“I just love a book that grabs you from the start, and the way this book starts, holy crap, you can’t help but know it is gonna be a hell of a ride! My first impression of Steven was that he was more than the club scene, and more than his best friend Adrian made him out to be. It is an author with real talent that can make you know that about a man in just a few chapters!
You will love this book friends, it is a story of one man’s determination to be more and better to prove to the man he is enthralled with that he is worth it! Thanks Ajax, for giving us a book that proves we can be who we want with a little effort and love!”
“Smoky Mountain Dreams came right at the end of 2014, following up Leta Blake’s early-year release The River Leith, and this Christmas-set romance was the perfect book to end the year on. Set around a Dollywood-esque Tennessee theme park that gives the novel its name, Smoky Mountain Dreams is a touching, sometimes upsetting romance that covers such diverse themes as failed stardom, religion, family, homosexuality, and even a debate on the right to die. What results is a complex drama, full of angst and romance, but also at times heartwarming and quite funny.
More than anything, Smoky Mountain Dreams reveals Blake as a talented author, capable of twisting between devastating tragedy, erotic romance scenes and introspective examinations of identity without missing a beat. With so many things up in the air, it is the seamless flow of the narrative that is most impressive, coupled with a flawless use of description to create a realistic and yet beautiful atmosphere in every scene. The only disappointment of Smoky Mountain Dreams is simply that it ended.”
“Amy Jo Cousins is my new favorite writer: she whips up light-hearted romance like Five Dates and then sucker punches you with a heavy-hitting, quick-witted, sexual identity questioning read like Off Campus. Girlfriend has got IT and knows how to play me like a fiddle. And all I want is a whole lot more…”
“Leta Blake continues to be an author who both surprises and delights, and is not afraid to take risks in her storytelling. This book tackles controversial topics with ease, and this is what makes it stand out from others in the genre. Quite frankly, Smoky Mountain Dreams is a must-read for romance fans everywhere.”
“Darrah has captured very well how severely a boy can repress and fear his sexuality. It was heart breaking at times. Henry is a passionate, sensitive, giving boy who has a strong moral compass that none of his peers have. When he finally shows Martin his true self, it was such a victory over himself. A powerful, exhilirating scene, my instant favourite. Martin, I adore. He is an innocent, generous, loving soul. He is tremendously professional in his role as a companion and I was amazed by his composure every time Henry turned him away. Together, they are endearing.
The dynamic between a master and his slave fascinated me and there is much still to explore. There’s Martin’s servitude, who almost leaves himself out of the equation, and there’s fair-minded Henry, who can’t make himself order Martin around or abuse his right of power as so many of his peers do. There’s the longing to be equal, to be treated as a man instead of a master, a person instead of a slave, when none of that is acceptable in the outside world. And there’s a master expected to take a wife once he’s of age and a companion who can’t afford to get romantic feelings.
Reading this is like wrapping yourself up in a soft blanket, in front of a roaring fire with an amazing glass of wine and getting lost in another world for a while. I’m ready for that world to continue. Bring on book 2.”
Matty is talented and has the aspiration (and outside expectation) to win gold at the Olympics but his journey is an arduous one, full of sacrifice and failure, to the point that I’ve come to think of this story as the anti-fairytale. Don’t get me wrong there is a satisfying HEA, but the road to get there is not what you might expect. As I reader I don’t need to be treated with kid gloves, shake me up a little please. I loved the risks the author took – there are few safe choices – and the questions she raised:
* What is the value and meaning of failure and success?
* What sacrifices are you willing to make to find true happiness?
* Do you dare to disappoint others to be true to yourself?
Just to name a few, and yes these are the big questions and challenges in life. Do you have what it takes to meet these head on?
Thanks, Anne-Marie, for the lovely review and for going along for the ride!
You know what’s really dang hard? Writing a book. You know what’s a hell of a lot harder than that? Writing a friggin’ blurb! I’d like to thank Jed, Keira, and Amelia for their wonderful help on crafting the Training Season blurb. Y’all are the best, and I think you should craft all my blurbs from now on. Especially Jed who did the heavy lifting.
And now for the blurb reveal!
Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap, and Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.
When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.
But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?
The rules:Go to Page 7, 70, or 170 of a current Work in Progress or recently published work and choose either the first complete paragraph or 7 lines of dialogue to share. Paste to FB and tag 7 other authors to do the same.
Here are seven paragraphs from page 70 of Love’s Nest, released yesterday, and soon to be available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sony, and other online stores.
“While it’s true that what I do know I’m enamored of, I fear these feelings are based in something not entirely real.”
Ópalo looked queasy. The birds clicked and made barking noises of agitation.
Mateo swallowed against the odd sense that he was telling a lie, even though every word he said was true.
“This is real. And I believe you will choose it. You will choose me.” Ópalo’s hands shook, but he seemed convinced of his own words.
The shimmer of Ópalo’s eyes pulled at Mateo. He felt rather convinced himself, which was deliriously ridiculous and deliciously reassuring all at once. Still, he couldn’t keep his mind from supplying an argument. “For all your talk of choice, telling me not to eat the fairy cakes so I can be completely free to come and go as I like, where is your own choice in all of this?”
“What do you mean?”
“Only that you’ve waited for your ‘bride’ your whole life, and now that I’ve arrived, you’ve accepted me without a second thought. How can you be so certain I’m the man for you? You might not even like me once you’ve known me more than a day or two.”
Love’s Nest is inspired by The Twelve Dancing Princesses and explores, in part, the function of destiny in fairy tales, especially when one of the heroes doesn’t believe in fate or love at first sight.