Self Published Book Week Wrap Up!

challenge month 2017 copyHello everyone! Today we are wrapping up the third week of our Reading Challenge Month with our Self Published Book Challenge.

In case you are just joining us, you guys can play along with this event in two ways. First off, you can leave a comment on any of this week’s challenge week reviews and earn one entry point for each. And second, if you read along with your own challenge book, you can tell us all about it by leaving a mini review in the comments of this post and earn 10 contest entries. So if you comment on all the posts and do a mini-review, you can earn mega entries!

This week’s fabulous prize is sponsored by an amazing group of self published authors! 

They are donating SEVEN prize packs featuring various self published books. I have the full list at the end of this post so you can check them out. And all the details are on our Self Published Book Week page.

And remember all entries throughout the month qualify you for the grand prize sponsored by Dreamspinner Press. They are giving away a Kindle Fire loaded with some great releases!


Ok, here are details for the week:

  • All the contest details and rules are in this post or at least linked from here
  • This week’s deadline to leave comments on our reviews, or your mini review of your own book here on this post, is Saturday, September 23rd at 11:59 pm ET. All entries will also carry over for the grand prize at the end of the month.
  • In case you missed any, here are the books we reviewed this week for the Self Published Book Challenge. Comment on each for chances to win!
  • If you read along your own challenge book this week, leave your mini review here on this wrap up post.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been participating all week (and all month)! Don’t forget to leave your comments and your mini reviews for a chance to win!

And as promised, here is the list of prizes one more time:

Pack One:

  • Choice of self published book by Amy Jo Cousins
  • Of Love and Corn Dogs by Parker Williams
  • Play Chopin for Me by Max Vos (in English or French)
  • Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan
  • Leaning into the Fall by Lane Hayes
  • Terror by Moonlight by Hank Edwards
  • Working Out the Kinks by Misha Horne
  • Not His Kiss to Take by Finn Marlowe
  • Cowboys Down by Barbara Elsborg
  • Sex & Candy by Nico Jaye

Pack Two: 

  • A Time for Loving by Nico Jaye
  • Doctor’s Orders by Lucy Felthouse
  • Near Miss by Aimee Brissay
  • The Law of Attraction by Jay Northcote
  • The Servant Prince and The Servant King by Hurri Cosmo
  • Steamy Nights, Cool Lights by KT Grant
  • A Forbidden Rumspringa by Keira Andrews
  • Something Like Summer by Jay Bell (paperback)
  • Spoils of War by Hannah Walker
Pack Three: 
  • Shine On and This Time Together by KT Grant
  • Shiver and Shatter by Jocelyn Drake and Rinda Elliott
  • A Sip of Rio by Teodora Kostova (ebook, paperback or audio)
  • Married for a Month by Cate Ashwood
  • His American Detective by Summer Devon
  • The Master Will Appear by L.A. Witt
  • Down on the Farm by Silvia Violet
  • Last Stop by Lou Harper
  • Feeding the Soul by Annabella Michaels

Pack Four:

  • Storm Season and No Pressure by Elle Keaton
  • In the Beginning by Mary Newman
  • As the Leaves Fall by R.J. Jones
  • Unscripted by Nico Jaye
  • King Perry by Edmond Manning
  • The Heart of Texas by R.J. Scott
  • Dead Man Dating by Jambrea Jo Jones
  • Catalysts by Kris Ripper
  • Found at the Library by Christi Snow (signed paperback)

Pack Five:

  • Vespers by Liv Rancourt and Irene Preston
  • Letting Go by Morningstar Ashley
  • Haven’s Creed and Haven’s War by Parker Williams
  • City Boy by A.E. Wasp
  • Bully & Exit by Brigham Vaughn
  • Crashing the Net and Checking It Twice by Samantha Wayland
  • A Gentleman of Substance by Julia Talbot
  • Silken by Isobel Starling (signed paperback)
  • Feeding the Soul by Annabella Michaels
  • See the Light by Cassandra Carr

Pack Six:

  • Slow Heat by Leta Blake
  • Boystown Season One by Jake Biondi
  • The Highlander and The Mutt by Kasia Bacon
  • Still Water by Ruthie Luhnow
  • Throwing Stones by Robin Reardon
  • Feeding the Soul by Annabella Michaels
  • Fluidity by E.M. Leya
  • Thaw by DC Williams (paperback)
  • Lying Eyes by Robert Winter
  • Hacked Up by Ethan Stone

Pack Seven:

  • Just Lucky That Way by Finn Marlowe
  • Tales of a Prison Bitch by Ethan Stone
  • Choice of book from Herc’s Mercs or Blood Bathory series, or Ghost of a Chance, Call of the Night, or Dandy’s Little Girl by Ari McKay
  • Into the Deep by Nico Jaye
  • A Triad in Three Acts Trilogy and Oren’s Right by Blaine D. Arden
  • The Gentleman and the Rogue by Bonnie Dee and Summer Devon
  • Textual Relations by Cate Ashwood
  • The Rustic series by Nic Starr
  • Boystown Season One by Jake Biondi


  1. Bronwyn Heeley says:

    Accidental Mate by Lynn Tyler 
    First up, even though you don’t have to read the originals series first it would make certain things make a lot more sense if you’ve read the first series, well, first. 

    This wasn’t my originals first choice for week 3: Self Published Book Week, but I was in the mood and it fit. 

    So the book starts back in the original series, I can’t remember which book exactly and that made it a weird experience as I went into the story. I was remembering while not remembering (and that didn’t really make sense). It was confusing and I found that there wasn’t enough information to really put into who the old series characters where. I literally needed a break in order to have a moment to actually remember. 
    Anyway so it follows a baby alpha (which was only ever mentioned once – the age) and a submissive tiger shifter as they ‘accidentally’ mate. It was odd … like honestly the whole book didn’t quick make sense in a way of it not really being mentioned why they couldn’t Mate in the first place. We didn’t learn that until after it happened and were meant to just know there had been homophobic comments in the unstable pack. This however was the theme of the entire book. There wasn’t quite enough information about the new pack, who they were and/or why there was so many issues. And then the council alphas came with news we didn’t learn about a confrontation that was over quickly and tho didn’t come out of nothing wasn’t quite shown so I didn’t care. I didn’t care about any of them, not even when they were ‘reconnecting’. Most of the book just seems to brush over major events that I’d have much prefer to have seen. It was the type of story that I read the words, and enjoyed my moment and tried hard not to wonder or worry or think about what I was reading at all. 

    Anyway I look forward to book 2, it’s what these types of books are like for me, I don’t have to think while enjoying myself and I want to know more about Chris and the hawk that was never really mentioned again, tho that point I can actually accept as being a forgotten fact between the couple 

    • Thanks for the review. And I know exactly what you mean about remembering but not remembering. It happens to me sometimes when I pick up a series after a long gap.

      • Bronwyn Heeley says:

        It happens to me quite a lot and every time I tell my self to freshen up on the series before continuing I forget 

  2. US (Him #2) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

    Blurb: “Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?
    Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.
    Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.
    Or can they?
    When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?”

    Review: As an enthusiastic fan of both hockey (go Sharks!) and HIM, I was eager to read this. While I admit that there was something about Jamie and Wes’s unresolved sexual tension in the earlier book that resonated more with me, it turns out that domesticity has its own set of compelling situations for the pair. I usually dislike alternating points of view in a book, but they work better here than in HIM because Jamie and Wes’s situations contrast more in this story. While Wes’s situation as an NHL rookie is high-stakes, Jamie’s position as a youth coach seems more fraught somehow, thanks to his bullying coaching partner and his occasionally fragile emotional and physical health. Bowen and Kennedy cleverly add some red herrings to the plot (I shuddered with worry every time the guys sexted each other, for instance), so that when the pair is eventually outed it seems completely authentic and unavoidable compared to the earlier false alarms. The guys’ lack of communication really grated on me sometimes, and they still have a tendency to physically remove themselves from stressful situations rather than facing them. This added some needless drama that felt artificial (which was also an issue in the earlier story). One character ends up becoming an unexpected ally, and while he took a while to grow on me, I like him enough that I’ll probably read his own (m/f, sadly) romance sometime. The book ends on a nice note, but I think there’s at least one more story to be told about this pair…looking forward to it! (Even though I still can’t figure out why they made Jamie a Ducks fan, when his relatives are from northern California…)

  3. The Necromancer’s Dance (The Beacon Hill Sorcerer Book 1) by SJ Himes – This story featured (surprise!) a famed necromancer, Angelus, and a vampire, Simeon, and is set in modern day Boston. When the story begins after the men are well acquainted, but they spend a lot of time together as the necromancer is under attack by someone unknown. I was a little lost initially but ultimately enjoyed the story and would like to read the next book in this series. It’s not clear to me if this is the same world as the author’s Wolfkin Saga which I preferred.

    If It Ain’t Love by Tamara Allen – This was a lovely piece (about 40 pages) set in Depression era New York featuring a newspaper writer who has lost his mojo and a young man that he meets. It ends with great promise for the men’s future and is not graphic. I’ve read and enjoyed other historical romances by this author.

    Maps (Life According to Maps, Book 1) by Nash Summers – This was an enjoyable young adult story (about 80 pages and G-rated) featuring a rather geekish teen, Maps, and a new neighbor, Lane, who was not the stereotypical athlete. There were understanding parents and a Satan-spawn six year old (Lane’s sister). I laughed aloud several times while reading this. There are two further episodes that I’d like to read.

    Dead in L.A. by Lou Harper – This 106 page collection featured Jon, a man with baggage, and Leander, a psychic, who become roommates and then more. In each of the two stories, a mystery is solved using Leander’s talents. I enjoyed this book and would happily read more by the author.

    Te Quiero by Suki Fleet – This was a short story about two college students, set in England, and taking place over the course of a couple of days. These young men have seen each other previously and been attracted to each other but have had little interaction. It’s a challenging time for one of those students as an angry ex-boyfriend has posted intimate pictures online. I don’t want to give away too much, but it’s an enjoyable story. I’d happily read more by this author.

    • Boy, you were busy this week Kareni! Glad you got to try Necromancer’s Dance. I really like this series, and book 2 as well. Seems like a third is out soon. And Glad you like Maps. Sammy reviewed it today and loved it.

  4. Denise Dechene says:

    How We Love – Michael Ryan Webb >>>> 4.5 * <<<<<<

    Blurb-"Mark and Adam had been happily married for five years and together for over 15. Everything was going well for them. But when Mark spiraled into mental illness after his father died, their marriage was strained in a way that Adam can no longer bear. Now separated, they have to learn to live life alone for the first time. Faced with uncertain futures, can they overcome their differences and learn how to love each other again? Or has their tie to each other been severed forever? From alternating perspectives, join them on their journey of love, loss, heartache, and healing."

    A friend recommended this one to me. I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but I'm glad I picked it up. This book has alternating POV but is easy to follow. The story pulls you in , flows well and is not predictable. The characters are so well written, you get emotionally invested. There are some great side characters that enhanced the story. The author dealt with mental illness in a realistic fashion, no miracle cure. This is not your typical romance,but I loved it.

    Looking forward to future books by this author.

  5. I read The Shop Downstairs by K Sterling
    Whilst I liked this story, I did find it had me with mixed thoughts, going to and fro between liking a lot and OKish.
    I liked the story premise of the two writers, meeting as themselves whilst having a twitter war as their alter egos – liked the little chapter headers, and their banter.
    Liam gradually breaking down the years of reserve that surround Cooper was nice. There was quite a bit of sex and I did find that it was good, cringy and OK by turn.
    So OK, I may get one more by the author before deciding if her writing style is for me or not.

    And then I read, by chance, self pub’d Enemies of the State by Tal Bauer – really really liked this, off to get the others – hooked now!!

    • Thanks for the review. I am not familiar with this one. And glad you enjoyed Enemies of the State. I have heard nothing but good things! I haven’t read that series (michelle did the review) but I have loved the other books I’ve read of hers.

  6. I wanted to spotlight an author, Helen Juliet. Her book, Without a Compass, is one of my recent favorites. It’s about a non-outdoorsy type man who agrees to a camping holiday with his family to celebrate his father’s 50th birthday, where he reconnects with his brother’s best friend. It’s well-written with a nice sense of place and good secondary characters. It left me with a warm feeling at the end. I enjoyed it so much that I’m going back and reading her other two books. I’ve already finished her first book, Glitter on the Garland, which centers around a teenager who comes to realize that he’s in love with his best friend over the course of 2 days at Christmas. While low on heat, it was high on feelings. If you check out this author, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

  7. I chose a self-published book,Shadow by Skylar Jaye, but part of me feels like I cheated on the intent just a little bit. I chose a book that’s the sequel to a traditionally published book, Eddie. I knew I already enjoyed the author and the characters, but the publisher decided not to go for the sequel, so she decided to self publish it. I’m not going to lie, that gave me pause, questioning if the quality was the reason, but apparently they just didn’t want a sequel. Fair enough, but I think it’s too bad, because it was excellent and surpassed the first book, which I enjoyed the first time around and liked even better on the reread in preparation for this newest.

    So, Shadow directly follows the events in Eddie, which was about a normal guy who grows up in a family of superheroes. He’s used to getting used for leverage and revenge by supervillains, but then he gets taken by Shadow, a villain who doesn’t treat him badly but who also won’t release him. Over the course of the kidnapping, they grow close, and I won’t give away the plot, but it’s a romance, so they are together by the end. In Shadow, Eddie and Shadow/Vlad have moved together to Boston away from Eddie’s family, where there’s less superhero presence than in New York. Shadow comes across a new supervillain who seems to be someone from his past. As I said, this sequel was even better than the first. There was almost two stories packed into the one because part of it is the action and adventure of taking down the villain and one is about the psychological and emotional dynamics of Eddie and Vlad’s relationship. A huge shake-up to their relationship happens because of this new villain, and it brings into question whether or not they should even be together. Skylar Jaye handled all the emotion and psychological aspects of all the characters so well, including Eddie’s friends and family. These dark times cause a shift in Shadow’s powers and there’s a wonderful exploration of that as well. It’s just all tied together so beautifully. For those who enjoy a light journey into a D/s relationship, that’s also weaved in wonderfully into both books.

    I’m such a fan of superhero/villain books, and it’s always wonderful to have another one to read and to recommend to fellow fans. Both Eddie and Shadow are written from the perspective of their titular character, and I really enjoyed how that played out for both books. As for editing, I caught a couple handfuls of proofing errors, things like throw instead of through or peaking instead of peeking, nothing that bugged too much, but if you’re a stickler for a clean read, this won’t exactly be it. There wasn’t anything like shifted names or bad story flow, so it’s just things that will maybe take your notice for a second but not disrupt enjoyment. I hope others who love hero/villain books find this one!

  8. the Highlander by Kasia Bacon

    I have to say firstly that I read the previous books, so I was already in love with Ervyn and Lochan before so….
    Lochan of Feyes is used to be alone, he keeps to himself and does not need anyone… Then, why can’t he resist insufferable Ervyn Morryes? The highlander seems to care not about his safety, getting near Lochan and slipping in his bed unannounced. Yet, despite his reluctance, Lochan realises he’s falling for the blonde archer, and that’s a very bad idea, something he has to destroy from the root before it is too late. But maybe it is already too late….
    I love Lochan. Honestly. I do love him. I felt his allure in the mutt, but it is in the Highlander where you really get to know him, because the book is told entirely from his point of view. Lochan is no easy character, he’s full of trouble, he avoids commitment, has a dark past, abandonment issues and is basically a cold blooded murderer… But he also has a sense of humour and feelings that run deep. In the previous book, told from Ervyn’s point of view, we already discover how appealing he is, but this story gives him the boost of a troubled, but somehow sweet, mind. I must confess I did not like Ervyn that much in the previous book (he seemed a bit of an arrogant prick…). But this book and Lochan’s impressions discover a different Ervyn, one who laughs and cares, who is willing to risk his life to sing his lover to sleep, or is deeply hurt when he feels betrayed….
    The world building is also amazing. Through three short stories, Kasia has been able to provide a lot of enticing details about the world of the Order. I’m so looking forward to the next short! And the novel. I need more Lochan and Ervyn like… now.

    by Jay Northcote

    RATING 3 out of 5 STARS

    I think this kind of trope works better for me in visual (a.k.a. movies or TV) rather than text-based. Why? I might have difficulties during the body-switch because my brain needed to remember that Olly is in Scott’s body and vice versa. I was also a little uncomfortable reading Olly and Scott touching not-their-own body sexually. It felt weird, okay!!

    However, all in all, it was quick and nice read, as well as rather low on drama. Even the potential problem of homophobic attitude coming from Scott’s father or team mates is defused quickly. Plus I always like friends to lovers.

    by Alison Hendricks

    RATING 3.5 out 5 STARS

    Despite started with a sex scandal that forces Travis to lay low, and Shane has a kind of traumatic trigger due to an accident that happens during his racing days, but in overall Final Stretch is a nice, low-on-angst, quick-pace story.

    While Travis and Shane relationship is pretty much insta-love but somehow it doesn’t bother me much. And I like that the small town seems to be quite welcoming towards LGBT people.

    I LOVE all the scenes related to the horses, especially the ones related to Shane taking care of Apollo, the ex-racing horse. I always think this animal is majestic. I think I need to read more love-story about horses training or racing. Otto the donkey is also cute.

    Having said that, I am quite annoyed with Shane near the end. I think he needs to do more groveling towards Travis.

  11. I read The Edge of Control by Lou kelly. As the youngest Chief of Medicine David Carlson has no business lusting after the most hostile nurse on the ER staff. But he can’t help being intrigued by Ian James. Unfortunately, Ian is a man with a dangerous past and an even more dangerous present. Can David trust him? Is Ian capable of loving and trusting him back? This book pulled me in from the start and i wasn’t able to put it down (sometimes i was literally sitting on the edge of my seat) i found it a well written romance with crime/mysterie elements and some erotic hot sex . The mix romance/crime/sex is very nicely done. Both main characters were easy to like and i enjoyed their story and journey. There are also some great secondary characters and i have to mention that i developed a soft spot for Sawyer and i’m hoping for a sequel with him as the main character. All in all a very good read, that i definitely can recommend.

  12. Captive by Jex Lane

    was my choice. I really enjoyed it and would rate it a 4.75. Matthew is vampire who lives by feeding off of and killing humans. On night he is lured into a trap by vampire hunters and taken prisoner instead of being killed. His captor is an incubus named Tarrick who feeds off sexual energy and teaches Matthew about the war between the vampires and incubi. This whole book is about his capture, torture, training to be used as a weapon, his longing for freedom and him learning about who he. This is not a romance. This book is incredibly violent and straddles being an epic urban paranormal fantasy and horror. I really love the worldbuilding and the characters. I liked that all genders are equal and everyone has sex with any gender. Mostly, the sex here is about feeding, politics, or being used as a weapon. There are MF and MM scenes. I did say this is not a romance. Since vampires and incubi use humans and each other for food, there is some dub con or non con involved in being compelled or captured. I needed to read the other two right away, not because of a cliff-hanger, but because the book does everything a good book should do and you want to know more, like we are taught about Incubi society, but we still have yet to learn about vampire society. This completely sucked me in and has taken over my life. I’m still reading the series. The only reason I didn’t give it five stars is I have some questions, that I don’t know how to ask without spoilers but honestly that is me being nitpicky. This is the best free book since Nor Iron Bars A Cage by Kaje Harper. It is still free with KU.

  13. A hundred thousand words – Nyrae Dawn
    I thought it was good. Nothing was really standing out to me until 75% of the way through. Then there were a couple of scenes that gave me a real kick in the feels. 3.5 stars

    Then I saw the review on Satin by K.C. Wells. I started it today and I’m enjoying it so far! I’ll probably finish it by tomorrow

  14. Criss Cross (Psy Cops series book 2)
    Jordan Castillo Price
    4 out of 5 stars

    Victor Bayne in a Psy Cop working for the Chicago police force. He has a highly developed sixth sense and is a class five medium able to see and communicate with dead people. The police force partners psy cops with non psychic partners called “stiffs”.

    The second book in the series finds Victor sharing his apartment with his lover Jacob Marks. Jacob is a stiff police detective working in a different precinct from Vincent’s and is unable to return to his apartment due to some unpleasantness from book one. Vincent and Jacob are only a few months into their intimate relationship and Vincent keeps wondering what could gorgeous Jacob see in him.

    Vincent is pretty neurotic, anti social, funny and he could dress better. The medications he takes to keep him grounded and allow him some sleep are loosing their effectiveness. His medium senses are becoming amplified and he is starting to see way more dead people, the dead are becoming aggressive and pushy. He is also getting used to a new doctor, a new stiff partner and he has been introduced by a well meaning friend to Crash. Crash is an empathic healer and is making his debut to the series in this book.

    The story is told from Victor’s POV so we still don’t have the whole story on Jacob. He does comes across as a very caring, patient and sexy partner to Victor. This book was a very enjoyable and fun read. It had mystery, goriness, humor and hot guys. There is a funny scene with Victor and a food pyramid pamphlet that cracked me up. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.

  15. Matt Powers Lives! by K.A. Merikan

    This author surely know how to write horror. This was amazing. It was very short but it manage so easily to make a creepy story, that not only had some really hot ghost or ghoul or whatever he was, but it also had the ability to create such a strong emotions that it was impossible not to care for him.

    It was scary and it was lovely. I really wasn’t expecting to love so much so short story but it was somehow sweet. The more I keep reading from the author, the more I fell in love with their books. It was a great book.

  16. Purple Reader says:

    EVENFALL, PART 1 (IN THE COMPANY OF SHADOWS 1), by Santino Hassell & Ais
    3.5 of 5 stars – Promising Start to Series & Writing Career.
    As many of you probably know, before Hassell burst upon the m/m romance publishing scene a few years ago, he & Ais provided online for free their ICOS series. Based on how much I enjoyed this, I now can’t wait to get to the others.

    I love gay sci-fi dystopia and romance, and Hassell & Ais do a great job of painting a bleak world with a compelling story of two agents caught up in their governments’ fight for existence, their own personal issues, and their budding yet dysfunctional relationship. I was drawn in by the writing style (gritty, urban realism), as well as by the characterization of the two MCs and their supporting cast.

    Although I read the director’s cut that I read, it was still wordy and in need of a good editor. Yet even with that the plot was well paced, action and suspense engaging, backgrounds and psychology realistic, and the reluctant partners (as agents)-to-lovers relationship a good slow burn. I certainly want to see where it goes, as well as see what stories he weaves in his newer novels set in the contemporary world.

  17. Purple Reader says:

    LODESTAR OF Ys, by Amy Rae Durreson
    3.0 of 5 stars – Pleasurable, Even If Predictable & Convenient, M/M Story.
    This was originally written as part of Goodread’s M/M Romance Group’s Don’t Read in the Closet, but Durreson has since published it herself. She kept the original novella, and strengthened it by adding two bonus short stories that served in a way as epilogues.

    As a fan of gay fantasy and romance, I enjoyed this sweet trip into another world. The style was easy to read and descriptive, and the world building of the people, places and cultures was fairly well done. A nice part of that was seeing how a world worked where same-sex relationships were just part of the norm. The characters threatened to be two-dimensional, but eventually showed more qualities that gave them a little more depth.

    Although predictable, their going from friends to lovers was believable and a pleasure to watch. In fact, a nice portion of the story was about their not having just one ceremony, but travelling to all of Ys’ isles to get married on each, sealed with a kiss. And when they finally did become lovers, even though it didn’t completely capture what a man feels, the sex was still good and hot.

    It all built up nicely enough to only have a puzzlingly disappointing ending, with the action sequence not well constructed and things a bit too convenient (admittedly happening “by some strange fluke of luck”). All in all, a predictable but still enjoyable fantasy romance in a nicely built world.

  18. I decided to give Watching and Wanting by Jay Northcote a read.

    If you’ve read anything by Jay’s House Mate series than you should know what to expect, if not then it’ll be a sweet romantic ride. Watching and Wanting is Book 4 of the series but all the books can be read as standalones since they each feature a different couple. Shawn is a repressed bisexual man who hasn’t acted on any of his feelings since he’s not comfortable with it. That all changes when his girlfriend breaks up with him and he accidentally catches one of his roommates, Jude, doing a cam show. It makes him curious and since he’s had no experience with men he decides it’ll be best to try things out with someone he knows. A little fun and release is all Shawn and Jude are expecting. But before they know it things develop and become incendiary between them, complicating and almost destroying their blossoming friendship.

    I enjoy the series and I was falling a bit behind and what better time to read it than for self-published book week. Shawn and Jude were very likable characters. They had great chemistry and the slow building relationship as friends to something more was no hardship to read. I haven’t read many stories involving cam boys so I found Jude’s interaction with his viewer’s to be quite intriguing. I haven’t read all of the author’s backlist yet but the intro of bondage and subspace present in this book made me think that he may be planning to tackle some light BDSM in the near future. The ending was sweet and satisfied the never ending urge for a wonderful romance story.

  19. Leo Tops Aries by Anyta Sunday
    This is a short following Leo Loves Aries and IMO would not work as a standalone since the entire backstory of Theo and Jamie’s relationship is in Leo Loves Aries.

    In this short story, the guys are having some sort of bet(?) or contest about how will give in and request sex first. This part is not really clearly defined. They’re both stubborn and come up (no pun intended) with creative ways to get the other to cave.

    I thought this was both a fun and sexy story and I really enjoyed re-visiting with Jamie and Theo.

  20. After going back and looking at almost 2 years of self-pubbed reviews (and soooo many looked good) I finally decided to get Spectred Isle by KJ Charles.

    The setting is about 100 years ago, and I suppose it would be called historical/paranormal.
    I loved the creepy atmosphere she was able to convey…when the guys were walking on a road that
    never ended I could really feel the horror. But the romance was wonderful too. These guys really
    deserved each other. And really, who doesn’t love it when someone saves the world?
    I would recommend this book to anyone.

    • Oh yes, so good right? I love how she combines historical and paranormal. I would read anything KJ Charles writes (just finished the Sins of the Cities trilogy and that is amazing too). Glad you liked this one. I am really looking forward to the rest of the series.

  21. My original choice was Rule Breaker by Lily Morton. Although several friends – and I think this blog? – enjoyed it, I was irked by the blatant sexism in the first chapter. The editing was also poor (as it not uncommon for self pubs) and I just wasn’t enjoying the book, so I put it down and read…

    Maps by Nash Summers, which was great! It’s hard to get a lot of stories right as novellas IMO, but this one fit perfectly and didn’t try to do too much. Maps’ inner commentary combined with Benji’s dry observations cracked me up, and I was glad that Maps seemed perfectly fine with his own weirdness. The quirky/awkward teen usually  isn’t shown to be confident or comfortable with themselves right off the bat, you know?

  22. I really like this weeks challenge. There are so many new authors for me to discover. Not that I need a lot of more books for my wishlist, since my kindle has about 700 already bought and unread books waiting for me. But anyway, I’m still buying books almost every other day. Crazy, I know :-)
    So, these are the books I have read for this weeks challenge:
    Chase Potter – The Water Will Catch. I’m a fan of Chase Potters books. So far I have read 3 books of his and each book is very different written. This one is a more conventional romance between two best friends since childhood. So, it’s not a new story but I like his writing style. The characters are relatable and likable, 4*

    Nate Tanner – Unexpected Family. This romance novella was a nice surprise. It’s about a romance between two single dads, both with a 10 year old son. It is very nice and realistic written. All four characters are three-dimensional and very authentic, 4*

    Suki Fleet – Light Up The Dark. I’m a big fan of Suki Fleets books. She is mostly published by Dreamspinner but this one is self published. It’s about young people, as always vulnerable, fragile very lovable characters. There is a big mystery going on with a lot of suspense, which makes this book different from her other books. But it is still a romance novel. 4*

  23. Purple Reader says:

    LITTLE BOY AFRAID (BOYSTOWN 0.75) – by Marshall Thornton
    4.0 of 5 stars – Nice Prequel Gives Taste of Wonderful Series to Come.
    Since I’ve read this, I thought I’d go ahead and review it so that y’all know about it. Thornton’s well known for his Lambda Award-Winning Boystown mystery series, which I now recommend as well as this one.

    This is the second prequel (and self-published) to the original start of the series. Just fyi, I saw some reviewers suggested reading this after book 1 or 2; but as a newbie, I read it before, and it worked just fine. In fact, it was a good lead-in to the first novel, which is actually three novellas (and like this, each a standalone mystery). The biggest issue for me was that this didn’t have the depth I like in novel-length stories. But I did continue reading and fortunately combined with the others, I just saw it as a series of novellas building along the way as if it were a novel, and this prequel can serve as a good taste of what’s to come.

    Why? Because as a lover gay mysteries and romances, I thought this prequel did a good job of combining both. I can see why the series continues to this day. With crisp, witty writing, it’s an engaging mystery, set in Chicago during the energized pre-AIDS era, and brought to life by a colorful, hard-boiled yet likable PI, who just happens to be gay.

    Thornton’s style made this an entertaining and easy read, with a good plot, pace, tension and just enough details and clues to not slow down the action. I enjoyed the step back in time to winter 1980 and how Thornton painted Chicago (I didn’t live there then, but do now, and enjoyed relating to all the places).

    What engaged me the most was the character of Nick Nowak. I grew to like him for all his skills, heart and humanness; and it was refreshing that he was not in shame of but was open about being gay. He was hard-boiled, cynically humorous with witty banter. I appreciated that the main focus was on the mystery, with the gay aspect and any romance as a subplot. Kind of like it’s like being gay. But don’t be mistaken, mixed in with all this was a nice bonus of Nowak’s gay life and relationships.

    I was impressed with the level of quality that Thornton brought to this prequel, which led nicely into book 1.

    • Thanks for the review! We actually read/listened to two different Marshall Thorton books this week here and they were both big hits. I am glad you enjoyed this one as well.

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