Bishop’s Move Blurb & Excerpt

Hey, y’all! So for those of you who aren’t on Facebook or who missed the takeover Santino Hassell and I were part of yesterday, we wanted to share some info about the project we unveiled there! We recently started co-writing the first book of a planned erotic romance trilogy. The title is BISHOP’S MOVE, and if you want a sneak peek at the blurb and an excerpt from the first chapter, read on! 😉

(Note: the blurb and excerpt are unedited and subject to possible changes during revisions.)

 BISHOP’S MOVE BLURB

In near-future Chicago, virtual reality is an escape from the grit and grime of everyday life. 

Lucky Amonte will be paying off his VR gaming system forever, but it’s worth it to experience his dirtiest fantasies with anonymous strangers in the Drift. After work and in the game, he’s LuckyStrike—the androgynous, chubby fashionisto who fiercely rocks big hoop earrings and flashy ensembles. He also craves rough sex, humiliation, and dominance, and he’s finally found the perfect virtual partner in sexy, mysterious Bishop, who gives it to Lucky exactly as he needs it.

Jamie Bishop spent most of his twenties incarcerated for protecting someone he loved. Now he’s stuck in a thankless job delivering pizzas and passing coded messages for his shady boss. Life isn’t kind to ex-felons, but in the Drift, he’s simply Bishop. Clean-cut and average. No prison tats. No brawny, intimidating physique. And there, he has Lucky, whose desires align perfectly with his own.

When their fantasy and real lives collide, Bishop is forced to decide—either play it safe and keep a low profile or make a move and find out whether their virtual chemistry is more than just a game. But drawing Lucky into his world could put both their lives on the line.

~*~

EXCERPT

Lucky

Sliding into the Drift always felt like an electric shock—a sharp, sudden spark that left every nerve alight and every fine body hair briefly standing on end. By now, I expected the familiar, rough shiver and the accompanying mental rubber-band-snap of my brain and body syncing with the Virtual Drift gaming system.

I didn’t so much choose my avatar as sank into it, my mind absorbed into the entity I played within the game. When I Drifted, I literally became LuckyStrike. I saw, heard, felt, and spoke through my avatar. A sensory experience unlike any virtual reality system I’d ever used before, and so far, I was completely addicted.

Logging into Novo Society took only a slight motion of my glove-covered hand. In a blink, the real world vanished and I stood in the small studio apartment I’d purchased using in-game credits.

To call the place spartan was being generous, but I didn’t play the game for fancy digs. I used the system mainly for social interaction and sex, with the occasional first-person shooter thrown in. Tonight, as every Friday for the past two months, had been reserved for me and Bishop. Our requirements were simple: four walls and a lockable door. Anything else I needed, Bishop gave me. With just the right amount of roughness.

Goddamn, I needed him tonight. It’d taken every ounce of willpower not to sign into the game until a couple of minutes before our usual six p.m. meeting time. I knew myself. Knew logging in early would only increase my frustration. Even expecting Bishop’s knock at any second, I stalked the perimeter of my virtual studio like a caged animal, shaking out my limbs, the bangles at my wrists jangling with the agitated movements. Restless energy flowed over my skin, humming like power lines. It had been a bad week—the worst week—and now, with the promise of release so near, my anxiety threatened to shake me apart.

Half an hour passed.

Fuck fuck fuck.

Where was he?

I hadn’t needed Bishop this badly since the very first time. Eight weeks ago, I’d been so desperate, starved for someone to take control and use me like I needed to be used. I’d been wasting time playing with wannabe Doms, and then Bishop walked into The Forum. I brought him to this apartment, and he put me on my knees. And it was perfect.

So perfect I probably thought about it too much, and yet I knew tonight I’d be asking him if we could discuss our arrangement, find another gap somewhere in both our schedules. Some way to make this more than just a once-weekly thing.

I had no idea what Bishop did with his time outside of the game. We didn’t talk about those things. Ever. When we were together, I saved my breath for begging. And Bishop, he liked to hear me beg. But now that I’d had a taste of the sweet, heady relief only Bishop could provide, it was getting harder and harder to endure the seven-day stretches without him.

Surely he could find a way to free up another evening. He had to crave this as much as I did. He had to. Our virtual chemistry was far too intense to be one-sided.

I stopped in the middle of the room, the bangles clinking into place as I dropped my arms to my sides. Chandelier earrings hung from my lobes, and I felt them swaying and tinkling lightly in the wake of my abrupt stillness.

I liked the soft sound. I liked the way they made me feel. And here in the game, I could wear them. I didn’t have to be the buttoned up version of Lucky. The one who spent anywhere from forty to sixty hours a week in a thankless IT job where I felt like my soul was slowly being crushed beneath a white-collar facade and the weight of other people’s expectations.

LuckyStrike might have wild, lavender hair, pointed elf ears, and creeping vine and ivy tattoos, but other than those minor alterations, he was me in all my fierce, fat, thick-thighed glory. I was him. And Bishop accepted all of it. The makeup and nail polish, the jewelry, the mishmash of clothing styles.

I needed that. To be accepted for me, even if it was a slightly fanciful version of myself. I didn’t exactly lack for confidence, but I spent so much time maintaining a charade and wearing a stifling, colorless disguise. Just another cog in the big corporate machine being forced to blend, blend, blend. I only got to be the real Lucky after business hours, and only a handful of people knew that Lucky—including Bishop.

I needed him. Tonight more than ever. So where the hell was he?

~*~

And here’s a little peek at our fierce and fabulous Lucky inspiration. 😉

Lucky inspo

 

And Bishop’s awesome inspiration.

bishopinspo

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Off the Ice Instagram Tour

IG Tour Doc updated (1)

#OfftheIceTour

Presented by: Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn, and A Novel Take PR

 

Hosted by:

10/28: @anyaminx, @gaybookreviews, @loveqhuay, @lovinghotbooks1, @mikku_chan0711, @thefictionfaery, @write.read.learn

10/29: @apolishedreader, @hoards.jumble, @dtr_downtoread, @fernsbookblog, @zaza_bdp

10/30: @booklovcrs, @erchomaiii, @loveunchainedreviews, @wild_heart_reads, @danielapolegre

10/31: @dirtybookobsession, @alphabookclub, @realtalkbooktalk, @wickedgoodreads, @surletagere, @southernbabesbookblog

11/1: @KarenBoudoir, @em_b_whittmann, @expect_books, @thebookcorps

11/2: @bookish_notes, @bookishgerman, @bookly_reads, @Riverreads_, @strandedinbooks, @bookhaulholl

11/3: @szangelika79, @hearts_on_fire_reviews, @two_chicks_obsessed

 

OFF THE ICE, a contemporary m/m hockey romance featuring a professional hockey player and his surly Sociology professor falling in love, is out 10/30/17! To celebrate we have 7 days of awesome #bookstagram photos hosted by some truly gorgeous accounts!

What it is: for seven days, 10/28 – 11/3, stop by each of the hosts to see their photos of and take part in the tour challenge.

Tour challenge: comment on any of the host photos & use the hashtag #OfftheIceTour, tag any of the daily hosts, tag the authors (@piper.vaughn and @avongale), and A Novel Take PR (@anoveltakepr) and you’ll be entered in the giveaway.

You can enter on every post from one of the hosts!

Can’t wait to see all of your photos!

***Giveaway details: up for grabs and open internationally!***

Signed paperback + swag pack from the Off the Ice Hockey team, The Venom:

Venom T-shirt (https://www.zazzle.com/venom_t_shirt-235129640364916786)

Venom button (https://www.zazzle.com/theavaughnshop/gifts?f_cg=196626168205879547)

Venom pen (https://www.zazzle.com/venom_pen-256103053089540914)

Venom player spiral notebook (https://www.zazzle.com/venom_player_spiral_8_5_x_8_5_notebook_holt_57-256932640330558309)

Winners chosen by 11/9 and contacted about their prize via the Instagram account they used to enter

Upcoming Release Schedule

Hi, all! For anyone wondering, this is my list of upcoming releases and works-in-progress. All dates are tentative/subject to change, but this is how things stand right now. 😀

RELEASE SCHEDULE:

October 2017 – OFF THE ICE (Hat Trick #1) – with Avon Gale – Riptide – Contemporary romance. Sports. Age gap. Earnest Midwestern hockey player meets grumpy Puerto Rican sociology professor with a dash of kink.

May 2018 – GOALIE INTERFERENCE (Hat Trick #2) – with Avon Gale – Riptide – Contemporary romance. Sports. Rivals to lovers. Bisexual character. Interracial relationship. D/s elements. POC characters. Two ice hockey goalies competing for the starting slot on the same team. Tempers flare and things get hot. 😉

August 2018 – NECESSARY ART (Art & Soul #2) – with Avon Gale – Riptide – Contemporary romance. Graffiti artist/skater. Lawyer-turned-sculptor-turned-non-profit-organizer. Age gap. Opposites attract. Demisexual character.

November 2018 – TRADE DEADLINE (Hat Trick #3) – with Avon Gale – Riptide – Contemporary romance. Sports. Friends to lovers. Sweet and sexy. Bisexual character. A veteran hockey player is traded to his hometown team and reunites with his best friend/first crush from childhood. When I say sweet, I’m serious, y’all, there are DOLPHINS.

WIPs:

ANOTHER ROUND – In progress – First book in my texting trilogy. Contemporary romance. Opposites attract. Multicultural couple. Cute, nerdy number cruncher meets hot, bearded, tattooed gym owner/MMA fighter through rather unconventional circumstances.

Vloggers trilogy – In planning

Hard Hats #3 – Outlined

Permanent Ink Release Instagram Tour

permanent ink tour 5

 

#PermanentInkTour

Presented by: Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn, and A Novel Take PR

 

Hosted by:

 

8/7: @bookish_notes @apolishedreader

8/8: @benbendiks @books.and.moonlight

8/9: @Two_Chicks_Obsessed  @midnightclockwork

8/10: @KarenBoudoir @alphabookclub @booklovcrs

 

PERMANENT INK, the kinky tattoo artist romance from me and Avon Gale, is out 8/7! To celebrate we have 4 days of awesome #bookstagram photos hosted by some of our favorites!

What it is: for four days, stop by each of the hosts to see their photos of Permanent Ink and take part in the tour challenge.

Tour challenge: post your favorite tattoo snapshot & use the hashtag #PermanentInkTour, tag the daily host, me (@piper.vaughn) and @avongale, and A Novel Take PR (@anoveltakepr) and you’ll be entered in the giveaway.

People can enter once a day as long as they tag a daily host.

Can’t wait to see all of your photos!

***Giveaway details: up for grabs: 3 e-copies of PERMANENT INK. Winners chosen by 8/15 and contacted with their prize via the Instagram account they used to enter.***

New release: Black John

Hi, all! It’s been a while since I updated, but I have a surprise rerelease to announce today!

My short story, Black John, was originally included in DSP’s “Cross Bones” pirate anthology. I got the rights back a few months ago and decided I would rerelease it as an individual title for those who didn’t pick up the anthology, or those who read the other book in this universe, Love Rising (currently available from Dreamspinner Press). The two stories are set in the same world, but can definitely be read as stand-alones. Please note: Love Rising does have a fantasy element. If you’re a fan of mermen, check it out! 😀

This fab new cover was designed by Natasha Snow. I ♥ it.

blackjohn-f-web

Former pirate Juan “Black John” de Avila has found a home on Isla Sagrario, a safe haven for men who desire other men. When Jacob, the lover he thought had died, washes ashore after a shipwreck, Juan believes he’s been given a second chance at love. But Jacob Bellamy thinks the safety of Sagrario is an illusion, one that will come to a brutal end should their enemies ever catch wind of their whereabouts.

Juan doesn’t want to lose Jacob again, but neither does he want to leave his home behind for a lifetime of hiding and secrecy. When the island comes under attack, Jacob is forced to decide what means more to him—spending the rest of his life safe and alone, or risking it all to be with the man he loves.

Genre: M/M Historical Romance
Length: Short story (approx 6K)

Buy it now for only 99 cents!:
Amazon
Payhip
Kobo
Barnes & Noble

Add it on Goodreads

Off-Topic Review: Acetone-Free Nail Polish Removers

Heeeey, all. So I might start a separate nail polish/art related blog eventually, but since the people who asked me for this review are people who follow me as Piper anyway, I’m going to post this here for now. If you’re not interested in nail polish/art, then of course, feel free to skip this post.

If you follow me on social media, you might have seen that I’ve been really into nail art for about the last two months. It’s become rather therapeutic for me, but along the way I’d noticed the strong fumes and intensely drying effects of pure acetone and acetone-based removers. I’d already started seeking more natural alternatives, but then, at the beginning of this month, I had a 4-5 day stretch of constant headaches, nausea, and dizziness. While we don’t know if it was related to acetone fumes — some of my symptoms persist even now, after avoiding acetone for a week — my doctor agreed that trying to use it sparingly in future would be for the best. So, I guess it was a good thing I’d already been seeking acetone-free polish removers and had some on order, eh?

If you’re interested in which is the best I’ve used so far, read on. They all do the job, but some definitely work faster and more effectively than others. I’ll list them from slowest to fastest.

Note: All of these polish removers were tested on a nail design with multiple layers and a dark red polish as a base, which stains and can be difficult to remove. I figured I might as well really put them to the test. 😛

Pure Vitality Beauty: 100% Natural Nail Polish Remover

img_1754

Price: $12.87 for 4oz on Amazon

Pros

-No fumes

-Plant based

-Safe for you and the environment (biodegradable, non-toxic, non-carcinogenic, non-flammable)

-Light odor (similar to olive oil)

-Moisturizing for nails and cuticles

Cons

-Very slow

-Very oily

-Messy

-Can’t be used for clean up during polishing (Oils on nails can cause polish “shrinkage” and chipping/flaking and lessen the time your manicure will last)

Summary: This will remove your nail polish, but it’s going to take some elbow grease. It comes with a dropper, which you can use to drop the product onto your nails. They suggest doing that and waiting 5 minutes before attempting to remove the polish with a cotton ball or pad. Even after doing so, it took a lot of rubbing – and a lot of cotton pads – to get rid of the nail polish. That being said, I love that it moisturizes while removing polish and I love that the scent is nearly nonexistent.

~*~

Chrome Girl: Coconut & Island Rum Scented Nail Lacquer Remover Pads

img_1758

Price: $15 for 60 pads at Chrome Girl Nails

Pros

-Decent scent, though stronger than I expected

-Acetone and paraben free

-Contains cuticle moisturizer and nail strengthener

-Cruelty free

Cons

-Slow

-Not very cost effective (It typically took 1 pad per nail, though sometimes I could do 2 nails with one. The more stubborn polishes might take a couple pads each finger.)

-Difficult to use for clean up during polishing

Summary: These pads remove polish more easily than the plant-based remover listed above; however, if you do a lot of nail art, you’ll be lucky if they last for 6 or 7 manicures. They’re handy to have around, but they’ll never be my go-to remover.

~*~

ella + mila Soy Polish Remover

img_1756

Price: $20 for 4oz at HB Beauty Bar

Pros

-Mild lavender scent

-No acetone or harsh acetates

-Moisturizing

-Removes polish fairly quickly

-Cruelty free

-Vegan

Cons

-Oily (Though less so than the Pure Vitality remover)

-Price for quantity

Summary: This was the most expensive non-acetone remover I purchased, and the bottle you get is tiny. Since you’re supposed to soak a cotton ball/pad thoroughly to remove polish, I can’t see it lasting very long if you’re a nail art junkie. That being said, it removed more effectively than either of the previous two removers I listed, which means less time/effort/cotton balls. I haven’t tried to use it for clean up while doing nail art, and because of its oiliness, I’m not sure I will. If I do test it, I’ll update this post with how it went.

~*~

Nailtiques Non-Acetone Remover

img_1757

Price: $8 for 6 oz on Amazon

Pros

-Fast

-Effective

-Oil free

-Acetone free

-Contains aloe vera and conditioners

-Strong enough to be used with a brush for clean up (on the cuticle and skin surrounding nails) after polishing

Cons

-Intense chemical scent

-Contains ethyl acetate, which is used as an industrial solvent. It’s relatively non-toxic, but can cause ear/nose/throat irritation as well as nausea/vomiting/unconsciousness at high levels and other health issues with frequent, prolonged exposure. Carcinogenic properties are unknown.

Summary: It’s about as close to an acetone remover as you can get. It’s strong and a lot more effective at removing polish than the others listed in this post; however, the manufacturer’s definition of “lightly scented” drastically differs from mine. The scent is powerful and lingers for a while after using, but if you have a really difficult to remove polish and want to avoid acetone, this is probably your best bet. I’ll likely use this as sparingly as regular acetone.

~*~

And that’s it! There’s no denying acetone is the workhorse of nail polish removers and best for clean up during nail art and removing gel polish. I won’t stop using it entirely, but I’ll probably only use it during more complicated designs with more potential for errors – and to tackle really stubborn glitter polishes.

Piper’s Reading Roundup: Top 15 Reads of 2016

Hey, all! It’s been a while since I posted one of these, but since 2017 is rapidly approaching, I figured I might as well save it for a big end-of-the-year post!

Without further ado, and in no particular order, these were my top 15 favorite reads in 2016. (Note: I did cheat a little by choosing series in a couple of places, and these are books I read this year but they weren’t all necessarily released in 2016.)

Being(s) in Love Series by R. Cooper – I’ve recommended plenty of titles by R. Cooper in the past, so seeing her on this list should come as no surprise. Instead of individual titles, though, I’m just going to mention her Being(s) in Love series as a whole. I have my particular faves (Little Wolf and A Dandelion for Tulip), but really, I just love this entire series. R. Cooper has created a world I wish I could live in. I love seeing familiar faces pop up throughout the books, and I love R. Cooper’s skill at writing slow-burn and unresolved sexual tension. It’s such delicious torment waiting for the characters to finally get together. The pining, friends. The pining. I highly recommend this series for fans of urban fantasy romance. There are fairies and elves and werewolves and dragons and all sorts of wonderful creatures and characters that will steal your heart.

 

dandelion

 

Staged by Kim Fielding – I admit to some hesitancy before starting this book. I’m generally not a big fan of books containing dub- or non-con elements, and slave fic can be pretty touchy for me too. The reason I took a chance on this book was the author. If you’ve followed my book rec posts in the past, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Kim Fielding. We have author/reader trust established, which means I know that no matter what she puts her characters through, she’ll get them to a happy (or happier) place by the end. I trusted her to do that here too, and I wasn’t disappointed. Fair warning, though – this is a lot darker than Kim’s usual work, and some parts were difficult to read, at least for me.

Misfits by Garrett Leigh – A couple of months ago I was in the mood to read a good menage story and I asked for recommendations on Twitter. Misfits was mentioned by nearly everyone who answered, and though I’d shied away from reading any of the Garrett Leigh titles I own because friends kept warning me about the high angst content, after several people – including Garrett herself – told me the story wasn’t overly heavy, I decided to take a chance. I’m so, so glad I did, because it was a lovely story and an instant addition to my favorites shelf. There was a bit of angst but nothing overwhelming, and I loved watching these three men come together. Highly recommended!

 

misfits

 

Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley – Man, it took me way too long to read this book! I don’t know why I put it off for so long, even though I’d bought it when it first came out and multiple friends recommended it to me after its release. I loved pretty much every word. The angst, the yearning and attraction between Miller and Danny… I mean, it’s like my crack when it comes to books. I die for great UST (unresolved sexual tension). DIE, I SAY. And when they finally came together, it was scorching and I just wanted it to work out for them SO BAD. The ending was perfect. Highly recommended. (And damn, was I bummed when I realized McKinley didn’t have any other books for me to devour. /sadface)

Damned If You Do by Marie Sexton – This book was a pure pleasure to read. It had humor, mild angst, and SO MANY FEELS. Religion – or rather faith – played a huge role (obv, I mean, this is a book about a soul-acquiring devil falling for a Bible-quoting revivalist). I loved Sexton’s take on Hell. I laughed more than once, had a few heart squishy moments, and even got misty eyed toward the end. Whether you’ve read Sexton before or if she’d be new to you, I definitely recommend checking this out! (Also, heed the product warning from Samhain because if snakes aren’t your bag, a couple of scenes in this book might freak you out. Just a heads up.)

Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) & Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale – Full disclosure, I can’t claim to be totally unbiased here. Over the last year, Avon has become one of my best friends, and at this point I’m lucky enough to get to read her work as it’s being written (and we’re also currently writing a series together that was recently contracted by Riptide!). But I will say that my love of Avon’s work and our friendship both started sort of simultaneously. I was hooked with Breakaway and have loved everything I’ve read since. It’s been a trend so far with the Scoring Chances series that I’ve loved each book more than the last. Each book is infused with Avon’s trademark humor, skillful writing, and snappy dialogue. Watching her characters come together is always incredibly fun and gratifying — and sometimes heart-wrenching. Even if you’re not a hockey fan, I’d suggest giving this series a try. The books are about so much more than hockey, though if you’re a fan like myself, there is plenty here to keep the sports lover happy too.

 

empty_net_final-1

 

 

Farm Fresh (Naked Organics #1) by Posy Roberts – I loved how different this book was. It portrayed a “free love” commune in Oregon, which one of the main characters joins after encountering the intriguing Hudson, a man who lives/works in the Kaleidoscope Gardens and sells their produce and various other things during the farmers’ market on Jude’s college campus every week. Hudson and Jude come from similar backgrounds, but Jude is nursing some serious hangups when it comes to sex – guilt, shame, and memories of abuse at the hands of his parents, who think sex is for one purpose only: procreation. I was fascinated by the commune and Jude’s changes as he acclimated to life there. I’ve actually discussed the idea of a commune, although not quite this type, with friends in the past, and I think I’d love to live in such an environment. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, which features Hudson and Jude once again. They’re together at the end of this book, but their relationship is really just beginning. And as you can guess by this description and the blurb, this book is about poly/open relationships. If you’re not a fan of seeing sex happen with anyone outside of the main couple, then it’s probably best to avoid.

The Dead Past by Kate Aaron – Earlier this year I asked if there was such a thing as cozy mysteries in M/M. You know the sort – bookish librarian of bakery owner from a small town suddenly stumbles over a corpse and amateur sleuthing ensues. Someone mentioned the Puddledown Mysteries and I was intrigued enough by the blurb of the first book to try the sample. And when I came to the end of the sample I immediately purchased the book and kept reading right until I finished it. The story is set in a small British town in the wake of WWII. Hugo finds an elderly widow brutally murdered in the woods, only to have Tommy, the new groundskeeper on the property, appear on the scene mere minutes later. At first Hugo is suspicious, but then he starts to develop feelings for the mysterious Tommy as they bond in the aftermath of their mutual discovery. It’s a quiet, understated story in the manner of Agatha Christie or Louise Penny with no sex and very little physical contact. If you’re a fan of cozies, you’re almost certain to enjoy it. (I also read the next two books in the series and loved them too!)

The Benched Series by Misha Horne – This contemporary series starts with Rookie Mistake, and man, is it fun! Juno and Kyle are vivid, wonderful characters – especially Juno – and if you’re a fan of spanking and D/s elements, you need to be reading these shorts. The most recent one came out in October, and I’m eagerly awaiting more!

The Galactic Alliance Series by KC Burn – When this series was first recommended to me, I’d had the first book, Spice ‘n’ Solace, on my TBR list quite some time. I finally dove in, and I’m so glad I did! These sexy stories include fabulous characters and are perfect for anyone who’s a fan of sci-fi without an over-abundance of world-building and technical jargon to weigh the story down. I even asked KC Burn if there’d be more right after I finished the third book, which should tell you something. (She said yes, BTW. :D)

Tournament of Losers by Megan Derr – Friggin’ fabulous! If you like reading stories in which the hero has to compete in a tournament for their lover’s heart and hand, well, you will not find a better one in M/M! And it was written for me, after my shameless begging for this type of story on Twitter, so, you know, that made it extra special!

 

tournament

 

Interborough (Five Boroughs #4) by Santino Hassell – I’m a big fan of this series, and this couple in particular. I’m really glad that Santino decided to revisit them and really cement their HEA. David and Raymond are by far my favorite couple in the Five Boroughs universe. Their chemistry is like whoa, and here we got to see them develop and strengthen as a couple in spite of some stressful life circumstances, which I think was necessary for the reader to believe their relationship can really withstand the test of time. They’ll be together forever. I know it! And it was good seeing glimpses of all the familiar 5B characters. That epilogue! I still haven’t recovered!

Must Like Spinach by Con Riley – I confess, it was the title of this book that first caught my attention. It was different – and I usually like different – and I’m so happy I decided to give it a go. It was my first book by Con Riley, but it certainly won’t be my last. I mean, what a gorgeous, character-driven, slow-burn romance! I loved the pacing. There was enough angst to keep it from being fluffy, and yet it was still a sweet story, and it perfectly fit my mood at the time. I know I’ll reread it again in the future, and I recommended it all over the place after I finished it.

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli – What can I even say about this book? It was my favorite read of the year, and I seriously doubt anything else I read in the next couple of weeks will even come close to knocking it from that pedestal. This is the sort of LGBTQ+ YA I aspire to write. I thought it was absolutely perfect, and if someday I produce a book that makes people feel the way Simon made me feel, I’ll consider my ultimate goal as an author accomplished. I loved it that much. All of the stars to this fabulous read. It’s one of the few books I own in 3 formats – audio, paperback, and ebook.

 

simon

Piper’s Reading Roundup – July & August

Hi, peeps! Since I slacked last month and didn’t post my reading roundup, this post contains my favorite reads from both July and August! So, without any further ado… 🙂

PRc6NRaY

Being(s) in Love Series by R. Cooper – I’ve recommended plenty of titles by R. Cooper in the past, so seeing her on this list should come as no surprise. Instead of individual titles, though, I’m just going to mention her Being(s) in Love series as a whole. I have my particular faves (Little Wolf  and A Dandelion for Tulip), but really, I just love this entire series. R. Cooper has created a world I wish I could live in. I love seeing familiar faces pop up throughout the books, and I love R. Cooper’s skill at writing slow-burn and unresolved sexual tension. It’s such delicious torment waiting for the characters to finally get together. The pining, friends. The pining. I highly recommend this series for fans of urban fantasy romance. There are fairies and elves and werewolves and dragons and all sorts of wonderful creatures and characters that will steal your heart.

Priddy’s Tale by Harper Fox – When have I read a story by Harper Fox that I didn’t like? The answer is never. Her writing is lovely, as always, and then we have Merou, a delightful merman! This was a beautiful story.

Best in Show by Kelly Jensen – When I bought this book, going by the adorable cover alone, I thought I was starting a cute contemporary romance. Little did I know, because I failed to read the blurb, there’d be paranormal elements – like witches and a shape-shifting cat. Lucky for me, that’s not a problem! I’m a big shifter fan, it has to be said, and at the time, this fluffy adorableness was exactly what I needed. If you’re looking for something light and funny, check this out!

Staged by Kim Fielding – I admit to some hesitancy before starting this book. I’m generally not a big fan of books containing dub- or non-con elements, and slave fic can be pretty touchy for me too. The reason I took a chance on this book was the author. If you’ve followed my book rec posts in the past, you’ll know I’m a huge fan of Kim Fielding. We have author/reader trust established, which means I know that no matter what she puts her characters through, she’ll get them to a happy (or happier) place by the end. I trusted her to do that here too, and I wasn’t disappointed. Fair warning, though – this is a lot darker than Kim’s usual work, and some parts were difficult to read, at least for me.

Bitten by Mistake by Annabelle Jacobs – As mentioned earlier, I’m a shifter lover, so when I saw this pop up on my FB timeline I knew I had to try it. Loved the world-building and the unique take on shifter/werewolf lore and I’m hoping to see more books in this universe in the future.

Loud and Clear by Aidan Wayne – This title was recommended to me when I was looking for a light, low-angst read. It was very sweet and there were no explicit scenes, for the readers who prefer that. I would’ve happily read more about these two characters, but sometimes what I really crave is a short, sweet novella, and I got that with this book.

Misfits by Garrett Leigh – The other day I was in the mood to read a good menage story and I asked for recommendations on Twitter. Misfits was mentioned by nearly everyone who answered, and though I’d shied away from reading any of the Garrett Leigh titles I own because people kept telling me they were really angst heavy, after several people, including Garrett, told me the story wasn’t too heavy, I decided to take a chance. I’m so glad I did, because it was a lovely story and an instant addition to my favorites shelf. There was a bit of angst, but nothing overwhelming, and I loved watching these three men come together. Highly recommended!

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The Cobbler’s Soleless Son by Meredith Katz – As I said before, I’m sometimes in the mood for a good short story or novella. This story was one I bought on a whim after seeing Megan Derr mention the title. I’d never read anything by this author, but I liked the blurb, and I’m pleased to say, I enjoyed it very much. I like stories about/featuring demons and this one had a fairy-tale vibe that appealed to me. I was quite happy and charmed by it.

The Hot Floor by Josephine Myles – This was another title that got recommended to me when I was searching for good menage stories. I’d had it for years but never read it for some reason. Well, now I regret having waited so long! I loved the characters and the way their relationship developed. The story was smutty and fun and I found Josh to be very sweet. I also loved the secondary characters.

Empty Net (Scoring Chances #4) by Avon Gale – Full disclosure, I can’t claim to be totally unbiased here. Over the last year, Avon and I have become very good friends, and at this point I’m lucky enough to get to read her work as it’s being written (and we’re also currently writing together). But I will say that my love of Avon’s work and our friendship both started sort of simultaneously. I was hooked with Breakaway and have loved everything I’ve read since. It’s been a trend so far with the Scoring Chances series that I’ve loved each book more than the last, and this is no exception. Isaac and Laurent’s story is the darkest book in the series, but still infused with Avon’s trademark humor and snappy dialogue. Watching these two guys come together was really beautiful. Laurent needed someone like Isaac who was willing to look beyond Laurent’s cold, surly exterior to find the vulnerable person underneath… because that person is definitely worth knowing and desperately in need of the love that only someone like Isaac could give him. Recommended, of course! And even if you’re not a hockey fan, I’d suggest giving this series a try. The books are about so much more than hockey, though if you’re a fan, like myself, there is plenty here to keep the sports lover satisfied too.

Piper’s Reading Roundup – June

Hi all! It looks like I’m finally starting to get over my reading drought. Huzzah! I read some gems this month, so let’s get to them! 😀

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To Arizona by Meg Harding – When I read the blurb for this I said, “Shifters and hockey? Sign me up!” (And actually, I’d been having IDEAS before hearing about this story, so it was fun to discover that someone else had been thinking similarly.) This was totally adorable! I loved the characters, the writing was light and humorous, and the hockey element just tickled my NHL loving heart. Recommended if you like varied shifters and cute romance (and hockey!).

A Cobra’s Charm by Meghan Maslow – This was another book in DSP’s “A Walk on the Wild Side” collection. I loved Jiri, a cobra shifter, and Miksa, a honey badger shifter, and the story had a fairytale vibe, in my opinion. I really enjoyed it!

Spell Weaver by Megan Derr – I love fairytales and re-tellings. This is a take on Cinderella, which I’ll never pass up. Plus, it’s Megan Derr and I’ve never done anything to hide the fact that I’m a fangirl of hers. This was very sweet, and I loved the world-building and would welcome more stories in this universe.

Shades of Gray by Brooke McKinley – Man, it took me way too long to read this book! I don’t know why I put it off for so long, even though I’d bought it when it first came out and multiple friends recommended it to me after its release. I loved pretty much every word. The angst, the yearning and attraction between Miller and Danny…. I mean, it’s like my crack when it comes to books. I die for great UST (unresolved sexual tension). DIE, I SAY. And when they finally came together, it was scorching and I just wanted it to work out for them SO BAD. The ending was perfect. This was probably my favorite read of the month and maybe one of my favorites of the year so far too! Highly recommended. (And damn, was I bummed when I realized McKinley didn’t have any other books for me to devour. /sadface)

 

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The Protection of the Pack Series by Dessa Lux – I have Lexi Ander to thank for turning me on to this series. She knows I love shifters and stories with the a/b/o dynamic (and knotting!). I tried the first book, The Omega’s Bodyguard, right after Lexi recommended it to me on Twitter and promptly consumed all the others. I loved this world; I loved the characters. It’s super sexy and well-written and I can’t wait to see where it goes from here and meet new packmates as they’re introduced. Believe me, if you’re a fan of any of the things I mentioned above, you will love this series. (Note: There are couples, but some of the sex scenes are M/M/M+. If you can’t deal with sharing, even if it makes sense within the books’ universe, this series might not be for you.)

Damned If You Do by Marie Sexton – This book was a pure pleasure to read. It had humor, mild angst, and SO MANY FEELS. Religion – or rather faith – played a huge role (obv, I mean, this is a book about a soul-acquiring devil falling for a Bible-quoting revivalist). I loved Sexton’s take on Hell. I laughed more than once, had a few heart squishy moments, and even got misty eyed toward the end. Whether you’ve read Sexton before or if she’d be new to you, I definitely recommend checking this out! (Also, heed the product warning from Samhain because if snakes aren’t your bag, a couple of scenes in this book might bother you. Just a heads up.)

Farm Fresh (Naked Organics #1) by Posy Roberts – I loved how different this book was. It portrayed a “free love” commune in Oregon, which one of the main characters joins after encountering the intriguing Hudson, a man who lives/works in the Kaleidoscope Gardens and sells their produce and various other things during the farmers’ market on Jude’s college campus every week. Hudson and Jude come from similar backgrounds, but Jude is nursing some serious hangups when it comes to sex – guilt, shame, and memories of abuse at the hands of his parents, who think sex is for one purpose only: procreation. I was fascinated by the commune and Jude’s changes as he acclimated to life there. I’ve actually discussed the idea of a commune, although not quite this type, with friends in the past, and I think I’d love to live in such an environment. I’m looking forward to reading the next book, which features Hudson and Jude once again. They’re together at the end of this book, but their relationship is really just beginning. And as you can guess by this description and the blurb, this book is about poly/open relationships. If you’re not a fan of seeing sex happen with anyone outside of the main couple, then it’s probably best to avoid.

The Dead Past by Kate Aaron – I think it was last month when I asked if there was such a thing as cozy mysteries in M/M. You know the sort – bookish librarian of bakery owner from a small town suddenly stumbles over a dead body and amateur sleuthing ensues. Someone mentioned the Puddledown Mysteries and I was intrigued enough by the blurb of the first book to try the sample. And when I came to the end of the sample I immediately purchased the book and kept reading right until I finished it. The story is set in a small British town in the wake of WWII. Hugo finds an elderly widow brutally murdered in the woods, only to have Tommy, the new groundskeeper on the property, appear on the scene mere minutes later. At first Hugo is suspicious, but then he starts to develop feelings for the mysterious Tommy as they bond in the aftermath of their mutual discovery. It’s a quiet, understated story in the manner of Agatha Christie or Louise Penny with no sex and very little physical contact, and if you’re a fan of cozies, you’re almost certain to enjoy it. (I also read the next two books in the series and really enjoyed them too!)

And that’s it! What books did you read and love this month? You know I’m always looking for recs! 

Piper’s Reading Roundup – March, April, & May

Hey, y’all! Whoops, it has been a while since I did one of these. Frankly, I had a long reading drought for a while there and couldn’t seem to settle on anything, so I haven’t read a ton of books in the last few months, but I did have some faves among the books I did read. Check them out below. 😀

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Power Play (Scoring Chances #3) by Avon Gale – See my review, which details why I love and recommend this book, but if you’re familiar with Gale and this series in particular, you know you can expect hockey, humor, well-developed characters, and lots of heart.

Full Strength (Point Shot #3) by V.L. Locey – I’m a big fan of this series and its main character, Victor Kalinski. He’s loud (and foul)-mouthed, he’s offensive, he’s arrogant, but behind the brash exterior is a loyal man who cares deeply about the few people he lets close to his heart. I loved watching him evolve as a character while staying true to himself. He didn’t make a complete 180. He’s still Victor… but a better version of himself. 🙂

The Benched Series by Misha Horne – This series starts with Rookie Mistake, and man, is it fun! Juno and Kyle are great characters, and and if you’re a fan of spanking and D/s elements, you need to be reading these shorts. I plowed through all 5 available stories in a couple of days, and I’m eagerly awaiting more!

The Harvest Young: Bound by Fate (The Next Generation #1) by MA Church – I love Church’s The Harvest series, and I think I’ve recommended it in previous posts. This is a spin-off series about the “young” of the couples we met in The Harvest (yep, there is mpreg in that series) now that they’ve officially grown up. I can’t wait for more stories!

Shutdown Pair by V.L. Locey – Yep, Locey is getting a second shout-out in this post. She wrote a story about amateur pick-up league hockey players, and while the game certainly plays a role, as with all her work, it’s her characters that really make the story. I loved Heath and Wyatt and would’ve happily read more about them.

The Galactic Alliance Series by KC Burn – The other day I posted asking for recs on Twitter and Megan Derr mentioned this series. I’d had the first book, Spice ‘n’ Solace, on my TBR list for a long time and I’d purchased it a while back, so I finally dove in. I’m glad I did! These were some sexy stories with fabulous characters that are perfect for anyone who’s a fan of sci-fi without an over-abundance of world-building and technical jargon to weigh the story down. I even went to ask KC Burn if there’d be more right after I finished the third book, which should tell you something. (She said yes, BTW. :D)

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And that’s it for now! I seem to be on a reading binge at the moment, though, so hopefully I’ll have more titles to recommend next time.

Happy reading, folks! 

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