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Monday, 19 March 2018

BLOG TOUR, REVIEW & #GIVEAWAY - Room for Recovery (Hearts & Health #4) by D.J. Jamison

Length: 77,000 words approx.

Hearts & Health Series
Volume 1 Books 1-3 - Universal Buy Link

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Beau James isn't out, but he's not fooling anyone. When he's cornered by two bullies, he's rescued by none other than the broody Wade Ritter, who he's crushed on from afar. Despite their family connection, Wade has resisted all of Beau's attempts at friendship -- until now. His protective streak gives Beau an opportunity to get past Wade's prickly exterior.

Wade considers Beau to be a quasi-cousin. He's been careful to keep Beau in that box because he is too tempting to a gay boy determined to remain in the closet after his coming out went all wrong. But when Wade sees bullies harassing Beau, he offers to help. Little does he know this small crack in the walls around his heart is the opening Beau needs to move in and change Wade's life.

After years off the rails, Wade realizes there's room for recovery. If he can face hard truths about his sexuality and love himself, he might be able to love Beau too.

Room for Recovery is part of the Hearts and Health series. It contains cameo appearances by other characters in the series, but it can be read as a standalone.

Beau James was trashed. Eyes glazed, words slurred, inhibitions gone, full-on trashed.

He balanced on the orange-and-brown plaid couch in Barry Gleason’s basement, a cup of beer sloshing in one hand as he tried to dance to rap blaring through Barry’s speakers. Tried to dance, as in, couldn’t dance to save his life. It was painful to watch — Beau thrust his slender hips completely off-beat — but it was also hard to look away.

It was hot in the small room with so many bodies crowding in, and Beau’s curly hair was frizzing into a halo around his flushed face. A halo for the angel, Wade thought sarcastically. A sheen of sweat made Beau look as if he were glowing. Or maybe that was the huge smile on his face, beaming his care-free, drunken joy to everyone in the room.

Even Wade wasn’t immune.

That smile did squirrely things to Wade’s insides. It always had, which was why he worked so hard to make that smile disappear when they were together.

He’d known Beau was gay from the moment they met three years before. With puppy dog eyes full of adoration, Beau’s crush on Wade hadn’t been subtle. Wade tried to keep his distance — because annoying or not, Beau was cute — but that was easier said than done when their families were intertwined. Wade saw Beau for Sunday dinners with the James family, for Thanksgiving and Christmas and birthdays in between.

And now, as the drunken star of Barry Gleason’s party.

Barry’s parents let kids drink, so long as none of them drove, so his house was the go-to party spot. Wade didn’t often come to these parties, but Anna had dragged him out and promptly disappeared to gossip with her friends on the cheerleading squad. He tried not to feel too relieved about that. He wasn’t in the mood to have an armful of girlfriend.

Glancing around, he noticed a couple of guys holding up phones, taking pictures or videos. Beau was going to be embarrassed come Monday morning.

“Take it off,” someone called.

“Strip show!”

Beau laughed and fluttered his eyelashes. “I don’t get naked with a guy before the second date!”

“Knew he was gay,” Jeremy Krantz said. “Fucking gross.”

Wade was afraid things might get ugly if Beau didn’t get home soon. He had perfected the art of avoiding Beau, so he searched the room for someone who might know him. Beau mostly hung with the same two friends. Wade scanned the room and spotted Beau’s friend, Nathan something, near the television, where a video game was under way.

Nathan was tall, with dark, messy hair and skinny as a skeleton. Wade mostly remembered because of his height-to-weight ratio. Taller even than Wade, he towered over Beau when they stood side-by-side. Usually a cute, freckled blond girl stood between them, but he didn’t see her.

Nathan held a game controller, and Wade realized he was one of the players. Two others were seated in gamer chairs low to the ground.

“Dude!” a familiar voice said. “I didn’t know you could do that!”

Wade wasn’t surprised to see Shane tucked away in the gamer’s corner. His best friend was addicted to video games. He was more surprised to see Anna in the other chair, fumbling with a remote.

“How do you fire? I forgot which button to hit.”

Shane leaned over and nudged her index finger onto the A button. His hand lingered on hers a fraction longer than necessary, and Wade narrowed his eyes. Was his best friend trying to make a move on his girlfriend?

He wasn’t jealous, exactly. He’d been relieved not to have Anna all over him tonight. It was more the principle of the matter. He shelved his irritation for the moment and turned to Beau’s friend.

“Hey, man, uh … you hang with Beau, right? You’re Nathan?”

The guy was focused on the game, and it took him a minute to respond.

“I go by Nate.” He spared a look at Wade, then did a double-take. “Why?”

There was a hint of suspicion to his voice that made Wade wonder what Beau had said about him.

“Uh, well, Beau’s pretty smashed.”

Nathan hit the pause button, and Anna protested loudly, before she noticed Wade standing there. She smiled brightly and jumped up.

“Hey, you. I thought I’d lost you to a love affair with the wall.”

Wade rolled his eyes. She thought she was funny. She was, which was part of her appeal. If only the rest of her appealed to him. Try as he might, he couldn’t get excited about the thought of the make-out session they’d have before he dropped her off at home later.

“Beau’s wasted?” Nate said, sounding incredulous. He turned, taking in the room, and his eyes popped wide. “Holy crap!”

He rushed off, and Wade watched him intercept a guy trying to hand Beau yet another beer. There was laughter and boo’s as Nate coaxed Beau off the sofa and led him toward the door. Wade couldn’t hear their words, but he could tell Nate was pissed as he flipped off someone and pulled a stumbling Beau out the door.

Disaster averted.

Anna wrapped a hand around his bicep and leaned close. “I’m done playing games. You want to get out of here?”

Wade cut a glance to Shane, who stared at the television, despite the game still sitting on pause. He seemed to be avoiding watching them together, and Wade felt a fleeting sense of guilt. He knew, even before he saw them together tonight, that Shane was into Anna. But Shane had the hots for everyone. Wade didn’t take it seriously. Now, he wondered.

“You want to come out for a burger, Shane?” he asked.

“I can’t drive,” Shane said. “I drank too much.”

“I’ll drive. We can get your car tomorrow.”

“Okay.” Shane unfolded himself from the chair. “If you’re sure I’m not going to be in the way?”

“Come with us,” Anna said easily enough, which was another reason Wade liked her. She was easy-going and genuinely a nice person. “It’ll be fun. Wade’s pretty to look at, but he’s not much of a conversationalist.”

“Fuck you say?” Wade said, though he wasn’t really offended. When she looked as if she was about to apologize, he added, “I’m not pretty.”

Anna and Shane busted up laughing, and Wade headed for the door.

Before they got in the car, Shane pulled him aside. “You’re sure I’m not a third wheel? You could just take me home.”

“Would you stop? I’m pretty sure we both like you enough to hang out for a burger before we tear off our clothes.”

Shane rolled his eyes. “Thanks so much for your patience.”

“No problem. What are friends for?” Wade joked.

But for all their playful banter, Wade was beginning to think that if there was a third wheel in their little trio, it might actually be him.

5 out of 5 (exceptional)

Independent Reviewer for Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

This is book 4 in the Hearts and Health series, but you don't need to have read the others first, they are all stand alones. 

I don't usually much care for younger main characters; end of high school, beginning of college age; probably because I'm far older than that, but while I KNEW Beau and Wade were that age, it never really sunk in, you know?? I KNEW they were 18 and 19, but they did not SEEM that age. 

Wade and Beau have crushed on each other for as long as they can remember, but Wade's coming out led to disastrous consequences, and he doesn't want to admit that he's gay, not to himself, nor to anyone else. Beau, while not fully OUT, certainly aware of what and who he wants. When Beau is attacked, Wade goes all protective and the two get to really know each other. 

I can't quite file this book on the warm and fuzzies shelf, like Bedside Manner, because Wade carries a lot of guilt about one thing and another BUT it is a fantastic read. Watching Wade and Beau getting to know each other properly, after being around each other for years, watching Wade deal with his demons, and watching them both fall, and fall far is excellent reading.

 Wade pops up in Urgent Care, he is Trent's nephew and Wade is ANGRY at everything and everyone. We get just WHY he is so angry here and its painful reading, listening to Wade deal internally with everything, it really is. 

An excellent addition to this series, and it introduces us to Dr Casper Rollins, who has his story next. I look forward to reading it. 

5 not quite warm and fuzzie stars, but very nearly. 

**same worded review will appear elsewhere**

* A copy of this book was provided to me with no requirements for a review. I voluntarily read this book, and the comments here are my honest opinion. *

DJ Jamison worked in newsrooms for more than 10 years, which helped tremendously when she began her series centered on The Ashe Sentinel, a fictional small-town newspaper in Kansas. She lives in the Midwest with her husband, two sons and three glow-in-the-dark fish.

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NBTM, EXCERPT, GUEST POST & #GIVEAWAY - Hope and Honor by Marilee Brothers


Romantic suspense with a touch of fantasy



Life is becoming more complicated for soul reader Honor Melanie “Mel” Sullivan. Her boss needs help with his rebellious teen daughter who believes rules are made to be broken and Mel’s current boyfriend, Homeland Security agent Mick Petrov, is becoming an absentee lover, dropping hints about a major decision he faces. To make it worse, Mel’s ex, 3 Peaks detective “Billy the Kid” McCarty wants her back. And those aren’t the only challenges. When a paramilitary group called New Dawn wants her soul-reading skills, Mel meets five-year-old twins who steal her heart. Unwilling to abandon the motherless children, she strikes a deal with the compound’s charismatic leader. Drawn deeper and deeper into New Dawn’s twisted agenda, Mel must figure out a way to save the twins and herself before it’s too late.

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My peripheral vision catches sight of a sudden movement. I walk down the steps and turn right until I reach the edge of the building. I peek around the corner and see a little girl pressed against the rough siding. Her dark hair is braided. Her jeans and jacket are too big and look like boy clothes. Her gaze is fixed on the ground. Her thumb is in her mouth. She’s clutching a stuffed rabbit.

I take a step toward her and smile. “Hi. Are you waiting for your dad?”

She nods.

I take a step closer, trying not to spook her. “I’m Mel. What’s your name?”

Without removing her thumb, she mumbles something unintelligible. I take a step close and squat down until we’re eye level.

“I didn’t quite get your name. Maybe if you take your thumb out of your mouth it will work better.”

She lifts her head and I’m looking into eyes identical to those of the little blond boy. Bright and blue. My heart breaks when I look into her soul. Streaked with pale blue accents, it’s a soft shade of pink and bisected with a jagged black line. This little girl has experienced severe trauma.

“I think I saw your dad and brother go into the hall. Am I right?”

She nods. The thumb comes out of her mouth. “Papa and Gunner.”

“Can you tell me your name again, sweetie?”

“I’m Kimber.”

“Do people call you Kim?”

She shakes her head. “Nope. People call me Kimber, ‘cause that’s my name.”

“Got it,” I say. “How about you keep me company until the meeting is over. I’ve got nobody to talk to and I’m lonesome. We could go sit on the stairs and wait together.”

“Not there. No females. We can sit on the bench, though.”

She takes my hand and leads me to a rickety bench a few yards in front of the porch railing. We sit in companionable silence for a few minutes. I’m dying to know more about Kimber, but don’t want to bombard her with questions.

“This is Blossom Bunny,” she offers, thrusting the stuffed rabbit in front of my face.

Blossom Bunny is not attractive. Her fur is dull gray and splotchy. Her long, floppy ears droop down to her skinny legs. Black, beady eyes peer straight ahead atop a little pink nose.

“Very nice,” I lie.

“I love Blossom Bunny. She has zippers in her ears. I keep important stuff there.”
She lays the bunny across her lap, lifts one of the floppy ears and points out the zipper.

“Very cool. It’s good to have a place to keep important stuff.”

She nods solemnly, unzips one of the ears and pulls out stubby pencil, a little rubber ball and a hair ribbon. Seeing her sparse array of treasures makes me sad.

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What Makes You Laugh?

I love making people laugh and enjoy sprinkling my absurd sense of humor throughout the books I write, even if the subject matter is deadly serious. Therefore, I thought a post about laughter might be appropriate. Are you aware that laughter has health benefits? In addition to relaxing the whole body, it boosts your immune system, triggers the release of endorphins (the feel-good chemicals), protects the heart and, best of all, adds joy and zest to your life.

I think we all know humor is objective. What I think is funny, you may find utterly ridiculous. According to Wikipedia—and we know they are the experts in all things—humor is based on a number of variables such as age, geographical location, intelligence and possibly gender. I would amend that to say absolutely gender, since my husband enjoys physical humor (slapstick, pratfalls, etc.) while I crack up at satire.

 Here’s an example: I recently read a silly but hilarious book by Dave Barry titled Insane City. The loony plot involves a destination wedding in Miami, Florida. The groom, Seth, and his Groom Posse get wasted and Seth somehow ends up with a Cuban girl and her friend, Duane, who has a eleven foot albino python named Blossom. When they attempt to get into a taxi, the driver says, “No snakes!” to which Duane replies, “She’s a service snake.” This struck me as rolling on the floor funny. In fact, days later, it still makes me giggle. But when I related it to my husband, he gave the obligatory chuckle, “Heh, heh, heh.” This alerted me to the fact that, to him, it was only mildly humorous. What? How could he not think a service snake was funny? That thought remained unspoken.

Then, I remembered the last time he laughed his cute little buns off. It was a Cheech and Chong movie. The two were in Mexico and Cheech ate tacos made with an unidentifiable meat source. You already know the result. In order to counteract the inevitable Montezuma’s Revenge, he slurps up an ice cream cone. The part that made hubby roll on the floor? Cheech, butt cheeks clenched, running for a bathroom and yelling, “Come on, ice cream!”

Okay, kind of funny, but not service snake funny. Maybe that’s why I almost cried when Gary Larson quit drawing The Far Side. I own all his books, every sketch he ever made and still enjoy them. Yet, I know people who shrug their shoulders and say, “I don’t get it.” I don’t hang out with these people. Life’s too short.

So, what makes you laugh? 

Marilee Brothers is a former teacher, coach, counselor and the author of ten books. Marilee and her husband are the parents of three grown sons and live in central Washington State. After writing six young adult books, Marilee is once again writing romantic suspense for the adult market. She loves hearing from people who have read her books. Feel free to contact her at and sign up for her newsletter The Obsessive Page Turner.

Her author page on Facebook is: and she occasionally tweets @MarileeB. Check out Marilee’s Amazon page here:

Marilee’s blog is Book Blather, where she features aspiring and published authors as well as some tidbits of her own.

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