Tag Archives: new adult

Release Day Reviews: Love Me Like a Rock and Hard Candy (Bend or Break #6 & 7) by Amy Jo Cousins

Love Me Like a RockLove Me Like a Rock (Bend or Break #6) by Amy Jo Cousins

Released 22 March 2016

Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Pages: 154

Categories: MM Romance, Contemporary


In art and in love, it s the rough edges that make things interesting.

Having grown up with artistic implements always in hand, there’s almost nothing Austin can’t make real. Except for one thing—an official relationship with his best friend, rowing teammate and occasional hookup, Vinnie.

The combination of emotional and sexual frustration fuels a spark between Austin and the nude model in his drawing class. Austin isn’t used to having trouble focusing; models are merely challenging subjects to be rendered on paper. But the geology TA’s direct blue gaze is powerful enough to drag Austin’s focus away from his physique.

After a quick and very dirty post-class encounter, all the reasons that Austin has been waiting for his best friend go fuzzy in his mind. Sean is nothing like Vinnie. Sean is persistent, pays attention, and makes it clear he wants to be together.

But if Austin can’t get his head and his heart on the same page, he could lose his friend, or his lover. Or both.

Warning: Contains rock geeks, tent sex, a dictatorial cox whose idea of a good time is drawing naked dudes, plus one naked dude who wants to be more than a good time.

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Our thoughts:

Sometimes the sweet, easy stories can really satisfy. Love Me Like a Rock is a perfect mix of opposites attract, easy love and low angst. I’m not a fan of angst, so it was just right for me. Happy from start to finish!

Austin is a an art student at University. He’s a bit quirky. Always lost in his art projects and not really taking too much seriously. At least that’s what all his friends think. Deep inside, Austin has a lot of thoughts and feelings he never let’s loose because he’d rather just go with the flow. That’s how he became a causal hook-up for his best friend, Vinnie. Years of waiting around for Vinnie to express that he wanted or needed from Austin and it never happens.

Austin’s in a model sketching session when he is consumed by the model. Feelings he can’t quite turn off bombard him and it becomes obvious the same is happening to the model, Sean. So begins a whirlwind of lustful adventures for Sean and Austin. Good dating intentions are thwarted by hormones many times over! All the years needing attention from Vinnie and now Austin has Sean’s undivided attention.

Austin discovers a life outside of his rowing team and art. His small circle of friends grows with Sean’s geologist crew. Yes, geologist! Some of the best moments are when Austin is experiencing camping and a new outlook on nature with Sean. Sean is the ultimate boyfriend, attentive and caring. He likes Austin for who he is with full acceptance. He’s also patient enough to let Austin discover what he wants and needs from Sean in their relationship.

I found these two to be sensitive but not sappy. Loving yet passionate and sensual. Eager yet relaxed with each other. They have their moment of misunderstanding but it’s worked through and they move on and become stronger. It’s nice to read a fun, sweet couple!


Hard CandyHard Candy (Bend or Break #7) by Amy Jo Cousins

Released 22 March 2016

Published by Samhain Publishing, Ltd.

Categories: MM Romance, Contemporary


How to get over someone? Get under someone else—as soon as possible.

Vincent Lim always assumed his best friend (and occasional hookup) Austin would be waiting for him—that eventually they’d end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with a dance major, Vinnie knows the drill. Minimize the embarrassment by pretending they’ve never met. Yet Bryan’s vibrant spirit and calm center lure Vinnie like a shelter from an emotional storm.

But Vinnie’s thrown off his game by the rest of Bryan’s total package. Vinnie’s a rowing jock with a single-minded focus on living up to his parents’ academic and social expectations. Bryan might as well be outfitted with glittery butterfly wings—with plenty of pride to match. Vinnie’s haphazard attention to a lover won’t cut it this time.

Physically, they can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

Warning: Contains one uptight rower, a dancer who can rock a skirt like nobody’s business, yoga lessons, and the benefits of being very bendy.

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Our thoughts:

After knowing so much about Vinnie through Austin in Love Like a Rock, I was anxious to see how Amy Jo Cousins would redeem him. Redeem? Yes. Vinnie’s wound tight and a user. Maybe a tyrant would be an accurate description. Actually, those are a bit harsh, but not far off the mark.

Vinnie was fine with using Austin for release once his stress had built up enough during a paper or leading into an important exam. He’d get drunk and then pull Austin into his bed, letting Austin lead from there. Vinnie would get his release and Austin was left hanging on, wondering if Vinnie would ever want more, even a real relationship. Vinnie overstepped their friendship and then would back off, time and time again.

One night Austin isn’t willing to be the stress relief. He has Sean and Vinnie is on his own. That leads to Vinnie in Bryan’s bed, sick from over indulging. Bryan is sweet and kind to Vinnie. He seems to actually care about him and the state he’s in. Vinnie is just mortified. Those small sentiments and kindnesses worm into Vinnie’s psyche and won’t pull back. Bryan has consumed Vinnie’s every thought and he can’t resist seeking him out.

Bryan is tall, lean and in dancer shape. Beautiful and charming. A very no-nonsense personality who’s very straightforward. Bryan doesn’t have time for song and dance. He also isn’t going to deal with not being a priority. All this scares Vinnie a little but he also likes those qualities in Bryan. He is who he is and isn’t willing to change, Vinnie could learn something about bravery from him.

Bryan’s peacefulness and touches are healing for Vinnie. He’s never felt so much before and he knows he’s falling for Bryan. He just has to work through his hang ups before Bryan gets fed up and walks away for good.

I really enjoy Austin’s companion novel and worried I wouldn’t like Vinnie’s story as much. Wrong! So wrong! He shows growth and courage. He’s willing to fix his shortcomings and never once intentionally hurts Bryan. Pleasantly unexpected! Vinnie was suffering more than we knew and Bryan is the perfect one to soothe him mind, body and soul. Bryan is all kinds of wonderful.


Out of Bounds (Boundaries #1) by A.R. Barley

Out of BoundsOut of Bounds by A.R. Barley

Released: March 14th 2016

Published: Carina Press

Series: Boundaries book 1

Page count: 154 pages


When the weather outside starts cooling down, inside the dorm things are heating up. Can these college roommates fall in love without going out of bounds?

Beaten and heartbroken, Jesse Cole is placed in a new dorm room after his last roommate attacked him. Just wanting to be left alone to heal in peace, he’s shocked when tall, dark and dangerous-looking Nick Moretti walks in.

Nick doesn’t have time to tiptoe around his new roommate—he’s too busy working in order to pay for school. But something about Jesse brings out his protective instincts. As their cautious friendship grows and becomes loaded with sexual tension, he wants to make Jesse comfortable.

Enter the perfect plan: a line of tape down the center of the room. Boundaries established.

But as innocent movie nights become hours-long temptation marathons, and whispered chats from across the room delve into straight-up dirty territory, crossing the line has never been so satisfying.

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Carina Press   •   Kobo   •   Amazon

Our Thoughts:

From the opening chapter, I knew Out of Bounds was going to be a great read. Barley worked all the right angles and the voices were bright and fun. The right elements to keep the pages turning.

In Out of Bounds, Jesse Cole finds himself in a predicament when he’s beaten by his roommate after a flirtatious mix-up. Alone and bleeding, his savior, resident assistant Kelly, takes him to the hospital to be patched up then leaves him in the only open room he can find in the senior dorm. Somewhere Kelly can keep an eye on him even though Jesse is a sophomore.

Dumping Jesse in Nick’s room is probably a mistake, but Kelly doesn’t have another choice. Nick’s trouble but he’s their only choice.

Jesse is skittish and overwhelmed after the incident. All he wants is to get settled, gain back control of his life, and finish the semester. The guy who’s now his roommate is freaking huge and intimidating but seems nice enough. Maybe he’ll make it through this after all.

Nick can’t believe Kelly dumped Nick in his room. Typical payback from his ex. The last thing Nick needs is this scared little bunny twitching and jumping every time Nick moves an inch. Something needs to be done and Nick knows just what to do.

Setting boundaries and establishing trust go a long way toward helping Jesse become comfortable and feeling safe again. Nick’s a great guy and Jesse can’t help becoming enamored with the handsome, hulking man.

What really made this story work for me was the slow crawl for Jesse and Nick. They move from timid new roommates to friend/protector status as a perfect pace. Nick establishes trust and Jesse beings to settle in. Things change when Jesse discovers Nick is gay, then all bets are off. The attraction growing between them can no longer be denied. They enter boyfriend status and hang there for a while. The black moment is short and worked through swiftly, thank goodness because these two needed each other!

I liked both Nick and Jesse a lot. Nick had some hang ups but his patience was saintly. He was compassionate, smart, loving and a stellar protector. Jesse really comes into his own. By the end of the book we see the confident man he is able to become once the trauma is worked through and overcome. Nick has a lot to do with Jesse’s transformation. They’re just meant to be together and I always enjoy when a story allows that to happen from start to finish.

A bonus chapter from the second book in the Boundaries series, Suspending the Rules is included at the end of the book. I was delighted to see it will be Kelly’s story. He was an important secondary character in Out of Bounds. He’s stoic but miserable. I’m anxious to continue on with the series when book two releases in summer 2016. Definitely something to look forward to!


BOOK BLITZ: Screaming Down Splitsville by Kayla Bashe

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Screaming Down Splitsville by Kayla Bashe
Publisher: Torquere Press
Release Date: 2/24/16
Pairing: F/F
Length: 11,300 words
Categories: Alternative Universe, Fantasy, Historical, Lesbian Romance, New Adult, Paranormal


Goodreads | Amazon | Torquere


Screaming Down Splitsville takes place in an alternate 1950s where two groups of people with magical powers fight for dominance. Flip, a young lesbian, thinks her healing powers are completely useless. After her escape from a lab, she’s been grounded to a safe base, and while everyone else is on important missions, she keeps the fridge stocked and fixes the plumbing. However, when a chance coincidence sends her on a solo rescue mission, Flip has a surprising reunion with a woman from her past.

Unable to speak after a botched cleft palate surgery, Emma-Rose grew up half-wild in the Southern backwoods- until strangers discovered her magical powers and imprisoned her in a laboratory of torture. Her one salvation was the woman in the next cell, Flip. Now Flip’s returned, and according to her, they’ll both make it to safety. But Emma’s plans have failed so many times that she has no hope left to lose.

As the two women seek to evade their pursuers, their friendship rekindles, and they are forced to confront both enemies and insecurities.

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Her eyes were strikingly, startlingly brown, as sharp as knives. She was dark-haired, tangle-curled, as skinny as a feral cat– and just as vulnerable.

Flip sat down hard, clapping both hands over her mouth to stifle a cry.

My Emma Rose, Flip thought. My girl in the next cell. No one else ever came for her. Had she not known she was here for all that time? Had she never escaped?

Slowly, she moved closer to the cage. Distrust flashed over Emma’s face, and she startled backwards. Don’t touch me, her instinctive sneer said. Yet for all her primal bravery, her thin shoulders trembled with fear more than cold. Flip dared to spread her awareness. Bruises speckling her skin, old wounds improperly stitched, intestines that knotted up for lack of food; a body that was digging into its deepest resources, and had been for some time. Emma’s chest rose and fell, as if she expected at any moment to fight for her life.

“Easy now,” Flip whispered. She raised her hands, splayed her fingers: I am holding no weapon. She took one step forward, then another. Knelt down, so close that Emma could have raked her nails across her face. Those eyes, brown as a tiger’s, stared solemnly back.

Consciously Flip slowed and deepened the rhythms of her body. She sent a wave of power towards Emma, soothing and comforting. “You remember me, I know you do. If you can still hear me, try to breathe with me, be with me. I came back.”

Stitches that had been ripped open by struggling closed neatly together. Bruises faded in seconds. And fierce tightness began to unwind from bony, pale limbs as the iron shackles of fear released their hold.

Author Bio

Kayla Bashe is a performer/writer studying at Sarah Lawrence College. Her work has been published by Solarpunk Press, Torquere Press, Vitality Magazine, and tons of zines. Find her on Twitter at @KaylaBashe!

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Blog Tour: The Guy With the Suitcase by Chris Ethan

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The Guy With The Suitcase
Once Upon a Guy, Book One
  by Chris Ethan
Gay Romance, Contemporary, New Adult
Novel length


Pierce is homeless.

Young and strong-willed Pierce has been living in the streets of New York City for six months, since his parents kicked him out of their perfect, Christian, suburban house. Pierce is gay. And he is suffering the consequences for being true to himself.

Rafe is homeless.

He is also sick. Impressionable, but far from innocent, Rafe ran away from home almost a year ago. His sickness is slowly killing him. But Rafe is not a hopeless case. He has learned to get by. Nights of paid passion turn to sheltering warmth from the imminent New York winter.

And then there’s a suitcase. Pierce’s suitcase, which holds secrets from everyone including its owner.

When their worlds collide, their lives intertwine and when the world seems bent on bringing the two souls to their knees, fate has other plans for them.

Caution: Contains adult language, New York City streets, tough life choices, sexual tension, stubborn brutes and swoon-worthy romance.

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Amazon US  •  Amazon UK  •  Amazon AU  •  Amazon DE


He saw a phone booth and the longing to call home clawed in his heart just like his veganism had supposedly and he found himself dialing home in no time.

“Hello!” came the answer from who other than his mom.

“Hi, mom,” he told her.

There was a deafening pause for a few seconds.

“Why are you calling, Pierce? Did you decide to atone for your sins and claim the Heavenly Father as your Lord and Savior again?”

Pierce rolled his eyes. “No,” he told her, “I called to tell you that I found a job last month and soon I’ll be able to afford a room to live in”.

Another long pause. He was trying to determine whether the pause was a delay in the line, or his mother thinking what insult to throw next. “Pierce, you know you always have a home here, with your father and I. All you have to do is ask for forgiveness and stop…sinning,” she said with her shrill voice. A voice that actually had the ability to turn Pierce into the devil his mother was so afraid of.

“I can’t believe your homeless son is calling you after six months and that’s all you have to tell him,” he asked maintaining his calm. For now.

She exhaled with attitude. The attitude that said, “Oh, Pierce, you’re so young and, you know nothing”.

“I cannot give up my place in Heaven because my son has decided to,” she said in a calm manner, “I don’t know what kind of people you’ve met to have made you this way, but I can’t have you sinning under my roof.”

He could picture her in his head. The way she would smile gently. The way her eyes would squint and her cheeks would ball up, forming a fake tenderness that could send Pierce ballistic.

“Go fuck yourself,” he said, and slammed the phone back on the receiver. There were a million things he wanted to tell her. But that seemed to sum everything up. She was not a mother. She was a puppet. And he didn’t know if puppets had the ability to acquire knowledge or even listen.

Meet the Author

Chris Ethan is a book whore. He enjoys selling his feelings for money and other pleasures and is blatantly unashamed to do so for as long as he breathes. Chris Ethan is also a persona for Rhys Christopher Ethan, author of fantasy and sci-fi. He uses Chris Ethan to share stories of adult queer romance with those who need it. Before you delve into his books however, be warned. He likes putting his characters through shitstorms and hates anything conventional. But then there’s that darned happy-ever-after. Also, he likes swearing. Deal with it!

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