Author Archives: Nikyta

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Book Review: Mage of Inconvenience by Parker Foye

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Mage of Inconvenience
Author: Parker Foye
Series: Dreamspun Beyond #16
Heroes: West & Julian
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Length: 212 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 20, 2018
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Can they find the magic in a practical union?

West is on the run from his werewolf pack, but if he cannot renew his magical defenses, he won’t get far. What he needs is a mage….

Julian is part of a wealthy and ancient family, and one day, his legacy will include his mother’s vast library of spell books—and the knowledge he needs to correct his past mistakes. But his inheritance comes with a stipulation: he has to be married before he can collect. What he needs is a husband….

West and Julian can help each other, and at first they don’t want anything further. But as they dodge meddling cousins, jealous rivals, and an insidious drug, it becomes clear that their lives are entwined in ways they never imagined—and they’re in greater danger than they thought possible. Continue reading

Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Cowboy in the Crosshairs by B.A. Tortuga

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Cowboy in the Crosshairs
Author: B.A. Tortuga
Series: Turquoise, New Mexico #1; Dreamspun Desires #53
Heroes: TJ & Wacey
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 232 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: March 6, 2018
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Once upon a time, a prince lived in a magical kingdom called Turquoise, New Mexico.

Well, really, TJ is a small-town police chief. Every Friday he holds court in the diner with the local holy roller, the art colonists, and the horsey people. But the Benes, who own the rodeo company, keep to themselves. TJ knows, because he was once hot and heavy with the oldest Bene son.

When Wacey Bene gets trampled by a remuda and comes home to heal, he’s none too happy to run into TJ, or his two little boys and their momma. The story might end there—if it wasn’t for some pesky bastard trying to kill Wacey.

The law steps in, and the townsfolk are cross about somebody messing with one of their own.

But once the bad guy is put away, can TJ and Wacey make their place in this wild and eccentric town a permanent one? Continue reading

Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Honorary Blogger Beth Bolden: The Best & Worst + Excerpt & Giveaway!


The Best & Worst

by Beth Bolden

People who create things get their influences from so many different sources. I watch a lot of TV—well, not a lot, working a full time job and then trying to write and release a book every three months cuts down on a lot of my binge-watching—but it’s something my husband and I like to do together and he needs attention too, every once in awhile.

If a show messes up on their essential plotline or even worse, the romantic plotline, I get really annoyed. Because of how much I’ve learned about plotting and character development and arcs and beats, etcetera, failure on this drives me insane. But nothing makes me more frustrated and more likely to quit watching a show than when they mess up a romantic subplot.

In fact, even though sometimes the book I’m in the middle of writing has nothing to do with the shows we’re watching, I find that tiny little things will slip in and influence the book, even when I have zero intention of them actually happening.

Let’s talk about the best (and worst) developed romantic subplots on TV. (Warning for spoilers ahead!)


  1. The Blacklist. While this show has a fantastic plots, their main romantic plotline has been total garbage slop. Liz’s stupid husband Tom, who isn’t actually Tom but is actually (unfortunately) her husband, has made me want to pull my hair out from the beginning. It’s risky for a show to make an argument that love exists after so many lies, and one partner holding the other HOSTAGE on an abandoned ship accompanied by TORTURE. I mean, I could go on and on. But I don’t find it star-crossed or romantic. I just find Tom incredibly annoying, and Liz only annoying when she intersects with him. I was hoping (AM STILL HOPING, showrunners), that she would end up with Ressler, but I have a feeling that will never happen. What is the book lesson from this garbage dump of a love story? If one of your love interests is going to lie to the other one, and you want the other love interest to forgive him, fine. Don’t make the lie too extreme, and then don’t have them doomed to rinse and repeat this action over and over again. It’ll eventually make one character look like a douchenozzle and the other one look stupid and overly trusting. Love isn’t a blanket that forgives everything. What is the only thing that saves this show, from a romantic subplot angle? The wonderful, seasons-long, pining between Aram and Sarar. Samar is a little bitter and been there, done that, and Aram is a little naïve. And they are so god damn soft with each other. It almost, almost, salvages the ugliness that is Tom and Liz.
  2. Grey’s Anatomy. I have one problem here. Do not establish epic love stories and then kill one or both of the characters off, and then expect that the audience will be able to move on. Downtown Abbey had this problem for me. When they killed off Matthew, I was so angry, I wished I hadn’t wasted three seasons of time, begging for them to get together, and then stay together. If you put your characters and the audience through the wringer, do not expect them to be happy if it ends unhappily. Basically, do not kill McSteamy, McDreamy, etc etc. That’s bad. Don’t do it. And the other relationships you attempt to establish afterwards will always feel weak and like poor replacements for the original. You’ll never be able to get your audience re-invested again, because they don’t trust you anymore. AND THEY SHOULDN’T. I will never forgive Shonda Rhimes for breaking up Meredith and McDreamy, or killing Lexie and McSteamy, or especially, FOREVER, for breaking up Cristina and Burke, and then somehow, miraculously investing me again in Cristina and Owen, and then ruining that one too. Just don’t do it. Not being able to write people who are in relatively happy, functional relationships for the long-term is just lazy. There’s lots of places to go after two characters fall in love and agree to try that relationship thing (see Aimee Nicole Walker’s Curl up and Dye series, which is a fantastic example of writing a relationship that extends long past the initial HEA).
  3. Bones/The X-Files/Castle. This is somewhat a reiteration of my problem with Grey’s but these shows don’t kill off one of the characters to prevent writing a long-term relationship, they just taken FOREVER to get there. Lots of push and pull. Too much push and pull. Too many excuses. Too many interruptions. Too many lame love interests that you know will not last because they are a pale imitation of the couple you really want to happen. We are in the middle of binge-watching Castle currently, and yes, that particular couple did eventually get together, but for the love of god, it took way too long. Same with Bones. I actually got bored with all the shit they threw at Bones and Booth to keep them apart, and by the time they actually got together, I was done and had actually stopped watching. Do not get me started on The X-Files. I’m still too raw from this season’s revelations to think or talk about it. Some enemies to lovers books can feel like this—just because that’s the main gist of the trope: they don’t like each other. As soon as they do like each other, all the tension is out of your story, unless you can miraculously find a second well of tension to draw from. NOT EASY. No, I could not possibly be speaking from personal experience or what it was like to write Bite Me).


  1. The Vampire Diaries/The Originals. Is this great television? Hell no. It’s not even good television, for long stretches. And I’m not including these two inter-connected shows because of the whole Elena/Damon/Stefan love triangle because as far as I’m concerned, if I’m writing about that, it should be in the upper section, because you cannot expect anyone to best Ian Somerhalder when it comes to pure, raw charisma. Especially that guy who plays Stefan. No way. Never gonna happen. So that was a serious miscalculation on the writers—don’t make that mistake, authors. Love triangles are usually death, and should be avoided. HOWEVER, these two shows were totally, unexpectedly saved. Yes. I am talking about Klaus. (Sort of Elijah too, but mostly Klaus). Klaus is a big bad, but is he really a big bad? That, not who Elena is going to chose, because we all know who she is going to chose, it’s not even remotely a mystery, is the real question of the series. It was such a good question, that it prompted a whole other show. Klaus is so bad, he’s good. He’s so old, he’s seen it all, he’s done it all, he’s bored as fuck, while also being the most stubborn creature on the whole planet (not even an exaggeration). So who better to pair him with than Caroline, who not only is a brand new vampire, but is basically a high school teenager who prior to this, had not been shown to have much substance? Except she does, and her interactions with Klaus give them both a dimension they did not have before. Opposites attract, but are they opposites? This is a relationship and a connection that asks more questions than it ever answers, and it’s shockingly deftly done. And that is the sort of occasional brilliance that makes these shows addictive. NOW, I was going to actually stick this in the “bad” column, because you do not tempt with a relationship like this, and then never see it to fruition, because. . .that is a crime, worse than any that Klaus has committed over his very long lifetime. But the rumor (and the trailer for the final season of The Originals) heavily hint that they will be revisiting this relationship. The jury is still out, but I’m intrigued. The best romance novels take two characters who should not be together, and you would NEVER expect them to be together without possibly killing each other, and make it work. There’s a historical romance called Lord of Scoundrels, where the female MC literally shoots the male MC near the beginning of the story. AND THEY FALL IN LOVE AFTER. There’s a lot of other fantastic PNR books where one or both of the MCs could be bad, in fact, they are almost definitely bad, but they are “saved” or “redeemed,” etc etc. The key to this is not making them a different person. Klaus is still a petulant, stubborn hybrid who likes to kill things. He doesn’t magically become better. He just becomes more nuanced.
  2. New Girl. This is a hard show to watch a lot of. It can be really irredeemably silly. Sometimes I get severe secondhand embarrassment and I have to turn it off. But, at the heart of it, is two fantastic romance arcs that are sort of brilliantly done. While I love Schmidt and Cece, I’m going to focus on Nick and Jess, because that is best hookup/breakup/reunion cycle that I have seen recently. First, the showrunners were not afraid to go for it and go for it pretty early on (mid-second season, I believe, is when they kiss for the first time, and what a kiss it is). Second, they were smart enough to know that one character was not really ready for a serious, steady relationship. They had done a good job establishing that. So the breakup felt very organic. As did the subsequent moving on/growing up parts and then the beautiful reunion at the end of last season. As someone who has written a reunited lovers romance, this whole arc is not easy to pull off, and a lot of others in movies, television, and books, fail. The breakup feels forced. The reunion feels even more forced. The problems that forced them to breakup the first time are never fixed, just magically sort of disappear. A beautiful trope, if well done, but it needs to be executed well.

I have a sort of annoyingly analytical brain and I can’t turn it off, even to enjoy something as mindless as a TV show. But I’ve also learned a lot about what to do (and what not to do) from watching shows I’ve enjoyed and watching shows make epic mistakes in their romantic subplots.

What sort of TV do you like watching? Is the romantic subplot usually a dealbreaker? Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Excerpts, Giveaways, Honorary Blogger Post, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , | 9 Comments

Book Review: Lover, Lover by Liv Olteano

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Lover, Lover
Author: Liv Olteano
Series: Dreamcatchers #1; Dreamspun Beyond #14
Heroes: Drew & Angelo
Genre: M/M Paranormal
Length: 195 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 20, 2018
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Twin souls reunited.

Drew’s always been a fighter: first in martial arts competitions, and now as a dreamcatcher—keeping the people of Seattle safe from spaga attacks that would drain their life force in their sleep. All he has to do to become a full member of Team 32 is complete his first mission.

But the first person he must defend is his ex, Angelo… the only man Drew ever loved, even if he was the one to leave. Drew never got over Angelo, and it seems Angelo might feel the same, despite the heartbreak he suffered at Drew’s hands.

As the chase after a powerful and resourceful caster hits close to home, old feelings resurface. But if Angelo learns of the dreamcatchers, he’ll be a target for the spaga. And how can he trust Drew now that Drew’s keeping bigger secrets than ever? Continue reading

Categories: 3.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Release Blitz: The Winning Edge by Keira Andrews + Giveaway!

The Winning Edge by Keira Andrews

Can figure skating enemies find love off the ice?

After an explosive locker room confrontation with his Russian rival ends in the most intense sex of his life, American pairs skater Dev Avira is distracted to say the least. He’s worked for years to have a chance at Olympic gold, and he can’t let himself—or his partner—down. Playing cat and mouse with the steely and smoldering Mikhail Reznikov is the last thing he needs as he prepares for the biggest competition of his life, but they can’t keep their hands off each other as the Games approach.

Dev soon learns that beneath Mikhail’s arrogant and aloof exterior is Misha, a passionate man who warms Dev’s heart and scorches his bed. They’re both determined to win, but for Misha his freedom could be at stake if he and his partner take anything less than gold. Who will stand atop the podium? And can secret lovers from different worlds make a life together once the competition ends?

This gay sports romance from Keira Andrews features enemies to lovers, two alpha men, sequins, and of course a happy ending. Content previously published as novellas Cold War and Holding the Edge.

Available at: Amazon

Continue reading

Categories: Book Promo, Book Review, Excerpts, Giveaways, LGBT, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Swann’s Revenge by Shira Anthony

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Swann’s Revenge
Author: Shira Anthony
Series: Dreamspun Desires
Heroes: Graham & Dan
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 224 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: February 6, 2018
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Can a swan make peace with his ugly duckling past?

Chubby geek Jimmy Zebulon’s heart broke the day his high school crush, Danny Parker, looked on as his teammates tormented Jimmy. Fifteen years later, Jimmy is long gone, and from his ashes has risen Graham Swann, a movie-star-handsome law firm owner. Graham thinks Jimmy and his past are long forgotten—until attorney Dan Parker shows up for his first day of work.

Getting injured playing college ball was the best thing that ever happened to Dan. It turned his future in a better direction and allowed him to emerge from the closet that trapped him.

Graham wants to believe his childhood dream can come true, but he can’t bring himself to tell Dan who he really is—and their pasts might ruin any chance for a happily ever after…. Continue reading

Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: The Last Gift by Chrissy Munder

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: The Last Gift
Author: Chrissy Munder
Series: 2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers
Heroes: Nick & Aaron
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 48 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1, 2017
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: College student Nick Reed works late shift at a convenience store and dreams of graduation, a job he can be proud of, and finding the man of his dreams.

But the man of his dreams is about to find him.

A change in his lab hours forces Nick to swap shifts with a coworker. But no one prepared Nick for Mr. 5:25—Aaron Hampton—a beefy blond who’s Nick’s perfect guy, but professionally and socially out of Nick’s reach. Soon Aaron becomes the highlight of Nick’s workday, and when the overly focused lawyer needs Nick’s help with holiday gifts, Nick is eager to spend time with Aaron.

They become friends, share book recommendations, and are surprised to find themselves at the same charity run. But is that all? When Aaron learns Nick is heading back to his old shift, will he find the courage to ask for one last, very special gift? Continue reading

Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Rebel by Rhys Ford

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Rebel
Author: Rhys Ford
Series: 415 Ink #1
Heroes: Gus & Rey
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 220 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 29, 2017
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something—it’s standing up for himself.

Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After Gus spends years running from his past, present, and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on: a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating breakup a few years ago.

Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.

For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold on to. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt, but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.

When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream. Continue reading

Categories: 4.5 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Bad Company by K.A. Mitchell

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: Bad Company
Author: K.A. Mitchell
Series: Bad in Baltimore #1
Heroes: Nate & Kellan
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 200 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Some things are sweeter than revenge.

“I need a boyfriend.”

Hearing those words from his very straight, very ex-best friend doesn’t put Nate in a helpful mood. Not only did Kellan Brooks’s father destroy Nate’s family in his quest for power, but Kellan broke Nate’s heart back in high school. Nate thought he could trust his best friend with the revelation that he might be gay, only to find out he was horribly wrong and become the laughingstock of the whole school. Kellan must be truly desperate if he’s turning to Nate now.

Kellan’s through letting his father run his life, and he wants to make the man pay for cutting him off. What better way to stick it to the bigot than to come out as gay himself—especially with the son of the very man his father crushed on his quest for money and power. Kellan can’t blame Nate for wanting nothing to do with him, though. Kellan will have to convince him to play along, but it’s even harder to convince himself that the heat between them is only an act…. Continue reading

Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2018 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Book Review: A Timely Gift by Kris T. Bethke

Reviewed by Nikyta

Title: A Timely Gift
Author: Kris T. Bethke
Series: 2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers
Heroes:Rory & Deacon
Genre: M/M Contemporary
Length: 39 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Release Date: December 1, 2017
Available at: Dreamspinner Press & Amazon
Add it to your shelf: Goodreads

Blurb: Sometimes the right gift can be life-changing….

On the solstice, Rory’s grandfather gives him a pocket watch that he claims will have Rory’s life sorted and his problems solved by Christmas. Rory starts out skeptical, but when he reconnects with an ex he never thought he’d see again, he has to admit there might be some holiday magic working after all.

Deacon’s life is in shambles, and he’s returned to Syracuse for a fresh start. Running into Rory again feels like much more than a coincidence, and neither of them can deny the passion between them is still smoldering. With the watch behaving oddly at just the right moments, Rory and Deacon might receive the gift of a lifetime—if they’re willing to accept it. Continue reading

Categories: 4 Star Ratings, Book Review, LGBT, Nikyta's Reviews, Published in 2017 | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment