Puck Drop, by Brittney Mulliner

Puck Drop

Title: Puck Drop

Author: Brittney Mulliner

Publisher: Brittney Mulliner

Release Date: July 31, 2018

Genre: Clean and Wholesome Romance

Format: Kindle and Paperback

Rating: 3 Lattes

Heat Level: Light Roast

 

Blurb

She doesn’t date hockey players, and he needs to earn the respect of his new team, but they’re willing to break all the rules for just one kiss. As long as they keep their relationship a secret everyone wins.

Since their parent’s death, Chloe Schultz has put every ounce of her energy into her twin brother, Erik’s, NHL career. She won’t let distractions—like dating—get in the way of keeping the Utah Fury as the championship team. Until she meets Reese.

Reese Murray was shocked when he was traded the week before the season started. He’s bitter, but he won’t let that stop him from proving he’s the best. The Fury welcomes Reese, with one warning, stay away from the marketing manager, Chloe Schultz, if he wants to stay on Erik’s good side. Too bad she’s the first woman that’s caught his eye in years.

Can Chloe and Reese keep their focus while trying to hide their growing attraction, or will their secret come out and tear the team apart?

First impression.

As an avid hockey fan, I was excited to get started on this series. The opening caught my interest, and while both the characters seemed a bit too easy going, I enjoyed Chloe’s interaction with the wives and girlfriends, and Reese’s interaction with his team mates.

What kept me reading (or didn’t).

I especially enjoyed seeing Reese getting to know his team mates and the action on the ice. As an avid hockey fan, I wanted a bit more intensity and roughness, but the scenes were well written and believable.

Both Chloe and Reese gave in and were willing to compromise when necessary, and I appreciated it when Chloe finally stood up to her brother. It was completely believeable that an outsider like Reese would force her to see things from a different perspective.

I will say, I HATED the way they hid their relationship – mostly because neither of them showed any back bone until it was already obvious. I really wanted Reese to fight harder from the beginning since he pointed out how much Chloe bowed to her brother already – and I was especially annoyed after she met his parents and he still agreed to keep it under wraps.

It sounds like I was annoyed more than I wasn’t, but the interaction between the two of them was great, and I enjoyed seeing them get to know each other.

After taste.

If the book was a latte, this one had a bit too much sweetener in it for me, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a good book. I’ll probably read the rest of the series because….hockey.

Overall impression.

If you are looking for an easy, clean read with a hockey flavor, this is your book. It is well written with a few minor typos.

About the Author

Brittney has been an avid reader since she can remember. Her parents’ form of punishment for her growing up was taking away her books and making her go outside to play. She was born and raised in Southern California, with a brief hiatus in Arizona. She loves the beach, exercising, sleeping in, and gluten free cookies. She is an obsessive dog lover, although her affection currently has no outlet. Something that she is planning on remedying soon. She and her husband currently reside in the Rocky Mountains exploring and hiking as much as possible.

Find her at http://brittneymulliner.com/

Purchase links

Amazon

 

PRE-ORDER Safe Cages, by Michelle Bolanger

**Safe Cages is about two gay men who come to faith in Christ. The story follows their journey to that faith and how their decision ultimately affects them, their relationship, their family, and the church they join.**

SafeCages-ebook

Best Friends. Dads. Husbands.

Christian.

From the moment they met at the batting cages, Michael Casio and Sam Jones have been best friends.

When his feelings for Sam developed into something that conflicted with his strict Christian upbringing, Michael fled the state hoping the forbidden attraction would go away.

Sam was sure he’d lost his friend for good and did his best to move on. But when Michael came home willing to risk it all, they discovered a love neither of them would have imagined possible.

Their life seems perfect until a series of events leads them to Cornerstone Community Church, where they have an encounter with God and His love changes everything.

Yep, that’s my newest book, and it is available for pre-order now at the following online retailers:

AMAZON
BARNES and NOBLE
iBOOKS

You can also request a signed paperback by emailing me directly at:

michelle.bolanger@gmail.com

Cover Reveal – SAFE CAGES

Sorry for the radio silence lately, but I’ve been working hard to finish my next book, and that means not much time for reading anything else!

On Monday, I released the cover and blurb for the second Challenged Faith Novel.

Isn’t it BEAUTIFUL?! It was designed by Lorelei Follett Przybranowski of Hell Yes Design Studio.

SafeCages-ebook

Safe Cages

A Challenged Faith Novel

From the moment they met at the batting cages, Michael Casio and Sam Jones have been best friends.

When his feelings for Sam developed into something that conflicted with his strict Christian upbringing, Michael fled the state hoping the forbidden attraction would go away.

Sam was sure he’d lost his friend for good and did his best to move on. But when Michael came home willing to risk it all, they discovered a love neither of them would have imagined possible.

Their life seems perfect until a series of events leads them to Cornerstone Community Church. While there, they have an encounter with God and His love changes everything.

Safe Cages is a Contemporary M/M Christian Romance, and will be available August 7, 2018.
You can find the rest of my books at the following retailers:
Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble

Silent Harmony, by Michele Scott

 

 

Scott, Michele SILENT HARMONY

Title: Silent Harmony

Author: Michele Scott

Publisher: Skyscape

Release Date: May 28, 2013

Genre: Young Adult, Horses, Peer Pressure

Format: ebook, audio, paperback

Rating: 4 Lattes

Heat Rating: Light Roast

 

Blurb:

Small town seventeen-year-old Vivienne Taylor is a talented equestrian with Olympic dreams and a little something extra going on—she is also an “equine empath,” someone who has the ability to read horses’ minds and moods. When she receives a full scholarship to attend Fairmont Riding Academy, a prep school with a famous riding program, she struggles with homesickness, hazing by the school’s snooty drama queen, intense competition in the sport of three-day-eventing, and the not-altogether-unwelcome interest of a hot guy. On top of all of that the horse given to Vivienne via the scholarship is an animal that she cannot “read” or understand. When Vivienne learns that her new horse Harmony belonged to the school’s vet, who recently died in a freak accident, she senses that the horse’s aloof behavior may be the result of her witnessing this accident. But as a connection begins to unfold between Vivienne and Harmony, Vivienne begins to believe that the vet’s death was no accident at all–but rather murder–and she resolves, at considerable peril, to track down the killer.

Review

First impression:

I had to get about a quarter of the way into this book before I felt connected to Vivienne. The story felt very young YA at first, and I wasn’t sure it was going to be good read for me. BUT – I am glad I stuck with it. The last quarter of the book moved it from a three latte read to a four.

What kept me reading (or didn’t).

Initially, it was my curiosity about Riley that kept me reading, but then I was nearly put off from that when his (and Tristan’s) POV was written in third person while the rest of the book was with Vivienne in first person. It was a jarring transition. (This is the writer in me that had a hard time with this, so take that for what it is worth.) It was nice to get a smattering of the boys’ POV, so once I got used to the change, it didn’t bother me as much.

What I loved was the way Vivienne NEVER backed down from who she was. She went from being a small town girl with not much to her name, to living among the high society of the horse world. But she didn’t try to fit in with them. She was comfortable in her own skin right from the beginning, and didn’t have to make the journey of trying to be something she wasn’t. I LOVED that about the book.

I also appreciated how they boys were boys, and stayed out of the mean girl drama. Riley obviously had his own reasons for keeping away from the girls, and I was so proud of Tristan for finding a way to stand up to the pressure his girlfriend was putting on him.

And – being a horse lover and former eventer myself (in my MUCH younger days!), I truly enjoyed the interaction between Vivienne, Riley, Tristan, and their horses.

After taste.

This is a young YA who-done-it with some great lessons about being true to yourself and trusting your instincts.

Overall impression.

I have no idea if or when I will read the next book, but I would recommend it to young horse lovers and fans of super sweet romance.

About the Author:

Scott, Michele

Michele grew up thirty minutes east of San Diego in an area called Jamul. It was out there in the country that her parents bought Michele’s first horse and she learned how to ride at five. At nine years old she knew she loved to write and one day wrote a short story that she showed to her dad. She’d written it on one of his legal pads. After he read it, he looked at her and said, “You are a writer.” With those words spoken, she’s never stopped writing stories.

She graduated from The University of Southern California with a degree in communications, where she studied journalism and hoped to be a reporter. But deep down inside, she’d never given up on being a fiction author. Fate intervened and during Michele’s senior year at college she became pregnant with her first son who was born six weeks prematurely. She had to stay home with her newborn who needed constant care and it was at that time she decided to write her first book.

She contacted Writer’s Digest and ordered their correspondence course on writing a novel. For ten years Michele kept writing, submitting, attending conferences and workshops and receiving rejections but never giving up.

Finally in March 2004, Jessica Faust at Bookends signed her as a client. One month later Michele received THE CALL from Jessica telling her that she had a publisher—Berkley Prime Crime, and that they wanted to sign her for three books in The Wine Lover’s Mystery Series. “It was surreal, wonderful and a dream come true when my agent called and told me. That night my husband and I got a really nice bottle of Champagne and celebrated.” Then in December that second call came in about The Equine Mystery Series.

Michele has written eight mysteries for Berkley and is currently working on her first women’s fiction novel, which will of course involve wine and probably a horse or two.

Michele writes full time now and lives in San Diego with her very supportive husband, two sons and daughter.

Purchase links:

Amazon, Barnes and Noble

Currently Reading

CR Silent Harmony (1)

I picked this one up because…well…horses!

I am listening to the audio and it is wonderfully produced and the writing is tight.

However, I think it might be a little too YA for me. I am at 13% and I’m just not all that connected with Vivienne’s character. The story is well written, it just might not be for me.

We shall see.
You can follow my progress on Goodreads.

What are you reading today?

Openly Straight, by Bill Konigsberg

Openly Straight

 

Title: Openly Straight

Author: Bill Konigsberg

Publisher:  Arthur A. Levine Books

Release Date: May 28, 2013

Genre: Gay and Lesbian, Young Adult, Sports

Format: ebook, hardcover, paperback, audio

Rating: 5 Lattes

Heat Rating: Medium Roast

 

Blurb

Rafe is a normal teenager from Boulder, Colorado. He plays soccer. He’s won skiing prizes. He likes to write.

And, oh yeah, he’s gay. He’s been out since 8th grade, and he isn’t teased, and he goes to other high schools and talks about tolerance and stuff. And while that’s important, all Rafe really wants is to just be a regular guy. Not that GAY guy. To have it be a part of who he is, but not the headline, every single time.

So when he transfers to an all-boys’ boarding school in New England, he decides to keep his sexuality a secret — not so much going back in the closet as starting over with a clean slate. But then he sees a classmate break down. He meets a teacher who challenges him to write his story. And most of all, he falls in love with Ben . . . who doesn’t even know that love is possible.

This witty, smart, coming-out-again story will appeal to gay and straight kids alike as they watch Rafe navigate feeling different, fitting in, and what it means to be himself.

Review

First impression.

Have you ever read a book that made you forget you were reading about a character or a particular subject and instead found yourself thinking and analyzing your own life and thought processes?

Openly Straight by Bill Konigsberg was one of those books for me. The book is about Rafe, an openly gay young man who has an accepting family, a great support system of friends, and a school that lets him be who he is. And he HATES it.

Rafe decides he’s tired of being ‘that gay boy’, and applies to an all boy school where he can drop the gay label and just be ‘one of the guys’. He’s not there to get a boyfriend, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he is gay.

The problem is, he doesn’t tell his parents or his best friend he intends to hide who he is, and when complications arise in the form of a friend who has the potential to be more, his lies and deceptions compound until he truly isn’t himself anymore.

What kept me reading (or didn’t).

This book is about a boy who is gay, sure, but I also found myself analyzing how, when, and to whom I present my Christian beliefs. Rafe was not, and it was never insinuated that he was ashamed of BEING gay, he was just tired of the label and all that came with it. Just like Rafe described his soccer teammates or classmates feeling uncomfortable and keeping their distance from him, in the past people have done the same to me simply because I am a Christian.

This is a book I will probably read again. Mostly to glean from the wise questions posed by the English teacher, Mr.Scarborough. The journaling and writing exercises he assigned Rafe as he maneuvered through his journey of self-discovery – self-re-discovery actually – are powerful and the questions the author asked through this character resonated with me.

This story rocked me in a way I haven’t been rocked in a long time. And in a very good way. The questions Rafe faced are questions I’ve asked myself, and though I came to very different conclusions, the temptation to try what he did is very real. Especially in this world where labels seem to carry more and more weight.

Overall impression.

My take away from this book – Always be true to who you truly are. Anything less is a lie.

Although I originally completed this book on December 27, 2015, this book still stands as one of the most impactful stories I have ever read. After more than two years later, it has not only affected the way I share my personal beliefs, but I can see now that it was a book that brought about a shift in my understanding of a community that, at the time, I knew nothing about, and about which I am still learning.
Quote:

“Why can’t I just be bad?” I asked, figuring my mom would have no idea what I was talking about. “Well, that’s easy, sweetie. You can be anything you want, but when you go against who you are inside, it doesn’t feel good.”

About the Author

bksghead1

Bill Konigsberg was born in 1970 in New York City. Expectations were high from birth – at least in terms of athletics. His parents figured he’d be a great soccer player, based on his spirited kicking from inside the womb. As it turned out, the highlight of his soccer career was at Camp Greylock in 1978, when he was chosen for the Camp’s “D” team. There were only four levels. Bill played alongside the likes of the kid who always showered alone, the chronic nosebleeder and the guy with recurrent poison ivy.

Early in his life, Bill decided he wanted to be a disc jockey, a professional baseball player, or the Indian from The Village People. None of these career paths worked out for him. Yet. He still holds out hope for a Village People revival and has set up a Google Alert in case it happens.

A B- student throughout high school, Bill was voted Most Likely to Avoid Doing Any Real Work In His Life by a panel of his dismissive peers. He proved them wrong with a series of strange-but-true jobs in his 20s – driver recruiter for a truck driving school, sales consultant for a phone company, and temp at Otis Elevators.

He moved to Denver in 1996 and was voted Least Stylish Gay Guy in the Metro Denver Area (including Loveland!) for each of the years from 1996-98. His fashion-free wardrobe robbed him of prospective dates countless times, as did his penchant for wearing a mustache that didn’t suit him.

He worked at ESPN and ESPN.com from 1999-2002, where he developed a penchant for sharing too much information about himself. That character flaw earned him a GLAAD Media Award in 2002, for his column “Sports World Still a Struggle for Gays.” That coming out essay made him a household name to tens of people across the country.

He continued oversharing in graduate school at Arizona State, where he added People Pleasing to his growing list of character defects and parlayed that into the title of Most Chill Teacher of freshman composition.

As a sports writer and editor for The Associated Press in New York from 2005-08, Bill once called his husband, who was at the time working a desk job, from the New York Mets dugout before a game. “I’m so bored,” Bill whined. He slept on the couch for a week after making that call.

He wrote a novel called Audibles at Arizona State, and sold that novel to Dutton Books for Children in 2007. His editor asked him to change the title so that it would appeal to people other than “football players who read.” The resulting novel, Out of the Pocket, received strong reviews from his mother, father, significant other and one girl who had a crush on him in high school. It won the Lambda Literary Award in 2009.

His second novel, Openly Straight, hit the bookshelves in late May of 2013. He describes the novel as “Twilight-like, only without vampires and wolves and angsty teenage girls. Also, set in an all-boys boarding school in Massachusetts. Otherwise, it’s like an exact replica.”

Openly Straight won the Sid Fleischman Award for Humor and is a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award.

Bill currently lives in Chandler, Arizona, which is the thinking man’s Gilbert, Arizona.

His blog and website is at billkonigsberg.com.

Purchase Links:

AmazonB&NIndieBound