Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Twist Excerpt Reveal


I'm so happy that we get to share an excerpt from TWIST the upcoming novel from the fabulous, Kylie Scott (aka Bel's Fairy Godmother of Fun - Bel just needs to inform her).
It's the second in the Dive Bar series and is available for pre-order. Many thanks to InkSlinger PR and enjoy the naughty excerpt below! ~ Bel


From New York Times bestselling author Kylie Scott comes the second sizzling stand-alone novel in the Dive Bar series!
When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.
Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he's been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they're emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets...except the one that really matters.
When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it's always better with a twist.



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kylie is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author. She was voted Australian Romance Writer of the year, 2013 & 2014, by the Australian Romance Writer’s Association and her books have been translated into eleven different languages. She is a long time fan of romance, rock music, and B-grade horror films. Based in Queensland, Australia with her two children and husband, she reads, writes and never dithers around on the internet. You can learn more about Kylie from http://www.kylie-scott.com/
Connect with Kylie Scott:

EXCERPT

I watched the streetlights cast shadows on the angle of his cheekbone, the furrow of his brow. Strange how his manly beauty had grown on me, redefining or rather stretching my usual boundaries.

Perhaps some people’s allure came from the inside out. A good thing. Their ways and their words did the wooing instead of their physical appeal. Not to diss Joe’s impressive physique. As nice as a pretty face was, though, the personality, the person beneath the skin, should matter more. Anything else was pretty shallow and unlikely to last. Guess that was the difference between my scratching an itch with a stranger and the way this man had me tied up in knots. And not even neat, sea-worthy knots. I’m talking, haven’t washed or brushed your hair in forever and there’s a big old mess back there.

Shit.

At the bar, he’d flirted with me. Full-on flirted with me, his supposed platonic friend who was not his type. No way did I know what to do. Normally Valerie would be first on my hit list of people to call. But she’d just tell me to jump him, regardless of what else was going on, or any possible consequences. Plus, with him beside me it would be kind of uncool. But a couple of whisky sours or no, I was pretty certain I hadn’t imagined his interest.

As Mom had always said, however, best to be sure.

“What are the renovating plans for tomorrow?” I asked.

“Rip out the old fittings and prepare the space for new.”

I nodded. “So we’ll be doing some pounding and screwing?”

“Ah, yeah.” The man cast me a look out of the corner of his eye. “Sound okay?”

“Absolutely. Can’t wait to get my hands back on that big hard hammer.”

“Great,” he said, throwing me another questioning look.

I gave a nice bland smile.

Yeah, pal. Two could play at the what-the-fuck-is-going-on flirting game. I turned in my seat, all the better to face him. “Did you want to bang, Joe?”

“What did you say?” Wide eyes flashed my way.

“Like I did on that wall today. That was fun,” I said with all due sincerity. “Will we be doing more of that?”

A pause. “Sure.”

“Awesome.”

Another quizzical look.

“Something wrong?” I inquired politely.

“No.” His Adam’s apple dipped as he swallowed hard, shifting in his seat, gaze decidedly unsure. The poor fool couldn’t begin to understand the crazy he’d unleashed with his little taunt. Get rough with the man? My starved libido was well beyond the rough-and-tumble stage. No more hiding or denying, sticking to the sidelines of life. It was my time to step forward and be brave. When it came to Joe Collins, I was more than ready to say yes.

“I just . . .” he started. “Never mind.”

Neither of us spoke as he pulled into a parking space a short walk down from the hotel. I leaned over, placing my hand on his denim-covered thigh. The muscle tensed beneath my fingers. Shame on me for straying a little close to his loins.

“Thanks so much for tonight, Joe. I’m so glad we decided to be friends. Because you, sir, make a great friend.”

“Right. Good.” A frown. “How much did you have to drink again?”

“Not nearly enough. Quick, let’s get to my hotel room so I can have more!” I threw open my door.

“Okay.” Hands stuffed in his pockets, he followed me inside,lingering a step or two behind. Guess he didn’t like it when people’s moods got all mixed up and mercurial either. Funny, that.

I nodded to the dude at the front desk and pressed the button on the elevator. It opened immediately. Mirrors and old-timey looking wooden framing decorated the small space. We both leaned against the back wall as it slowly ascended.

“Yeah, sure can’t wait to do some banging, and pounding, and screwing around with you, Joe.” I smiled. “Sound good?”

He just gave me a dry look from his superior height. All confusion gone from his handsome face. Confined spaces only made him seem bigger, even more imposing than usual. No way, no day, however, was I crawling back into my shell or turning into a shadow. We’d agreed to work on our issues, so fine, I was putting it out there.

Still, my bravado was fading, I could barely meet his eyes. The man affected me in all the ways.

“It’s hard, no pun intended this time, because sometimes it feels like you want to be just friends,” I said. “But then other times you flirt with me and I honestly don’t know what’s going on. No huge surprise there, I know. Social awkwardness is my jam. But I thought I mostly understood where you were coming from.”

A ding from the elevator and the doors opened at our stop. I walked out, his bearded hotness following slowly behind, stalking me almost. For certain his usual cool, easy-going-guy persona was missing in action. The man radiated tension, intensity, even. And if he didn’t, I definitely did.

Inside the hotel room I went for mood lighting, only turning on the table and bedside lamps. I rubbed sweaty hands against the sides of my pants. “What you said back at the bar about me getting rough with you, however. Now, that almost sounded like a dare.”

“Did it?”

“It did.”

Arms hanging loose at his sides, he just watched me, saying nothing. Jerk.

“So tell me.” I stood at the foot of the bed, facing him. Every part of me was wired, wide awake. “What’s going on, Joe?”

His shoulders rose and fell on a deep breath. “I realized something tonight.”

“What?”

“That I was falling into old habits. Doing what was easy instead of doing what I wanted.”

“Huh?”

“It was just before you spilled ice on that guy’s pants.”

“Sure. I can see how you’d be seduced by my smooth moves,” I said, voice filled with much doubt. My insides were ready to spontaneously combust. I swear I could feel sweat breaking out all over me, the man was just that hot. Also, my nerves were on high alert.

One corner of his lips tipped up. “You know how you said you weren’t jealous?”

“Yes?”

“Well, I was.”

Wow. I had nothing.

“This is the part where you’re supposed to admit you were jealous too,” he supplied.

“I didn’t think it needed to be said. I’m not that good a liar.”

“True,” he said. “Anyway, I made the pass at you and then I was leaving it up to you to figure out what you want. To be brave and make the next move.”

Softly, I laughed and shook my head. Men were such idiots.

“Make the first move? This isn’t a game. As I said last time the subject of sex came up, previous hurt feelings, etc. It’s going to get complicated.”

“Yeah, probably,” he said, voice deeper than I’d ever heard it.




Sunday, March 26, 2017

A Peek In The BiblioBin #234

Photo source: Bel/Bibliojunkies

Welcome to our Stacking the Shelves post! Stacking the Shelves (or as we like to call it, A Peek in the BiblioBin) has been created by the folks at Tynga's ReviewsIt's a way for bloggers to share what books they've won, received for review, purchased, borrowed from the library or friend, received as a gift, grabbed off the bookshelf, etc.


+  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +  +

For Review:


Beartown by Fredrik Backman

How To Bang A Billionaire (Ardren St. Ives #1) by Alexis Hall


It Happened On Love Street (Everland #1) by Lia Riley

Purchased:

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas


Borrowed:


The Valiant (The Valiant #1) by Lesley Livingston

Blush for Me (Fusion #3) by Kristen Proby




Thursday, March 23, 2017

The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Saenz

* * * * *


From the multi-award-winning author of Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe comes a gorgeous new story about love, identity, and families lost and found.

Sal used to know his place with his adoptive gay father, their loving Mexican-American family, and his best friend, Samantha. But it’s senior year, and suddenly Sal is throwing punches, questioning everything, and realizing he no longer knows himself. If Sal’s not who he thought he was, who is he?

This humor-infused, warmly humane look at universal questions of belonging is a triumph.



Source: advance e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review




My daughter has stars in her eyes every time she mentions Aristotle and Dante Discover the Universe. It's one of her favourite books and one she never hesitates to recommend to people. It's with this in mind that I wanted to read this latest one from S√°enz.

The Inexplicable Logic of Life explores what it's like being a teenager on the cusp of adulthood. For easy-going Sal who begins to observe the subtle changes underway during his senior year, that uncertainty manifests itself in violence.

Sal feels a shift has begun after hitting back at a schoolmate who called his father by a gay slur. His uncharacteristic outburst has him concerned and he doesn't know how to articulate it. His father who has to be the most even-tempered person in existence is the steady rock that he relies on. His philosophical approach to life is calming though it's not enough to ease whatever undercurrent of self-doubt he's experiencing. His grandmother's ailing health has him feeling that there's too much changing at once. His newfound anger also makes him wonder if it's a question of nature versus nurture; that he could be becoming more like his anonymous biological father than the loving, patient and kind-hearted father whom he admires and who has raised him as his own flesh and blood. All of these doubts make him question his place in his family and who he is becoming.

Reading about this boy turning into a man made me realize that these changes can evolve subtly without even knowing. Sal doesn't give himself enough credit though. He's actually rather astute about human nature and understands quite a bit. However, he's convinced that he's not ready to face his future because he has been sheltered. He's right up to a certain point. What he has yet to realize is that his big heart has prepared him for far more than he is aware of. Sal is also blessed to have the family he has. I wished that they could adopt me! As a quiet observer he sees how each family member demonstrates their love in their own way, whether it be through art, food or the generosity of giving money. As he ponders more about his own history, he reexamines his relationship with his adoptive father.

This is a special story told with such sweetness. There's a connection there, something that a reader can identify with easily. Even when things are looking bleak there's a strong presence of unconditional love holding keeping Sal from fully breaking. At one point I even paused my reading to text my daughter at school to say, "I get it". It made her so happy. It's a wonderful read that ends beautifully and simply put, you'll fall for this absolute treasure!

~ Bel


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye #1) by Sarina Bowen

* * * *


Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. 

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord's name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.
 



Source: e-galley provided in exchange for an honest review


Sarina Bowen. She's our hero. She writes some freaking amazing stories so you can rest assured that if she has a new one coming out we definitely want to get our hands on it.

Josh and Caleb have grown up secluded from the rest of the world in a cult called Paradise. Their experience is nothing like its name. Cut off from the outside world, they had a subpar education, a strict upbringing under sometimes impoverished circumstances.  Josh and Caleb have always been close friends with Caleb looking out for Josh most of the time. One's standing in Paradise depends on what family they're from, and as a man how they can contribute to its survival. A person's place within this cult is never guaranteed. Josh knows that he's one of the weakest links and is not surprised when he's thrown out of the cult. What is surprising is that Caleb follows him. And that's how the adventure begins for Josh, the shy, naive and gentle soul looking for his niche and Caleb, the stoic and loyal friend who feels the burden to fix everything.

After enduring years of indoctrination, you want the boys to experience happiness. I think cynics will find some of the events that occur too good to be true. I can't say that I disagree entirely considering how as readers we've come to expect plenty of angst when dealing with a troubled past. However, this is about Caleb and Josh's coming of age under different circumstances, on their own terms along with the support of a newfound family. For the first time in their young lives, they can determine the direction of their future. They get to love whom they want. First though, they need to overcome the guilt that's been drilled into them. Then they have to accept who they are. Running away from a religious cult is one thing. Abandoning their way of life and their force-fed doctrine - it's all they've ever known. Coming to terms with their sexuality when they've never had a point of reference - that has to be incredibly overwhelming and confusing. It's harder yet when they're unfamiliar with the outside world.

Readers of the True North series will recognize the name of the farm that Caleb and Josh run to after their escape (Runaway Farms) but that doesn't mean you have to read that series in order to read this. I was pulled into this sweet story and loved every moment of it except for one where I unexpectedly felt a knife to the heart. It was a "gasp" and "wth?" moment. I kid you not! That's how consumed I became with the story and invested in these two as a couple. 




Basically if you're a fan of Sabrina Bowen's then you want to read this. If you're new to her, read it. As usual she manages to explore complex situations by putting human faces to them, and she does it without shoving any agenda at you. I always appreciate that about her writing. You hope that Caleb and Josh get their HEA by the end. I just wanted to wrap them up in a tight hug and transfer all those years of love and kindness they'd been denied. I can't wait to see what happens next in Hello Forever.

~ Bel




Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Daily Grind by Anna Zabo

****


A man discovers that love can show up when you least expect it—and in a much different form—in this piping-hot romance from the author of Due Diligence and Just Business.

Brian Keppler, owner of Ground N'At, the coffee shop beneath SR Anderson Consulting, doesn't have time for a relationship. His most recent girlfriend broke up with him because he'd become married to his shop, which is falling apart without his favorite barista, Justin.

As he struggles to stay afloat, the arrival of handsome British high-tech whiz Robert Ancroft becomes another complication. Rob quickly becomes a fixture at the shop with his sharp wit and easy charm, and Brian soon finds himself looking forward more and more to Rob's visits—to the point where his heart skips a beat when he walks in. 

But will Brian be able to come to terms with his previously unexplored sexual identity and find happiness now that he has a chance?


Source:  e-galley in exchange for an honest review.  

Daily Grind is a sweet, hot treat, just like your cappuccino! Daily Grind was my first Anna Zabo, so it can totally be read as a standalone, or you will be like me and have to go back and read Zabo's backlist.  :-)  If you've read Takeover, Due Diligence and/or Just Business, there's considerably less kink in Daily Grind, but it's still a smoking hot story.  I loved Brian and Rob!  Brian and Rob have great chemistry.  This is a gay for you romance by a couple of guys who have been burned by love in the past.  They are snarky and fun and watching them fall is thoroughly enjoyable!   

If you are a Zabo fan, then you will love getting Brian's story.  If you are new to Zabo, then feel free to start here or start with Takeover and work your way through.  You can't go wrong either way!  

~ Shel

Monday, March 20, 2017

The Enemies of Versailles Spotlight & Guest Post

We are happy to be a part of The Enemies of Versailles Book Tour

Book 3 in the Mistresses of Versailles Trilogy by

Sally Christie


enemies-of-versailles

The Enemies of Versailles

(historical fiction) Release date: March 21, 2017 at Atria Books/Simon & Schuster 416 pages ISBN: 978-1501103025

SYNOPSIS

In the final installment of Sally Christie’s “tantalizing” (New York Daily News) Mistresses of Versailles trilogy, Jeanne Becu, a woman of astounding beauty but humble birth, works her way from the grimy back streets of Paris to the palace of Versailles, where the aging King Louis XV has become a jaded and bitter old philanderer. Jeanne bursts into his life and, as the Comtesse du Barry, quickly becomes his official mistress. “That beastly bourgeois Pompadour was one thing; a common prostitute is quite another kettle of fish.” After decades of suffering the King’s endless stream of Royal Favorites, the princesses of the Court have reached a breaking point. Horrified that he would bring the lowborn Comtesse du Barry into the hallowed halls of Versailles, Louis XV’s daughters, led by the indomitable Madame Adelaide, vow eternal enmity and enlist the young dauphiness Marie Antoinette in their fight against the new mistress. But as tensions rise and the French Revolution draws closer, a prostitute in the palace soon becomes the least of the nobility’s concerns. Told in Christie’s witty and engaging style, the final book in The Mistresses of Versailles trilogy will delight and entrance fans as it once again brings to life the sumptuous and cruel world of eighteenth century Versailles, and France as it approaches irrevocable change.

About the Author

Sisters of Versailles - Sally Christie

Sally Christie is the author of The Sisters of Versailles and The Rivals of Versailles. She was born in England and grew up around the world, attending eight schools in three different languages. She spent most of her career working in international development and currently lives in Toronto. Learn more her Versailles trilogy on her website Become a fan to hear about her next novels! 




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GUEST POST BY SALLY CHRIST

One always wonders what amazing bits of information authors come across during their research. Sally Christie shares with us one of the stranger things she discovered during her research for The Enemies of Versailles.


Merkins, Oh My!

When writing historical fiction, the best part about the research process is the funny and often quirky anecdotes that you uncover. While researching The Enemies of Versailles, I had to deep dive into the seedy underworld of Paris vice, as that was the world that Jeanne, the eventual Comtesse du Barry and Louis XV’s last mistress, came from. Before coming to the king’s attention, Jeanne was a casual courtesan, pimped out by her lover, the Comte du Barry, a minor noble who ran a gambling hall where he entertained some of the Versailles high aristocrats who also became Jeanne’s clients / lovers.

While researching that world, I discovered that merkins – those little pubic wigs – were quite popular in the 18th century. Syphilis was rampant in 18th century France and one of the side effects was baldness, including baldness “down there”. Apparently prostitutes used the merkin to avoid showing the symptoms of the deadly disease and keep their business going. Yikes.

In 18th century Paris, if you had the money, you could indulge any of your fetishes or desires, no matter how debauched or technically illegal. I gave one of my characters a fetish for pubic hair and took the idea of the merkin one step further: he was collecting the pubic hair of his many (syphilis-free, one presumes) lovers, in order to make a wig out of the combined hairs! I wonder what that should be called?

Thanks Sally Christie! Now there's some trivia to bust out at the next party!


ENTER THE GIVEAWAY HERE


Visit each blogger on the tour: tweeting about the giveaway everyday of the Tour will give you 5 extra entries each time! [just follow the directions on the entry-form]




Global giveaway - for US residents only 5 winners of a print copy


CLICK ON THE BANNER TO READ REVIEWS, EXCERPTS, GUEST-POSTS

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