Saturday, December 31, 2016

Bayou Book Junkie's 2016 Favorites ~ Mari's Favorites (Exclusive Giveaway)

Bayou Book Junkie's 2016 Favorites ~ Mari's Favorites

I've been reading romances ever since I learned to read. My mom used to buy and collect Buenhogar, Vanidades and Cosmopolitan magazines and I would devour them, including the condensed novels that could be found in them, then I moved on to the books in our library (encyclopedias, novels, etc.). Later, when I entered high school, we were requested to read a certain number of books in English, and while I'd enjoyed reading in Spanish up until that point, well, it opened a whole new world for me. I got some romances, historical mostly, which I read and re-read. Then they started selling Harlequin books at the supermarket, in Spanish of course, but beggars can't be choosers, and I got addicted to the damn things, despite rolling my eyes repeatedly at the obviously not so good translations. I nearly cried when they stopped selling them here, but I had a good collection by then and then my mom threw it all away. *cries* Still, I had my favorite bookshop to rely on to provide me with books in English, most of which I still have. *hides them from mom's eyes* Until they closed it, as well. By then, though, I had found the fabulous world that is the Spuffy fandom in the BtVS universe and had a whole lot of fanfiction to go through there. Then, I moved on to the Tokio Hotel fandom and discovered the beauty that is MM or slash fiction, and from then I moved on to MM books in Amazon, which was like heaven to me, considering that my country is very conservative, and while I might find some books in English here, they won't be MM. 

I read just about anything if the blurb or the cover are appealing to me. My favorite genres are historical, contemporary, paranormal and fantasy, but I've read and enjoyed the occasional BDSM book so long as it's nothing too extreme. I still read MF sometimes, too, but mostly from authors I know already, but MM remains my favorite.  

I've read a lot of great books this year, so narrowing my 2016 top reads to the agreed 15 was so not going to happen, although I got close enough settling on a nice Top 18 (kind of cheated with a couple of series) and an MF Top 3. #SorryNotSorry #BookJunkieProblems 

So, without further ado, these are my lists, in alphabetical order:

MM Top 18 

Bayou Book Junkie's Favorite Books of 2016 ~ Heather's Top 13 Favorites + Giveaway

Bayou Book Junkie's Favorite Books of 2016 ~ Heather's Top 13 Favorites + Giveaway

I have been a reader all my life.  My mom told me many stories of me sitting in front of all my stuffed animals reading them stories.  I enjoyed many different books as a child, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory being a particular favorite.  As a teenager, I was a big fan of Dean R. Koontz and Stephen King (anyone who knows me would be shocked by them because I hate horror now and am a big chicken!), making sure to get up at 5 am every day before school so I would have time to read.  Funny story, one morning I was the only one in my house up and reading my Stephen King book, sitting in a kitchen chair with it leaned back on two legs, my feet propped on my desk.  Get the picture.  Something scary happened in the book, at the same time my mom knocked on my bedroom door.  And backwards I went!  There’s a reason your mom always says don’t lean that chair back on two legs :)  My taste gradually changed and I moved on to JD Robb, who became a favorite!  I discovered Shayla Black, Lorelei James, Maya Banks and continued to read in that genre.

But, in the summer of 2015, a book blog on Facebook made the recommendation of Crossroads by Riley Hart.  I had read plenty of MFM books, but never MM and immediately one clicked.  And that folks, completely changed my reading habits.  I begin reading everything I could by Riley, and then Felice Stevens.  And, I joined MM groups and started getting more recommendations!  Over a year later and there are still so many books and authors I haven’t gotten a chance to read, but thanks to BBJ, publishers and authors, I’ve been able to read a lot more! When I was asked to be a reviewer for BBJ, I was more nervous than excited.   I didn’t leave a lot of reviews for those early books I read.  Don’t get me wrong, I always gave them a star rating on Amazon and Goodreads, but I never wrote a review because I just didn’t know what to say.  And, though I feel that way a lot of times writing my reviews for BBJ still, it’s not quite as bad!

And then one day, someone said, hey we should do our top 10 favorite books for the year.  I always, always, always avoid picking favorites!  There are just too many options and too many favorites to ever choose from one.  So, I thought I would outsmart the system and only pick my top 10 from books reviewed for the blog, not the ones I read outside the blog.  And, yeah… they outsmarted me ;-)  So far in 2016 I’ve read 405 books and I thought, how could I ever narrow this list down to 10, seems like that’s cruel punishment.  So, I’ve decided to make my list from the books that were published in 2016 only.  I’ve also created two categories, one for the series I’ve read this year and one for individual books.  And just a warning to my fellow BBJ ladies, next year may have to have a list of top audible reads :)   Also, one additional note, I have two books that I’ve been working to get read this year because I was sure they were going to end up in my list but I’ve just started one today and I’m sure will be starting the other tonight, so a little late to make my list, I have two honorable mentions:  Switched by NR Walker and Too Close by R. Phoenix.

These lists are in order by author’s first name, because I’m not picking favorites among them!

Release Blitz ~ 2016 Top Ten Gay Romance by Various Authors (Giveaway)

Release: December 31 2016

Publisher: JMS Books

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books


2016 Top Ten Gay Romance brings together the best-selling short stories published by JMS Books that year.

From first love to true love, from submission to sensual, from heat to sweet and everything in between, the couples in these stories are sure to keep you turning the pages as you fall in love with them.The 10 stories in this head-over-heels collection go beyond bedtime reading. Whether happily ever after or happy for now, there’s an ending for everyone in here!

New Release ~ The Road Home by Elsa Winters & Brad Vance (Excerpt)

Title: The Road Home
Authors: Elsa Winters & Brad Vance
Release Date: December 25, 2016
Length: 183 pages
GoodReads ~ Amazon


"I’m your friend, Andrew. I think I’m the only friend you’ve got." 

Nick Carpenter grew up in the foster system after watching his parents die in a car crash. Now, he's finally found a place for himself as an EMT. Partnered with a gruff but very competent paramedic as his first assignment in Seattle, he figures that it's best to keep this working relationship strictly professional, even if Andrew is hot as hell.

"You let the patient talk, Nick, because sooner or later they’ll probably tell you what you need to know." 

Andrew Hazard loves his job, even if he gets paired with a different EMT every couple weeks. Once an EMT proves himself incompetent, Andrew makes no effort to be friends with them. That's why it's such a relief when Nick comes along. He keeps the ambulance stocked, he can drive well, and he knows how to start an IV. He's great at saving lives, and also a great person to hang out with. From hiking to movies, they find themselves spending a lot of time with each other. Nick's homosexuality definitely isn't a problem, even though Andrew's girlfriend jokes that he wants to spend more time with Nick than with her.

"You wanna go on an adventure?" 

When Andrew gets the chance of a lifetime - going to the prestigious UCLA Medical School - his girlfriend doesn't share his enthusiasm. And so, freshly broken up, Andrew asks Nick to go with him on a road trip down south to check out the area. Nick wants to keep him as his best friend, even though his romantic feelings have reached a fever pitch. But he also realizes that this could be his last chance to let Andrew know how he feels. Will Andrew let Nick into his heart, or will this road trip be their last hurrah?

Book Review ~ Blood Divine by Greg Howard

Author: Greg Howard
Genre: Paranormal with M/M Romantic Elements


Cooper Causey spent a lifetime eluding the demons of his youth and suppressing the destructive power inside him. But a disconcerting voicemail lures Cooper back home to the coast of South Carolina and to Warfield—the deserted plantation where his darkness first awakened. While searching for his missing grandmother, Cooper uncovers the truth about his ancestry and becomes a pawn in an ancient war between two supernatural races. In order to protect the only man he’s ever loved, Cooper must embrace the dark power threatening to consume him and choose sides in a deadly war between the righteous and the fallen. 

Friday, December 30, 2016

Bayou Book Junkie's Favorite Books of 2016 ~ Tracy's Top 16 Favorites

Bayou Book Junkie's Favorite Books of 2016 ~ Tracy's Top 16 Favorites

Over the years, reading has always been one of my first loves. As a teenager, I loved "Sweet Valley High" (ironic that I grew up to have a set of twins. Mine are Megan and Amanda, not Jessica and Elizabeth, though). I also absolutely loved Christopher Pike's books, which I think paved the way to John Grisham, whom I'm a huge fan of. I also love YA urban fantasy, memoirs, and true crime books. Besides gay romance, these are just a few of the other genres I love to read, but the message here is: I was and am always reading something.

As a blogger/reviewer you read a lot of books and one of my co-bloggers decided that this year we should pick our top 10 (I wasn't gonna name names, but since she outed herself... yeah, it was Jaymie and I did want to strangle her when she'd ask, "have you made your list yet?"). Yeah, 10 books? That wasn't happening, so I've picked my top 16, and let me express, it wasn't even easy to just pick 16. Some really stellar books I've read this year were left off this list and I'm so sad about that. These 16 books are books that while not all of them are the best-written books I've ever read, they are books I loved, or that touched me in some way. Books that left me with a huge book hangover. Something that I have a love/hate relationship with. You want a book to be that good, but when you're on a tight reading schedule it can make it extremely difficult to try to move on to the next book. So, in no particular order, here are just some of my favorite books and a portion of their reviews for 2016!

Bayou Book Junkie's 2016 Favorites ~ Jaymie's Favorites

Bayou Book Junkie's 2016 Favorites ~ Jaymie's Favorites

Whether the theme was one of my favorites: contemporary, paranormal, humor or Motorcycle Club romance or something generally considered out of my comfort zone, 2016 has had some amazing books by a variety of excellent authors.  Some, however, have stood out and resonated with me even after I've moved on to the next read.  These stories have made me feel that "book hangover" that you hear people complaining about.   

When you spend so much time reading, whether for business or pleasure it is sometimes hard to sit and let a story completely digest. You have to move on to the next and immerse yourself in that one. It makes it difficult to focus completely on the current story if you are stuck back in the one you've finished. For me over the years, I've grown used to jumping from one book to the next and ingesting as much as possible (in college it was a bad thing because I read way too much horror and true crime *shudders* and that stuck with me way too much) but while some books are a bit easier to push to the back of my mind, others refuse not to stay in the forefront. 

Does this mean that this was an easy list to make? Absolutely not. I've read close to 300 books this year and let me tell you, there are a lot of really GREAT stories out there.  My co-bloggers wanted to strangle me when I asked had they composed their list of favorites yet. It became a bone of contention on how we can possibly pare down a list of favorites to only 10?  Honestly, it's hard, it was like Sophie's Choice at times.  So instead we agreed on 15. Now I am very happy to have the opportunity to share my list with all of you. 

Wolfsong by TJ Klune  
  Buy Link

5 Stars!

Amazing! This is hands down my new favorite shifter book. I absolutely loved it. I loved that it made me laugh out loud. I loved that it made me cry, more than once. I loved Ox and Joe, Carter and Kelly, Mark, Thomas, Elizabeth. I adored Gordo, Chris, Tanner and Rico. Most of all I loved TJ Klune's take on Shifters and the incredible story he told in the way only he can.   Full Review

Book Review ~ Too Close by R. Phoenix ~ (Review + Guest Post)

Book Review ~ Too Close by R. Phoenix ~ (Review + Guest Post)

Title: Too Close
Author: R. Phoenix
Release Date: December 26, 2016


Skylar Orion's life has been complicated ever since his mother abandoned him and his sister Evie. Making ends meet seemed impossible until Tate Chandler took them in -- his knight in shining armor who promised to make life about more than just surviving. But Tate is not the man he seemed to be, and even his whispered I love yous and generous gifts do little to soothe the pain he causes. Knowing he can't give his sister all that she deserves without Tate, Skylar stays with him, relying on bad puns and a worse sense of humor to keep up the charade.

He will do anything for his sister, even if that means acting the responsible adult and going back to his old high school to meet Dexter Weston, the hot math teacher who can make even algebra interesting. Sparks fly between the two of them, but with his dependence on Tate, Skylar isn't free to follow his heart. He wants what is best for Evie, but can he pass up the chance to find love that heals instead of harms? 

Warning: This book contains scenes of domestic abuse and violence that some may find triggering to read. 

Release Blitz ~ Revived by Kora Knight (Review)

Title: Revived Series: The Dungeon Black Duology (Book 2)

It's LIVE On Amazon


Title: Revived

Series: The Dungeon Black Duology (Book 2)

Author: Kora Knight

Live NOW on Amazon

Cover Artist: Jay Aheer



The most powerful force in existence, but also the most ruthless. Cunning and deceptive.Man’s greatest Achilles heel. Leaving all who embrace it weak and vulnerable. At least that’s how Dom-for-hire Max Kelley sees it, after the love of his life knocked him on his ass. A brutal blow that not only stole his breath, but decimated his ability to trust. Turning him cold and cynical. The TKO he never saw coming.
A mistake Max won’t ever make again. Meaning no more relationships—not exactly a hardship. Just the thought of dating makes him queasy, and one of the reasons he doms for a living. To sexually engage without the poison of intimacy. The other reason? To keep his demons sated. With whips and chains, and scandalous kink. A fiery mix that always hits the spot.
That is, until a bright-eyed beauty walks into his life and refuses to leave. Sean Matthews. College senior and flirt extraordinaire. Max’s newest—and greenest—client sub. Man, is he delicious; able to push Max’s buttons, able to make him crave the things he knows he shouldn’t. Sound the alarm, this can only mean trouble. Unfortunately, deterring Sean proves virtually impossible, and now Max finds himself at a crossroads. Man up and kick his favorite sub to the curb… or succumb to his own caged desires.
Warning: This erotic, gay, BDSM romance contains intensely explicit sexual scenes both inside and out of the dungeon. ** Note from the author: In keeping with the promise I made to my Upending Tad devotees, I've included a small side story with Tad and Scott in book 2 where we delve a bit further into the developments of their relationship, and all the wonderful ways they've been keeping each other's hearts pounding. So, be prepared for a few more character point of views! Tad and Scott aren't going anywhere. They'll be around for the long haul. XXO


Release Day Review ~ More Things in Heaven and Earth by Paul Comeau

Release Day Review ~ More Things in Heaven and Earth by Paul Comeau

Title: More Things in Heaven and Earth

Author: Paul Comeau

Release Date: December 30, 2016

Category: Paranormal: Vampires
Pages: 284

When young Danny Crawford’s father and a priest conspire to subject him to conversion therapy, Danny only sees one way out. But little does Danny know he’ll soon have a sentinel watching from the darkness, a guardian angel in the most unlikely form imaginable.
Damien, a vampire, is inexplicably moved by Danny’s plight. He takes it upon himself to make sure Danny’s father and the priest can never hurt him again, giving Danny a chance at a normal life. As Danny grows up, Damien struggles to keep the boy—and later the young man—from harm. He does not dare go any further, no matter how much he wants to. To do so would ruin everything he’s tried to do for Danny. He doesn’t realize that as Danny embarks on a successful modeling career and begins dating, Danny feels empty, longing for something—or someone—just beyond his reach: a shadow, a presence he despairingly believes forever lost to him.
When brutality and violence threaten Danny again, Damien must make a decision—risk revealing himself to Danny, or leave Danny to his fate.

Release Day Review ~ Truth, Pride, Victory, Love by David Connor and E.F. Mulder

Release Day Review ~ Truth, Pride, Victory, Love by David Connor and E.F. Mulder

Title: Truth, Pride, Victory, Love
Authors: David Connor and E.F. Mulder
Release Date: December 30, 2016
Category: Contemporary, New Adult
Pages: 342
Beneath the surface, they share more than dreams of Olympic gold.
Since elementary school, the question of Reed Watson’s race has needled him. But the one thing he’s always known is that he is destined to become an Olympic star—he felt it the moment he first hit the water. Chosen by a former Olympic swimmer to train for the 2016 Olympics, Reed determinedly works toward his dream.
Along the way, Reed develops feelings for two men he’s known since childhood: Cal, his next-door neighbor, and Mathias, his rival since the fourth grade. Cal’s struggle with his sexual identity and a tragedy complicate Reed’s feelings, while Mathias’s wealth quickly makes it obvious they are from vastly different worlds.
As Rio approaches, Mathias becomes a gay sports icon, while Reed is told to hide his sexuality for a lucrative endorsement deal that will offer his family a financial boost and help him with mounting debt. Reed’s unresolved desires for both men remain and so too do all the things that have kept them apart. Has he grown enough to navigate rougher waters, to find truth, pride, victory, and love?

Cover Reveal ~ Regeneration by Louise Lyons

Cover Reveal ~ Regeneration by Louise Lyons

Release date: January 15, 2017
Genre: Gay fiction, science fiction, MM romance
Length: 75,000 words
Cover design: Simon Searle
In the 23rd Century in the galaxy of Sigma Kappa, Kim Fortune was the first surviving experimental enhanced human—a regenerate. Aged fifteen, he escaped the lab and years later, his failings as a regenerate and the suspicion of regular humans, leave him lonely and lacking in self-worth. Stranded on an abandoned planet, the arrival of a stricken ship and its crew give him hope that he may finally find what he always longed for—love.
Christian Novak is a successful regenerate with all the intended attributes—including lack of human emotion. Despite their immediate attraction to each other, Kim's failing confidence, and Christian's inability to empathize are a recipe for disaster. But war, imprisonment, and danger throw them together, and after each saves the other's life, their feelings begin to change.
Can a seemingly unsuitable pair ever find love, or is a future together destined to fail?

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Series Review: Behind Iron Lace & Lagniappe by Mercy Celeste

Series Review: Behind Iron Lace & Lagniappe by Mercy Celeste

Behind Iron Lace


Hot and steamy in The Big Easy isn’t the life Darcy Butler wants, until he meets a smooth talking bad boy…

Darcy Butler is a fish out of water and is suffocating in the humid New Orleans heat. Dissatisfied with his career, his life, he is homesick and heartbroken. Above all Darcy is straight. Or so he believes until he meets the drop-dead gorgeous photographer he wants to revamp the art department of his e-magazine.

Caleb Mitchell, bad boy extraordinaire, lives life on the edge. He’s been around the world covering murder and mayhem. Back in New Orleans to tend his dying mother, Caleb is worn down by grief. He seeks the diversion of working at a local e-magazine to help keep him sane. He doesn’t expect the instant attraction to the bright-eyed editor/owner. That Darcy is probably straight doesn’t matter to Caleb. Because when Caleb wants something, nothing will stand in his way.

Will Darcy be his salvation or his undoing?

Buy Links:

Amazon  ~  Barnes and Noble   ~   iBooks   ~   Kobo    ~    Createspace

Book Review ~ Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre

Book Review ~ Falling Snow on Snow by Lou Sylvre

Title: Falling Snow on Snow

Author: Lou Sylvre

Release Date: December 23, 2016

Category: Contemporary, Holiday
Pages: TBD (Novella)

Beck Justice knows holiday sparkle and snappy carols only mask December’s cruel, black heart. He learned that lesson even before he landed on the streets eight years ago, and his recent step up to a tiny apartment and a busker’s permit for Seattle’s Pike Place Market has done nothing to change his mind. But one day in the market, Oleg Abramov joins his ethereal voice to Beck’s guitar, and Beck glimpses light in his bleak, dark winter.
Oleg, lucky to have a large and loving family, believes Beck could be the man to fill the void that nevertheless remains in his life. The two men step out on a path toward love, but it proves as slippery as Seattle’s icy streets. Just when they get close, a misunderstanding shatters their hopes. Light and harmony are still within reach, but only if they choose to believe, risk their hearts, and trust.

Book Review ~ Warders Volume One by Mary Calmes

Book Review ~ Warders Volume One by Mary Calmes

Title: Warders Volume One
Series: Warders
Author: Mary Calmes
Release Date: December 28, 2016
Category: Paranormal: Angels/Demons, Anthology
Pages: TBD

Most humans live in blissful ignorance, never dreaming of the frightening surprises and paranormal danger that lurks in the night. Most… but not all. These few who stand against the darkness are the Warders, men who fight demons and square off against all kinds of creatures from the pit with only their brothers-in-arms and their lovers—their Hearths—to strengthen them in the unending battle of good versus evil.
His Hearth

Tooth & Nail
Heart in Hand

Warders Volume One and Warders Volume Two previously published in paperback by Dreamspinner Press, June 2012.
His Hearth (July 2010), Tooth & Nail (November 2010), Heart in Hand (May 2011) were previously published individually in eBook format by Dreamspinner Press.

2016 Advent Calendar Review ~ Analog to Digital by Posy Roberts

2016 Advent Calendar Review ~ Analog to Digital by Posy Roberts

Title: Analog to Digital

Author: Posy Roberts

Category: Holiday, Contemporary

Pages: 39

For years, Ethan and Toby have said they’ll never marry, despite Ethan’s secret wishes. So leaving sunny California for snowy Minnesota to witness his sister’s vow renewal is not how he wants to spend his Christmas Eve. It’s the second time she’ll say “I do” in less than a year, when Ethan saying those words to Toby even once is hopeless.
In the run-up to the ceremony, Toby seems to avoid Ethan, and doubts grow in his absence. Ethan can’t help noticing Toby spends more time with Ethan’s family than with him. Little does Ethan know, Toby has desires of his own. But if Toby doesn’t find a way to reveal them, Ethan could leave for home without him.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Release Day Review ~ Love's Opening Night by Jeff Adams

Release Day Review ~ Love's Opening Night by Jeff Adams

Title: Love's Opening Night

Author: Jeff Adams
Release Date: December 28, 2016
Category: Contemporary
Pages: 48

Can an onstage love story lead to a real-life romance?

Jeremy Steele is a veteran Broadway performer. For his latest role, he’s dancing alongside a man he’s fantasized about for years, TV star Ty Beaumont. Jeremy knows better than to get involved with a castmate, but when Ty has trouble learning the complicated choreography, Jeremy offers to lend a hand. When a rehearsal kiss turns into something more, Jeremy can’t help but wonder what a celebrity like Ty could ever see in a Broadway chorus boy like him. Will a relationship with his crush make it past previews, or can it become a long-running hit?

Blog Tour ~ Uprooted by Gillian St. Kevern ~ (Review + Giveaway)

Blog Tour ~ Uprooted by Gillian St. Kevern ~ (Author Interview, Review + Giveaway)

Title:  Uprooted
Author: Gillian St. Kevern
Publisher:  NineStar Press
Release Date: Dec. 26
Heat Level: 3 - Some Sex
Pairing: Male/Male
Length: 118000

Genre: Romance, paranormal, vampires, demons, mystery

Recovering vampire Ben is discovering that life after death is hard work. It will take more than a reflection to impress his boyfriend Nate’s religious mother. And Nate’s twin brother, Ethan, openly resents Ben’s presence at the family farm. Nate is confident they can build a normal life together, but Ben’s not even sure he knows what normal is. He can’t face his reflection, let alone his past, while Nate refuses to divulge his family’s supernatural secret. Can they build a future on such shaky foundations?
When a supernatural hunter is found dead on the family farm, Ethan becomes the main suspect in a murder investigation that puts Ben and Nate at odds. Nate wants to protect his family and stay silent about what he is, but Ben knows no one is safe until the demonic agent responsible for a string of murders is caught. Defying Nate to investigate alone, Ben can’t let the demon claim another victim. But as his investigation continues, he discovers links to a past he thought he’d buried—and a past Nate refuses to acknowledge. With a desperate killer on a deadline, Ben must face the literal demons in his past if he wants to have any chance of saving himself and Nate from a fate worse than death.