Review: WAVE GOODBYE TO CHARLIE by Eric Arvin

51qhmyM0aTLWAVE GOODBYE TO CHARLIE By Eric Arvin

Fantasy / Second edition released April 3, 2017 by Dreamspinner Press / (First edition published by Wilde City Press October 2014)

My name’s Charlie. I’m many things, though none of them having to do with any real talent. I’m a runaway, a hustler when I need to be, a ghost when I have to scare hoodlums away from my home, and a loner who maybe reads too much. But most of all, I’m the keeper of the carnival. That’s how I see myself. I look after the place ’cause even dying things need to be cared for. Maybe it’s illegal. Maybe that rusty metal fence around the carnival is supposed to keep me out too. Or maybe me and this place were meant to find each other. Truth is, I never felt at home anywhere but here, not even in all the foster families and orphanages I was placed in as a young shit. They don’t look for me no more, those places. I suspect I ran away so much they finally just said, “Fuck! Let him go.” I am a hangnail on society’s manicured middle finger. I’m older. One year past the age anyone gives a shit. 

And this is my adventure…

I am an eclectic reader. I look for interesting stories of all genres. As a reviewer, I get a lot of emails from publishers on new releases. When I received an email from Dreamspinner Press about rereleasing WAVE GOODBYE TO CHARLIE I was fascinated by the amazing cover by artist John Coulthart. I just had to read the book.

WOW.

Seriously, I mean WOW.

The fact that this is a M/M story is inconsequential. This is an adventure in this world and the next. A story of friendship, and loyalty and the power of love versus evil. A page-turner of epic standards full of twists and turns, none of which I saw coming.

Eric Arvin, I am a fan and this will not be the last book of yours that I read.

Interview with C L Etta author or LOVE’S TETHERED HEART

51br1r9nfdlHappy New Year! Thank you for hosting me today.

Tell us about your new release.

Love’s Tethered Heart is the third book I’ve written and by far the best. It’s the tale of Mico and Danny who beyond all probability meet then fall in love. What makes the story unique is that Mico has quadriplegia and is ventilator dependent. What makes their meeting improbable is that Danny is a carefree journalist, living four hundred miles north of Mico’s hometown in NM and because of the mechanics involved Mico rarely leaves his bedroom. How he lost his ability to move unfolds through a series of interviews with Mico’s, family and friends. Love’s Tethered Heart encompasses faith, hope, forgiveness and unconditional love. It’s a story about life.

What do you hope readers take away from your work?

I like angst and happy endings. I appreciate the emotional rollercoaster of a good story and I would enjoy bringing that same experience to my readers. I hope they will take the journey with my characters and come away feeling better for having accompanied them.

Continue reading “Interview with C L Etta author or LOVE’S TETHERED HEART”

Book Excerpt: LOVE’S TETHERED HEART by C L Etta

51br1r9nfdlIn this scene, Danny is interviewing Mico and they were joking and laughing. Mico’s ventilator delivered a breath at an inopportune time and Mico needs Danny’s help.

“Jeez, I give up. You’re too quick for me, Mico, and this interview has totally disintegrated into song title chaos.” Laughing and shaking my head at our inanity, I tried to set my hilarity aside and to reacquire my professional demeanor. I glanced at Mico to ask him a question and saw his nose twitching back and forth and up and down.

“Do you think you can do me a favor, Danny?”

“Sure. What do you need?”

“Can you grab Santiago for me? That last snort got a little messy, and I need him to clean me up a little.”

“Aw, there’s no need to bother him. Let me help.”

“You sure?” His uncertainty lay in his eyes, but then he twitched his nose again, clearly uncomfortable.

“Tell me what to do.”

“Grab a couple of tissues from the box on the table and help me clean my nose, if you don’t mind. There are vinyl gloves as well.” He bit his lip and twitched his nose once again.

I donned the gloves, pulled the tissues from their box, and stood in front of Mico, awaiting further instructions. I saw the mucus on his upper lip, but before I could swipe it with the tissues, he said, “You know, Ry never would have done this for me. You’re amazing, Danny. I need my nose wiped like a booger-smeared two-year-old, and you volunteer without a second thought.”

I wondered about “Ry” and made a mental note to ask at the first opportunity.

I cleaned him up and removed my gloves by pulling one over the used tissues in my hand, then placing that glove in the palm of my hand and pulling the other glove over it. I caught Mico’s wide-eyed expression as he observed me. “My mother’s a nurse,” I offered as an explanation. “She taught me the correct way, the safe way, to remove gloves when handling potentially infectious tissues. She’s actually a bit of a germophobe. Makes you wonder why she’s a nurse, doesn’t it?”

“Well, I imagine she’s very good at her job and very conscientious. It was frightening to live among the things I observed while hospitalized. I’m lucky I didn’t develop a raging infection after the months I spent incarcerated.” “You mean incapacitated?”

“No, Danny. Incarcerated. The first month I was so disoriented— what with the drugs and concussion—I didn’t know up from down. When I was lucid again, I felt incapacitated, but by the third month I felt as if I had been sentenced to solitary confinement.”

“What do you mean?”

“At first my friends visited or checked in with Dad or me on a regular basis. My boyfriend was by my side through it all. But by the third month, people began to dwindle away while they led their busy lives. Dad stayed away more and more too. I can’t blame him, though. Witnessing me existing but not living while he was still mourning Mom took its toll. Hearing and seeing him struggle to find excuses for why he didn’t visit became too painful for me to watch. So I quit asking.”

“What about your boyfriend?” Wondering whether this was Ry, I pushed. “What became of him?”

“Let’s just say he never aspired to become a prison warden and leave it there, for now. Besides, it’s getting late, and it takes Santiago at least an hour to prepare me for bed. Why don’t we meet again tomorrow—say around ten? It will still be cool enough that we can sit outdoors and talk.”

“That’s perfect, Mico. I’ll let myself out and send Santiago back to you. Pleasant dreams, buddy.”

I returned to the resort, dropped twenty bucks into a stingy slot machine, and then went to the bar. Chris was working, and with a welcoming smile, he poured me a frosty beer. The couple at the end of the bar got up and left. After he picked up their glassware, he kept me occupied with stories of his last, bad boyfriend, his coming out, and the gay nightlife in Albuquerque. Chris’s easy chatter helped pass the time and kept my mind off my ever-growing attraction to Mico.

Review: LOVE’S TETHERED HEART by C.L. Etta

51br1r9nfdlLOVE’S TETHERED HEART By C.L. Etta

GLBT Contemporary Romance / Released Jan 2, 2017 by Dreamspinner

 

BOOK BLURB: Two years ago Mico and his partner suffered a savage gay bashing that left Mico a quadriplegic—and ended his dreams of traveling the world as an archaeologist. Abandoned by the man he loved, he lives in isolation, tethered to his bed by the machines keeping him alive, with only his caretakers and immediate family as companions.

Assigned to interview Mico and uncover the story behind his assault and his refusal to identify his attackers, journalist Danny is unprepared for his reaction to the fragile enigmatic man. Mico is afraid to let Danny into his life, and Danny is unsure how to change his mind. Mico is also keeping secrets, and he isn’t the only one. Danny is determined to protect Mico, and he’s determined to show Mico that their feelings for each other can thrive amidst the mechanics of Mico’s existence.

The premise of this book really intrigued me: A romance that included a paraplegic. A real challenge and C.L. Etta handled it beautifully.

With an air of mystery and a sigh of romance, this book held so many page-turning elements. The characters were multidimensional with an excellent balance between backstory and the present.

I grew so close to these characters that the day after finishing the book I had the urge to give Danny and Mico a call to see how they were doing.

C.L. Etta didn’t just write a book, she told a damn good story. Thank you for the journey.

Review: COMING BACK by John Inman

51HRGdMz39L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_COMING BACK (The Belladonna Arms #3) by John Inman

GLBT Romance Dreamspinner Press

Barney Teegarden knows what it’s like to be alone. He knows what it’s like to have a romantic heart, yet no love in his life to unleash the romance on. With the help of a friend, he acquires a lease in a seedy apartment building perched high on a hill in downtown San Diego. The Belladonna Arms is not only filled with the quirkiest cast of characters imaginable, it is also famous for sprinkling love dust on even the loneliest of the lovelorn.

At the Arms, Barney finds friendship, acceptance, and an adopted family that lightens his lonely life. Hell, he even finds a cat. But still true love eludes him.

When his drag queen landlord, Arthur, takes it into his head to rescue a homeless former tenant, he enlists Barney’s help. It is Barney who shows this lost soul how to trust again—and in return Barney discovers love for the first time in his life.

I requested a review copy of this book because Barney Teegarden just seemed like the kind of guy whose company I would enjoy. I was right. I loved this book and the residents of The Belladonna Arms. Inman tells this tale of people who look out for each other with tenderness and humor. I look forward to grabbing the first two books in this series.

Review: BEWARE OF GEEKS BEARING GIFTS by Charlie Cochet

51wjGbEd-VL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_BEWARE OF GEEKS BEARING GIFTS

by Charlie Cochet

GLBT Romance Dreamspinner Press

Miami SWAT officer, Julian “Quinn” Quintero is trying to recover from an on-the-job injury but he finds it challenging with his large Cuban family and his smitten brownie baking neighbor Spencer.

Opposites find attraction in this sweet and funny novella.

Review: KINDRED SPIRITS by Alicia Dyal

Kindred SpiritsKindred Spirits by Alicia Dyal

Dreamspinner Press (April 2015) 49 pages / GLBT Romance

This novella has two appealing main characters, one of them a chunky, hardworking bear of a small-town bar owner, the other (the narrator), a sophisticated city bartender with a controlling mother and a load of guilt. These two meet in spring when Mike, the bar owner, is in Chicago on a business trip and happens to drop into the bar where Casey works. There’s instant chemistry, but on his way to Mike’s hotel room after work, Casey gets the devastating news of his brother Brandon’s sudden death and rushes off without calling Mike to let him know.

Fast forward to autumn: Casey is living in the wreck of a house Brandon wanted to rehab, trying to work off his guilt at not spending enough time with his brother when he had the chance. Ms. Dyal captures the painful emotions of loss very well, and Casey’s obsessive guilt is very convincing. His desperation at running out of money and the need for a job are completely believable, and – since this is a romance – I can accept that the bar Mike owns happens to be in the small town where Brandon lived. (They had to get back together somehow, after all.) I can see that Mike has a similar situation with guilt and obligation because he’s lost his dad and has had to take over the family business. Clearly, the story is about two men helping each other break free of old baggage. And the sex, when it finally happens – the building anticipation is very well-done – is steamy and affectionate.

But … The story feels rushed from the point that they reunite. There are improbabilities all along, starting with the idea that a man of 23 would answer a call from his mother on his way to a romantic encounter with the first guy who’s had such a strong effect on him. Since he was already in the lobby of Mike’s hotel, it made no sense that he would not even leave a message at the desk before taking off to deal with his brother’s death. (He tells Mike later that he had no way to reach him, which was a bald-faced lie and I was surprised Mike didn’t call him on it.) We never do find out what happened to Brandon, except that it involved a hardware store and an accident. A critical episode like that needed just a little more explanation.

The situation with Brandon’s house doesn’t make sense, either. The author states the Brandon put in enormous amounts of time on the place, but when Casey gets there it has only a microwave and intermittent plumbing, and even though he has poured his life savings into the place, when the story picks up again it doesn’t sound as though his time and money have fixed anything at all, His mother, who is a doctor, doesn’t seem to recognize that Casey is suffering from depression and probably needs an intervention. Instead, she cuts off support.

Then Casey goes to look for a job, and reunites with Mike … and the storyline goes south. Casey apologizes for standing Mike up, they click perfectly, all difficulties fall aside, tough problems resolve themselves instantly, a big stubborn bear who has been resisting good advice from people he trusts suddenly turns compliant when someone he barely knows says the same thing—and a rep from the notoriously difficult music industry hands over the keys to the magic pumpkin because Mike doesn’t want to do the touring that music promotion requires. It’s too much, too fast, too easy, and I felt shortchanged because the characterization was really good and I wanted a story with more substance.

I’d like to give this more paws, and if the author had taken the time to flesh out the potential of this scenario, I think it would have been a much better read. Five stars for sensuality, and for portraying a plus-size gentleman as sexy and attractive, but the pacing just does not work for me. For a reader who only wants to get to the clinch, okay, but I do wish Alicia Dyal had given this storyline time to develop more fully. Just as I was getting to know the characters and really wanted to see them tackle Brandon’s wreck of a house and the difficulties of juggling a music career and a bar and really getting to know each other, they have some lovely hot sex, pack up Billy Bass—and that’s all, folks.

Good characters, excellent scene-setting, but I think this author could have done better.

This review was provided by Ace Katzenbooks for the May 2015 issue of The Book Breeze.