:

John Ford packed up his life a year ago and moved from LA to small Mercury, North Carolina after the death of his long-term partner. He’s been living in a kind of suspended animation, fixing up the old house he bought there, reclusive and alone. Until the day Connor Meecham appears.

Conn Meecham has returned home, only to find it isn’t his anymore. Someone else owns his mother’s house now. But Conn needs that house to find the man he left behind more than eight years ago–before the drugs, before prison, before his life derailed. Lonely, desperate, lost, Conn finds in John a kindred soul.

Mercury is a dying town. But John sets out to change that when he learns what it means to Conn. Through home improvements, sex, old friends, sex, misunderstandings, sex, and homemade cherry pie, John and Conn may finally discover that where they are now can be heaven on earth if they want it to be

Publisher’s Note: This book contains explicit sexual content, graphic language, and situations that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices.

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OUR THOUGHTS:

Connor Meacham is making a soul-searching return to his roots in the hopes of regaining some semblance of the man he used to be. Is Mercury the magical solution to restoring his former glory and, more importantly, his confidence? It seems that battling all those inner demons would take its toll after a while.

This story is on emotional overload. There’s so much to sort out with Connor’s feelings about returning home, Connor’s feelings about John, John’s feelings about his past and how to deal with Connor and moving forward. I have a love/hate relationship with the emotional tension Samantha Kane develops between John and Connor. Readers will have no trouble understanding it – neither of these guys has had a simple life – but sometimes it becomes the elephant in the room. It’s a huge obstacle preventing them from going after what they really want, that is if they can be honest enough to admit what that is.

If you’re looking for a sexy romance complete with complex characters, complicated situations, and angsty tension, Cherry Pie is for you. At just under 200 pages it’s a quick, entertaining read, certainly well worth the time for this satisfying story.

RATING: ONE BADASS BOOT, ONE STILETTO

Selfie (Bluewater Bay) by Amy Lane

Selfie CoverRelease Date: April 16, 2016
Published by Riptide Press
Review Copy from NetGalley

ABOUT THE BOOK:

One year ago, actor Connor Montgomery lost the love of his life to a drunk driver. But what’s worse for Connor is what he still has: a lifetime of secrets born of hiding his relationship from the glare of Hollywood. Unable to let go of the world he and Vinnie shared, Connor films a drunken YouTube confession on the anniversary of Vinnie’s death.

Thankfully, the video was silent—a familiar state for Connor—so his secret is still safe. He needs a fresh start, and a new role on the hit TV show Wolf’s Landing might be just that.

The move to Bluewater Bay may also mean a second chance in the form of his studio-assigned assistant. Noah Dakers sees through Connor’s facades more quickly than Connor could imagine. Noah’s quiet strength and sarcastic companionship offers Connor a chance at love that Hollywood’s closet has never allowed. But to accept it, Connor must let Vinnie go and learn to live again.

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OUR THOUGHTS:

Amy Lane hits it out of the park with the 13th installment in the Bluewater Bay series. This heartfelt, riveting tale grabs readers with an emotional hook and never lets go.  Lane expertly navigates the waters of grief and loss, emphasizing the change and complexity of the healing process at every stage while also planting the seed of hope and acceptance. That one seed is like a beacon in the dark at times when the stark reality of suffering threatens to swallow you whole.

Connor Montgomery is struggling to pick up the pieces of his personal and professional lives after the loss of the love of his life, Vinnie. Closeted and grieving, Connor’s not sure how to resume life in the Hollywood spotlight until an unwise, drunken YouTube confession thrusts him back into the public eye. Recognizing the early stages of self-destruction, his agent steps in to help get him back on track. His new role takes him to the set of Wolf’s Landing and beautiful Bluewater Bay, world’s away from the painful memories of all he’s lost.

What’s particularly great about Connor’s time in Bluewater Bay is that Amy Lane doesn’t sugarcoat it.  Her multi-faceted storytelling gives a clear view of how Connor’s coping with Vinnie’s loss and its impact on the world around him. Even as he’s presented with opportunity after opportunity to move on – including a new love interest he’s almost actually shocked to be interested in – he’s plagued by memories, missed opportunities and a slew of new issues that could impact his career. It’s refreshing to see such a bold, unadulterated look at the grieving process, something occasionally glossed over because, let’s face it, it’s not pretty. One kiss, landing a new role,  finding new love – none of these magically erases the pain. Sometimes trying to reconcile new feelings with old can be catastrophic mentally and emotionally, and the impact is never limited to just the person suffering. In this case Connor has a lot to work through before he’s healthy and stable enough to find his own reasons to keep going.

RATING: STILETTOS!

Imperfect Harmony by Jay Northcote

Imperfect Harmony CoverRelease Date: April 15, 2016
Published by Jaybird Press
Review Copy from Author

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Imperfect harmony can still be beautiful…

John Fletcher, a former musician, is stuck in limbo after losing his long-term partner two years ago. He’s shut himself off from everything that reminds him of what he’s lost. When his neighbour persuades him to join the local community choir, John rediscovers his love of music and finds a reason to start living again.

Rhys Callington, the talented and charismatic choir leader, captures John’s attention from the first moment they meet. He appears to be the polar opposite of John: young, vibrant, and full of life. But Rhys has darkness in his own past that is holding him back from following his dreams.

Despite the nineteen-year age gap, the two men grow close and a fragile relationship blossoms. Ghosts of the past and insecurities about the future threaten their newfound happiness. If they’re going to harmonise in life and love as they do in their music, they’ll need to start following the same score.

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PURCHASE A COPY FROM AMAZON 

Imperfect Harmony will be exclusive to Amazon for 90 days. After that it will be available at all retailers.

OUR THOUGHTS:

In her signature sweet, sexy style, Jay Northcote delivers a heartwarming story of second chances.  Readers can’t help but feel touched by the emotional elements of grief and hope in this May-December romance. Taking this emotional journey is exhilarating and terrifying as the characters must challenge themselves to find peace, accept change and take chances.

John Fletcher has spent the last two years stumbling through life, grieving for his long-term partner. The recent loss of his mother has reopened those wounds and now he’s returned to his childhood home to decide where to go from here.  A chance meeting at his neighbor’s weekly choir rehearsal brings him face-to-face with Rhys Callington, a younger, vibrant man also working to put a painful past behind him. The two strike it off,  their mutual love of music a common bond. Their obvious interest and chemistry stoke the fires of an unlikely attraction, forcing each to see past the boundaries of grief and age and opening up possibilities for happiness they thought abandoned forever.

While there’s an overall shadow of grief and longing to this story, Northcote infuses just enough of the excitement and optimism of new love to keep it balanced. Readers won’t find themselves hopelessly bereft but thoughtfully acknowledging the pain and suffering while urging Rhys and John to spread their wings and learn how to fly. If they do, there’s a tremendous chance together they’ll soar to new heights.

RATING: ONE BAD ASS BOOT, ONE STILETTO!