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November 6th, 2015

Sharpshooter by Leslie Murray
Lesbian Contemporary General Fiction
Paperback: 582 pages
Publisher: Sapphire Books Publishing (October 1, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1939062713
ISBN-13: 978-1939062710
Amazon: Sharpshooter
Amazon Kindle: Sharpshooter

A mission gone horribly wrong. A vicious killer who will stop at nothing. Two women on the run for their very lives. After 9/11, an experimental branch of the U.S. government has been tasked with the mission of proactively putting a stop to terrorism. They have sent a team to eliminate a financier responsible for funding the worst of these organizations. Everything is going according to plan. Until it's not. The team is ambushed, and when the mission is looking its darkest, it goes from bad to worse. Former Marine scout sniper Seven Michelis is a black ops sharpshooter now injured and on the run for her life. Peace Corps volunteer Dr. Jenny MacKenzie defies good sense and sets out to help a stranger in need. What she finds is something else entirely. From the rugged foothills of the Andes through the dense forests of the Amazon river basin, Seven and Jenny fight to survive the perils of being hunted through Bolivia by a killer hell bent on homicide. Who can they trust, and what fresh hell awaits them if and when they make it home? Will they survive long enough to explore their growing attraction?

The author achieves a wonderful balance between the action/adventure implied by the title and the development of the relationship between the two main characters from friendship into romance. 

This book is full of action and romance.  A great read and well written.  Would recommend.

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A Boy Called Cin by Cecil Wilde
Transgender Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 198 pages
Publisher: Less Than Three Press (July 17, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1620045591
ISBN-13: 978-1620045596
Amazon: A Boy Called Cin
Amazon Kindle: A Boy Called Cin

On the search for a cup of coffee before the guest lecture he's giving, Tom spies a tired, half-frozen young man who looks even more in need of coffee than him. On impulse, he buys the man a cup—but an attempt to strike up conversation ends in the young man walking off, seemingly put off by Tom Walford—the tabloids' favourite billionaire—buying him coffee. But when he reappears in Tom's lecture, all Tom knows is that he doesn't want the man slipping away a second time. Agreeing to dinner with a man he only knows from internet gossip columns isn't the wisest decision Cin's ever made, but he wants to like the infamous Tom Walford and he can't do that if he doesn't give the man a fair chance to be likeable. Which he is, almost frustratingly so, to the point Cin wishes maybe he hadn't been so fair because he never had any intention of getting attached to Tom, who seems to come from a world far too different from his own for anything between them to last. Little does Cin know, they've got a lot more in common than he imagines—including their shared discomfort with their assigned genders, and all the complications that go with it.

I loved this book!! The characters were real and flawed, and absolutely beautiful!

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Played! by JL Merrow
Gay Romantic Comedy
Paperback: 218 pages
Publisher: Samhain Publishing (June 30, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1619229722
ISBN-13: 978-1619229723
Amazon: Played! (The Shamwell Tales)
Amazon Kindle: Played! (The Shamwell Tales)

All the world's a stage...but real-life lessons are hidden in the heart. The Shamwell Tales, Book 2 Though Tristan must join his family's New York firm at summer's end-no more farting around on stage, as his father so bluntly puts it-he can't resist when Shamwell's local amateur dramatics society begs him to take a role in A Midsummer Night's Dream. The bonus: giving private acting lessons to a local handyman who's been curiously resistant to Tristan's advances. Not only is Con delicious, there's fifty pounds riding on Tristan getting him in his bed. A late-diagnosed dyslexic, Con's never dared to act, convinced he'd never be able to learn his lines. But with Tristan's help, he takes the chance. Trouble is, the last time Con fell for a guy, he ended up getting his heart broken. And with Tristan due to leave the country soon, Con is determined not to start anything that's bound to finish badly. Just as Tristan thinks he's finally won Con's heart-and given his own in return-disaster strikes. And the curtain may have fallen forever on their chance for happiness. Warning: Contains a surfeit of Bottoms and asses, together with enough mangled quotations to have the Bard of Avon gyrating in his grave.

I love Merrow’s style and this is perhaps my favorite of her books. Tristan and Con are lovely together and their individual story arcs really well portrayed. The subplot with the older villagers, Alf and Mary, is interesting (and unexpected). The story is funny yes, and campy Tristan isn’t the only one to provide wit. The villagers and Con manage some great lines. But even more than funny, the story is also warm and wonderful. I want to read more about those people and am sad to see them go. Maybe we can have Patrick’s story? 

A Shakespeare send-up that is funny and clever and a delight to read.

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The Eskimo Slugger by Brad Boney
Gay Contemporary General Fiction
Paperback: 230 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (September 29, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1632162261
ISBN-13: 978-1632162267
Amazon: The Eskimo Slugger
Amazon Kindle: The Eskimo Slugger

It’s the summer of 1983, and Trent Days is Major League Baseball’s rookie sensation. Born in Alaska to an Inupiat mother, the press have dubbed him the Eskimo Slugger, but a midseason collision at home plate temporarily halts his meteoric rise to the top.

Sent back to Austin to recuperate, Trent visits his favorite record store, Inner Sanctum, where he meets amiable law student Brendan Baxter. A skip in the vinyl of New Order’s “Blue Monday” drives Trent back to Brendan, and their romance takes them into uncharted territory.

As Trent’s feelings move from casual to serious, he’s faced with an impossible dilemma. Does he abandon any hope of a future with Brendan and return to the shadows and secrets of professional sports? Or does he embrace the possibility of real love and leave baseball behind him forever? As he struggles with his decision, Trent embarks on a journey of self-discovery—to figure out who he really is and what matters most.

Great character development. Plot was well thought out, very different. Overall writing style was strong.

This beautiful story of two hearts, two souls, two spirits, two beings, who we find were essentially fated to meet was thoroughly engaging and I don't just say that because I am a huge baseball fan and there were so many references to baseball greats and even the dreaded "Curse of the Bambino" that I would have fallen in love with the story for that alone. However, the author's brilliant and delightful ability to weave a story about baseball, fate, family, love, friendship, responsibility (personal and social), and homophobia, around romance and self-acceptance, blending in history as well makes for a supremely satisfying book... Up until that surprise at the end. Even though that was still in keeping with a well thought out plot and characters. However, I do feel as if the author should have shifted and altered things just a bit. I'm all for the surprise, twist endings, but letting the book end as it did with such an open-end, with a bisexual character after the twist that had just occurred is harsh and disappointing if there is no sequel to follow.

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Take the Long Way Home by J.A. Rock
Gay Contemporary Romance
Publisher: Loose Id LLC (January 20, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Take the Long Way Home

Dresden Marich has failed out of high school three months shy of graduation. He’s infatuated with his online friend, Evan, alienated from his family and former classmates, and still trying to recover from his father’s death six years ago. He’s also keeping a troubling secret about his older brother, Gunner, who is away at boot camp.

This book I enjoyed so much. Such beautiful prose and with unique characters. I really enjoyed it. I don't know about anyone else but I found this romantic as hell. 

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Future Imperfect by Pelaam
Gay Sci-Fi / Futuristic
Publisher: Evernight Publishing (April 20, 2015)
Amazon Kindle: Future Imperfect

Sterling Rossi thinks he's just made history as the world's first chrononaut. But if he's the first to travel back through time, who is the attractive blond he sees during his jaunt, and why is his team so keen to deny his existence?

Sterling soon realizes there are more forces at work than he ever imagined and wonders just what's really happening, and who he can trust.

As the truth unravels, Sterling has to go back in time to save his lover, while a creature from the fabric of time threatens to destroy the world.

The book is narrated from Sterling's third person point of view.  Pelaam is quite smart in setting the story.  At first I thought the whole setup was about space exploration: after all, Sterling is an aspiring astronaut - but you soon realize that it's time travel that he's been training for.  Then you get the first plot twist:  Sterling meets Jex.  It's obvious that something is going on in two fronts.  First,  there is more than one time traveler. Secondly, the program that Sterling belongs to is more than what we were set to believe.  Then there's another twist:  Faer is a time policeman and Sterling has to save both his lover and the Universe. I read the book in one sitting.  Could not put it down.  The characters are very real and I fell in love with them right away.  I was rooting for Sterling, Jex, and Faer the whole time.  The book ends in what I assume is the perfect setting for a sequel and I hope it comes out soon.  Can't wait to read it.

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Leaving Flowers by Debbie McGowan & Raine O’Tierney
Gay Contemporary Romance
Paperback: 248 pages
Publisher: Beaten Track Publishing (May 1, 2015)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1910635391
ISBN-13: 978-1910635391
Amazon: Leaving Flowers
Amazon Kindle: Leaving Flowers

Shy and awkward since childhood, Aidan Degas is now a man lost. His twin-Aidan's other half, Nadia-died tragically young, leaving him with nothing to get him through his days but his job at the prestigious Grand Heights Luxury Apartments and the flowers he lays upon her grave. When Aidan is assaulted on the job by a tenant, it's the graveyard he turns to for strength and solace. Patrick loves being assistant groundskeeper at the sprawling cemetery where he tends graves and offers a bit of comfort to mourners. When he sees a sad young man lingering over an old grave, his curiosity is strangely piqued for reasons he doesn't understand. He's never done this-struck up a friendship with a mourner. But soon that friendship blossoms into romance. It's not going to be easy for the pair. Aidan is so damaged, like petals crushed in an angry fist, and even with Patrick's warm heart and Irish charm, it might not be enough to bring him back from the edge.

This book had me in tears. The death of Aiden's sister and her baby during childbirth is tragic to start with, but the other MC being the graveyard cretaker, dwelling on the mourning and the graveyard, the little headstones and all, was heartbreaking. The inclusion of the rape of Aiden by an older woman is a brave subject to tackle, and the authors did it very well. I did get a little fed up of the Irish theme, if I'm honest. It felt a little preachy, slowed everything down, and turned me off at times, otherwise this may have scored higher. 

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