Saturday, February 25, 2017

Saturday's Series Spotlight: Steampunk Mystery by Hollis Shiloh

Wes and Kit #1
Wes has a soft heart—even if it is a gear heart from when he was mechanicalized during the war. Now close to homeless and in desperate straits, he still finds himself taking on a stray dog—and helping out an injured man he stumbles across in an alleyway.

That's how he meets Kit. A harmless, gentle clock repairman with a heart condition of his own, Kit is in danger…because he's working on a certain clock.

He hires Wes to protect him until the danger is past…whatever its cause. But they find their feelings for each other are becoming too strong to ignore, despite the danger.

When a chance to solve the mystery presents itself, Wes finds he might just lose the man he's come to love…if he can't find Kit in time.

Robert and Louie #2
Hired to redecorate the Skeffield country home, Louie is both attracted to Robert Skeffield and abashed by him in equal measures. Louie, who favors bright clothing and has never been called butch in his life, has little in common with gorgeous, masculine, and closeted army officer Robert. But not everything is as it appears, at Skeffield Manor or in their hearts…

Takes place after "Wes and Kit"

This story contains some minor steampunk elements, magical elements, mysterious elements, flirting, a dog, and a strawberry-colored waistcoat. 

Mystery at Steffield Manor #3
Old friends, new friends, magic and mystery… 

Join Wes and Kit, Robert and Louie, and their friends and family at Skeffield Manor. Except that there is mischief afoot here…in the beautiful country home and with a mysterious magical object.

A story told from multiple points of view.

Takes place after "Wes and Kit" and "Robert and Louie." Other stories set in the same universe: "Like A One-Eyed Cat" and "Gear Heart." 

This story contains some magic, some steampunk elements, and has a low-medium heat rating. 

Strands #4
Gareth Silverman has been locked up, away from his magic — and is slowly dying. Silus is desperate to get him free. With the help of friends from Skeffield Manor, he might just manage it...but at what cost?

Join friends old and new — magicians, mechanicalized men, and others, including one sparkly designer — at the revolving doors of Skeffield Manor, as it once again becomes a stage for magic, mystery...and love.

Takes place after "Mystery at Skeffield Manor," and in the same universe as "Wes and Kit" and "Robert and Louie," "Like A One-Eyed Cat," "Cold Hands Warm Heart," and "Gear Heart."

Like a One-Eyed Cat
Jimmy's not good at trusting people. He grew up a chimney sweep and starving alleyway scruff. Even now, fully grown and an army veteran to boot, he's half-wild and only trusts one man, "the boss," a gentle man he works for occasionally. Jim certainly never intends to trust anyone else, but then he ends up working an investigation job for the boss next to a scarred ex-soldier with surprisingly gentle ways.

A touch of mystery, low sexiness, light steampunk elements.

Gear Heart
Living with a gear heart made from magic and machinery, Auden knows his lifespan will be shortened. Now a second-class citizen, he's part of the household of Dr. Gregory—the man who stitched him back to life years ago during the war. And now Dr. Gregory is being threatened.

A friendly (sometimes too friendly) police officer named Owen is assigned to help protect the aging doctor. Auden could resent the policeman who's come to help with security. Instead, he finds himself drawn to the attractive, flirtatious Owen, who somehow doesn't let Auden's cold nature scare him away. And that holds a different kind of danger for Auden's heart.

Cold Hands, Warm Heart
Jason is self-conscious about his metal arm and uncomfortable with his sexuality. A big, quiet guy who intimidates a lot of people without even trying to, he works as a cook—and has a hopeless crush on his friend, Dr. Kingsley. Will Jason ever have a shot with his friend? Or does life have a different curveball to throw him?

Takes place in the same world as "Like A One-Eyed Cat," "Gear Heart," "Wes and Kit," etc.

Wes and Kit #1
A wonderful blend of romance, steampunk, friendship, and a little mystery.  I'd be lying if I said it could have had a bit more of the technology that steampunk is known for but it's lack of said science fiction factor did not take away from the enjoyment I've come to expect from Hollis Shiloh.

Robert and Louie #2
The mystery that started in Wes and Kit continues with Robert and Louis, and just like book one, this entry is an entertaining blend of romance, steampunk, and mystery.  Throw in jealousy and fear and book two is even better than the first one.

Mystery at Steffield Manor #3
With Mystery at Steffield Manor, we get Wes, Kit, Robert, and Louie all together making book three my favorite so far.  Mystery is still a wonderful blend of romance, friendship, mystery, and steampunk although magic is becoming a bigger factor than science fiction but it all still works to bring the reader a great story.

Strands #4
Yet another great entry into Hollis Shiloh's Steampunk Mystery universe.  It's always nice to see old friends and new working together to further the story we've come to love.  Just like Mystery at Steffield Manor, magic is a bigger factor than steampunk but again it works.

Like a One-Eyed Cat
This entry in the Steampunk Mystery universe is more of a standalone read, it exists in the same world but not surrounding the storyline that stitched Wes & Kit, Robert & Louie, Mystery at Steffield Manor, and Strands together.  I would suggest reading One-Eyed Cat before Strands, simply because this one tells the story of how Jimmy and Marcus came to be and they are briefly brought into Strands.  It's not necessary to read this one before Strands but I found it would just flow a bit better. You can't help but love Jimmy and Marcus, I would have loved to known they're history a little better but it works just as is.

Gear Heart
This is actually the first one I read, not having known about the series until I was done.  Just as with One-Eyed Cat, Gear Heart exists in the same universe but has no real bearing on the ongoing storyline of the first four.  I did enjoy the fact that this Gear Heart has more steampunk than the others but the budding friendship and romance between Auden and Owen is what sits front and center.

Cold Hands, Warm Heart
Just as in One-Eyed Cat, Cold Hands, Warm Heart exists in the same universe but in Graeham's household, or as most of those who live there call him, The Boss.  Jason and Jess are perfect together even if it takes them a while to discover it.  Whether you think of it as a series or just as a universe, it is still a lovely read that entertains and warms the heart.

Reviewer Note: I have to say that I don't really get the whole terminology of steampunk.  I know what it means and I know it is a sub-genre of science fiction but to me science fiction is science fiction, nothing more, nothing less.  As a reader, I will be putting this and others labeled steampunk on my science fiction library shelf but as a book blogger I will defer to the whole steampunk terminology labeling.  Just wanted to put that out there.


Author Bio:
Hollis Shiloh writes love stories about men, also called gay romance or m/m romance, with the preferred genres of contemporary, historical, and fantasy. Hollis's stories tend towards the sweet rather than the spicy. When not writing, the author enjoys reading, retro music, and being around animals.


Wes and Kit #1

Robert and Louie #2

Mystery at Steffield Manor #3

Strands #4

Like a One-Eyed Cat
B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES

Gear Heart
B&N  /  KOBO  /  iTUNES

Cold Hands, Warm Heart

After the Fire by Felice Stevens

Title: After the Fire
Author: Felice Stevens
Series: Through Hell & Back #2
Genre: M/M Romance
Release Date: February 24, 2017
Cover Design: Reese Dante
Photographer: Alejandro Caspe
A single bullet destroyed the dreams of Dr. Jordan Peterson. With his lover dead, Jordan descends into an endless spiral of self-destruction that nearly costs him his friends, his career and his life. When Jordan finds himself working closely with the aloof Lucas Conover, the investment banker’s mysterious past and unexpected kindness shocks him back into a life and emotions
he’d thought lost forever.

The betrayal by the foster brother he’d worshiped, taught Lucas Conover never to trust or believe in anyone. Living a solitary life doesn’t free him of the nightmare of his youth; it reinforces his belief that he would never fall in love. When the death of one of his clients forces him to work closely with Dr. Jordan Peterson, he meets a person whose suffering exceeds his own. Though Jordan rejects his effort to help, something within Luke pushes him discover more about the first man to ever get under his skin.

As Luke lets down his guard and Jordan lets go of his pain, desire takes control. Each man must come to terms with past struggles if they are to create a future together. And learning to trust in themselves and love again after tragedy and a lifetime of pain, may be the only thing that saves them in the end.

This is a re-release of the original version published in 2015. It has been re-edited with over 4000 words of additional content added.

“We have a board meeting next week to decide if we want to accept sponsorships or not. I’m all for getting companies to donate as much as they want.”

Pushing his artichoke around the plate, Jordan chewed his bottom lip in thought. “I understand, but I don’t want this to become something they crow about and take credit for. It isn’t about them or us. It’s about what Keith wanted and helping the kids of the community so they have a safe place to come to every day if they choose. We have to make them want to come. So for sure we’ll try and get the computer companies to donate their computers and the libraries to donate children’s books. But this is always going to be The Keith Hart Center for Youth. Not XYZ Corp Center. I’m doing this to help Keith’s dream become a reality.”

Noting Lucas’s silence, Jordan quirked a brow. “Did I surprise you? You’re awfully quiet.”

The chatter from the cavernous dining room filled the silence, while he awaited Lucas’s response.

“I agree. For the record, I never intended to acknowledge the corporate sponsors any more than having maybe a plaque in, say the computer area, stating, Computers Generously Donated by…whomever we choose. As you put it so very well, it isn’t about them.” Once again, he flashed that charming grin that lit up his normally austere face.

A tug of desire hit Jordan low in his belly and the breadstick crumbled in his hand. For almost a year he’d barely thought about sex. In the cold hours of the dark, he’d awaken from dreams where he’d been making love with Keith, and his body’s natural urge had led him to finish off with his hand. But not until this moment had he felt a pull toward another man. Disturbed, Jordan studied Lucas from beneath lowered lashes, pretending to concentrate on his food.

For God’s sake, what was he even thinking? Shaking his head, angry with himself for having those traitorous urges, Jordan drank down half his sparkling water, his hands shaking so badly he feared Lucas might comment. Lucky for him, the waiter approached to take away their dishes, engaging Lucas in conversation so he saw nothing.

Lucas wasn’t even his type. Jordan ran a critical gaze over the enigmatic man sitting across from him. Sure, he had the broad, muscular build similar to Keith but personality-wise, the two men were nothing alike. Keith’s friendly, joyful personality drew people to him; they couldn’t help but want to be his friend. Totally unlike the quietly serious Lucas Conover whose lone-wolf persona and hands-off attitude screamed, Don’t ask, don’t touch. Jordan excused this inexplicable physical reaction as his first time in months being in close proximity to a man.

“You okay, Jordan? You looked kind of sick for a moment.”

As far as he knew, there wasn’t yet a cure for being heartsick and heartbroken.

Review for the Original Edition March 2015:
I wasn't sure I was going to be able to leave Ash and Drew behind enough to get into Jordan and Luke's story.  Was I wrong!  Very few authors can pull off heartbreaking and inspiring in the same book, but this one has.  Felice Stevens is quickly becoming one of only a few authors that I instantly "1-click" without even reading the blurb.  Even though After the Fire centers on a different couple, I really feel that you need to read A Walk Through Fire first.  There's something that happens in Walk that sets up After, so I don't feel it would flow very good if you try to read this one first. Some might call it "angsty", personally I don't see it as such, it's just drama in my mind, but whatever term you use it's very powerful on the heart and a definite addition to your TBR list.


Author Bio:
Felice Stevens has always been a romantic at heart. While life is tough, she believes there is a happy ending for everyone. She started reading traditional historical romances as a teenager, then life and law school got in the way. It wasn't until she picked up a copy of Bertrice Small and became swept away to Queen Elizabeth's court that her interest in romance novels was renewed.

But somewhere along the way, her reading shifted to stories of men falling in love. Once she picked up her first gay romance, she became so enamored of the character-driven stories and the overwhelming emotion there was no turning back.

Felice lives in New York City with her husband and two children. Her day begins with a lot of caffeine and ends with a glass or two of red wine. Although she practices law, she daydreams of a time when she can sit by a beach and write beautiful stories of men falling in love. Although there is bound to be some angst along the way, a Happily Ever After is always guaranteed.


After the Fire #2

A Walk Through Fire #1

Embrace the Fire #3(Coming April 2017)

Flow by Kennedy Ryan

Title: Flow
Author: Kennedy Ryan
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 22, 2017
In 8 years, Marlon James will be one of the brightest rising stars in the music industry.

Bristol Gray will be his tough, no-nonsense manager.

But when they first meet, she’s a college student finding her way in the world, and he’s an artist determined to make his way in it.

From completely different worlds, all the things that should separate them only draw them closer.

It’s a beautiful beginning, but where will the story end?

FLOW is the prequel chronicling the week of magical days and nights that will haunt Grip & Bristol for years to come.

What Others Are Saying:
"Flow is the intro to an epic love song. It's that first beat that has you stopping in your tacks and turning up the volume. The perfect cadence to a must-read prelude. 5 on top of the world stars!" -Mandi Beck, Bestselling Author of the Caged Love series and Stoned.

"Ryan continues her streak of amazingly accessible and authentic romantic fiction. Grip is a bold and unapologetic look at interracial romance and does not shy away from any of the ideals and prejudices that most of us are too polite to acknowledge - head on- amidst one of the sexiest, and provocative true love romances Ryan has penned to date. Break out the fans folks, Grip is aptly titled and sure to make you need a grip! -- Sheena, Smexy Books

Resisting an irresistible force wears you down and turns you out.

I know.

I’ve been doing it for years.

I may not have a musical gift of my own, but I’ve got a nose for talent and an eye for the extraordinary.

And Marlon James – Grip to his fans – is nothing short of extraordinary.

Years ago, we strung together a few magical nights, but I keep those memories in a locked drawer and I’ve thrown away the key.

All that’s left is friendship and work.

He’s on the verge of unimaginable fame, all his dreams poised to come true.

I manage his career, but I can’t seem to manage my heart.

It’s wild, reckless, disobedient.

And it remembers all the things I want to forget.

Author Bio:
Kennedy loves to write about herself in third person. She loves Diet Coke…though she’s always trying to quit. She adores her husband…who she’ll never quit. She loves her son, who is the most special boy on the planet. And she’s devoted to supporting and serving families living with Autism.

And she writes love stories!

For updates, new releases, giveaways and other adventures, subscribe to her newsletter.



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