Goodbye Paradise: A New Adult M/M Romance by Sarina Bowen: Release Day Review

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Goodbye Paradise

by Sarina Bowen

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Publication Date: March 21, 2017

Goodbye Paradise is a standalone, book one of the Hello, Goodbye duet … read on for details!

Front cover of Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Order Links:

Amazon: http://geni.us/GPamazon 

iBooks: coming soon

B&N: http://geni.us/GPnook 

Kobo: http://geni.us/GPkobo 

Google: http://geni.us/GPgoogle

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh & Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counterThis book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone. For more about its previous publication, you can read this blog post.

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Book Review

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye, #1)Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Goodbye Paradise is a must-read for anyone who loves an unforgettable M/M romance. Quite simply, it captured my heart, melted it, and put it back together. The story is unique and compelling, written in the alternating POV of its two primary characters, Caleb and Josh.

Caleb Smith and Joshua Royce grew up together on Paradise Ranch, an isolated community run by a stringent religious cult in rural Wyoming. (Fans of Sarina will recognize it as the same compound featured in her bestselling True North series.) But Caleb and Josh have something else in common: a powerful forbidden attraction. They’re forced to hide their feelings, even from each other, or face brutal retribution at the hands of their peers and elders.

Caleb, as a descendent of the Divine Pastor, is relatively safe in Paradise, but Josh always has been an outcast, considered weak — a trait that also makes young men like him “disposable.” It’s only a matter of time before he finds himself taken from the compound by force, bound, beaten, and left on the side of the highway, far from the only home he’s ever known. His only hope lies in a hastily whispered promise from Caleb — to find him and escape the pain of Paradise together.

Their journey is deeply emotional, passionate, tender, and sometimes heartbreaking; but it’s also joyful, funny, and heartwarming. You don’t just read the story; you live it: every joy, every fear, every setback, every heartbreak, and every triumph. And then there’s the sex. Initially tender and tentative, as they become more experienced and comfortable with each other, the heat rises to epic proportions, with a kitchen counter scene that might set your reader on fire.

Goodbye Paradise is a standalone novel with a happy-ever-after, but Sarina will make you sweat for it. The shadow of a lifetime in Paradise affects each character differently, sometimes putting themselves at odds with each other, or at war with their spiritual beliefs. And when a young woman from Caleb’s past arrives, seeking refuge in their new home, their future is anything but certain.
From beginning to end, Goodbye Paradise is a hard-fought love story. It’s also a story you won’t soon forget, with a cast of characters that will stay in your heart forever. A standalone sequel (Hello Forever) will release soon, so get started with this stunning duet today.

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Hello Forever (Hello, Goodbye, Book 2)

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Summary

Six years have passed since the awful day when Axel and Caxton were caught making out in the woods at church camp. They were only teenagers then, but Axel had been devastated when Cax had cut off all contact with him. After that, his best friend seemed to vanish.

So Axel is astonished to find his first love’s face in the crowd of a college basketball game he’s watching on TV—at a college which has just offered him a job. It’s a thousand miles away, in a tiny rural town. But suddenly, he can’t wait to get there.

Cax can’t believe his eyes when Axel appears in the same Massachusetts town where he now lives. And he’s still just as drawn to Axel as ever. But he can’t let himself go there again. Because loving Axel will mean losing everything else he holds dear.

Both men have so much to lose. But as far as their love is concerned, it’s Hello Forever.

Hello Forever is a stand-alone novel with no cliffhangers. Readers of  Goodbye Paradise will get a chance to check in on Caleb and Josh and their clan.

Goodbye Paradise: A M/M Romance Coming Soon from Sarina Bowen: Pre-Order today!

Goodbye Paradise Promo Banner

Goodbye Paradise

by Sarina Bowen

Genre: M/M Contemporary Romance, New Adult

Publication Date: March 21, 2017

Goodbye Paradise is a standalone, book one of the Hello, Goodbye duet … read on for details!

Front cover of Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen

Pre-Order Links:

Amazon: http://geni.us/GPamazon 

iBooks: coming soon

B&N: http://geni.us/GPnook 

Kobo: http://geni.us/GPkobo 

Google: http://geni.us/GPgoogle

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh & Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counterThis book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone. For more about its previous publication, you can read this blog post.

Add it to Goodreads

Hello Forever (Hello, Goodbye, Book 2)

Add it to Goodreads

Summary

Six years have passed since the awful day when Axel and Caxton were caught making out in the woods at church camp. They were only teenagers then, but Axel had been devastated when Cax had cut off all contact with him. After that, his best friend seemed to vanish.

So Axel is astonished to find his first love’s face in the crowd of a college basketball game he’s watching on TV—at a college which has just offered him a job. It’s a thousand miles away, in a tiny rural town. But suddenly, he can’t wait to get there.

Cax can’t believe his eyes when Axel appears in the same Massachusetts town where he now lives. And he’s still just as drawn to Axel as ever. But he can’t let himself go there again. Because loving Axel will mean losing everything else he holds dear.

Both men have so much to lose. But as far as their love is concerned, it’s Hello Forever.

Hello Forever is a stand-alone novel with no cliffhangers. Readers of  Goodbye Paradise will get a chance to check in on Caleb and Josh and their clan.

Relative Best, by Pat Henshaw – a New M/M Romantic Novella

Tour Banner for Relative Best, by Pat Henshaw

About-The-Book

Title: Relative Best

Author: Pat Henshaw

Series: Foothills Pride #5 (can be read as standalone)

Genre: Contemporary gay romance

Publisher: Dreamspinner Press

Publication date: August 17, 2016

Pages: 80

Cover Artist: AngstyG

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31194569-relative-best

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relative-best-ebook-cover

Blurb

Sometimes love sneaks up when you’re least looking for it….

Zeke Bandy, owner of Bandy’s Finest Hotel in Old Town Stone Acres, California, is too busy for love. Not only does he oversee the operations of the historic hotel and uphold his family’s tradition of offering refuge to strays and runaways, Zeke also sings and plays down-home music two nights a week at the Stonewall Saloon and for occasional celebrations. Then Zeke meets Victor Longbow, the man of his dreams.

Vic isn’t looking for love either. In fact, because of his upbringing in a strict, white foster family, Vic’s not sure he believes in love. He’s in Stone Acres to open a branch office of a national brokerage firm. He’s also hoping to find a vintage photo of what might be his Native American ancestor.

After their paths cross, they become friends, then more. Connected by their experiences as orphans raised by flawed fathers, Zeke and Vic realize that some men must find love, hone it, and create families for themselves.

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Book-Trailer

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Excerpt

“I want to thank everyone for coming out tonight. You’ve been a great audience.” The couple at the center table looked up at me with almost identical grins. Despite this being an extra gig in a very busy week, I’d enjoyed playing for their bachelor party—even if it made me feel my loneliness more sharply.

“I’ll leave the happy couple with these words from an old Native American chief who, if he was smart, said them to his other half: ‘I will fight no more forever.’” I raised my glass of water and shouted over the noisy crowd, “To Sammy and Ned—may they have a long, happy, peaceful life together!”

The raucous audience at Stonewall Saloon whooped and hollered through my words and got even louder after my last sentence. Rising from their seats, Sammy and Ned raised their clasped hands like boxers who’d won a particularly hard bout but now were on their way to a great wedding.

As they gushed about how happy they were that everybody could make it to their wedding, I started to pack up my banjo and guitars. Tonight I’d left the fiddle backstage because I was so tired. I’d been burning too many candles from both ends. After locking away the instruments in the storeroom and breaking down the mic and the amps, I caught the end of Sammy’s speech.

“If you enjoyed Zeke Bandy’s guitar and banjo playing, remember he’s here at Stonewall Thursday and Friday nights. We’re honored to have him play at our wedding.”

When the crowd cheered, I stood, turned, and waved to the fifty or sixty bobbing heads on the other side of the stage. Whistles and catcalls joined the shouts and cheers. I had my fans and a lot of regulars in the audience.

“See ya tomorrow, Red! I love you!” some drunk yelled, and the crowd cheered louder.

“Oh, cut it out, guys! You’re making me blush.” And they were, with all their yells and waves and hoots and hollers.

A cry went up about more beer from one side of the room, and the night proceeded like all the others when I played. Attention spans flew out the window as the beer and hard drinks flowed. Completely sober, I put away the rest of the equipment and shut off the power on the platform that bar owner Guy Stone had designated as a stage.

Jimmy Patterson, Stone’s significant other and owner of Penny’s coffee shops here in Stone Acres, California, waved at me as I returned to the barroom from the storage area in the back.

“I got a table!” He was trying to shout over the noise.

As I limped toward him, men slapped me on the back and told me how much they enjoyed my playing. I kept moving, even though guys tried to stop me and give me requests for Thursday night. One guy even grabbed my face and kissed me, which would have been really flattering, even hot, if he hadn’t stopped, stared at me, and said, “You’re not Tom.”

I turned to walk away, only to hear him shout, “Red, you’re cuter than Tom.” I didn’t turn back but heard him yelp like he’d been hit.

I ended up sitting at a big table in the corner of the drinking area with a decent view of the tiny new dance floor. At the table with Jimmy sat four guys—flamboyant designer Fredi Zimmer and his husband, staid, reliable Max Greene, both of whom I knew fairly well, and two guys I didn’t know.

My eyes were drawn to the one who had strong cheekbones, long blue-black hair, and vibrant adobe-colored skin. He could easily have been a poster boy for the California Native American Heritage Commission. If I could pick a guy to kiss me unexpectedly, he’d be my choice. The libido I thought dead from overwork rose from its grave.

While the guys wrangled over who was paying for the next round, I took in the other man to the left of my preferred eye candy. This guy flaunted nearly white-blond hair, startling blue eyes, and a California tan, like the ultimate surfer dude. He did nothing for me, but I appreciated the effect he’d probably have on a lot of other guys here tonight.

I could easily see the humor in the three of us sitting at the same table, though. Considering I’ve got bright red hair, porcelain white skin with a thick spattering of freckles, and cornflower blue eyes, this table covered a large portion of the rainbow.

Jimmy introduced us while he partially stood to get Stone’s attention. “Zeke, these are two of the groomsmen, Vic Longbow and Hayden Weller. Zeke Bandy.”

Both of them nodded, a nod I returned.

“Hey, man. Nice pickin’ up there.” Hayden, the beach god, waved his nearly empty glass of beer at me.

“Thanks.” I never knew what to say when someone complimented me after a performance. While part of me was floating on the post-performance high, the rest of me was critiquing what I’d done and what I’d like to do over.

“Are you recorded?” Vic’s voice was low and soothing, the kind of sound that oddly created a center of calm in the middle of the barroom noise. I gladly stepped into the peace and took a deep breath.

I looked down, fleetingly taking in the scarred tabletop, and balanced momentarily on the pinpoint of serenity Vic had presented me.

“No, no recordings. I haven’t ever had the time or energy.” I shrugged. I owned and ran the historical hotel in downtown Stone Acres. When was there time to record?

“Where do you get the songs? Are they yours?” Vic was focused on me so much that the rest of the table dimmed.

“No. God, no. They’re all old tunes that have been knocking around forever, mostly by bluegrass and folk groups. I take it you don’t listen to this kind of sound?”

He smiled. “You’ve opened up a whole new door for me, and I can’t wait to explore what’s inside this new music room.”

His look caressed me enough that my dick perked, and suddenly I dared to believe my dream of finding a boyfriend and possibly a husband wasn’t as nebulous as I’d always thought. If someone this fine could look at my skinny ginger self and respond even half as much as he was, I was on the right path. I grinned at him and he at me.

Yeah, he was too hot for me with his high cheekbones and exotic hair, but I could practice on him and dream, right?

Teaser from Relative Best, by Pat Henshaw

Teaser from Relative Best, by Pat Henshaw

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Review

Relative Best (Foothills Pride, #5)Relative Best by Pat Henshaw
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first book I’ve read by Pat Henshaw, and although it’s #5 in the series, I wasn’t lost – so it can easily be read as a standalone. I found it to be a unique story with very interesting, relatable characters; characters that I would have loved to know better. The premise is solid: a lonely hotel owner/operator and popular singer-guitarist with a difficult past meets a Native American protagonist, raised as a foster child in an abusive environment, now in this Foothills town, looking for a connection to his tribal origins. There are multiple sub-plots, all of which are handled capably by the author, but felt ‘ambitious’ with respect to the limited length of the book.

On the surface, Zeke & Vic are very different; but they complement each other perfectly. I would love to have experienced a slower, more intense build-up; and given the backgrounds of both characters, I expected it.

I think the short length and the various sub-plots in play (a runaway from Vic’s foster home who seeks shelter at Zeke’s hotel; Vic’s search for his heritage; and an impending wedding involving secondary characters) somewhat limited the opportunity to fully explore and expand on the romantic aspect of the story. A happy ever after is implied, but not explicit, so perhaps we will learn more about Vic and Zeke in a subsequent release – I hope so. The ending is satisfying, but the arc of the romance is subverted, to some extent, by the pacing required to resolve the other conflicts presented in the story.

Overall, I enjoyed reading Relative Best; it’s a heart-warming story in a rustic contemporary setting that feels authentic and is well-suited to the storyline. The characters are relatable, the villains are believable, and the supporting cast has a delightful quirkiness to it. The story is not sexually explicit, so for first-time M/M readers, it makes for a great introduction to the genre.

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Buy-Links

Dreamspinner

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Giveaway

3 $10 Starbucks cards

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Meet-The-Author

Pat Henshaw, author of the Foothills Pride Stories, was born and raised in Nebraska where she  promptly left the cold and snow after college, living at various times in Texas, Colorado, Northern Virginia, and Northern California.  Pat enjoys travel, having visited Mexico, Canada, Europe, Nicaragua, Thailand, and Egypt, and Europe, including a cruise down the Danube.

Now retired, Pat has spent her life surrounded by words:  Teaching English composition at the junior college level; writing book reviews for newspapers, magazines, and websites; helping students find information as a librarian; and promoting PBS television programs.

Her triumphs are raising two incredible daughters who daily amaze her with their power and compassion.  Fortunately, her incredibly supportive husband keeps her grounded in reality when she threatens to drift away while writing fiction.

 Where to find the author:

Website    Facebook

Foothills Pride group: Facebook Group

Twitter   Amazon

Email: patoisca@yahoo.com

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