Review: “Silent Terrorism: Saudi Arabia” by Phetra H. Novak

TITLE: Silent Terrorism: Saudi Arabia
AUTHOR: Phetra H. Novak
SERIES: Silent Terrorism
PUBLISHER: Beaten Track Publishing
COVER ARTIST: Ian Brown & Roe Hovart
GENRE: Political Suspense
LENGTH: 300 pages
RELEASE DATE: Mar 17, 2018
PRICE: $ 4.99 -e-book / $13.99 -paperback


Early morning, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia: Swedish correspondent cameraman Ebbe Skoog is out getting shots for an upcoming story and stumbles upon something he isn’t supposed to see. On a building site, on the outskirts of the city, four men looking a lot like the Mabahith—the secret police—are sending a bound man to a certain death by stoning.
With camera still rolling, Ebbe begins to retreat when a second man enters the scene and throws himself on top of the dying man, shielding him with his body, soothing with loving words. Ebbe’s reaction is immediate. Clutching his camera, he drags the screaming lover out of the rain of stones, and in a storm of sand, they flee into the brutal uncertainty of the desert.
Correspondent reporter Mattis Andersson is the wild card, the rebel. He’s also Ebbe’s only hope of getting out alive with his new companion, Aasim El-Batal, and the memory card holding the footage that will make Saudia Arabia burn in the eyes of human rights activists the world over.
With their past as lovers, and their present as colleagues and best friends who would take a bullet for each other, it now falls on Mattis to protect his and Ebbe’s future. But the Swedish government wants to silence them, unwilling to jeopardize years of lucrative weapons deals for “some petty gay love affair.” It’s an impossible mission that will draw on every strength the two men possess

Ebbe Skoog is a Swedish reporter in Saudi Arabia. He’s in Riyadh when he witnesses the murder of a young man. The lover of the victim tries to sacrifice himself for his lover when Ebbe helps him to escape.
This simple act, saving a man’s life, starts the biggest chess game with not checkmate but the lives of two men at the end.
I have to warn you that some scenes are extremely violent and involved torture and can be very hard to read.

Ebbe is a good man, with moral values as simple as every life matters. He jeopardizes his life, his security for a complete stranger, but he believes in freedom, in love, and no one has to die for loving who they love. I loved Ebbe, he’s a better person than me. I’m not sure I’d have been able to do what he did. Ok, he’s a fictional character, I admit, but somewhere in our real world, there’s a few Ebbes who risk their lives for us.

Aasim is completely traumatized by Kadar death, the love of his life. He lived all his life in the fear of being discovered. Being gay in Saudi Arabia is a death sentence, and Aasim is petrified and scared to death. But when Kadar is murdered in front of him, he wants to die with him. I cried with Aasim a lot because the man is completely broken. But he tries to stay alive, and he tries to help Ebbe when he could. All I wanted throughout the book was to hug him, love him, and protect him.

Mattis Anderson is Ebbe’s partner and best friend and sometimes lover. When Ebbe is soft and diplomatic, Mattis is blunt and hotheaded. When Ebbe is on the run, Mattis becomes the worst nightmare of the Swedish government. If I have a problem in my life, I want Mattis in my corner. This guy is a pit bull, and he’s ready to burn the world for his friends.
And then comes the politician, Saudi or Sweden, there’re the same, corrupted, cowards, and didn’t care about human lives, human rights, they only care about their interest, their publicity and their money.

This book as two stories, one with the politician’s game, and the other with the men acting to free two innocent men. It reminded me the movie Spy Game…it was the same atmosphere.
This book isn’t a romance, not the kind we’re use to reading, but there’s a lot of love in this book. The love between Aasim and Kadar, the love between Ebbe and Mattis, and the love between two humans being united to be free and alive.

The author describes the characters in this book like caricature of themselves. Politicians are corrupt, the good Samaritan, the very bad guys, the spy etc. and even if the characters can be grotesque in some situations (I thinking of the prime minister the ass***) it does the job. Because, what really matters is the message behind all of this. No need to have a bomb or massive shooting to have a terrorist attack. Silence and looking away are as deadly as an explosion. That’s what I understood in this book, what the author tries to tell us, I think.
It was a hard read that brought me a lot of strong emotions, but I don’t regret having read it at all.

Besides, 50% of the proceeds of this book goes to Colin Steward and Erasing 76 Crimes, who fight for LGBT rights in the world.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs and for all the Aasims and Kadars in the world. Stay Strong! And all the Ebbes and Mattis, Thank you!

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Running to You” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Running to You
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 13, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback


Home, love, and possibilities he never imagined are waiting for Billy Joe to claim them. But first he needs to escape the horrors of his past.
A twisted act of cruelty and prejudice drives Billy Joe from his Mississippi home, and he makes it as far as Pennsylvania—where his car breaks down just as the year’s first snowstorm blows in. Fortunately, Carlos is there to lend a hand.
Carlos is no stranger to hardship. His family rejected him for being gay, but with determination, he put himself through school and became a librarian. Carlos sees the same willpower in Billy, and he wants to help Billy and his son succeed in a new life that is very different from the one they left behind. With his support, they start to adjust, and before long, both men want more than encouragement from each other. They want the chance for a future together, but their families have other ideas… and Billy’s will stop at nothing to get what they want.

Billy Joe ran away from his white supremacy family in the middle of the night with his son Tyler.
He drove as far as he could from Mississippi until his car broke in the middle of a snowstorm in Pennsylvania.
Carlos saw Billy Joe and Tyler in the middle of the road and decided to help them. What’s supposed to be help for a night, becomes the beginning of a life of all three together, but their families have other ideas.
Carlos and Billy Joe will have to stand up for what they believe in and who they are, together but also alone.
Waow this book is poetically beautiful.

Billy Joe grew up in a white supremacy family with all that implied (racism, homophobia, hate). One day, after witnesses something awful (I cried, and cried, and cried when I knew what it was) he decided to save his son and run away. Billy Joe had years of conditioning in him, even if he realized that it was wrong. He can’t erase all of it suddenly. He lived in fear all his life, being gay in a family like his, is a death sentence. When he meets Carlos, he’s afraid, lost, and needs to reevaluate his beliefs and fight his fears and prejudice. I really loved Billy Joe, he’s strong and brave, and when he found the courage to fight back, and not hide, he did it beautifully. It wasn’t easy, and Tyler’s safety was at stake. He had a choice, but he decided to fight and have justice. I admired him and wanted to hug him a lot.

Carlos was thrown out by his family when they find out he was gay. Like Billy Joe, he had to leave his family, life, city, and start over on his own. After years of struggling with money while in college, Carlos succeeded to become a librarian and being a proud gay man. He refuses to hide who he is, not after everything he’d been through. That’s why, when he meets Billy Joe, he understood what he’d lived with back home, even if didn’t know everything at first. Carlos is strong and brave, and he had a strength in him that I loved, but deep down, he was still a child who had been rejected by the people who were supposed to love him unconditionally, and it broke me.

Billy Joe is the strength that Carlos needs to stand in front of his family, and Carlos is the balm in Billy Joe’s heart and soul.
The book is beautiful and poetic. I love how the author took me with him into Carlos and Billy Joe’s piece of life. Andrew Grey gives me a wonderful palette of feelings, like a rainbow, I had a lot of emotion throughout the book.

This book delivers two powerful messages, that you’re not a statue, how you’ve been raised doesn’t define who you become, and your family isn’t the one who shares your blood and DNA, but the one who shares your heart.
This book definitely shares my heart…

It’s 5 amazing OptimuMMs…Because…Helliard

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “The Blueprint” by S.E Harmon

TITLE: The Blueprint
AUTHOR: S.E Harmon
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
LENGTH: 270 pages
RELEASE DATE: Mar 13, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $16.99 paperback


Kelly Cannon is satisfied with his life. He has friends, a wonderful family, and a great job. But his love life has reached a new level of pitiful. Why? Well, his heart decided to break all the rules. Don’t fall in love with a straight guy. And definitely don’t fall in love with your best friend.
NFL standout Britton “Blue” Montgomery has pressure coming at him from all sides. From his father, who’s only interested in Blue’s football career. From his coaches, who just want him to play without getting injured again. From the fans. From his agent. And from his mother, who has popped up on the radar after leaving his family years before. And now his relationship with Kelly is on shaky ground, and that frightens Blue more than anything.
When Kelly admits he’s in love with Blue, bonds are tested, and Blue has to decide what’s really important. He doesn’t want to lose the number-one person in his life, but the cost to keep Kelly close might be more than he’s willing to pay.
It’s a good thing his nickname is the Blueprint—it’s time to draft a new set of plans.

Kelly is in love with Britton aka Blue, his best friend since 2nd grade. The problem is Blue is straight and a NFL player. When Kelly confesses his love to Blue, everything changes between them, and their long friendship needed to be rethought by both of them.

I need to be clear, I love S.E Harmon, PS I SPOOK YOU is one of my favorite books, but here I developed a Love/I-Want-To-Slap-You-In-The-Face relationship with the characters.

Kelly is gay and out, well not completely, since he didn’t come out to his family. He had separated his life, fearing rejection by his parents. His coming out to his family was funny, and I really liked this moment. When he admitted to Blue that he loved him, Blue was lost, and Kelly didn’t react well. At first, I totally understood. I mean he’d been in love with Blue since he was 12 years-old, and suddenly he the need to bare his heart out in the open completely naked then without any reaction from Blue. So yes, I completely understood that he didn’t react very well. But after, I was kind of lost. Kelly didn’t help Blue to understand what he was feeling, or how to come to terms with his newfound sexuality. Nope, Kelly gave him tantrum, fought, argued, played with his jealousy and finally gave him an ultimatum. Basically, the guy ran away from his so-called love of his life the entire book. But he’s not some lunatic. He acted this way because Blue forced him to act like that.

Blue is lost. He didn’t understand his new feelings for Kelly. He wanted him, but he was scared. I understand, for 30 years the guy thought he was straight, and suddenly realized that he wanted a man, his best friend. But Blue didn’t know what he wanted. And he played with Kelly during the whole book. “I want you” then “No it’s a mistake” then “I need you” then “We need to be just friends” and on and on and on. And they played this game for 90% of the book.

All the book is about Blue and Kelly and their ping/pong games. At some point, I wanted to put them in a room, alone, and force them to get their shit together. But in the meantime, I kind of loved them too. Because when they weren’t acting like two 3 year-old kids, they were kind of cute, and hot, super-hot. Their friendship was beautiful and amazing. The end is beautiful, and I really loved it.

So all the book, I ranted about them, but at the end, I was completely swooning for them

It’s 3.5 OptimuMMs for the Nerd and the Player.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “A Deadly Kind of Love” by Victor J.Banis

TITLE: A Deadly Kind of Love
AUTHOR: Victor J.Banis
SERIES: The Deadly Mysteries
PUBLISHER: DSP Publications
COVER ARTIST: Adrian Nicholas
GENRE: Mystery/Suspense
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: Mar 13,2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback


Nothing bad is supposed to happen in Palm Springs. At least that’s what San Francisco private detective Tom Danzel and his partner Stanley Korski believe. But when their friend Chris finds a dead body in his hotel room bed, Tom and Stanley drive out to help the local police investigate. What they discover is a gangster’s plot, a rather nasty green snake, and an elegant hotel that offers delicacies not usually found on a room service menu. The two detectives are going to have to rely on their skills and each other if they’re going to survive this very deadly kind of love

A Deadly Kind of Love is book 6 of the series The Deadly Mysteries. It can be read as a standalone.
Tom Danzel and Stanley Korski are two private detectives in San Francisco. They’re partners in life and at work. When Chris, one of their friends, calls them for help, they don’t hesitate to go to Palm Springs to investigate a murder case.
I liked this book; I liked it a lot.

Tom is an old-school man. He’s not talkative, but burly and very protective of Stanley. He’s an old-school cop also a kind of Dick Tracy. He’s also super straight, before Stanley, and even being with Stanley now, Tom isn’t really gay. And It’s funny to see how he tries to keep up with Stanley’s gay friends. Or Stanley.

Stanley is younger than Tom, not really cop material (even if he was a cop), he hates guns, not a real fighter, and he’s more cerebral actually. He’d also rather be anything except a cop or a private detective. But he loves Tom, and when Tom quit the San Francisco PD for him, Stanley couldn’t have refused to open their private agency.

I liked their duet; they were totally in tune.
The book was focused on the investigation and who the murderer was. It was funny and interesting to read, I liked how each time I thought of someone, bam, something happens and I was back to square one. The writing was fluid and dynamic, no boring moment or repetitiveness, I was in the story from page one and read the book easily.

Since it was book 6, and I didn’t read the 5 previous books (not yet). At first, I was a little scared of being lost in the story and the characters. Although that didn’t happen because the book can be read as a standalone easily. There’s enough information to understand who Tom and Stanley were and their past, but there’s not enough to spoil the previous books for you if you want to read them, like me now. I liked it, and I can read the previous stories now without them being spoiled.

The only thing that frustrated me a little bit was the absence of real sex scene. Since Tom is super smoking hot, I was super frustrated not to read a real sex scene. I need to really read the previous books, maybe I’ll be surprised…I’ll tell you.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs for Tom and Stanley

***The ARC was provided by DSP Publication . My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “When Everything is Blue” by Laura Lascarso

TITLE: When Everything is Blue
AUTHOR: Laura Lascarso
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance / New Adult
LENGTH: 216 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 6, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback


When they were kids, Chris Mitcham rescued Theo from the neighborhood bullies and taught him how to “be cool.” Now, years later, Theo’s developed feelings for his best friend that arise at the most inopportune times. Theo hates lying to Chris, but in coming out, he might lose the one person who understands him best, a risk he’s not willing to take.
When a relationship with another young man goes south, Theo is forced to confront his own sexuality along with his growing attraction to Chris and his stunted, tenuous relationship with his father. Will Chris abandon Theo when he learns the truth, or will he stand by him in this tumultuous season of self-discovery?
In this quirky coming-of-age romance, Theo’s path to manhood is fraught with awkward firsts and a few haters, but also the unexpected comfort of a friend turned lover.

Theo is 16 years old, gay and in love with Chris, his straight best friend and tries desperately to forget him. But when a picture outs him in front of all his school, Theo has no other choice than to reveal who he really is and deal step by step with the diverse reactions.
I liked this book; it was a great story.

Theo tries to understand who he is, how to deal with his sexuality, and his desire for Chris. He’s terrified to admit to him that he’s in love, scared to lose his only real friend. He’s also scared to come out to his dad. Theo and his father haven’t had a good relationship, and the communication between them is difficult. I loved Theo, this kid is lost at first, he tries to understand himself before coming out, but when his choice was taken from him, he decided to be himself, and not to hold back or change.

Chris is adorable. I love this kid because he’s there for Theo no matter what, and doesn’t hesitate to fight for him, literally. He’s so sweet. I so want to hug him for hours.

I love how the author tries to explain all the first times. First kiss, first sexy times, and first love. How those two young men, discover themselves, but also their sexuality and feelings together. I also love how she explains the difficulty of how young gay kids meet. Not only do they have to deal with their desires and hormones (like every teenager in the world), but also, they have to come out in front of everyone just because they love another boy, or girl, when straight teenagers don’t have to do that. They have to fear that their family will disown them, or worse, kick them out on the street.

The author did a good job with all of this palette of feelings, and she served them perfectly throughout the book.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs for all the Theo’s of the world.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

Review edited by : Laura McNellis