Every month the Sinfully team brings you our Hotpicks. Check out our favourites for March and don’t forget five lucky readers get the chance to win a Kindle eBook from our list of March’s Hotpicks. Just enter the Rafflecopter below for your chance to win. Keep up with all our 2016 Hotpicks –> HERE.
Touch the Sky by Christina Lee & Nyrae Dawn
Lucas Barnett and Gabriel Stewart didn’t have it easy as kids. They were only trying to deal with bad situations at home when they became lifelines for each other. Their pipe dream was to someday meet in LA, where Lucas would design skyscrapers, and Gabriel would learn to fly. But then Gabriel disappeared without so much as a goodbye, and Lucas got himself in trouble with the law.
Five years later, both men are at a loss when they run into each other at a Hollywood bar. Lucas is still angry, but it’s not as if Gabriel could control how his mind and body had betrayed him. Being found on the ledge of that bridge had changed everything.
The attraction is immediate, but it’s more than their inability to keep their hands off each other. Neither man expects the fierce connection pulling them together. Unfortunately, ignoring their problems doesn’t make them disappear. Gabriel’s internal struggles are serious…dangerous. And no matter how much Lucas wants it to be true, saving Gabriel won’t make up for not being able to save his mom. If they don’t find the strength to face their own demons before the darkness takes hold, they risk more than just losing each other forever.
Lisa: Touch the Sky is a contemporary new adult MM romance written by authors Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn. I have read books by both these authors and was very excited to see that they would be working together in this collaboration. There was never any doubt that I would end up loving this one. These authors certainly have what it takes to pen a seriously awesome MM romance. A sweet, emotional and sexy tale about two young men who find their way back to one another.
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Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton
It’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.
Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.
Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.
Mark: It was a hard choice this month for me to choose a Hotpick. There were several books that made it on my Hotpick list but decided on Marie Sexton’s Trailer Trash if for nothing else the nostalgic trip back to the 80s. This was a trip down memory lane, Falcon Crest, Dallas, shoulder pads, Rubik’s Cube, trim phones, Yazoo, Culture Club, OMD, Spandau Ballet, Duran Duran, the list is endless. However, the one thing that will forever leave a stain on the 80s was AIDS, people living in fear and ignorance.
You could really feel and understand the teenage emotional turmoil, the feelings and hormones running high, hopes dashed but then dreams to live for. The love that develops between Cody and Nate is so sweet and tender at first. Cody not letting himself believe that this could be happening as nothing good ever happens to him. But Nate has to first defy all odds to convince Cody of his love. That he’s not using Cody or it’s just a phase, that he truly loves him. And in the middle of them coming to terms with all of this, being gay in sh** hole of a town is the onset of AIDS! Hanging over their heads like the proverbial Sword of Damocles put there by the press, disinformation, fear and scaremongering is rife. Oh I could so relate to this. Why? Because I was there! Loved this story and is well worth the read.
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Under a Sky of Ash by Brandon Witt
More than a decade after leaving Colorado to attend college and escape his past, Isaiah Greene moves back and builds a life in Denver as a special education teacher. When he meets Ben Woods, the mentor of one of his students, the attraction is immediate. The revelations that they’ve both suffered traumatic childhoods form a bond between them.
Raised by an abusive grandmother, Ben is a recovering addict who has made a family with his construction worker boss, Hershel, and Hershel’s husband, Daniel—drag queen ManDonna. Adding Isaiah to his life gives Ben a glimpse of a future he’d never dreamed possible for himself.
Both Isaiah and Ben are survivors, but when guilt drives a wedge between them, the past threatens to end their relationship.
Ben and Isaiah embark on journeys of self-discovery. Though their path will be difficult at times, humor and love find a way to bring light to the darkness.
Debra: Under a Sky of Ash is a story of surviving unimaginable loss, making family, finding love and letting go in order to move forward. It’s a difficult read at times, but it’s also a wonderful love story about two very deserving men finally getting their chance to be happy. It’s a heavy story, but it also has plenty of moments of over the top fun thanks mostly to drag queen ManDonna and his construction worker partner Hershel.
I don’t want to say anything about the plot that’s not in the blurb, but know that it’s an emotional roller coaster ride and every character is well-written and serves a vital purpose to the story. If you’re willing to put in the work to get to the happy ending, you won’t be sorry you read this one.
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Between Ghosts by Garrett Leigh
In 2003, journalist Connor Regan marched through London to add his voice to a million others, decrying the imminent invasion of Iraq. Eight months later, his brother, James, was killed in action in Mosul.
Three years on, Connor finds himself bound for Iraq to embed with an elite SAS team. He sets his boots on the ground looking for closure and solace—anything to ease the pain of his brother’s death. Instead he finds Sergeant Nathan Thompson.
Nat Thompson is a veteran commander, hardened by years of combat and haunted by the loss of his best friend. Being lumbered with a civilian is a hassle Nat doesn’t need, and he vows to do nothing more than keep the hapless hack from harm’s way.
But Connor proves far from hapless, and too compelling to ignore for long. He walks straight through the steel wall Nat’s built around his heart, and when their mission puts him in mortal danger, Nat must lay old ghosts to rest and fight to the death for the only man he’s ever truly loved.
Freya: I read many stories, and they are all wonderful, none of which I forget, but many I need a sentence or two reminder of the plot before it all springs back to mind.
Between Ghosts is one of those stories that I will need no reminder of. Since I read it, I’ve replayed scenes from it, in my head, ever since. It is action packed, has a brilliant plot line, and is dangerously current in subject matter – i.e. Iraq. Anyone who loves stories involving soldiers in a war zone will eat this up.
Being a British lass, I am proud of my heritage, which includes all the variations in dialects through the UK. With all due respect to my many friends across the globe, it is a fact that, when writing, everyone is expected to understand to subtleties of the American language, even down to grammar. American/English is author’s language. But, it doesn’t always work the other way. One of the things I absolutely adored about this book was the use of local colloquialisms – my favourite being ‘Our Kid’ – which was one of many. The dialects used showed no mercy to readers across the pond and didn’t succumb to the stiff upper lipped style British many see on TV. It was most refreshing and utterly entertaining.
Between Ghosts was one of those stories that, everything I hoped would happen, did happen, and even then, the author managed to keep me on the edge of my seat, up to the last sentence.
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Ollie Always by John Wiltshire
Sometimes there is a very fine dividing line between fact and fiction.
Named after the main character in his mother's infamous Oliver novels, Ollie's been fighting his fictional namesake his whole life. It's a battle for identity he is slowly and inevitably losing. Ex-army PTI, Tom knows all about battles--the real ones that break soldiers. When he volunteers to help with the Oliver situation, Ollie hears more in the offer than Tom apparently intends, for Tom quickly informs Ollie that he's married. Which is absolutely fine, because Ollie isn't gay--that's Oliver. Tom and Ollie discover fairly swiftly that there is often a very fine dividing line between fact and fiction.
Sally: If you only know of John Wiltshire’s reputation in connection with his massive More Heat Than the Sun series, I have to say that I expect this is completely different. No dangerous black ops agents here. What we do have are well realised and sympathetic, if flawed, characters doing their best under very difficult circumstances. Ollie and Tom are opposites but complementary and while I may not have been rooting for them from page one, they absolutely had my interest and by half way through I was completely invested in their welfare and their romance - not always necessarily the same thing.
There was so much to enjoy about this book. Nothing is particularly straight forward. Characters have loads of different pressures guiding their actions. I loved the playful humour and there are times when Wiltshire expresses deep truths with an economy of language that I found stunning. Highly recommended.
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Molly’s Hot Pick
Stealing Dragon’s Heart by Susan Laine
A Lifting the Veil Story
Notorious master thief Finn Grayson is hired to break into a high-class skyscraper in New Shanghai and steal a priceless artifact known as the Shard. But someone’s gotten to the Shard first—and the penthouse suite turns out to be a dragon’s lair.
Cameron Feilong, Guardian of the Earth Shard, is ancient enough to realize that he and his unbidden guest are being used like puppets on a string. Forming a shaky alliance is the only way for them to survive and to stop their ruthless foes.
Unfortunately, Finn and Cam seem to be forever one step behind. To learn more about their clandestine enemy, they travel together from walled Asian cities, barren tundras, and underwater temples to secret paranormal clubs and legendary elvish cities rising high in the trees or buried deep under glaciers. Finn and Cam must learn to trust each other before it’s too late, for bringing together the five Elemental Shards will spell the end of the world.
Molly: This wasn’t the typical kind of story that I usually read, but it was such a good story, that it’s my hotpick for the month. Susan Laine created a fantastical world for our thief protagonist, Finn Grayson to live in and explore, which includes dragons and other mythical creatures. She seamlessly ties information, like the news broadcast that Finn hears upon entering Shanghai, that you look back on and go “Ohhh.”
Finn’s future love interest is the man who he’s come to steal from, only to find that the artifact has already been stolen, sending them on an adventure where they discover a dastardly plan to take over the world. Really cool story, and I highly recommend it, especially if you love fantasy and shifter stories.
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Macky’s Hot Pick
(Captive Prince #2) by C.S. Pacat
The second volume in the Captive Prince trilogy.
With their countries on the brink of war, Damen and his new master Prince Laurent must exchange the intrigues of the palace for the sweeping might of the battlefield as they travel to the border to avert a lethal plot.
Forced to hide his identity, Damen finds himself increasingly drawn to the dangerous, charismatic Laurent. But as the fledgling trust between the two men deepens, the truth of secrets from both their pasts is poised to deal them the crowning death blow . . .
Macky: Really this Hotpick is technically for the whole of the Captive Prince series, which kept me thoroughly engrossed and glued to my Kindle for the marathon three days I spent reading it back to back. However, I’m singling book two out particularly because I think this was the volume that probably thrilled me most of all. I loved the other two but adored this middle section of the trilogy because this was when the story REALLY turned a corner, ratcheting everything up a notch or two; including the tingly sexual tension and slow burn ‘romance’ (and I say romance very loosely at this point because these two men are poster boys for the term “dysfunctional relationship!”) uneasily forming between the captive prince and slave of the saga: Damen of Akielos, and his coldly calculating ‘Master ‘ and enemy...the enigmatic Prince Laurent of Vere.
What started as a definitive intrigue filled, non con style pleasure slave drama, playing out in the royal courts; segued into an exciting, action/adventure Game of Thrones style fantasy, packed to the gills with even more of the manipulation, conspiracy and treachery we first become privy to in the first book. A true page turner—like the whole trilogy—this section blew me away with its shock revelations and jaw dropping plot twists! I couldn't get enough of these two magnetic men, who got right under my skin, and could happily go back to the beginning again right now and start their rocky journey all over again. Just amazing!
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Out of Frame
(In Focus #3) by Megan Erickson
Romance trades the open road for the high seas in the latest from the author ofFocus on Me and Trust the Focus...
Perpetually shy, Quinn Mathers is content to remain in the shadow of his brash best friend Jess Hartman. But before their college graduation, he and Jess have planned one last hurrah: a spring break Caribbean cruise.
And it won’t be just any cruise. On board are members of the reality showTrip League, which follows young twenty-somethings on adventures around the world. Since the show’s beginning, Quinn has been fascinated by J. R. Butler, with his amazing body, warm eyes, and killer grin. Unfortunately, he’s straight—or so the world thinks.
At nineteen, J. R. signed a contract to play straight for the show, and there’s no way to get out of it now. Yet with each passing day, Quinn and J. R. find it harder to keep their hands off each other and to keep out of the camera’s frame. But when the lens finally focuses on them, J. R. must decide if he’s willing to risk his career by admitting his bisexuality, and Quinn must determine if he's bold enough to stand in the spotlight with the man of his dreams...
Alan: Megan Erickson is one of my favorite gay fiction authors. “Out of Frame” is the most recent addition to her “In Focus” series, which also includes the beautifully-written and moving “In Focus” and “Focus on Me.” This book is simply lovely. It’s a romp, albeit a heartfelt one, written with the sure hand of a supremely talented writer.
Don’t miss this “Out of Frame”. It will not change your life, but it will make your day – and we all deserve a little cuteness, fun, love and happily-ever-after in our lives. Ms. Erickson is one of those rare authors whose writing is superb at delivering all of those. So open the book and smile – you’re going to have almost as good a time as Quinn and Jess, and it won’t cost you anywhere near what a cruise does.
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