Thursday, June 8, 2017

Review Tour: Guitars and Choices by Layla Dorine ~ (Review + GuestPost)

Review Tour: Guitars and Choices by Layla Dorine ~ (Review, GuestPost, Excerpt + BookTrailer)

Asher Logan has been a lot of things: runaway, guitarist, cage fighter, cowboy, but the one thing he’s always avoided was being a father to his young son. Now faced with returning to his families ranch, he’s forced to deal with the knowledge that the move would put him right down the road from Shawn. Still, it’s better than staying in the city, with drunken, bitter older brother Cole, whose anger and prejudices have made him difficult to be around.
Add in the fact that Asher’s new boyfriend, Conner, is eager to make the move with him, and there’s little argument that he can make against it. But returning home means facing demons, and the barn he’s avoided since the day his father caught him and his first love together in the hay. Speaking of his father, when the old man finds out Asher is back, he knows it will only be a matter of time before he demands Asher come to the prison to see him.
Moving means facing a buried past and truths long hidden, but staying in the city isn’t good for anyone, least of all Asher’s young nephew, Rory. It’s a hard road to face, filled with tough choices, and an old secret that just might provide more questions than answers.

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“You worry too much,” Asher whispered to Conner, whose plate was piled high with a little bit of everything.
Conner chuckled. “When it comes to you, I don’t think that’s possible.”
“Ha, ha, ha,” Asher grumbled as he popped the tab on his soda and took a long drink. The cold felt good on his parched throat.
Rory was dismantling his cheeseburger, so Asher reached over and put it back together.
“Come on, I like it that way,” Rory protested.
“And that’s fine at home, where we can chuck you in the shower after you’ve covered yourself in ketchup and pickle juice. Unless you wanna take a bath in the duck pond, you’ll keep it all together.”
“Fine.” Rory pouted until Alexia reached over and tousled his hair; then he was all flailing hands and squeals of protest as he tried to brush it back down.
Asher grinned. “Now you look like a porcupine.”
Scowling at his uncle, Rory gave up trying to fix his hair. His eyes lit up as they landed on the can of whipped cream sitting in a bowl of ice on the table. Before anyone could stop him, he’d snatched it up and sprayed Asher, leaving his face a sticky mess. Silence descended over the table for half a second, before everyone cracked up.
“Now you look like a, um….” Rory turned to Alexia. “What was that monkey we saw at the zoo?”
“Saki monkey,” Alexia told him, nearly falling out of her chair. “And you do, Asher, oh my God, I wish I had my sketchbook.”
A couple of subtle clicks told him that sketchbook or no, this moment would not be soon forgotten. Asher blinked and reached up to wipe his face, only to have Conner catch his hand and stop him.
Conner ran a finger through the sticky cream on Asher’s cheek, then sucked it from his finger. “You make a good dessert.”
Asher’s eyes widened and he felt his neck flush. Suddenly it was far too warm for a fall day and his jeans were feeling too tight.
Conner smiled and dipped a paper towel in a Dixie cup of water to wipe off the remaining mess.
Now you’re helpful,” Asher muttered, but held still and let Conner finish cleaning him up. Not like he really wanted to move; he was waiting for his jeans to feel less restricting, shocked that such a simple act had affected him so much. Of course, it was hard for him to look at Conner at all without feeling some level of desire.
Conner dabbed Asher’s face one last time with the paper towel, then backed away and returned his camera to its bag. Asher sat there lost in thought for several moments before he turned his attention back to his plate. He thought he’d seen desire in Conner’s eyes, but he wasn’t sure. They hadn’t spoken about taking their friendship to another level since the night Conner had rescued him from Catfish. The only thing that had really changed was that they were spending more time together than they ever had before. Most nights Conner came to the bar after work, ate his dinner in the kitchen, and then helped Alexia fix platters of fried cheese curds and chicken wings. Sometimes he helped Asher or Morgan behind the bar, the two experienced men teaching him how to bartend. Asher had drawn the line at Conner helping to bounce; he didn’t want any drunk guys taking a swing at him.
5 Stars

I'm going to start by saying this is a true serial and you must read Guitars and Cages before you pick up this book or you'll be lost. This book can not be read as a standalone.

I was so excited when I saw that Layla was releasing this book. I loved Guitars and Cages, and while I was left satisfied, I'm really glad she decided to revisit these characters. I was happy to get to see what the future held for Asher and Conner. In this installment, Asher and Conner explore their relationship further. While this leg of the journey was still emotional and angsty, it's much more hopeful and less heartbreaking than book one. The love that Asher and Conner share is so beautiful and sweet and it feels almost innocent in some ways. I loved watching them grow and become comfortable enough with one another to not only open themselves up to the love they feel, but also to have to courage to voice and express that love to one another.

But this isn't just Asher and Conner's story. We hear from Morgan, Alexia and Cole as well. I loved that Morgan and Alexia were as supportive as ever, not only of Asher but Conner as well. These four, along with Rory, truly form a family unit. They are what family is all about, whether you share blood or not. Cole. Ugh, I HATE Cole. I know he feels he's protecting his brother, but really he's just a narrow minded, bigoted twat. Some of the things that come out of his mouth just make me think: my God, he needs serious psychiatric help! But enough about him.

I absolutely loved this story. It was interesting and well-written. Asher and Conner are such likable characters and I loved that they were there to support one another. They fit together so well. The author manages to recapture the chemistry and connection that was present between Asher and Conner in book one and give then a much more solid happy ending. Although I was left satisfied, I wouldn't say no to more of Asher and Conner. Highly recommended!!

* Copy provided to Bayou Book Junkie for my reading pleasure, a review wasn't a requirement. *

Thank you so much for welcoming me to your blog today, I’m so excited for the release of Guitars and Choices and the re-release of Guitars and Cages and I’m grateful for every opportunity to connect with readers old and new.
What was initially only going to be one book has grown into a series with two more books (at least) planned, but more than that, it’s opened so many doors to me both professionally and personally. It’s been two years since Guitars and Cages, my debut novel, was published. In those days, it was hard enough for me to make connections on social media, let alone in person. The idea of attending a conference was terrifying, even a takeover online was cause for anxiety.
My thoughts tend to bounce all over the place and sometimes it takes me a little round the bend reasoning to get to the point and I just wasn’t sure who I would be revealed. In my everyday life, I tend to be pretty reclusive anyway, and yet, one of the things I always loved was seeing and experiencing new things, which has created quite the conflict. I wanted to learn new things, I wanted to meet new people, but how when I tend to shy away?
The first step was just putting my name down for my first takeover. Those early conversations, despite the fact that my fingers sometimes shook while I typed, opened the door for me to do more. I started taking workshops again, and in my own community I started teaching them as well. I started going to little local events where I wouldn’t be overwhelmed. Then I started stepping out of my comfort zone and going further, like to BDSM writers con in Everett, Washington and later in New York City.
These experiences were eye opening. Holy cow, there were more scared shy people just like me, and at times we gravitated together and kind of gave each other the courage to converse with others, until finally, it felt like I was taking part in things rather than hanging on the fringes.
In the beginning, I never wanted to talk about my books, in fact, I was shy about the fact that I had written something that had been published, scared that people would judge. Now, it fills me with a sense of pride to know that my stories are read and enjoyed. I feel like the journey between Guitars and Cages and Guitars and Choices hasn’t just been a journey for Asher and his family, but a personal journey of growth for me as well.
It gives me great pleasure to let readers know that the story isn’t done yet either. Book 3, Guitars and Canvasses, is already in the works, as is the planning for Book 4. I look forward not only to the stories that will unfold and the secrets that will be revealed, but also the experiences I’ll get to have in the process and the growth of myself as a person that I hope will always continue.

Guitars and Choices is the sequel to Guitars and Cages, newly re-released on Amazon and Amazon KU for .99.
Guitars and Cages Blurb
Asher Logan is a bartender and a pretty wicked guitar player, when he isn’t wrecking his hands fighting in a cage. With a past he keeps hoping to outrun, Asher’s been on a downward spiral for longer than he can remember. When his sister-in-law leaves Rory, his eight-year-old nephew, in his care, Asher is forced into two things he’s never been good at: sobriety and responsibility. As he struggles to care for Rory, his own life begins to unravel. 

When Asher’s brother, Alex, turns up, presenting as a girl and announcing her new name is Alexia, it further complicates matters, as does the arrival of his new neighbor, Conner. Both, in their own way, compel Asher to look at his own closely-guarded views on sexuality. 

When the siblings’ older brother, Cole, reacts violently to Alexia, Asher is placed squarely in the middle of a family conflict which compels him to confront who he pretends to be versus who he really is.

Asher must choose who to trust and who to finally walk away from.

About the Author
LAYLA DORINE lives among the sprawling prairies of Midwestern America, in a house with more cats than people. She loves hiking, fishing, swimming, martial arts, camping out, photography, cooking, and dabbling with several artistic mediums. In addition, she loves to travel and visit museums, historic, and haunted places.
Layla got hooked on writing as a child, starting with poetry and then branching out, and she hasn’t stopped writing since. Hard times, troubled times, the lives of her characters are never easy, but then what life is? The story is in the struggle, the journey, the triumphs and the falls. She writes about artists, musicians, loners, drifters, dreamers, hippies, bikers, truckers, hunters and all the other folks that she’s met and fallen in love with over the years. Sometimes she writes urban romance and sometimes its aliens crash landing near a roadside bar. When she isn’t writing, or wandering somewhere outdoors, she can often be found curled up with a good book and a kitty on her lap.
Layla Dorine can be found at:
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