What I Love

Okay. I know it’s been a while, but I’ll try to do better. While I’ve been off, slacking on the blogging thing, I’ve definitely been reading (and listening to some great books). Here are a few that I’m head over heels for.

The Pirate of Fathoms Deep by Megan Derr

High Commander Lesto Arseni is the most feared man in the Harken Empire. None but the High King dares risk his wrath—and a pirate who once punched him in the middle of the imperial pavilion. A pirate who later snuck away with Lesto to an empty room, touched him in ways far more memorable. And then immediately bolted like a man who’d gotten what he wanted.

Shemal just wants to live a normal life, leave his pirating days behind him and prove that he’s respectable now. The last thing he needs is the two idiots who show up wanting his help with the noble they’ve kidnapped—the very man Shemal had been hoping to prove himself to, the man he hasn’t forgotten since Shemal punched him a year and a half ago.

Note: I am 200% in love with Lesto and Shemal, not to mention this entire series and the whole Tales of the High Court world. Here’s a little insider info. There’s more to come and it’s freaking amazing!

 

Leveling the Field by Megan Erickson

Reclusive magazine exec Ethan Talley is furious when his business partner hires a photographer—a gorgeous photographer who insists on speaking her mind, damn it—to take pictures for an upcoming article. No matter how badly he wants the woman…under him, over him, against the nearest wall…he has reasons for not wanting to be on camera anymore, and his scars are only one of them.

It takes approximately two seconds for Lissa Kingsman to recognize Ethan as the popular YouTube gamer who fell off the planet years ago. But this Ethan is different than the charming man she used to watch, and the crush she had on him then is nothing compared to the way she’s lusting after the brooding man he is today. If sex is all he can give her, fine. Why not use that bearskin rug in her studio for something other than a prop? But she’s determined to put a chink in his armor, no matter how much he resists.

Note: This is the fourth and final book in Erickson’s Gamers series and she closed it with a bang! I am head over heels with Lissa and Ethan’s story. And I’m beyond thrilled that Ethan got his own story.

 

No Quarter by Christine d’Abo

When bounty hunter Gar Stitt is given a simple locate-and-retrieve mission, he’s convinced it’s a waste of his skills. His success rate is legendary, after all, and Captain Faolan Wolf isn’t hard to find. He’s the most notorious pirate in the galaxy, and when he shows up planetside to take his pleasures, he’s far from subtle.

Faolan never expected a hot but tightly wound hunter to walk into his private party and try to apprehend him single-handedly. And when an unexpected betrayal forces them to work together, Faolan’s even more surprised to find himself drawn to Gar personally—especially since neither of them do personal.

Gar had intended to put Faolan in prison. Instead he finds his solitary existence shaken by his desire for the pirate. And when the bounty hunter becomes the hunted, he must put his faith in Faolan and his pirate crew, or run the risk of ending up dead.

Note: This the first book in d’Abo’s Bounty series. I have a thing for enemies to lovers, especially when they are super attracted to each other but fight that attraction tooth an nail. Combine that with a new sci-fi with several twists—I loved this one.

 

Deductions by Lyn Gala

Darren is proud of his work on the FBI’s magical Talent unit. However, his own lack of magic means he can never be with Supervisory Special Agent and Shaman Kavon Boucher. The shamanic magic poses a real danger to any mundane who gets too close, so Darren tries to hide his attraction and keep a professional relationship at work. That resolve begins to crumble when a new man sets his sights on Kavon and Darren can’t control his resentment.

Now they have a brutal new case of a suspect targeting magical adepts. Darren tries to keep focused on that crime, but when he starts to show signs of his own magic, he hopes that maybe he can not only be a more effective part of the team but also a real partner to Kavon. He might have a second chance at love if only Kavon can learn to trust his new and unpredictable magic that has changed the rules of the magical game.

Note: You guys! This book is it! I am all sorts of in love with this book. We all know, I have a huge thing for urban fantasy, and Gala did it RIGHT! A little something you might find noteworthy, book two in the Abberant Magic series (Derivation) is just as amazing.  Also I’m dying for book three, Divergent. I’m ready. Like now.

 

Wriggle & Sparkle by Megan Derr

Lynn is a kraken shifter in every way: detailed, tenacious, resilient, and hard-working. Also possessive, vain, arrogant, and demanding. It makes him an excellent agent for the Federal Bureau of Paranormal Security and Investigation—and impossible to work with, as the long list of partners who have transferred away from him will attest.

His newest partner is a unicorn, possibly the worst type of paranormal for work that often turns ugly and violent. Everyone knows unicorns are too delicate for such things. Then Anderson proves to be a unicorn like no other, the kind of partner Lynn has always wanted—the kind of partner he wishes was more. But if there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s that the only thing harder to keep than a partner is a lover.

Warning: Contains tentacle porn

Note: Megan Derr is an autobuy for me so yes, I’m in love with this kraken and unicorn love story. Seriously no one can do this better. Wriggly and Sparkleson are the bomb!

 

Smoke & Mirrors by Charlie Cochet

Life for Dexter J. Daley has never been easy, but he’s always found a way to pick himself back up with a smile on his face. Taken from his home, and the arms of his boyfriend and THIRDS partner, Sloane Brodie, Dex finds himself in a situation as mysterious and lethal as the Therian interrogating him. Dex learns what he’s secretly believed all along: his parents’ death wasn’t an accident.

Discovering the whole truth about John and Gina Daley’s homicide sets off a series of events that will change Dex and Sloane’s lives forever. As buried secrets rise to the surface and new truths are revealed, Dex and Sloane’s love for each other is put to the test, with more than their relationship on the line. If traversing the waters of murder and secret government agencies wasn’t enough, something inexplicable has been happening to Dex—and nothing will ever be the same.

Note: I will never not love THIRDS. The guys and their stories draw me in every single time. And really, I’m dying to know what happens with Mr. Wolf. Just sayin’.

 

Bootleg Diva: Confessions of a Quarterback Princess by Mercy Celeste

A Southern Scrimmage Biography
All heroes need an origins story.

From trailer park to the Super Dome.
Everybody’s All-American quarterback by day.
Infamous exotic dancer by night.

Levi Brody is one of the undisputed greats of the game. With two Super Bowl rings, one MVP, three Pro-Bowl appearances, three National Championships, three SEC Championships and four State High School championships Levi has indeed left his mark on the sport, but it’s all a load of crap.

This is my origin story and like all good origin stories, this one lies somewhere-
Between the helmet and the tiara.

The story of the rise and fall of the first fictional gay quarterback in the NFL.

Note: I might be a little biased here because I love this author so much, but finally getting the entire backstory for Levi Brody was amazing. This is not technically a love story… not in the romance sort of way, but it’s definitely a story with love that makes you fall in love with Levi all over again and harder. I’m in awe.

 

Not a Game by Cardeno C.

An accidental meeting and a misunderstanding lead to a life-altering connection.

A new job, a new city, and hopefully a new life. When chubby gamer Oliver Barnaby receives a job offer from the best boutique game developer in the country, he leaves his family and his less than spectacular existence in Oklahoma without a second’s hesitation. Determined to change more than his career and his geography, Oliver implements a plan to finally land a boyfriend. Step one is improving his skills in the bedroom.

A life that looks perfect on paper, but feels empty in reality. Attractive, successful, charismatic Jaime Snow has a life other people envy. His already booming business is growing. He isn’t lacking in friends. And he has no trouble finding a date. But there’s an emptiness in Jaime’s heart and a hole in his life that only the right man can fill.

An accidental meeting, a misunderstanding, and falling in love. When Oliver and Jaime end up at the same bar at the same time, they each see something they want in the other. Going to bed together that first night is easy. Building the lifetime relationship they both desperately crave will require trust, time, and a little misunderstanding.

Note: Cardeno C…. that is all. This book is classic CC—sweet, funny, heartwarming. The story is so freaking cute, and I just have to say the whole escort angle had me cracking up. I love it so much. I can’t wait for more in this series.

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In the Stacks (Advent Edition)

Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, I can officially start talking about and obsessing over this years advent stories. Also, December is my birthday month so I tend to overindulge (even more than usual) in the book category, both because I love this season and I love holiday stories! Here are the ones I’m looking forward to reading (like now):

Winter Ball by Amy Lanewinter ball

Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work—and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins.
One brisk night in late October, a postpractice convo in Richie’s car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected—nor want to forget. Soon Skip and

Richie are living for the weekends and their winter league soccer games—and the games they enjoy off the field. Through broken noses, holiday decorating, and the killer flu, they learn more about each other than they ever dreamed possible. Every new discovery takes them further beyond the boundaries of the soccer field and into the infinite possibilities of the best relationship of Skipper’s life.

Skipper can’t dream of a better family than Richie—but Richie’s got real family entanglements he can’t shake off. Skipper needs to convince Richie to stay with him beyond winter ball so the relationship they started on the field might become their happy future in real life!

Humbug by Joanna Chambers

humbugQuin Flint is unimpressed when his gorgeous colleague, Rob Paget, asks for extra time off at Christmas. As far as Quin is concerned, Christmas is a giant waste of time. Quin’s on the fast track to partnership, and the season of goodwill is just getting in the way of his next big project. But when Quin’s boss, Marley, confiscates his phone and makes him take an unscheduled day off, Quin finds himself being forced to confront his regrets, past and present, and think about the sort of future he really wants…and who he wants it with.

 

If Only In My Dreams by Kiera AndrewsPageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00058]

To be home for Christmas, they must bridge the distance between them.

Charlie Yates is desperate. It’s almost Christmas and his flight home from college has been delayed. For days. Charlie promised his little sister Ava he’d be home for her first holiday season since going into remission from leukemia. Now he’s stuck on the opposite coast and someone else grabbed the last rental car. Someone he hasn’t even spoken to in four years. Someone who broke his heart.

Gavin Bloomberg’s childhood friendship with Charlie ended overnight after a day of stolen kisses. With years of resentment between them, they don’t want to be in the same room together, let alone a car. But for Ava’s sake, Gavin agrees to share the rental and drive across the country together.

As they face unexpected bumps along the road, can Charlie and Gavin pave the way to a future together?

What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote

what happensJustin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.

Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.

In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas… right?

 

Winter Oranges by Marie Sextonwinter oranges

Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

Rebound Remedy by Christina d’Abo

reboundThe last thing Cole expects to get for the holidays is dumped. But there he is, in the airport on his way to Banff for a romantic getaway, helplessly watching as his boyfriend’s ex declares undying love, proposes—and is accepted. With a few weeks to go until Christmas, Cole’s mood dives from jolly to jaded. But instead of sitting at home alone and feeling sorry for himself, he goes to his favorite bar, McGregor’s, for a pint and some company.

The moment Owen McGregor sets eyes on Cole, he knows there’s something wrong. So he takes it upon himself to ensure that Cole has a happy holiday: twelve outings for the twelve days before Christmas. Even if he can’t quite think up twelve activities that don’t involve getting the forlorn hunk into his bed.

With each outing they take together, Cole realizes that the love he thought he’d shared with his ex was less than perfect. And that Owen might prove to be more than just his rebound remedy.

Christmas Miracles of a Recently Fallen Spruce  by Brandon Wittsleigh ride

Paxton Peterson’s favorite day of the year is his annual Gay Boy Christmas dinner. He’s checked and double-checked his to-do list, because nothing stresses him out like the unexpected. Confident everything will run smoothly, Paxton embarks on his yearly snowshoed hike through the Rocky Mountains near his home. His perfectly planned evening is cut short by Logan Charles’s careless enjoyment of his brother’s snowmobile, and he is stranded in the woods. It’s the worst thing that could’ve possibly happened to him—or maybe the best.

Grateful by Kim Fielding

sleigh rideNate Roth’s latest dumb stunt has left him with a broken arm, black eye, and stitched chin—and extra trepidation about visiting his family for Hanukkah. He fears his relatives will put him through another round of criticism for his foolish choices and his nonexistent love life. Several mishaps during his short journey to his parents’ house don’t bode well. But along the way he meets impossibly gorgeous Gio DiPietro—and maybe it’s time for Nate’s risk-taking impulses to turn out well for a change.

Hapless by Therese Woodsonsleigh ride

All Ty wants is to propose to his boyfriend, Micah, before Christmas Eve. He has the perfect ring, the perfect setting, and the perfect plan, but the universe has other ideas. A sprained ankle, a choking woman, and a crying sister are just the tip of the iceberg as Ty stumbles toward his happy ever after. Now, as Christmas Eve looms before him, he has to figure out how to ask the biggest question of his life without his perfectionism getting in the way or he might lose the person he wants to spend the holiday, and every day after, with.

Loving and Loathing Vegas by Lex Chase

sleigh rideJackson has loved Vegas since God created Man—literally. As demonic incubi hailing from the Seventh Circle of Hell, Jackson and Vegas have never been anything more than roommates. Now living among humans, they run Eaven, a TripAdvisor-recommended detour-worthy diner famous for their devilishly decadent pies. Business is dead on the holidays, and Jackson will gleefully stab himself with a spatula if he has to clean spotless pots and pans one more time.

For fun—or torture—Vegas makes him a bet that should Jackson win, they take a much-needed vacation. Should he lose, he’s doomed to clean out grease traps for all eternity. When the challenge is to fall in love with other people by Christmas, it proves Vegas isn’t the least bit interested. But when they find an abandoned baby in the trash, she could be the Christmas miracle to warm Jackson’s cynical heart.

Old Acquaintance by Avon Gale

sleigh ride

Andrew Starling thought when he sold his medical database software to a national corporation, it would finally give him and his wife the financial security needed to build their dream home in the exclusive, wealthy community of Ponte Vedra, Florida. But Andrew’s wife leaves him for another man before the ink dries on the contract, leaving Andrew to enjoy the fruits of his labors—and their sprawling, oceanfront home—all alone. Despite being convinced he has nothing much to celebrate, Andrew goes to the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club’s annual New Year’s Eve party… and meets Elias Rivas, the young, good-looking server who’s always had his eye on Andrew. It might be the new beginning Andrew didn’t even know he needed.

Talk Turkey  by Bru Baker

sleigh rideCarson is a California transplant settling into life in the Windy City. On his first Christmas away from home, he assures his worried family he’ll be having a real Christmas dinner.

Recent culinary school graduate Tom Stockton earns some extra money giving out cooking advice at the Talk Turkey hotline. Tom’s honeyed voice and sharp sense of humor are attractive to the lonely Carson, and Carson finds reasons to call the hotline again and again. But on Christmas Eve, Carson’s call is less playful and more panicked with the big meal looming. Carson is just looking for advice, but Tom has a surprise in store that might lead to much more.

Worth the Wait by Caitlin Ricci & Cari Z. sleigh ride

When Tate promises his niece Addie he’ll get a book signed by her favorite author, he never expects to end up in a line four blocks long with sleet coming down around him. It’s three days until Christmas and he’s cold and miserable, but Addie will be devastated if he gives up.

A cute guy who offers him an umbrella is just the encouragement Tate needs to stick it out, especially when Brandon brings him something hot to drink. But the signing ends before Tate can get to the front of the line, and Tate is sure he’s ruined Christmas for his niece. Luckily Brandon gets him in to see the author, who happens to be his mother.

A simple thank you isn’t enough for Tate, and neither he nor Brandon wants to end things there. For two men unused to such an instant mutual attraction, the Christmas season just got a little more merry.

Candy Canes and Coffee Beans by Saxon Hawke

candy canesWill Christmas’ biggest fan get his own taste of holiday magic?

Asher Rye lives for happiness – for himself, and the rest of the world. By day, he spreads joy one cup of coffee at a time as a barista. At Christmas, he’s Dasher the elf, spreading the magic of the holiday season to every child and adult who visits Santa.

When a sad little boy visits Santa’s castle with his stuffed goat and uncle in tow, Asher is determined to show him that Santa never forgets. In his quest to show the boy and his uncle the magic of Christmas, he never expects to be sprinkled with holiday magic himself.

Will Christmas’ biggest fan get a Christmas miracle of his own?