Tag Archives: published: 2014-11

Starstruck by L.A. Witt

Starstruck

Starstruck by L.A. Witt

Series: Bluewater Bay, Book 1
Published by: Riptide Publishing on November 3, 2014
Rating: 3 stars (★★★☆☆)

Levi Pritchard moved to Bluewater Bay to retire and get away from all things Hollywood. Although he always loved acting, he loathed everything that came with it. And he disliked needing to live a certain way or keeps parts of his life a secret the most. It was more than enough to deal with on top of his alcoholic, conservative parents. So Levi finds himself conflicted when he’s offered a role on one of television’s hottest new shows being filmed right in Bluewater Bay. It would be the ultimate comeback, but even in the offer there is mention of him doing whatever it takes to make sure the old rumors about his sexuality don’t resurface. And that’s exactly the kind of thing he doesn’t want to deal with.

Carter Samuels is the hot lead on one of television’s hottest shows. He’s been open about his sexuality before he made it big in the business, so there’s no question of where his interests lie. And when he spots the man who inspired him to go into acting, Levi Pritchard, touring the set, he seizes the opportunity to track him down. And while he really does intend to just ask him for some advice, when the two hit it off and become friends, Carter can’t help wanting more. But he knows he can’t have it. Yes, there were rumors years ago, but Levi is straight. Right?

I’m not sure why it took me so long to pick up this series. I remember hearing about it when it kicked off, but I think I just had so much else to read. Of course, they’ve kicked it off with an excellent author, so it shouldn’t be too surprising that it starts off strong. I found this to be an enjoyable read. I did feel like Levi’s decisions near the end seemed a bit abrupt, but aside from that, I do give this a solid recommendation.

Safe in His Arms by Renae Kaye

23479658Title: Safe in His Arms
Author: Renae Kaye
Published: November 28, 2014
Pages: 208
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:

Casey has had been through a very traumatic experience which has left him unable to trust most people, especially men. But when he meets Lon by chance in the shower of his grandmother’s trailer park, the two hit it off in completely unexpected ways. There is something about Lon that Casey finds safe, and despite a significant age difference, Casey wants to pursue their relationship. But Lon has a history of his own and events in his own past that he still hasn’t come to terms with and when the two come to a head, will they be able to make it work?

I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect with this one, but I found myself pleasantly surprised. Casey and Lon’s relationship is endearing and emotional and sometimes just downright amusing, too. I really enjoyed reading about them and their experiences.

Content warning: Discussions of past sexual abuse.

Third Eye by Rick R. Reed

23489343Title: Third Eye
Author: Rick R. Reed
Published: November 11, 2014 (originally published 2008)
Pages: 264
Publisher: DSP Publications
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:

When Cayce D’Amico goes out in search of his son Luke during a thunderstorm, the most he expect will happen is that he’ll get soaked by the rain. So when lightning strikes a tree causing a branch to fall and knock him unconscious, he already has more than he bargained for. When he wakes, however, he finds that he now receives visions about other people, notably two young girls who have recently gone missing. Because the visions are so vivid, Cayce can’t help but feel he must help them, even though no one believes him. No one, that is, besides local report Dave Newton, who has piqued Cayce’s interest as well.

I did enjoy this even though it’s a bit different that some of the other Rick R. Reed stories that I’ve read before. It’s not so much a murder mystery as the reader knows who is responsible from the beginning and sees their actions parallel to the other characters involved. But it is still very compelling, though I’d have to say it’s not really one for the weak of heart.

The Barefoot Queen by Ildefonso Falcones

21423574Title: The Barefoot Queen
Author: Ildefonso Falcones
Published: November 25, 2014 (English publication)
Pages: 656
Publisher: Crown Publishing
Publisher Website: link
Rating: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
Review:

[Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.]

When Caridad’s master dies en route from Cuba to Spain, her entire life changes. She suddenly finds herself a freed black slave in a new land with nowhere to go. And she quickly finds that things don’t get easier just because she’s free. When she crosses paths with Milagros, a young gypsy woman, she is somewhat surprised to find someone who shows her compassion. Milagros invites Caridad to come and stay with her and her family–a decision that means changes for Milagros, Caridad, and everyone else around them. What follows is a period of trials and tribulations that causes both women to learn things about themselves and each other they might never have learned otherwise but needed to know. Through tragedy and triumph, love and loss, they find themselves and the true freedom that was waiting just beyond their grasp.

This is an incredibly well-written book. The characters are real and dynamic and Falcones seems to effortlessly paint the world in which they live right onto the page. The range here is great and the story is more than interesting.

That said–this book is LONG. Coming in at 656 pages, one really needs to be committed for the long haul to get through this. Which can be challenging when one gets into some of the more-difficult-to-stomach scenes. And there are some moments where it seems to drag, which made me wonder if it could have been shored up by about 100 pages or so and still have been just as impactful (or even more so).

Definitely worth a read it you’re interested at all in historical fiction–especially 1700s Europe.

CONTENT WARNINGS: violence/murder, sexual abuse/rape, spousal abuse

Fair Play by Josh Lanyon

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Title: Fair Play (All’s Fair, Book 2)
Author: Josh Lanyon
Published: November 10, 2014
Publisher: Carina Press
Pages: 250

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
Elliot Mills hoped that he’d left his crime-solving life behind after leaving the FBI and becoming a college professor. He was wrong. But surely after he found himself wrapped up in a serial killer case that almost led to his own death, he’s done with all of that. When his father’s house catches fire in the middle of the night and the investigators immediately suspect arson, he Elliot knows he’s deep into it again. But who could want to harm his father? Considering his father’s anti-government antics in his youth, it turns out that list might be longer than Elliot thinks. And with things just starting to settle between Elliot and his former FBI partner turned live-in boyfriend, Tucker, there’s an added layer of complication to Elliot’s attempts to help ensure his father is safe and to keep his relationship on solid footing.

I have to start out by saying that I liked this better than the first installment in the series. In part, I think it helps jumping in when Elliot and Tucker’s relationship is better established and there’s some consistency there between them. I also felt like this one was a bit more plot/story-driven than Fair Game, which made it a bit more suspenseful and engaging. And I love a mystery that can keep me guessing until as close to the reveal as possible – which is something that Fair Play certainly delivers. Fans of Josh Lanyon will definitely love this, but anyone who is interested in a good mystery with a healthy side of M/M romance (and some sexual tension in that relationship) is sure to enjoy it, too.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)

Mr. Samuel’s Penny by Treva Hall Melvin

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Title: Mr. Samuel’s Penny
Author: Treva Hall Melvin
Published: November 4, 2014
Publisher: The Poisoned Pencil
Pages: 265

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
Elizabeth “Lizbeth” Landers is spending the summer with her aunt, uncle, and sister in a small North Carolina town. While she was certainly looking forward to the visit, she could not have expected what the summer held in store. Not long after her arrival, there was an accident on a nearby bridge – but what looked like an accident to everyone at the scene looked a bit more suspicious to Lizbeth, especially when she learned that the driver was holding a rare penny in his hand when he was pulled from the water. As an avid collector of rare pennies herself, Lizbeth sets out on the case – often passively so – to track down the missing penny and the truth about that fateful evening on the bridge.

I tend to be a bit particular about mysteries when I read them. I prefer not to have a strong idea of the outcome of the story until closer to the end because otherwise why spend the time reading it. And I feel like Treva Hall Melvin has achieved that here. While I definitely found myself having suspicions throughout the book, they shifted enough over time and there were enough twists and turns that the ending hit me right before it happened. And the characters and interactions that are secondary to the mystery are also just enough to truly build out the world (and sometimes distract from the whodunnit plot) without getting in the way of the main story.

Disclaimer: I received a free advance reviewer copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

David’s Selfie by Daisy Harris

22737045

Title: David’s Selfie
Author: Daisy Harris
Published: November 18, 2014
Publisher: Samhain Publishing

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Review:
David is a single father who really just wants to get laid before the end of the year. He makes plans to meet up with a guy at a bar, but when he decides the guy is not for him he rushes out of the bar in such a hurry, he leaves his cell phone behind. Enter Craig, who finds the phone and returns it to David. They hit it off and David finds himself drawn to Craig. But what will David think if he finds out what Craig does for a living? Or if he learns that Craig was drawn to him because of a particular photo of David (or at least a part of David) that he saw on the phone?

This is an incredibly charming story, which is not too surprising considering the fact that it was penned by Daisy Harris. Her skill at writing relationships with just the right amount of realistic tension coupled with a passion that just shines right off the page is a talent I have really come to appreciate when I read her work. David and Craig are a wonderful couple and it’s definitely fun to see the dance that plays out here.

(eGalley provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.)