Thursday, August 6, 2020

New Release Review: The Thomas Flair by E.J. Russell #Review #Giveaway




Title: The Thomas Flair
Author: E.J. Russell 
Self Published
Publication Date: July 27, 2020
Length: 185 pages 

Reviewed by Michael

Synopsis

A M/M Summer Games Romance

It’ll take more than medals to mend their relationship.

Diabetic gymnast Sol Ashvili, an alternate for the 2016 men’s Olympic gymnastics squad, had one thing on his agenda for the last day of competition in Rio—corner teammate Tony Thomas, his best friend for half his life, and finally confess he’d been in love with him for years. But instead of returning to the team suite after winning his second silver medal, Tony jetted out of Rio and turned his back on everything: a college degree, gymnastics meets… and Sol. The first two Sol could forgive—barely. The last? Not a chance.

Commentators had a name for Tony’s crowd-pleasing, no-holds-barred, high-octane gymnastics—the Thomas Flair. After the 2016 Games, he parlayed that reputation into a career as an internet celebrity, specializing in extreme sports and risky stunts. His decision to battle his way back into competition shape for a chance at the 2020 Olympic team is extreme all right, but now he must survive the biggest risk of all: facing Sol again after his epic betrayal in Rio.

For the sake of the team and the reputation of US men’s gymnastics, Sol and Tony struggle to leave the past behind and find a way to work together. But as the Games draw closer, they’re starting to realize that finding their way back to each other may be the only way for both of them to truly fly high.

The Thomas Flair is a 64,000-word enemies to lovers second-chance rom-com set around the Tokyo Olympics that might have been, featuring a thrill-seeker who needs reining in, a perfectionist who needs to let go, redemption, rowdy teammates, and a few gymnastics moves that will never make it into the Code of Points.




Review


I was fourteen in 1984, and, like most of the country, was glued to the television watching the men’s Olympic team take home the gold.  I was impressed with the athlete’s strength and absolute control.  I also developed a huge crush on Mitch Gaylord.  My poor ex-girlfriend got drug to the theater to watch “American Anthem.”  Terrible movie, but Mitch was adorable.

Sol and Tony had been friends forever and teammates of the Rio Olympics squad.  Sol has had to deal with the stress of being diabetic and Tony with a father who is never satisfied.  Things fall apart after the Rio games, and Tony walks away, leaving Sol with a whole slew of unanswered questions.  Fast forward four years, and Tony is back to prove that not only is he worthy of being a member of the Tokyo Olympic squad, but also of Sol.

Their reconciliation was rather quick, but I get it.  Their friendship ran deep.  Those feelings don’t just disappear, and the circumstances they find themselves in are similar to years past.  The strength of their loyalty and devotion to each other is readily apparent, despite their rocky history.  Perhaps because of this, this book has very little angst.  Instead, this book chooses to focus on rebuilding the relationship between two former friends and taking it to the next level.  With everything going on in the world today, this is exactly the kind of book we need.




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Monday, August 3, 2020

Random Review: The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings by Lily Morton #Review #Giveaway




Title: The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings
Author: Lily Morton
Self Published
Publication date: November 14, 2019
Length: 278 pages 

Reviewed by Sammy 

Synopsis

Levi Black is at a crossroads. After suffering a loss and breaking up a long-term relationship, he’s looking for a change. When he receives the news he’s inherited a house in York, he seizes the opportunity to begin a new chapter in his life.

However, when he gets there, he finds a house that has never kept its occupants for very long. Either through death or disinclination, no one stays there, and after a few days of living in the place, Levi can understand why. Strange noises can be heard at all hours of the day and night, and disturbing and scary things begin to happen to him. He never believed in ghosts before, but when events take a sinister turn, he knows he must look for help. He finds it in the unlikely form of the blue-haired leader of a ghost tour.

Blue Billings is edgy, beautiful, and lost. Utterly lost. He conceals so many secrets that some days it’s a miracle he remembers his own name. He knows that he should ignore Levi because he threatens the tenuous grip Blue has on survival. But there’s something about the kind-eyed man that draws Blue to him. Something that demands he stay and fight for him when he would normally run in the opposite direction.

As the two men investigate the shocking truth behind Levi’s house, they also discover a deep connection that defies the short length of time they’ve known each other. But when events escalate and his life is on the line, Levi has to wonder if it was wise to trust the Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings.








Review


Levi is both excited and trepidatious about his new home. There’s lots of renovations to be done to the place he’s inherited before he can actually move in but still it signifies a new beginning in his personal life. His ex-boyfriend cheated on him after five years of being together and Levi is ready to put it all behind him and start over. It’s odd though how both the estate man and the contractor are hesitant to tell Levi much about his new home. When most of the dust settles and Levi moves in he quickly realizes why. There is someone or something else in the house with him and it wants him gone. Levi has never really given much credence to the idea of ghosts but York has a history of ghost sightings. So when Levi needs help he turns to one of the men who make their living giving tours—Blue Billings.

Blue has never had an easy life—he’s done things to survive which he is not proud of but he gets by—barely. When the flustered man who now lives in the notoriously famous murder house asks him for help he can’t help but agree. That decision sets off a series of events that lead Blue and Levi deeper and deeper into the unknown and further into danger. Along the way Levi will unlock Blue’s secretive past, fall in love with him and try to convince the man that some things do stay—and he intends to be one of them.

Lily Morton stands out for me as an author who not only writes incredibly good stories but develops characters with depth and charisma. The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings is an outstanding example of this author’s amazing talents. Not only is this a gripping tale that begs one to leave the lights on while reading it, the two main characters and plethora of side personalities are so interesting and intriguing that one is immediately drawn into the story. While Levi is almost a near perfect individual with kindness and understanding to spare, he never feels unrealistic to me—rather he is the kind of person we all want to have in our life—one that never judges and always remains faithful no matter how bizarre things get. For Blue, he is the first man who both overlooks his somewhat tawdry past and also believes in the extrasensory abilities that Blue has always had. Finally Blue finds the one person who gets him who desires him as a whole person with all his baggage, and not just as an easy lay one can later discard. So many have discarded poor Blue-it is heartbreaking to learn his backstory but Levi turns out to be a sort of  redemption for Blue in so many good ways. Now if only Blue can accept what Levi is offering.

The ghostly paranormal aspect of this novel is downright terrifying and the mystery surrounding it all is not one that is easily unraveled by the reader. I loved that. A good mystery is worth its weight in gold and this story offers that in spades. So we have romance, macabre goings on and an evolving mystery all rolled into one in this novel and the author keeps all the different plot pieces floating effortlessly.

With a friendship that grows into more for both Blue and Levi hanging in the offing, it is imperative they rid the house of whatever or whomever has taken deadly ownership of it. That is the gist of this marvelous story, The Mysterious and Amazing Blue Billings, and if you have not yet read this incredible book then I suggest you do so at once. I can only hope that the author writes the sequel to this one soon.




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Series Review: Angel Hills Pack by Rebecca James #Review #Giveaway







Angel Hills Pack Series
By Rebecca James
Book 1: Omega Arrival
Book 2: Ripples of Threat
Book 3: Winter's End



Reviews








Omega Arrival by Rebecca James

Angel Hills #1

 

Gabriel, Ian, and Grey - Justin and Milo

 

Oh my, I loved this story so hard. Alpha’s, beta’s, omega’s, pups, scents, biting, claiming, dedication, submission, pregnancies, infertility, some angst, and a lot of sexiness and love.

 

We go on a journey with the Angel Hills pack. After the pack lost all their omegas because of a plague, they accepted seven members of the Silver pack, among them five omegas. An omega twin who really wanted to stay together, Justin with four pups, one omega who already made his choice at first sight and a shy withdrawn omega called Gabriel. They come from a bad place where Justin was mated with an awful cruel alpha. Luckily he was put down in a fight.

 

To be properly included in the pack they will have to mate. That’s easier said than done.

Grey, the alpha of the pack, already has a mate, beta Ian. They love each other deeply.

Still, they want a third. Their eyes are on Gabriel. Milo, Grey’s right hand, was already smitten with omega Justin and can only hope it’s true what the omega’s eyes tell him.

 

This story, from the first page, was captivating and intriguing. Alpha’s circling omegas, betas circling alpha’s, all so delicious!

There are varied events, misunderstandings, delightful courting, omegas in heat, oh boy... Also omegas in danger from an unexpected side. This, all together, made it an eventful narrative. I loved every part of it. I loved every character, except one!

 

 

Ripples of Threat by Rebecca James

Angel Hills #2

 

Seamlessly this story continues. The way the chapters alternate between all the characters was excellently done. The focus was on several couples and their dynamics, all completely different from each other. Except for one similarity, because werewolves are sexual beings! So the physical connection is main in this series. I loved the clear and uncomplicated atmosphere about it.

The Pack is strong and committed. It doesn’t matter what plays, fights, jealousy, heats, pregnancy, secrets, they are there for each other. I felt connected with all the characters.

 

The claiming and marking, the sexual activity during a heat, the awesome amount of hurt, every aspect was well thought out. It all made sense, largely because of the plausible timeline and way of writing.

The ultimate claiming act was the best, it was everything!

Book 1 was already great, I think book 2 was maybe even better.

 

 

 

 

Winter’s End by Rebecca James

Angel Hiils #3

 

I’ll start saying this was absolutely a delightful series. It felt whole, with an amazingly positive vibe. Every character had a clear place and voice. I felt deeply involved with every family.

 

Grey shows to be a consistently good pack leader. His decisions to combine alpha’s and omega are just great even where I had my questions. He was loyal and kind, forgiving, and honest. His mates were everything to him.

After following the pack through this series I desperately needed some couples together and thank goodness I wasn’t disappointed!

There are a lot of pregnancies and pups and oh boy it was all fun.

New pack members were welcomed and some were leaving, whatever it was it felt good and natural. The series had a good proportion of hurt/comfort, a lot of, read: a-lot-of delicious sexual activity, with the most engaging characters. I fell in love with this pack, with all its flaws, from first sight! They were dedicated and committed just like a good pack should be.

The whole series was wonderfully written, enormously captivating, I couldn’t stop reading.

Did I like it, YES! Did I want it to end NO! But I know it had to stop at some point and the time of ending was perfect, I couldn’t wish better!



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