Thursday, July 9, 2020

Extraordinary Things (Star Shadow, #4) by Beth Bolden (Release blitz, excerpt, and review) GBP ADULT title


 Extraordinary Things
  (Star Shadow #4)
ADULT title
 Beth Bolden

Publisher: Beth Bolden Books

Cover Artist: Cate Ashwood Designs

Genre/s: MM Rock Star Romance, Existing Couple

Heat Rating: 3 flames 

Length: 50 000 words

NOT a standalone story.

Release Date: June 26, 2020


Extraordinary Things is a continuation of Leo and Caleb's love story from Terrible Things.

It should not be read as a standalone.


Leo and Caleb have been through hell—addiction, destruction, and even a five year separation—but they’ve come through on the other side with their love stronger than ever.

Caleb knows he’s earned Leo’s forgiveness. He wants to believe he deserves it, but just when Leo needs him more than ever, a voice in his head insists that maybe he doesn't. It’s so loud, he can't block it out. So loud, he’d do anything to silence it.

Including risking everything he and Leo, and the rest of Star Shadow, have built together.


“If you don't want to buy another house, you just need to tell me,” Leo said, and then wiggled out of Caleb's grasp, walking over to their big oversized walk-in closet. “Then I'll tell the realtor,” he said, his voice muffled. “But I feel stupid going to look at all these great places, when you end up hating all of them.”

“I don't hate them,” Caleb said quietly. That was true. He didn't hate them. There wasn't even anything really wrong with them, but there was this voice that kept telling him it was a mistake to move. A mistake to buy a new house, even though they had enough cash they could buy ten houses. “I just like this one.”

“I do too.” Leo walked out of the closet, wearing only a pair of skintight briefs, leaving nothing to the imagination and sending Caleb's pulse through the stratosphere. His voice and expression had softened, and Caleb thought if he kissed Leo, he wouldn't push him away. Not now. “I just wouldn't mind having some additional space.”

“Maybe,” Caleb said, clearing his throat as he began to unbutton his own shirt, “maybe we could look into an addition.”

Leo gave him a soft, chiding look, like he could see right through Caleb, straight into him, into all those ugly places that he tried to hide, and tried to hide from. “Maybe,” he said. Even though they both knew perfectly well that there was no extra room on their small, beachfront lot for an addition. If they wanted a bigger house, they would need to buy one. But for right now, Leo seemed to have let the problem go, and so Caleb decided that now when they had so much to celebrate, what was the point of continuing to argue about it? They'd figure it out—someday, anyway, Caleb reasoned.

“Hey,” Caleb said, shucking his shirt and reaching for Leo again, his hands sliding up his soft curves, reveling in the way his skin felt against his hands. “Hey, let's go to bed.”

Leo gave him a sly, lopsided smile, reaching up and intertwining his fingers through his curls, pulling Caleb down so their lips were nearly touching. “And what do you think I was trying to do, this whole damn time?”

“Torture me?”

“Maybe just a little,” Leo acknowledged, raising himself up so their eyes were nearly level. That deep, endless blue was something that Caleb had gotten lost in for the first time at the age of sixteen, and he'd never ever gotten over it—and the truth was, he never ever wanted to. Leo was as much a part of him as his red hair or his too-big hands or his mediocre ability to play the bass. Even when they'd been separated, and it had been years since he'd seen Leo, there'd always been a part of him yearning to be with him again, to feel that hot wild blue gaze wash over him, calming and exciting him, somehow all at the same time.

“I love you,” Caleb said, even though the words didn't feel like enough to possibly explain the feelings surging through him. Love and lust and tenderness and winding through all of that, a golden thread of abject gratitude.

Leo was the toughest person Caleb knew—the most relentless, and possibly the least forgiving person on the planet. So if he'd forgiven Caleb, and they'd moved on, that must mean Caleb deserved that forgiveness.

“You look,” Leo said thoughtfully, tapping a finger on Caleb's bottom lip, “you look like you're not thinking of what you should be thinking about.”

Buy Links - Available on Kindle Unlimited


About the Author 

A lifelong Oregonian, Beth Bolden has just recently moved to North Carolina with her supportive husband and their sweet kitten, Earl Grey. Beth still believes in Keeping Portland Weird, and intends to be just as weird in Raleigh.

Beth has been writing practically since she learned the alphabet. Unfortunately, her first foray into novel writing, titled Big Bear with Sparkly Earrings, wasn’t a bestseller, but hope springs eternal. She’s published eighteen novels and six novellas.

Social Media Links








My review:


4 out of 5 stars

Extraordinary Things by Beth Bolden is the fourth novel in the ‘Star Shadow’ series that features a group of guys as they finally find happiness and satisfaction in their lives. Caleb and Leo have had a difficult journey that was detailed in Terrible Things, the first novel in the quartet. They have gotten back together and are determined to make things work, but they’re not quite as confident in their relationship as they try to project…and the road ahead may be rocky.

This adult contemporary gay romance does a great job of tying up the series as all of the guys in the band settle into their relationships. Caleb and Leo have gone through the crucible of Caleb’s abandonment, and although their love is burning strong, they are still a little tentative about being honest about their wants and needs. There are a couple of relatively minor conflicts that have to be resolved, but this story is more about tying up all of the loose ends for each of the couples.

Given that there is such strong notice that this book should not be read as a stand-alone story, I was a little surprised that there were several flashbacks, which probably would help orient a reader new to the series but felt a little repetitive. I didn’t have the intense connection that I formed with these guys in the first story, but I still enjoyed the warm fuzzies from the romantic interludes and the resolutions for various happy couples. These stories were the first I’ve read by this author and I’ll definitely be looking for more of her works.

A copy of this title was provided for review

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

The Duplex by Lucky Stevens (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT

 Lucky Stevens


GENRE:   Historical LGBT Fiction



THE DUPLEX is a thrilling tale, set in 1950s L.A., of four gay friends who hatch a daring scheme to live life on their own terms, during a time of systemic governmental persecution.

Los Angeles, 1956. Shangri-La. Palm trees, swimming pools, movie stars. And if you’re gay—persecution. In a society that demands conformity and lockstep conventionality, gay people find out quickly and the hard way, how difficult, dangerous and downright terrifying it is to be different.

So, when the constant fear of arrests, evictions, job loss and ridicule become too much, four gay friends and lovers pull together to hatch an ingenious scheme designed to allow them to live freely, without harassment.

But their secret plan is not without its flaws. Internal struggles and personality conflicts conspire to make their situation harder and more life-altering than any of them could have predicted, leading to valuable and universal lessons about the high cost of blending in—or not.



I had just entered Eddie’s. I had been there many times before and everything seemed normal. I was there to meet my girlfriend, Dot. I like Eddie’s neighborhood feel. It kind of reminds me of back home, Brooklyn. It is a nice place since both men and women go there, giving you a little more protection, like if there seems to be a raid about to happen, they will belt out The Star-Spangled Banner over the hi-fi. When this happens, that is the signal for the men to partner up with the girls and visa-versa. Play a little Tarzan and Jane. Two times it has happened since I started going to Eddie’s and it honestly scared the hell out of me. I mean you feel like a little kid about to get a beating from your father.

Anyways, that is how come when I saw this character moving quickly toward me from the men’s room at Eddie’s that night, I did not pause but just grabbed his arm and let him lead me out. I knew this fella must be in trouble. Oh, I’ve been around, and I know about all the entrapments that go on with the boys. So anyways, this fella, nice-looking, takes my arm and I grab back right away while he tells me he needs my help. So he spins me on my heels and out the door we go, fast, but not too fast. I sneak one last look over my shoulder before we exit—nothing.

Once we are outside, we keep up the pace and he immediately takes off his jacket, bundles it up, and holds it to his gut with one arm. He takes his other arm and puts it around my waist and pulls me close.

“Say, you’re chilled to the bone. Like a big shrimp cocktail,” he says.

“Shrimp cocktails do not have bones.”

He smirked. “Yes, and you’re not in a fancy glass soaked in cocktail sauce, either. It’s what we society characters call a metaphor.”

As we walk, I look up at him since even with my heels he is still much taller than I am. He had a nice face. Then I do that thing I always do when I am around a man like him. I always wonder—I guess I can not help it—could I be with a fella like him if things were different?

“Thanks for helping me out,” he says, still looking straight ahead.

“S’okay, I know how it is. My name is Barbara.”

He looked at me for the first time and I could tell he was loosening up quickly; something I found appealing, I remember. “Beautiful name, Barbara. That’s my father’s name.”

That took me off guard and I snorted out a laugh. He smiled and told me his name was Cliff.

We should probably get off the streets I told him. “I live right around the corner.” He nodded and we disappeared off of Fountain, a right turn on Mansfield, a few apartments down and we were home.

When we entered, he scanned the room like he was looking for something. He noticed the phone and stepped toward it. “Do you mind?” he gestured.

I shook my head, no. He picked up the phone and dialed it as he looked at the back of a matchbook. “Hey, if you haven’t already started playing The National Anthem, que it up, Sam. There’s a vice squad goon taking a nap on your men’s room floor. Poor guy must have slipped on a bar of soap or something.” Then he hung up.

The book will be $.99 during the tour. Please check price before purchasing.


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Lucky Stevens lives, works and plays in exotic North America.  He has written three novels.  He was also a finalist in a nationwide screenplay writing contest.  He was inspired to write The Duplex because he wanted to tackle a subject that grappled with universal themes in a creative and exciting way.

He can be contacted in the following ways:



a Rafflecopter giveaway

The tour dates can be found here


My review:

3.5 out of 5 stars

The Duplex by Lucky Stevens is a unique look at the challenges and dangers of pursuing same-sex relationships during the mid-1950s in the United States. Set primarily in Los Angeles, this story follows four individuals who join forces to cope with the difficulties of living life contrary to the accepted norm. Their inventive solution is perfect for them…or is it?

This historical gay fiction story is told in alternating first-person point of view and offers a unique look at society and its challenges for those who are attracted to someone of their own gender. Each chapter is told from the point of view of each member of a quartet (Jerry, Dot, Barbara, and Cliff) as they get to know each other and eventually become the tenants of a unique house. There are fun glimpses of Los Angeles during the 1950’s, with allusions to some of the big names of Hollywood during this era, but there are also heartbreaking and horrifying scenes that show how dangerous it was to follow one’s inclinations during this time.

I think the author did a nice job of evoking picturesque scenes (although I cringed at the amount of cigarette smoking that took place) and painted a thought-provoking portrait of homophobia and the many obstacles that homosexuals dealt with. I was disconcerted by the first-person voice for so many characters and disappointed that this didn’t result in a more in-depth picture of each character. I had trouble making a connection with any of the quartet, and I thought some of the life-changing events were a bit abrupt and maybe even a bit inconsistent with the character’s behavior up to that point.

This story makes me aware of just far we’ve come in the past decades and provided an intriguing glimpse of a particular segment of society during the mid-1950s. Those in search of a unique look at society’s prejudices and the attempts to circumvent them should give this story a try.

A copy of this title was provided for review

Monday, June 22, 2020

Bad Dogs and Drag Queens by Julie Lynn Hayes (Spotlight, excerpt, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT ADULT title

ADULT title
Julie Lynn Hayes


GENRE:   Gay Romance



Vinnie Delarosa and Ethan Thorne are partners—on and off the clock. Federal undercover detectives, they’re part of a covert task force designed to promote goodwill between the feds and local authorities. They lend an unobtrusive helping hand wherever it’s needed. No credit required.

Vinnie and Ethan work primarily in the Southeast region of the United States and live together in Richmond, Virginia. A mugger problem brings them to Roanoke, where Vinnie is thrown out as bait to catch the man who’s been snatching purses in a city park, but they end up with more than they bargained for. Why is Vinnie always the one who has to wear the dress? Ethan says it’s because Vinnie looks much prettier in a skirt. How can he argue with that?

Expecting to return to Richmond afterward, Vinnie and Ethan find themselves assigned a new case instead. They are to go undercover at The Stroll, one of the biggest gay nightclubs in Roanoke. Someone is terrorizing both the customers and the performers. Could they be dealing with a hate crime? Someone has to protect the drag queens of Roanoke, so it’s Vinnie and Ethan to the rescue!




“Now what? Should we take him by the station, let them deal with him?” Ethan asked.

“It’s a police station, not a dog pound. Besides, he has a home. That wouldn’t be fair to lock him up like he did something wrong.”

“He did do something wrong,” Ethan pointed out. “He stole your purse.”

I knelt, albeit painfully, beside the two of them, bits of loose pavement digging into my knees, and began to stroke the Peke’s soft, damp fur. He wagged his tail and looked up at me with hopeful eyes. “Looks like we don’t have much choice if we can’t reach his owner.”

“Vinnie, are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

“Well, it’s not my first choice either, Ethan, but I don’t know what else to do. We can fix him up some space in one of the drawers. He’s little. He’ll probably like that. In the morning, we’ll get hold of his owner and then we can take him home on our way in to the station.”

“Yeah, okay.” Ethan gave in, as I knew he would. “You can carry him, since I’m driving.”

“Who says you’re driving?” I argued, even as I scooped up the unresisting pup. I tucked him into the crook of one arm, well away from the purse I’d slung over my other shoulder.

“Because I’m the husband and you’re the wife, and that’s how it works.” He winked at me.

Some days I just want to belt him.

Buy links:
On sale for $1.00
(please check price before purchase)


AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Julie Lynn Hayes was born and raised in St Louis, Missouri, and still calls that city home. She first began to write over fifty years ago, and doesn’t see that stopping anytime soon. She likes to write in different genres, to stretch herself in order to see what is possible. When someone tells her something can’t be done, she feels compelled to do it. Much of her writing is in the m/m romance category.
When she isn’t writing, or working at her day job with a third party elevator inspection company, she enjoys crafts, such as cross stitch and crochet, and watching her favorite programs. Her favorite chef is Geoffrey Zakarian, and her favorite historical character is Aaron Burr—she is obsessed with all things Hamilton!  Never say never is her motto!

eXtasy Books


a Rafflecopter giveaway

The tour dates can be found here 


My review:

3.5 out of 5 stars

Bad Dogs and Drag Queens by Julie Lynn Hayes is the first story in the ‘Rose and Thorne’ series and features federal agents Vinnie Delarosa and Ethan Thorne, whose special talents (and fancy wardrobes) are used to solve cases for local law enforcement officials.

This contemporary gay mystery romance is a lighthearted look at the lengths some folks will go to nab their villains. Vinnie and Ethan are partners in life and on the job and have no problem dressing up to fit the role. The little dog and his actions almost steal the show, and he adds great “aww” moments. Although I love the connection the men have, at times I felt they were almost too sweet and mild, and I was surprised at the brief interludes of insecurity that almost blow their covers given the length of time they’ve been together. The interactions with the drag queens and their inventive names were fun elements but the motive behind the perpetrator seemed a little weak. I suspect that some of the dangling threads are going to be addressed in subsequent stories since this is the first in the series. Those in search of a low-angst fun read should give this tale a try.

A copy was provided for review

Saturday, June 20, 2020

On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe (Spotlight and review)

Mary Alice Monroe

About the book:
It’s been sixteen years since Caretta “Cara” Rutledge has returned home to the beautiful shores of Charleston, South Carolina. Over those years, she has weathered the tides of deaths and births, struggles and joys. And now, as Cara prepares for her second wedding, her life is about to change yet again.

Meanwhile, the rest of the storied Rutledge family is also in flux. Cara’s niece Linnea returns to Sullivan’s Island to begin a new career and an unexpected relationship. Linnea’s parents, having survived bankruptcy, pin their hopes and futures on the construction of a new home on Ocean Boulevard. But as excitement over the house and wedding builds, a devastating illness strikes the family and brings plans to a screeching halt. It is under these trying circumstances that the Rutledge family must come together yet again to discover the enduring strength in love, tradition, and legacy from mother to daughter to granddaughter.

Like the sea turtles that come ashore annually on these windswept islands, three generations of the Rutledge family experience a season of return, rebirth, and growth. “Authentic, generous, and heartfelt” (Mary Kay Andrews, New York Times bestselling author), On Ocean Boulevard is Mary Alice Monroe at her very best.

(Note from ELF:  My apologies, I asked for an excerpt, but for some reason I could not get a response. Sorry!)



My review:

4.25 out of 5 stars

On Ocean Boulevard by Mary Alice Monroe follows the close connections of a group of women in the lowcountry of South Carolina, who are not only bound by love and friendship, but who are united in their care for the loggerhead sea turtles that many of them are devoted to helping survive. Linnea Rutledge has returned to her roots, but she’s far from settled, and it will be a challenge to navigate the personal and professional challenges, but her passion for the preservation of the environment never flags.

This contemporary women’s fiction story paints a vivid portrait of life on a special island and one of the families who are integrated into Charleston’s colorful history. Although I have never been to this area, I could almost smell the beach and I was delighted to share the experience of the lives of these characters and fascinated by the complicated hierarchy of the families. Although there are several books that touch on the Rutledge family, there is no problem reading this story as a stand-alone tale.

A copy of this title was provided for review

Friday, June 19, 2020

Catch a Tiger by the Tail by Gabbi Grey (Spotlight and excerpt) ADULT title

Image by Alexas_Fotos from Pixabay

ADULT title
Gabbi Grey

Exclusive Excerpt:

A seagull flew overhead, dipping down to the ground to peck at a piece of trash.

Thomas shooed the bird away, scooped up the litter, and tossed it into a bin nearby.

Natural. Easy fluid movements. Sleek and lean. He might not be classically handsome, but his body was a thing of beauty. Something to be coveted, if I were so inclined. I wasn’t. Because feelings like this could complicate things.

Didn’t stop me from fantasizing what could be. If we could hold hands. If we could be boyfriends. If we could be lovers.

Buy Links:

Image by Karen Arnold from Pixabay


Gabbi lives surrounded by trees, racoons, deer, and other woodland creatures, on a mountain in beautiful British Columbia where her fur baby chin poo keeps her safe from nasty bears.
Working for the government by day, she spends her nights writing contemporary, gay, sweet, and dark erotic BDSM romances…and while she firmly believes in happy endings, she also believes in making her characters suffer before finding their true love.


Personal links: