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Review: Heart of Ice by T.B. Markinson and Miranda MacLeod #LesRom #LesFic #WLW #500 #BookReview @50YearProject

What happens when the one person who makes your heart sing is also the one person who could destroy everything you’ve worked for?

Synopsis:

Laurie “the Hatchet” Emerson is a ruthless leader in Boston finance who’s rumoured to have a block of ice where her heart should be. If only. Recently widowed, Laurie fears she’s broken beyond repair, until a once-in-a-lifetime business deal reignites her passion for work and gives her a shot at proving to the world she still has some life left in her.

Jack Kennedy is a young portfolio manager who aspires to greatness. Unfortunately, she’s so many rungs down the corporate ladder she can’t even scrape up enough money to move out of her mother’s apartment. Her luck changes when her work ethic is finally rewarded with the job opportunity of her dreams.

A blizzard forces their worlds to collide, but what was meant to be a no-strings night of passion becomes more complicated when they both arrive at the office the next morning to discover they each spent the night with the one person in the city who could crush their futures.

Together, they just might hold the keys to everything they’ve ever wanted, but the difference in their ages and positions could spell the end of their careers. 

Will the ice queen and the protégé find happiness together or lose everything?

Five hundred book reviews!!!! Woohoo!!

My book review blogging officially started with T.B. Markinson. She was the first author to add me to her ARC team. It seemed only fitting that I make sure she is a milestone author for the annals of blogging history in an official capacity. Now that I am famous, in my Mom’s mind only, I can ensure that my success spreads to Markinson and she can now capitalize on my fame and finally get the recognition she so rightly deserves. From one Massachusetts writer to another, I thank her tremendously for just giving me a book to read. Thank you.

Now on to why you are really here…yes, Markinson wrote the sex scenes – she even says so in the Author notes. (laugh) Yes, they are really good.

T.B. Markinson and Miranda MacLeod team up again for Heart of Ice set in one of my favorite towns: Boston, Massachusetts. The city’s energy and history plays a part in the story and I love it. For those still trapped indoors, it allows us to “get out” and go on a walkabout through a great city.

The setup for Jack and Laurie is fun and definitely delicious. I fell for Jack in that bar and never lost interest. Markinson and MacLeod created fabulous chemistry and repartee between Jack and Laurie. I kept waiting with bated breath for Jack to get one of those small smiles that Laurie gives. It warms me now just to think about it. 

Jack and Laurie are one of those couples that you can read over and over again. Markinson and MacLeod bring humor, sensuality, comfort, dysfunction, and old-style romance to Heart of Ice. This book is a must read, you have to let it warm you as Fall blows in.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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Meet the Authors

T.B. Markinson

Miranda MacLeod

Further Details:
Publisher: Self-published, 979-8680040423, 25 August 2020
Cover Design: Victoria Cooper
Editor: Kelly Hashway
Series: N/A
Pages: 288
Settings: Boston, MA, US
Sex: Rated R

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4Bio and/or Synopsis are from Goodreads.

Review: Sindry by Crystel Greene

Sometimes doing your duty means following your heart…

Sindry: A Rescue Gay Romance

Synopsis:

Braedan Greyson, twenty-seven, stopped dreaming about having his own omega a long time ago. He’s been his siblings’ pack alpha since age sixteen, and keeping those in his charge safe and happy is all he wants from life. 

When he starts out at Fennys Den College as the new healer, he’s more than a little shocked to find students consider him mating material. Then, one night, a bruised and battered young alpha is brought into the college infirmary. All Braedan can do is treat the patient’s injuries and send him on his way. The rules demand that he keep his distance.

But for the first time in his life, doing the right thing doesn’t feel right. At all.

Sindry Starling has been different for as long as he can remember, and his family makes him suffer for it. When Dr. Greyson puts his strong, gentle hands on him, Sindry’s life changes forever. And so does his body. The young assistant teacher has always known there’s a touch of omega in him, but he’s never expected to go into actual heat. Let alone to end up in the college emergency department needing a mating intervention from the new doctor with the dazzling pack leader vibes.

Sindry falls for Braedan, hard. And Braedan realizes that Sindry is the perfect mate he never knew he needed. 

Their connection and chemistry defy the conventions of their highly traditional world. When Sindry’s pack find out about them, they become a threat to his very life. 

If there’s anyone who can take on the Starlings, it’s Braedan Greyson. And he’s ready to do everything in his power to keep Sindry safe.

But how can the two alphas find a way to be together? With the rules and realities stacked against them, is there a chance for a happily ever after?

Sindry is a non-shifter omegaverse gay romance featuring a pack leader who’s wired to protect, a troubled young alpha who’s all wrong for him, three college balls, a mate-or-die emergency, a pack-alpha fight, a coming out, and a fairy-tale happy ending.

Sindry and Braedan are two alphas to fall in love with in Crystel Greene’s latest entry in the Fenny’s Den College series: Sindry. I always get excited when I see an email from Greene regarding a new book release because I know I am getting a heartfelt romance with a lot of heat. Greene does not disappoint with Sindry.

Let me warn readers that there is a bullying storyline and violence attached to this story and a main character. The pain can be difficult to read at times, but there is a resolution to this storyline. The resolution parallels the wolf heritage and therefore makes sense to the storyline. 

Greene takes an interesting chance with the character of Sindry and I love it. Sindry is an alpha in a state of flux which I find a lot of us are in right now with the emergence of different label identities. The willingness to be open, self-identify, and accept one’s own self and then share it with the world is a topic that Greene explores intelligently and sensitively.

The task of balancing real-life issues with romance can be hard as we all know, but Greene makes it seem easy. The chemistry between Braedan and Sindry is off the charts. I can say that if I was sitting in a tree, I would just watch and listen because it is all steam. (wink)

If you have not started this series, no worries as Sindry can be read as a standalone. Jump on the Greene bandwagon and head back to college, at least with Greene you can do it safely and with some heat.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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The Fennys Den College Series is a paranormal non-shifter omegaverse gay romance series about the Greyson brothers and their struggles to find love in a world under threat.

#1 Stray: A Fake Mate Gay Romance

#2 Holiday Heat: A Christmas Gay Romance

#4 Laska: A Single Dad Gay Romance is set for release in 20 December 2020

#5 Shae: An Opposites Attract Gay Romance is set for release on 10 May 2021

Meet the Author

Crystel Greene

Further Details:
Publisher: Self-Published, 9 August 2020
Cover Design: Crystel Greene Cover Design
Editor: Sophie Major and Ann Attwood
Series: Fenny’s Den College #3
Pages: 76,000 words
Settings: Fenny’s Den College
Sex: Rated R

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3Book is available on Kindle Unlimited at time of posting
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Review: Chaos by Iris Johansen

CIA agent Alisa Flynn, who is willing to go rogue if it means catching the most heartless band of criminals she’s ever encountered.

Synopsis:

When CIA agent Alisa Flynn flaunts the rules by breaking into a mansion in the middle of the night, she skillfully circumvents alarms and outwits guards only to find herself standing in billionaire Gabe Korgan’s study . . . busted by Korgan himself. This could cost her her job unless, in a split second, she can turn the tables and try to convince him to join her on the most important mission of her life.

In a ripped-from-the-headlines plot, schoolgirls in Africa have been kidnapped, and Alisa knows that Korgan has the courage, financial means, and high-tech weaponry to help rescue them. With so many innocent lives hanging in the balance, what she doesn’t reveal is that one of those schoolgirls is like a little sister to her. But when the truth gets out, the stakes grow even higher.

Calling in additional assistance from renowned horse whisperer Margaret Douglas, Alisa and Gabe lay their plans, only to see them descend into chaos as the line between right and wrong wavers before them like a mirage. Every path is strewn with pitfalls, each likely to get them — or the hostages — killed. But with the help of a brave team and a horse with the heart of a warrior, they might just get out of this alive.4

Amazon lists Chaos as a “Cozy Animal Mystery”…yeah…NO! I have no clue where this label came from but Iris Johansen has written an action-packed thriller with dark overtones – this is not your grandma’s cozy cat mystery book. 

Chaos is an exciting tale about a young lady who is similar to Margaret Douglas, who in case this is your first Johansen book, has an affinity with animals. Sasha is especially close to horses. It is this circumstance unfortunately which lands her in the hands of killers and slave traders.

Coming to Sasha’s rescue is her self-assigned protectors CIA agent Alisa Flynn and animal whisperer Margaret Douglas. Alisa will do anything to save Sasha and this brings interesting characters into the story. 

If you are an avid reader of Johansen’s then you will recognize Alisa’s base character as it is very similar to Catherine Ling and Margaret in her early stories. I already knew what type of guy Gabe would be and Sasha reminds me of Jane and you can guess who our “Indiana Jones” wannabe reminds me of (laugh). Very familiar characters.

I still really like the book. I think Chaos is hilarious. I like the action. Chaos makes a great escape for a chilly afternoon.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Meet the Author

Iris Johansen

Further Details:
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 9781538713136, 1 September 2020
Cover Design: Flag.
Narrator: Elisabeth Rodgers
Series: N/A (Margaret Douglas is in it)
Pages: 416
Settings: Africa
Sex:  Rated R

4Bio and/or Synopsis are from Goodreads.
Photo credit: Book cover is from Goodreads.

Blitz: Resistor by C.E. Clayton

Ellinor Rask has wanted one thing for the past eight years: vengeance. But when Ellinor is captured, she finds herself dragged back into the world she walked away from, entangled once more with friends she would rather forget.

Cover Design: ebooklaunch.com

Synopsis:

As if that weren’t humiliating enough, Ellinor learns first hand that her magic can be stripped away by a piece of bio-tech—and her ex-boss is happy to leash her with the technology in order to get what he wants. If Ellinor behaves, the device will be removed. All she has to do is deliver a package. One containing a creature created from raw magical energy and discarded technology. Simple, right?

But when her goals start getting people murdered, Ellinor has to decide if the year’s planning, her honor, and even her own magic, are worth the lives it’s costing. Dodging ruthless gangsters, she finds herself on the run with a creature of immeasurable magical abilities alongside her one-time friends. Now, Ellinor must relearn to trust the people she once abandoned. She must put her faith in technology, and her life in the hands of independent contractors, all while racing to deliver the package before it gets taken by force, or worse, the creature decides to make an appearance itself.

Excerpt:

THIS WAS not the first time Ellinor Olysha Rask found herself bound and chained, and she very much doubted it would be her last. This was the longest she had ever been incarcerated, however.

Ellinor leaned back against the wall and closed her eyes, though it made no difference in the pitch black. She wiggled against the rough wall, never getting comfortable. The restraints clamped over her wrists chaffed at her skin. She lost count of the days she’d been locked in the rank cell, but she supposed it didn’t actually matter how long she’d been there, only how much longer she’d be staying.

She sighed loudly, her patience long gone. Not that she had been blessed with an abundance of composure to begin with, but her restraint had diminished considerably since Misho’s death.

Heaviness settled on her chest and shoulders as she imagined Misho’s disapproving tsk at her current predicament, and her chin started to quiver. Gritting her teeth, she knocked her head against the bumpy wall to focus her thoughts. She always lost control when she thought about Misho Shimizu, and she didn’t want to lose what little control she had left. She needed to conserve her energy.

For what? There’s no telling how long I’ve been here, or who took me. Time to stop waiting.

She hadn’t recognized who grabbed her, or how they had gotten the drop on her. She had been drinking, of course, but no more than usual. One minute, Ellinor was meeting with a contact who had information about the Ashlings she was hunting. Ashlings who needed to answer for what was done to Misho. The next? She couldn’t remember. The air—her own power!—had betrayed her. Everything went white and hazy, and a fog rolled over her memories.

She sat up straighter against the wall, breathing deeply, ignoring the aches and pains of her cramped muscles. Whatever had happened, poisoning or a knock over the head, had left her weak. Concentrating had been a chore, let alone summoning her magic. She knew she wasn’t at full strength, but better to do something than continue to wait around for whoever had nabbed her to remember they had her locked away.

Ellinor had heard of humani, beings like her, who were strong enough in air magic to blow apart buildings, and who had the skill to dismantle the most intricate of machines without destroying any of the delicate parts. Ellinor had never been that strong, nor that finessed with her talents. She had enough of the talent to make her someone most would shy away from, and it had been more than enough for her job. Using the air, she could turn otherwise fatal blows from knives or projectiles away, and coupled with her own abilities for creating mayhem, her magic had served her well, or well enough, until Misho died.

Then her power turned her into someone, something, most didn’t want to talk about. Someone the remainder of her family distanced themselves from. She lived only to avenge Misho.

The seersha, though . . . now they would have no trouble using wind to blow apart this cell, no matter how far underground they’d have to pull the air. They’d be able to use that same current to wrap themselves in an impenetrable force field then simply sail away like some cocky bird.

That didn’t mean she couldn’t cause some trouble, though.

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Giveaway

2 lucky winners will receive the complete character art pack for Resistor, which includes 5 exclusive pieces! The art pack includes a scene from the early chapters of the book done by Arz, a character bookmark by Dominique Wesson, and 3 character playing cards by Golden Rose

*Giveaway ends 1 October 2020

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/d04251233894/

Meet the Author

C.E. Clayton

Further Details:
Publisher: Starfish Ink, 9781952797, 1 October 2020
Cover Design: ebooklaunch.com
Editor: Sheila Shedd
Series: Eerden #1, Elinor #1
Pages: 436
Settings: Eerden

Promotion materials provided by Xpresso Book Tours.

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3Book is available on Kindle Unlimited at time of posting
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Cover Reveal: The Prince and the Pencil Pusher by Kenzie Blades

Bad things happen when supos go unchecked. 

Cover Design by Fern Lee

Synopsis:

That’s why Abarra needs The Ministry: to keep tabs on royals with powers run amok. Queen Maialen has entrusted the safety of her subjects to her nephew, Prince Xabier, placing the agency in his capable hands.

Only, the Prince would rather spend his days putting his own power to good use in the vineyards than to wither away on the bureaucratic vine. Tired of policing perpetrators and babysitting bean-counters, he schemes to groom his first lieutenant (and second cousin) the Duke of Shrubs. After months spent moving chess pieces, he is poised to convince the Queen to assign his cousin to his post.

But an unlikely pawn still stands in his way: the sexy Zain Otxoa is the pushiest pencil-pusher in all of The Ministry and head of internal affairs. Prince Xabier has plotted to have him fired at least thrice. Zain’s influence over the Queen—his only saving grace—is baffling.

When a master maneuver to have Zain reassigned exposes a shocking imbroglio, Prince Xabier learns The Ministry isn’t what it seems. And Zain isn’t a pawn at all.

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Meet the Author

Kenzie Blades

Further Details:
Publisher: Luxe Press, 28 September 2020
Cover Design: Fern Lee
Series: Royal Powers #7
Pages: 100

Promotion materials provided by IndiGo Marketing & Design.

3Book is available on Kindle Unlimited at time of posting
4Bio and/or Synopsis are from Goodreads.
5Bio and/or Synopsis are from Amazon.

Review: Everything Changes by Melanie Hansen

Two battle buddies. One fateful deployment. Two vastly different sets of wounds. One friendship changed forever.

Cover Artist: Natasha Snow

Synopsis:

A childhood in foster care taught Carey Everett to hold tight to what he has. Enlisting in the Marines gave him purpose, but a life-threatening injury ended his career—and took his leg. Now fully recovered, Carey’s happier than he’s ever been. He has a fulfilling job, a chosen family and, best of all, a cherished friendship with Jase DeSantis, the platoon medic who saved his life.

Despite Jase’s heroism in combat, he’s haunted by his actions overseas. Playing music with his band keeps the demons at bay, but it’s a battle he’s starting to lose.

After a week of sun and fun in San Diego, Jase and Carey’s connection takes an unexpected turn. With change comes a new set of challenges. For Jase, it means letting someone else into his deepest pain. For Carey, it’s realizing love doesn’t always equal loss. In order to make their relationship work, they’ll have to come to terms with their pasts…

…or risk walking away from each other for good.

Excerpt

With an oath, Carey broke away from Jase, turned, and strode off the dance floor.

Cursing, Jase ran after him.

“Carey, wait!” he called, but Carey didn’t stop as he pushed through the doors leading to the patio. It was almost empty, the chill of the late night air having driven most everyone back inside. Abruptly, Carey whirled and grabbed onto Jase’s T-shirt with both fists.

Bracing for a shove, or a blow, Jase staggered when Carey instead yanked him into the shadows just outside a soft pool of light.

“Damn you,” he hissed, his eyes glittering. “Damn you, Jase.” Despite the harshness of his tone, Carey didn’t let go of him, his fingers twisted in the fabric of Jase’s shirt. His lips were parted, breaths coming in pants, spots of color high on his cheekbones.

His heart thudding painfully in his ears, Jase deliberately took one step closer until their bodies were only inches apart. Carey turned his head away, but still didn’t let go, his grip tightening.

“Damn you,” he said again, but the words were without heat, softer, more like an exhalation. He dropped his head back to the wall, pulse throbbing visibly in the hollow of his throat, eyes drifting shut. “Oh God. I don’t know what’s happening to me.” His voice was barely audible.

Blood racing, body trembling, all Jase could do was wait him out. At last Carey opened his eyes, the normally brilliant blue dark with emotion. His gaze clung to Jase’s, his lips parting as Jase started to close the last few inches of distance between them…

Gasping, Carey shoved him back, then yanked him close again in an abrupt motion that had Jase slamming his palms against the wall to keep from crashing into him. He looked down at Carey’s fists, still twisted in his shirt, then met his eyes once more.

“Let me go,” he said softly. “If you don’t want me to kiss you, push me away.”

For one heart-stopping second, Carey’s grip loosened, then tightened again. Leaning in until their lips were only a whisper apart, Jase breathed, “Let me go. If you don’t want me to kiss you—”

The rest of his words were muffled by Carey’s mouth, crushing his. Hot, slick, eager, Carey’s tongue slid deep, almost devouring him. With a hoarse groan, Jase slanted his head, his own tongue thrusting, parrying. They bit and licked at each other, bodies straining, breaths sawing in and out…

Then Carey ripped his mouth free. “No.”

Struggling to focus, Jase staggered a bit when Carey pushed him away. For the space of several heartbeats they stared at each other, chests heaving, Carey’s body tense, coiled, as if ready to flee.

Seeing it, Jase forced himself to blow out a long, slow breath, and crammed his hands in his pockets as he deliberately took another step back, giving him some room.

“I’m sorry,” Carey whispered. “I’m so sorry.”

“For what?” With an effort, Jase kept his voice low, calm. “I was a more than willing participant.” He waited until Carey met his eyes. “You think I don’t want this? Want you?”

Carey shook his head wildly. “I can’t risk it. I can’t.”

“Oh, Carey. Risk what?”

His throat worked. “Losing you.”

“Losing me?” Jase took a step forward, but Carey put up a hand to hold him back.

“Three years ago, I did almost lose you. Over this.” He made a sawing motion between them.

“That was different.” Jase still kept his voice low, despite the emotion raging through him that made him want to shout at the top of his lungs. “This is—”

“It’s what?” Carey interrupted. “Unfinished business? Curiosity?”

Pain stabbed Jase down low. “Is that what it feels like to you? Curiosity?”

“I don’t know!” Carey shoved his hands through his hair, then linked his fingers behind his neck, visibly striving for calm. He met Jase’s eyes again. “But whatever it is, it’s not worth risking our friendship over. I can’t—”

He sounded so distressed that Jase dredged deep and summoned a smile. “Then we won’t risk it. We’ll forget this ever happened, okay? Chalk it up to temporary insanity or something.”

The relief that spread across Carey’s face made his heart ache. “Yeah. Okay.” Pushing off the wall, he brushed past him, muttering, “See you at home.”

Melanie Hansen did a wonderful job honoring combat medics and soldiers with disabilities in Everything Changes. As a veteran with a disability, it is wonderful to read about other veterans and their everyday lives as humans and not as hindrances. Carey and Jase are two men who are each a part of society and succeeding in their own way. They each have their own battles, but they are not men to be pitied or patronized. Hansen does all veterans justice by writing about us as real human beings who struggle, fail, love, and succeed just like everyone else.

Hansen writes Everything Changes from both characters’ point-of-views and it gives us a glimpse into what life is like as a combat medic coming back from war and dealing with the aftermath of life and death. Jase is a loving man to everyone except to maybe himself. Hansen showcases this through his use of outside stimuli and through his music. Hansen explores how music and playing it can help people deal with their emotional wounds. I found this connection fascinating.

Carey deals with his disability by helping others, but his process was not easy which is shown in flashbacks. I have heard about the workshops that Hansen writes about and it is fabulous to read about them. The relationship between Carey and Jase goes far beyond battle buddies which I can tell you from experience it is a tight one. I love how Hansen handles their next steps.

So to summarize: I love this book (laugh). The individual journeys that Jase and Carey are on are wonderfully written. Then Hansen gives us this powerful friendship which turns into love and you are like damn…please work. Hunky men. Veterans. Music. Soulful conversations. Hot chemistry. It’s not a hardship to read Everything Changes.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.
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*Giveaway ends 18 September 2020

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/555033ec806

Meet the Author

Melanie Hansen

Further Details:
Publisher: Self Published (previously published by Dreamspinner), 14 September 2020 (orig. published March 13th 2015)
Cover Design: Natasha Snow
Narrator: Robert Nieman
Series: Resilient Love #1
Pages: 235
Settings: San Diego, CA, and Colorado, US
Sex: Rated R

Promotion materials provided by IndiGo Marketing & Design.

2PR is not offering this giveaway – just sharing the information.
3Book is available on Kindle Unlimited at time of posting
7Bio from  IndiGo Marketing & Design.
Photo credit: Book cover is from Goodreads.

Review: Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez

In Rosario, Argentina, Camila Hassan lives a double life.

Synopsis:

At home, she is a careful daughter, living within her mother’s narrow expectations, in her rising-soccer-star brother’s shadow, and under the abusive rule of her short-tempered father.

On the field, she is La Furia, a powerhouse of skill and talent. When her team qualifies for the South American tournament, Camila gets the chance to see just how far those talents can take her. In her wildest dreams, she’d get an athletic scholarship to a North American university.

But the path ahead isn’t easy. Her parents don’t know about her passion. They wouldn’t allow a girl to play fútbol—and she needs their permission to go any farther. And the boy she once loved is back in town. Since he left, Diego has become an international star, playing in Italy for the renowned team Juventus. Camila doesn’t have time to be distracted by her feelings for him. Things aren’t the same as when he left: she has her own passions and ambitions now, and La Furia cannot be denied. As her life becomes more complicated, Camila is forced to face her secrets and make her way in a world with no place for the dreams and ambition of a girl like her.

I love stories where young women triumph over their odds and Yamile Saied Méndez gives us a glorious one in Furia with Camila.

Overcoming patriarchy is hard everywhere. Having to overcome it in your own family and country, and then add poverty on top of it can be impossible. Sometimes luck does play a hand in life, but so does sacrifice and dedication. Camila demonstrates all of these characteristics. 

Her family dynamics will be familiar to a lot of readers as will the state of her surroundings. Méndez does not soften any of the characters, even Camila as she missteps with her family. There is a saying in the book, “a lie has short legs” and this will come true many times in the book in ways that are expected and illuminating. The struggle to escape makes people take desperate actions.

Méndez creates a dramatic story in the background which runs throughout the book in which every female’s lives are judged against. It is an intriguing technique to utilize to illustrate the patriarchal ideas which run in men and women. It is also a sad reality of life.

There is a brief moment of domestic violence in the book. Méndez gives us a satisfying resolution to this situation.

Overall Furia, is a coming of age story about Camila, who with nowhere else to go but the soccer field is determined to succeed there and on fields everywhere. You will be cheering “Furia” too by the end as Camila races across the field.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Meet the Author

Yamile Saied Méndez

Further Details:
Publisher: Algonquin, 9781616209919, 15 September 2020
Cover Design: Carla Weise
Series: N/A
Pages: 368
Settings: Rosario, Argentina
Sex: N/A

Promotion materials are from Algonquin Publicity.

4Bio and/or Synopsis are from Goodreads.
Photo credit: Book cover is from Goodreads.

Review: Danny Doormat by Rowan McAllister

All Danny had to do was doggysit for his crush while he had a family emergency, that’s all the “Horsemen” wanted him to do. His crush had other ideas….

Synopsis:

Danny had been crushing on Asa for years in silence. Danny is just the younger brother of one of the “Horsemen” clique and has been on the fringes of the group since he was a kid. Everyone asks Danny for favors: help them move, watch their apartment, and now dog-sitting. Danny doesn’t mind, he just wants to live his life by his choices and be able to look in the “window” at the people who bring him joy.

Asa’s father has a medical emergency and he asks Lane, one of the “Horsemen” to dog-sit for him. He inherited the clique when his husband passed away two years ago and he does not know what he would have done without their support and friendship. Imagine his surprise when he finds out that Lane passes the favor to Danny who already works three jobs and doesn’t have a car. 

When Asa tries to repay Danny, this is where things get interesting as Asa realizes their more to Danny than just the “kid brother” status.

Rowan McAllister gives us a treat with this sweet romance about living our truth in Danny Doormat. Danny tried to live by everyone else’s yardstick and when he decided that did not work, he struck out on his own. McAllister illustrates how important communication is and how we communicate whether it be as a parent, a brother, or as a friend is important. Everyone views Danny through a set of standards that are not Danny’s and therefore his life must be a mess. This constant barragement of negativity has set Danny on a different path internally and externally. McAllister skillfully illustrates this through Danny’s relationship with his roommate.

I will warn you that there is some domestic violence in this book – the most violent happens off-page. 

McAllister also deals with how everyone grieves differently for a loved one. Once again, perception and other people’s ideas of how one should live their life according to a “standard” is illustrated. 

These two competing ideas of how one should live one’s life ends up affecting the romance in an interesting way. This is a romance after all and McAllister brings it home for Danny and Asa. There are no easy answers in Danny Doormat just steps forward. So wipe your feet, take a seat, and hang out with Horsemen and enjoy Danny and Asa because McAllister also brings some heat to this romance.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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Meet the Author

Rowan McAllister

Further Details:
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press, 9781644057889, 30 June 2020
Cover Design: Paul Richmond
Series: N/A
Pages: 236
Sex: Rated R

2PR is not offering this giveaway – just sharing the information.
4Bio and/or Synopsis are from Goodreads.
5Bio and/or Synopsis are from Amazon.
Photo credit: Book cover is from Goodreads.

Tour: The Bloodshed Academy by Jen L. Grey

Only the strongest survive … most of the time

Synopsis:

Year One 

Raven may be a shifter, but she’s always felt separate from her wolf. She never knew it should be different. Then, a stranger showed up in her hometown, turning her world upside down and recruiting her for the elite Bloodshed Academy.

Everything she’s ever known gets challenged, and Raven found herself in impossible situations. Making matters worse was the fact that one of the strongest alphas at school caught her eye. And he made her feel things she didn’t understand.

The school may only recruit the best of the best, the strongest in their world, but there was something more about Raven. When push comes to shove, she had to decide if she’s willing to fight for what she’s come to love … or run from a life she couldn’t quite accept.

Excerpt:

“Do you ever feel like you’re battling something inside of you?” He moved so there was only an inch of space between us. “That you want to become unhinged?”

That’s exactly how I’d been feeling lately. Like if I didn’t contain my inner animal, I would explode and raise havoc. “Yes.” 

Vampire Diaries meets Daughter of the Moon in YEAR ONE, a steamy academy romance story for readers that love snark and strong alphas.

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Year Two 

Some secrets kill … others bring a fate worse than death

Synopsis:

Barely dealing with her shifter abilities, Raven had to navigate college. Her journey so far has uncovered a world beyond her wildest expectations.

Not only did she constantly have to prove her worth to the students and faculty at Bloodshed, but she also had to balance her love life, a secret society with a hidden agenda, and three of the most elite guys at school.

When all the secrets around her are exposed, and everything Raven’s facing comes to a head … she has to pick what’s worth fighting for. Her life and her choices, or her place in the world around her.

Vampire Diaries meets Daughter of the Moon in YEAR TWO, a steamy academy romance story for readers that love snark and strong alphas.

Please note that the story is not reverse harem and there are instances of bullying. 

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Giveaway

*Giveaway ends 25 September 2020

Direct Link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/23d974a92355

Year Three 

A society that you can’t escape… or you can die trying

Synopsis:

Embracing her wolf, Raven became stronger than she ever imagined, but the next challenges she must face could break her.

The culling was coming. Only the strongest survive, and with it, the potential to change everything and everyone around her.

Now Raven and her friends must make decisions unlike anything they ever could have imagined. Their choices would set the course of a war. Their enemies were many, and even unknown. Once again, Raven was left with no other options. If she doesn’t take a stand, she would lose everything she held close.

Vampire Diaries meets Daughter of the Moon in YEAR ONE, a steamy academy romance story for readers that love snark and strong alphas.

Please note that the story is not reverse harem and there are instances of bullying. 

Get it free on Kindle Unlimited!3

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Meet the Author

Jen L. Grey

Further Details for Year One:
Publisher: 14 May 2020
Narrator: Brittany Goodwin
Series: The Bloodshed Academy #1
Pages: 216
Settings: The Bloodshed Academy

Further Details for Year Two:
Publisher: 18 June 2020
Series: The Bloodshed Academy #2
Pages: 228
Settings: The Bloodshed Academy

Further Details for Year Three:
Publisher: 9 July 2020
Series: The Bloodshed Academy #3
Pages: 234
Settings: The Bloodshed Academy

Promotion materials provided by Silver Dagger Book Tours.

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3Book is available on Kindle Unlimited at time of posting
11Bio is from Silver Dagger Book Tours.
Photo credit: Book cover is from Amazon.

Review: The Four Profound Weaves by R. B. Lemberg

Two transgender elders must learn to weave from Death in order to defeat an evil ruler—a tyrant who murders rebellious women and hoards their bones and souls—in the first novella set in the award-winning queer fantasy Birdverse universe

Wind: To match one’s body with one’s heart

Sand: To take the bearer where they wish

Song: In praise of the goddess Bird

Bone: To move unheard in the night

The Surun’ nomads do not speak of the master weaver, Benesret, who creates the cloth of bone for assassins in the Great Burri Desert. But aged Uiziya must find her aunt in order to learn the final weave, although the price for knowledge may be far too dear to pay.

Among the Khana in the springflower city of Iyar, women travel in caravans to trade, while men remain in the inner quarter, as scholars. A nameless man struggles to embody Khana masculinity, after many years of performing the life of a woman, trader, wife, and grandmother. As his past catches up, the man must choose between the life he dreamed of and Uiziya – while Uiziya must discover how to challenge the evil Ruler of Iyar, and to weave from deaths that matter.

In this breathtaking debut set in R. B. Lemberg‘s beloved Birdverse, The Four Profound Weaves hearkens to Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, and offers a timeless chronicle of claiming one’s identity in a hostile world.

Excerpt:

Everybody seemed to have gone to the trading tents, and so I made my way there as well. I was hoping to see my grandchildren, always too busy those days to spend time with me. It was true that I did not want to be trading, but if someone was trading, Aviya for sure would be there.

The trading tents were open to the air, supported with carved poles to which the lightweight cloths of the roof attached festive woven ribbons. People milled under these awnings, mostly women—Surun’ weavers of all ages, each with a carpet or carpets for sale; and a few of their beloved snakes. The crowd parted as I entered, and in that moment my fears came true.

Three men stood in the middle of the trading tent. They had the gold rods of trade, and gold coins sewn onto the trim of their red felt hats. The men’s eyes shone; their dark beards were groomed and oiled, and adorned with the tiniest bells that shook and jingled as they bent over the wares. I sensed powerful magic from all three of them. Their magic – multiple short deepnames – shone in their minds, each deepname like a flaring, spiky star. I was powerful myself, but the strangers’ power was that of capturing, of imprisonment, of destruction, held tightly at bay. The vision made me recoil. These men—and it was always men—belonged to the Ruler of Iyar. The Collector.

I had been living here for three months with my grandchildren, among our friends the snake-Surun’. Almost three months after my transformation, my ceremony of change. I thought I had finally broken free from Iyar. But now Iyar came here.

My Surun’ friends did not seem to feel any danger. They brought forth carpet after carpet, traditional indigo weaves embroidered with lions, with snakes, with birds, and more modern designs of dyed madder and bold geometric shapes. The Iyari traders examined the offerings one by one yet chose nothing, their faces still with masked disgust.

I wanted to shout at my friends to stop this trade. I wanted to run away, to escape unseen. I wanted to fight, to strike at these men, to demand recompense for all the wrongs the Collector inflicted upon me and mine forty years ago.

But then I saw my granddaughter.

Aviya-nai-Bashri was dressed in her trading best—a matching shirt and voluminous pants of green and pink cloth that contrasted so beautifully with her smooth brown skin. Her fish earrings, fashioned of hammered silver, chimed in tune with her words. Her Surun’ friends, all girls of nineteen and twenty, milled around, giggling with excitement.

“We offer a carpet of wind,” Aviya nai-Bashri all but sang, “A cloth woven of purest wind caught wandering over the desert—a treasure like this you will never see . . .”

The carpet she offered was small and exquisite, made from the tiniest movements of air that come awake, breath after breath, as the dawn tints the desert pink and silver. The threads that made the carpet were delicate flurries of blue not so much woven but whispered into cloth, convinced to come together by the magic of deepnames and laughter.

I’d never seen this weave, but knew who made it. My youngest grandchild. Something like tears welled in my eyes, but I would not allow myself that emotion. I looked around instead, and yes, I saw Kimi, a child of twelve, dancing between two guardian snakes. Kimi laughed, and a flurry of pink butterflies shook themselves loose from the carpet of wind. They sparkled in the air for a moment, then winked out of sight, delicate like my grandchild’s magic.

I remembered Uiziya’s words, spoken to me before my ceremony. The first of the Four Profound Weaves is woven from wind. It signifies change.

One of the emissaries leaned forward over Kimi’s carpet. He pressed a finger to the carpet, and a butterfly rose from it, its wings so delicate I could barely discern the movement of pink against the Iyari man’s palm. “What price for this?”

Why did Aviya deal with these men? What was the need, the necessity? We were well supplied from our previous trades, we were doing well and could refuse any trade, especially such a troubling one—what was she doing?

I spoke in my native Khana. “This carpet is not for sale.”

“Yes, it is,” Aviya said stubbornly.

I grabbed her by the arm, dragged her out from under the awning, carpet and all. She glared at me, defiant, and I did my best to ignore it. “What are you doing?”

“Trading. I’m trading, grandfather, that thing I trained for all my life. You trained me. Before you went through your change.”

I grimaced. “This is for the Collector. We did not leave Iyar to trade with him, we left Iyar to never see him again—”

“This is Kimi’s first carpet they wove completely alone,” Aviya said. “Their first trade. Don’t spoil it, grandfather. Please.”

“First trade?” I shouldn’t have gotten so angry, so bitter. “The Collector imprisoned your grandmother. Killed her. You want Kimi’s first trade to be to this man?”

She propped her fists at her waist and glared at me, half-angry, half-exasperated. “And yours wasn’t? Your first trade, your second, your third? The weave of song, the greatest carpet ever woven—you sold it to the Collector!”

“Yes, but there was a reason . . .”

“We are traders, grandfather. Khana women trade. Shouldn’t you go sit with the men?”

It would have been better if she’d slapped me.

I turned away. She ran after me, perhaps not wanting to wound me after the spear of her words had already made its way through my chest. “I am sorry, grandfather. I did not mean . . .”

I waited, for a brief moment, for her to say what she meant, but she looked confused—not because she couldn’t find a way to speak her mind, I thought, but because my existence, the change, had confused her—had confused and hurt every Khana person who loved me, or so I thought to myself. I had thought about it for forty years before I finally changed my body. I thought how my people judged me, how my lovers Bashri had judged me, how my grandchildren judged me, except perhaps Kimi, who did not know how to judge. Forty years. Even in a woman’s body I wanted so desperately to be a man, I was a man—and now, a month after my change, in a man’s body at last, I did not know how to stop flinching from their judgment. At best, their confusion. Aviya loved me, I knew, but her tongue kept slipping.

“It’s fine.” It wasn’t, but I did not want to talk anymore. It hurt too much to talk, again and again, about the same thing. So I walked away. 

Something made me look back. Aviya remained standing by the trading tent, the cloth of winds tucked clumsily under her arm. A stray butterfly followed me, pink and translucent; I reached out to it, but it slipped through my fingers, into the air.

You are never too old to start your journey or to fight against oppression.

Everyone has the choice to change, but this does not mean that it is supported. Each weave is another choice. Some weaves are taught and some are just known. Others are learned the hard way. Nen-sasaïr and Uiziya have waited 40 years to start their journey of knowledge. It might be too late.

I have to admit it is hard to write a synopsis of the novella The Four Profound Weaves by R.B. Lemberg without giving anything away. Lemberg continues their Birdverse world in Weaves and it is fascinating. If you are not familiar with it, you do not need to be. Lemberg explains everything in this very non-binary and yet transgender world. 

The interesting choice of having two mature characters show that at any age people question choices and decisions makes this a relatable story for everyone. Lemberg also has these characters face off against the great evil in the story with nothing but their own strengths is another moral within itself. 

As I was reading this work, I was thinking that this would be a great Book Club or English Literature discussion book. Each character is there for a reason. Lemberg does not waste the ink without a reason. You should not miss a word either.

I received an ARC of this book and I am writing a review without prejudice and voluntarily.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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About the Birdverse

The Birdverse is the creation of fantasy author R. B. Lemberg. It is a complex, culturally diverse world, with a range of LGBTQIA characters and different family configurations. Named after its deity, Bird, Birdverse works have been nominated for the Nebula award, longlisted for the Hugo award and the Tiptree award, placed in the Rhysling award, won the Strange Horizons readers’ poll, and more. The Four Profound Weaves is the first full-length work set in the Birdverse.

Meet the Author

R.B. Lemberg

Further Details:
Publisher: Tachyon Publications, 2020
Cover Design:
Editor:
Series:
Pages:
Settings:
Sex: N/A

Bio and/or Synopsis are from Tachyon Publications LLC.

2PR is not offering this giveaway – just sharing the information.

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