Heart and Hand by Rebel Carter

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3 Out of 5 Stars

Summary

It doesn’t take long for Julie Baptiste to realize she yearns for more than the non-stop engagements and niceties dictated by New York high society. So, she decides to do something bold and answers an advertisement for a mail-order bride in Gold Sky, Montana.

Ex-Union soldiers Forrest Wickes and William Barnes have been inseparable since the War. They share everything, including the desire to find a wife. A woman who is willing to marry them both and provide the isolated town with a much needed teacher.

When Julie arrives in Montana the three of them must figure out how to navigate the boundaries of their new lives. Can Forrest and Will come together to provide what Julie needs and protect the heart of the woman who’s made her way intimately into theirs?

And how will a debutante-turned-teacher manage frontier life with two husbands?

Review

I received this book in a LGBTQ+ themed advent book box from The Ripped Boddice (WHICH I FREAKING LOVED and I hope they do it again this year). I debated about reviewing Heart and Hand on here, as there isn’t much explored within the relationship of the two men featured, but there were undertones of a M/M relationship even though it wasn’t explicitly written out. 

I’m a fan of the mail-order bride trope, there’s something so satisfying to see a relationship blossom into friendship and then into romantic love. That’s kind of what you get here with Julie, Forrest, and Will. 

Forrest and Will, although it is never expressly written, have a lovers bond. That’s how I interpreted. They needed someone to balance them out and Julie was the perfect addition to their lives. She’s spirited, sexy, and full of energy. Forrest and Will? Whoo, those fellas, they definitely had the rugged cowboy, law officer persona down pat. 

Julie’s jealousy, there was something about it that made me just as jealous as she was. There were times I wanted Julie smash a pie in someone’s face, but Julie is obviously more well-behaved than I am. Not only could I feel her irritation, but I could feel Forrest and Will’s frustration. 

Romance wise, it’s on the lighter side of the steam factor. There was a lot of buildup but not enough oomph, at least for me. 

This one left me wanting and I felt a little let down that it was marketed as a MMF novel. Was it a decent read? Yes, I enjoyed reading it. I love a good historical fiction featuring cowboys and a socialite. 

Get your copy here

Finding Sarah by April Canniff

BOOK BLAST

Book Title: Finding Sarah

Author: Aprille Canniff

Publisher: Fulton Books

Release Date: August 26, 2021

Genre:  Romance, F/F Romance

Tropes: Trauma, New Girl in Town

Themes: Internal Struggle, Relationship, Love

Heat Rating: 3 flames    

Length: 60 000 words/ 187 pages

The book ends on a cliffhanger. There is a follow-on book coming.

Goodreads

Buy Links

Amazon US  |  Amazon UK

The past has left her scarred and broken, but does she have the strength to risk her heart on the future?

Blurb 

When Sarah steps off the plane in Provincetown, she has only one goal—to leave the past behind her. As she begins her journey of rediscovering herself, she meets one of the town’s deputies under less-than-ideal circumstances but soon finds herself drawn to her in ways she knows she can’t allow.

Deputy Catrina Diaz loves her job, her family, and her friends, which is why she became a deputy to begin with, to keep her town and those she loves safe. When she crosses paths with Sarah, a newcomer to town, she finds herself wanting more than Sarah is wanting to give.

Sarah fights hard to find herself as the past keeps finding new ways to haunt her. As their relationship grows, will the secrets Sarah is hiding, secrets that Cat realizes everyone knows but her, finally pull them apart? Can Sarah trust Cat enough to overcome her past and the insecurities it has caused and take a chance on the one thing she thought she could never have again-love?

Excerpt 

Grateful for the privacy, Sarah sat down, facing Cat on the couch. “Cat, I don’t want you to think…” Sarah paused, struggling to find the words to explain.

“What? That you’re avoiding me?” Cat reached over and took Sarah’s hand, their fingers automatically intertwining. “Sarah, I like you. I like spending time with you.”

Sarah was overcome with sadness. “Cat, we can’t.”

“Give me one good reason why.”

A tear slid down her cheek as she spoke the simple truth that had consumed her since she had met Cat. “Because I’m broken, and you deserve better.”

Cat reached over and gently wiped the errant tear away from Sarah’s cheek. “We are all broken in some way, but that doesn’t mean we can’t help each other to heal.”

Sarah shook her head, frustrated for what she wanted and for what she could never have. “Cat, you don’t understand.”

“No, I don’t, but I’m willing to wait until you are ready to tell me. Until then…” Cat leaned forward and gently, almost shyly, placed a soft kiss on Sarah’s lips. The feel of Sarah’s lips flooded her senses and filled her with a warmth so intense she finally understood what all the romance novels were talking about. She understood what it meant to fall with one simple kiss. “I want to spend time getting to know the Sarah you are wanting to become.”

Sarah did her best to fight back and hide the feelings she had for Cat, but that kiss, how could she hold back now? That one simple kiss tore down the walls she had built to protect herself and others. She had to do what was right and stop this before it got out of control, but what her mind wanted was overridden by her heart, surprising even herself. “Cat, I don’t know if I could handle you walking away if you find out what happened to me. I’m telling you, it’s horrible, and it’s not something you can unsee.”

It broke Cat’s heart to see the tears that were now flowing freely down Sarah’s cheeks. She wanted to erase the past and the hurt it had caused her. Instead, she pulled Sarah into her arms and held her as she cried. “I see you for who you are, and that’s all that matters. Just give me a chance to prove it to you.”

Sarah wanted to say no because she couldn’t take anymore hurt or disappointment in her life, but the longer Cat held her, the harder it was to fight. Finally, she dried her eyes and sat up. “Maybe…”

About the Author

Aprille Canniff retired from the military after 24 years of service and has deployed to multiple Middle Eastern locations throughout her military career.  She is a full-time Deputy Sheriff who loves her job and wakes up every morning ready for another day.  Her passions include fishing as a catch and release type girl and hiking with her wife.  Her two cats determine the pace of her future books so she never gives a timeline for completion.

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

Review to Follow Soon!

Upcoming reviews!

I had to take a break from reviewing due to work and life in general. I’ve picked up old comfort books, like R.L. Stine, Leigh Bardugo. But nothing that fit my blog. I wanted to give ya’ll a little preview of books I have in line to read and review.

 

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Strength Check (Dungeons and Dating, #1)            58111070. sy475

The Priory of the Orange Tree by Samantha Shannon

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Five out of Five Stars

Summary

A world divided. A queendom without an heir. An ancient enemy awakens.

The House of Berethnet has ruled Inys for a thousand years. Still unwed, Queen Sabran the Ninth must conceive a daughter to protect her realm from destruction – but assassins are getting closer to her door.

Ead Duryan is an outsider at court. Though she has risen to the position of lady-in-waiting, she is loyal to a hidden society of mages. Ead keeps a watchful eye on Sabran, secretly protecting her with forbidden magic.

Across the dark sea, Tané has trained to be a dragonrider since she was a child, but is forced to make a choice that could see her life unravel.

Meanwhile, the divided East and West refuse to parley, and forces of chaos are rising from their sleep.

The Review

This book is a whopping 848 pages and took me 24 days to read (hence the pause in my reviews) but it was very much worth the read!

The Priory of the Orange Tree features LGBTQ+ characters and a dash of romance, but that isn’t the main focus of this novel. It is an epic fantasy featuring dragons, magic, witches, pirates, women who kick ass, and a battle to save the world they know.

Ead Duryan was once an outsider at court, killing anyone who threatened Queen Sabran in the shadows, rises to be a lady-in-waiting for Sabran. She uses forbidden magic to keep the Queen safe. The closer she gets to Sabran, the more she wonders if what she had been taught growing up is the true religion or if there may be something to the religion of Inys.

In Inys dragons are wrong and should be slain.

Across the dark sea, dragons are worshipped as gods.

Tane, who has been training since she was a child to become a dragonrider, faces challenges that she hadn’t expected she would ever face. She gracefully takes what is given (I want to go into detail here so badly but that would spoil it) and in the end, you see she truly has the heart of a dragonrider. Courageous, fearless, and unrelenting.

Each of the women has a special place in my heart. They were the main characters and each of their stories was vital to this overarching story. Ead was my favorite. She faced leaving her home for years, falling in love, then she has to run for her life, but she didn’t give up on the people who threatened her life.

Tane pushed forward when she thought she couldn’t push herself any further. I was in awe of her drive.

Loth, as a secondary character, I sure was invested in his journey from start to finish. I needed him to make it through each event that he faced. You have no idea how I want to detail his journey but I won’t. He was strong and willing to venture into infinitely dangerous territories because it was for Inys.

Roos, this fella here, oh boy. He made me grind my teeth and I could feel his anger and distrust towards Inys and the pirates.    

I highly recommend reading this book if you are into fantasy novels and epic worlds. It’s a vivid and exciting adventure starting from page one.

Get your copy here!

The Love Study by Kris Ripper

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Three out of Five Stars

Summary

Declan has commitment issues. He’s been an office temp for literally years now, and his friends delight in telling people that he left his last boyfriend at the altar.

And that’s all true. But he’s starting to think it’s time to start working on his issues. Maybe.

When Declan meets Sidney—a popular nonbinary YouTuber with an advice show—an opportunity presents itself: as part of The Love Study, Declan will go on a series of dates arranged by Sidney and report back on how the date went in the next episode.

The dates are…sort of blah. It’s not Sidney’s fault; the folks participating are (mostly) great people, but there’s no chemistry there. Maybe Declan’s just broken.

Or maybe the problem is that the only person he’s feeling chemistry with is Sidney.

Review

When I saw The Love Study I grabbed this book up to read and review without hesitation. There aren’t enough books out there that feature nonbinary characters as a love interest.

Declan, always introduced to new people as, “This is Declan, he left his boyfriend at the alter” doesn’t have the best dating record. When he meets Sidney, a YouTuber with an advice show, an opportunity jumps him in the face. Sidney will arrange a series of dates and his report of how those dates went would be featured in Sidney’s YouTube show The Love Study.

What I enjoyed about the dates? Each date was so different from the one before it. Then, of course, we figure out why the dates weren’t as successful as they could have been. Declan is attracted to and has chemistry with is Sidney.

When they finally get together, it was the sweetest thing ever. There were moments I had the cheesiest grin when they would spend time together. Sidney was an introvert, through and through, which I related to so much. I’m good with spending moments of quiet with another person and I’d be content with that. You don’t really get to see introverts portrayed the way Sidney was and I was all about it.

The banter between all the characters was so much fun. Like, the Marginalized Motherfuckers? LOVED them in all their messy goodness. I could see why their friendship had survived for so long.

There were a couple of issues I had with The Love Study. I couldn’t picture either Sidney or Declan at all. It made me crazy not being able to picture them in my head as I was reading. Then the conflict towards the end, it left me with a meh feeling.

Overall, this was a good read. Would I recommend it to other readers? Yes! We need more diversity and this was refreshing and easy to get lost in!

Pre-Order your copy here

Winter Masquerade by Kevin Klehr

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Four out of Five Stars

Summary:

Ferris wakes on the Sea Queen, an enchanted cruise ship sailing on a chocolate sea. He has no idea how he got here, but he desperately wants to go home to his boyfriend.

The alchemist is the only person who can help Ferris, but he’s been kidnapped. The ransom is high tea with scones and jam.

Meanwhile, the passengers are gearing up for the Winter Masquerade, a ball where love and magic reign.

With a murderous musician, an absent boyfriend, and a mystical party, Ferris soon learns that Wednesday is not the day to fall in love.

Review

The first thing I have to say about Winter Masquerade is the fact that it is entirely unique. I finished reading it a couple of days ago but I needed time to digest and analyze my thoughts about this story. There are so many layers and within its pages and it deserved the time. I’ve seen several people refer to it as absurdist fiction, but I don’t have any true experience with it. So I’m going to review it as what it meant to me while reading it.

Ferris wakes up in a world that doesn’t make sense. The sea is made of chocolate and there are characters with outlandish names (Miss Represent, Miss Calculation) that keep talking circles around him. He wants to find his way home. But to get there, he has to learn who he is and what he wants for himself.

I picked up quickly what was happening or happened to Ferris in real life that put him on board the Sea Queen. It was interesting that interspersed between the vivid, colorful characters, there were characters like Cole who served as a grounding factor for Ferris. He was able to see the type of person, the type of relationship he wanted. If it was possible to have that in this crazy world, then he could have it in real life.

I felt Ferris blossom and become the person he wanted to be. I, so very much, enjoyed seeing Ferris become Ferris. The Sea Queen and it’s permanent residents, taught him the importance of a support system. No matter how wacky that system may seem.

Give this one a read, it was one of the more memorable books I’ve had the pleasure of reading in the past few months. AND! I absolutely agree that Wednesdays bring nothing but trouble.

Get your copy here

Read the tags for an idea of what Ferris was dealing with. 

 

 

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5 – Out December 10th

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In Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5, award-winning editor Rachel Kramer Bussel takes readers on an outrageous journey into the world of female fantasy and desire. These sexy stories offer up wild, hot and steamy tales from today’s top authors. You’ll be swept away by the sexiest business deal ever, break the rules in a future world where skin on skin contact is forbidden, and discover the art of getting off by phone sex.

From threesomes to mermaid sex, fetishes, sex parties and much more, these authors steam up the pages with tales of trysts, love, and lust where nothing is held back. If you’re looking to escape from the everyday and discover what happens when women are ready to get totally outrageous, this book is for you.
With new stories by beloved authors including Joanna Angel, Balli Kaur Jaswal, CD Reiss, Sierra Simone, and Sabrina Sol, along with newcomers to the genre, you’ll savor every sizzling page.

Check out an Excerpt and enter the Giveaway!!

**For your LesFic fix in this anthology, check out: The Summer of 1669 by Lee Minxton, Spin by Lauren Emily **

Continue reading “Blog Tour and Giveaway: Best Women’s Erotica of the Year, Volume 5 – Out December 10th”

Breaking Down Her Walls by Erin Zak

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Four out of Five Stars

The Summary: Leaving is what Julia Finch does best.

When a meeting with her birth parents goes horribly wrong, Julia escapes on a hastily planned road trip and winds up breaking down in a Colorado town so small the cows outnumber the people. Completely out of her element, she takes a temporary job as a ranch hand at Bennett Ranch. She only has to survive long enough to get her car fixed, and then she’s out of there for good.

Her bad luck continues when she meets the ranch owner, Elena Bennett. Elena is unhappy, abrasive, and annoyingly breathtaking. But the longer Julia stays, the more the ranch starts to feel like home, and her feelings for Elena become impossible to ignore. She’s spent years building her defenses high and running from her past. Could a love worth staying for be the key to breaking down her walls?

The Review

Julia Finch is a runner. If something doesn’t work out well, she moves on. There’s no point in living the disappointment day in and out, is there? When a road trip ends up with her car broken down and no where close to being fixed without dropping a pretty penny, Elijah strikes her a deal. If she works at the Bennett Ranch to pay off the repairs to her car, he’ll get it fixed and then she can move on. It’s a decent deal, even if she has no idea what she’s doing. She didn’t expect to like the ranch owner, Elena Bennett as much as she does. It makes leaving all that much harder.

Now this is an age-gap romance and I have a difficult time finding that in lesbian romances but this hit the spot. It wasn’t your typical meet and move in type of relationship that I have a knack for finding. This was a slow, steady burn that made you want Julia or Elena to make a move. When the move was made, *fans self* whoa boy. They had some intense chemistry and weren’t afraid to get lost in each other. Zak writes sex scenes that don’t make me uncomfortable when I’m reading them. They flow well, it’s never one-sided, both characters are just as into to the moment as the other was.

What I really enjoyed was the fact that each character, Cole, Elijah, Toni, the horses and even Penny, they were all what pushed the story along. (Although Penny I felt like wasn’t entirely necessary to this story, more like just thrown in there as an after thought) I liked reading about the secondary characters as much I liked reading about Julia and Elena. Cole is my spirit animal.

Elena and Julia found themselves when Julia’s car broke down in Colorado. They flourished as they got to know each other. It was a treat to see both of these women settle into their skin again and I don’t think they would have done so if they hadn’t met each other.

I’m definitely looking forward to more written by Erin Zak, she’s become a one-click author.

Get your copy here!

Dali by E. M. Hamill

Four Stars out of Five

Summary: Dalí Tamareia has everything—a young family and a promising career as an Ambassador in the Sol Fed Diplomatic Corps. Dalí’s path as a peacemaker seems clear, but when their loved ones are killed in a terrorist attack, grief sends the genderfluid changeling into a spiral of self-destruction.

Fragile Sol Fed balances on the brink of war with a plundering alien race. Their skills with galactic relations are desperately needed to broker a protective alliance, but in mourning, Dalí no longer cares, seeking oblivion at the bottom of a bottle, in the arms of a faceless lover, or at the end of a knife.

The New Puritan Movement is rising to power within the government, preaching strict genetic counseling and galactic isolation to ensure survival of the endangered human race. Third gender citizens like Dalí don’t fit the mold of this perfect plan, and the NPM will stop at nothing to make their vision become reality. When Dalí stumbles into a plot threatening changelings like them, a shadow organization called the Penumbra recruits them for a rescue mission full of danger, sex, and intrigue, giving Dalí purpose again.

Risky liaisons with a sexy, charismatic pirate lord could be Dalí’s undoing—and the only way to prevent another deadly act of domestic terrorism.

 

The Review 

Dali by E.M. Hamill is a sci-fi adventure featuring Dali Tamareia, an empathetic, genderfluid changeling. The core of Dali’s story is about the third gender, which is neither male nor female but can change between both. Shifting their sexual organs, the timbre of their voice, and often times the changeling leans more towards male or female but Dali is different. Dali prefers the neutral.

As you read, you delve into political plots, different worlds and the views of the characters in these worlds. Dali had their flaws. After her family is torn apart in a terrorist attack, Dali spirals into risking their life. In the process they encounter a situation involving other third gender beings being kidnapped and sold on the market to the highest bidder. Dali finds themselves needing to find a way to save those who had been kidnapped and sold.

Dali meets Rhix, who even though he’s the villain, I couldn’t help but like him and understand why Dali was charmed by him. He wasn’t disgusted by Dali’s nature. He wanted to learn more. In Dali’s interactions with Rhix they reverted to the female form. It was a major point in the storyline and the scenes with the two of them were full of delicious sexual tension. I think the detail taken to explain Dali and their body, how they felt and the empathetic feelings in those moments, made those scenes quite steamy.

The only downside to this was the elaborate terminology that you had to learn. There was such a diverse cast, it got a little difficult to keep up with the different species and abilities that each had. As soon as I finished reading the novel I found the dictionary at the back. So sneak a peek at that if you are having issues with the terminology. It was a little slow in the beginning but overall I enjoyed the read. I loved not only the main characters but the secondary characters. Also the fact that there were a lot of Princess Bride references and codes use, it made it fun.

Would I recommend this to others? If they’re Sci-Fi fans and love elaborate worlds. This is a book for them!

Purchase Here