Hello world!

This blog is all about Romance!  We review books about romance (mostly m/m – but there might be an occasional m/f, f/f, m/m/f, space-alien-babies, what have you).

In addition we are inviting fan fiction, slash fiction, fan-art – anything that moves you to create.

We hope you find something that entertains you or inspires you – Enjoy!

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Fight the Tide (Kick at the Darkness Book 2) by Keira Andrews

 

release day review

 

30989088Blurb

Adrift in a post-apocalyptic world, they only have each other. Is it enough?

A virus that turns the infected into zombie-like killers spreads through a burning world thrown into lawless chaos. Lovers Parker and Adam have escaped to the open sea when they hear a message over the airwaves from a place called Salvation Island—a supposed safe haven.

Orphaned as a child, werewolf Adam has always longed for a pack. He’s eager to investigate the island, but Parker doesn’t think for a nanosecond that the voice on the radio can be believed. He doesn’t trust anyone but Adam and is determined to keep it that way. They don’t need anyone else complicating their struggle to survive. Or do they?

Danger on the high seas can surface in a heartbeat, and if Parker and Adam aren’t careful, the current will drag them under.

This gay romance is a dystopian adventure featuring a werewolf, his boyfriend, and their struggle to find a place to call home

Review

This must be read in order. This book takes place right where book one left off. Adam and Parker are on a stolen yacht in the ocean off the east coast hoping to avoid being bitten, avoid pirates, avoid other non-bitten people who are out to take what they have and pretty much everybody else. Except… Adam longs to find a place where he and Parker can settle down and be safe. When they hear a message over the airwaves that sounds like a haven, Parker immediately thinks “trap” and Adam thinks “home”.

What proceeds is the two of them fighting for resources, fighting one another (a bit) and them finally deciding to take a risk at Salvation Island and what happens there.

**

I have to admit I’m a huge Keira Andrews fan. I adored book one and was PSYCHED to see book two. I’ll probably read book three….

My problem isn’t the writing, isn’t the MCs, isn’t the romance – those are all wonderful. Adam and Parker still have stuff to work through, and by the end of book one they’d really only scratched the surface. By the end of this story, they’re on more solid ground but they are by no means “safe”.

My problem is dystopian stories. I just don’t care for them. I don’t like the bleak, dark nature of them and the sense of impossibility that seems to pervade every line in the story. It’s depressing!

So, while book one should have felt that same way – it didn’t – for some reason, but book two definitely does. It’s dark. There are times when I thought to myself – how in the world can these guys will survive. Even at the end.

So… it’s just not my type of story. I’m hopeful that some crazy awesome solution will arise to help our MCs but in the meantime it’s so much hopelessness and really kind of depressing…..

However, if that’s your cup of tea you’ll love this and the author does a fantastic job of engaging the reader so even people like me will enjoy the writing and character development but be prepared. This is a much darker story than book one and it was hard to read at times.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Posted in 3.5 stars, Action/Adventure, Angst Level, Author Provided, Book, DA, Dystopian, Dystopian, Enemies to Lovers, Established Couple, Heat Index, Hopelessly Crying, Hurt/Abuse, Hurt/comfort, m/m, Morgan, New Adult, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Paranormal, Part of a Series, Scorching, zombie | Leave a comment

Endings and Beginnings by KC Wells and Parker Williams Tour!

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OS: Welcome to Parker Williams co-author of Endings and Beginnings with KC Wells.  Welcome!!

PW:  Thanks for having me!

OS: Who would Parker Williams meet from Collars & Cuffs and why?

PW:

For me the answer is easy. Scott. He was the character that brought me into working with KC, and he’s the one who most reflects my personality. (I hate coffee, he hates coffee, I’m vegan, he’s at the very least vegetarian).

But beyond that, he’s had a life that wasn’t what he had hoped for. His parents didn’t care for him, he wasn’t allowed to have friends, and the two people who should have been there to guide him in life wanted instead to direct it.

Scott is a lot like me in many ways. When I was a kid, I yearned to find someone who wanted me. My mother wasn’t at all like Scott’s, and while we’re close, we weren’t always. (That’s a lot on me, by the way. I was a sullen, surly kid.) But he dreams of it. He wants someone who will take him and never let him go. When he thinks he’s found that someone, he does something foolish and dangerous, but he thinks he really doesn’t have any other options if he’s going to finally take control of his life.

When he gets to England, Scott begins to realize that not everything is what he’d hoped for. The man he’d been messaging with, the one who promised to love him and care for him doesn’t show, and now he’s stranded in another country (where the people talk funny), and he has no idea what the hell he can do.

Enter Ben. He will be Scott’s knight in armor that has a healthy coat of patina. He’s not sure he’s able to take care of Scott, and he keeps trying to get Scott to see things that way, too. But Scott knows Ben is the one for him. He just has to make Ben see it.

When we wrote Someone to Keep Me, it was a stretch of our partnering wings. K.C. had a style that went opposite to what I normally do. But we worked together and, I think, made it work for us. Scott became a real, living young man with a little bit of a weird sense of humor, but a fierce love for the family he began to put together.

So, if I could meet with Scott, I sure as heck would. Maybe we could compare notes on what it’s like when you finally find someone who will keep you.

(And in Endings & Beginnings, Scott finds out how much his life is going to change now that…well, you’ll have to read to see. 😉 )

OS: Thanks so much for stopping by, good luck with the rest of your tour!

 

BannerTemplateAuthor Names: K.C. Wells & Parker Williams

Book Name: Endings and Beginnings

Series: Collars & Cuffs

Book: Eight

This is the final book in the series, which should be read from Beginning to End. 😉 (See what we did there?)

Release Date: July 18, 2016

EndingsandBeginningsFSBlurb:

In all his relationships, Darren Fielding never found the level of intimacy he witnessed between Thomas Williams and his sub, Peter, the day of Peter’s “rebirth.” Not only that, he never realized such intimacy was possible. For two years, Thomas’s business card has been burning a hole in his wallet. When Darren’s lover moves on, maybe it’s finally time to see where that card takes him.

Collars & Cuffs’s new barman, JJ Taylor, is really conflicted right now. He went to the club with a very specific purpose, already convinced of what he’d find there. Except it’s not what he expected at all. He certainly didn’t anticipate finding himself drawn to the new wannabe Dom. Nor could he have guessed the direction that attraction would lead him.

Old love, new love, vows, pain, rage, moving in, moving on…. The members of Collars & Cuffs face an event that touches some of them deeply, but it will only reinforce what they already know: together they are stronger, and some bonds cannot be broken.

Continue reading

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Open Road by MJ O’Shea

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/open-road-by-mj-oshea-7308-b

 

30750175Blurb

Angus has been with the same guy for ten years. When his boyfriend breaks up with him the night of his thirtieth birthday party and announces his engagement to a twenty-two-year-old less than ten hours later, Angus is… a mess. To put it lightly. He spends days in bed, drinks himself into a stupor every night, and ends up losing his job and his apartment. His best and oldest friend, Reece, decides it’s time for an intervention. And a change of scenery.

Reece and Angus take off on a buddy trip across the US. They don’t have much of a plan; they just start driving. It takes Angus a couple of days to do much more than grunt when Reece talks to him, but slowly he opens up. They drive, talk, heal, shout, drink a bit too much sometimes, dance, meet new friends… and somewhere between Portland, Oregon, and Portland, Maine, they fall in love.

Which was the last thing in the world Angus expected.

Review

Summer is such a good time to read “road trip” books! It reminds me of all the road trips I’ve taken and makes my feet itchy to go again!

This is one AMAZING road trip wherein our MCs hit a ton of cool places and in each place they grow closer together and heal.

The story starts with Angus and his boyfriend breaking up after what must have been months if not years of denial on Angus’ part. The coup de grace is that the boyfriend dumps Angus on his 30th birthday for a 22 year old and immediately gets engaged, when he and Angus had been together for 10 years with no such engagement.

Luckily Reece, Angus’ BFF is there to help – but not before Angus’ life spirals totally out of control.

To help clear the air and get Angus back to enjoying life, Reece suggests a road trip and off they go!

On the road Angus heals a bit and Reece finally admits some feelings he’s been holding back.

**

MJ O’Shea writes really well and she picked parts of the US that should resonate with everyone. It was fun seeing how the boys changed at each new stop. I also loved that they didn’t really bicker and we didn’t get loads of “car conversations”. She explains that away by having Reece do work while Angus is driving.

I liked that Angus’ alcohol thing wasn’t a thing… and that Reece recognized this too.

The romance is a slow burn but Ooo la la when they do begin to explore it’s very hot. My fav is probably in Vegas – those boys were on fire on the dance floor!

I really enjoyed this and had a lovely warm feeling of happiness when it was over.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Posted in 4.5, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Exploration, Friends to lovers, Heat Index, Hopelessly Crying, m/m, Mid-grade, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) | Leave a comment

Roller Girl (Lake Lovelace Book 3) by Vanessa North

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/roller-girl-lake-lovelace-novel

29490331Blurb

 

Recently divorced Tina Durham is trying to be self-sufficient, but her personal-training career is floundering, her closest friends are swept up in new relationships, and her washing machine has just flooded her kitchen. It’s enough to make a girl cry.

Instead, she calls a plumbing service, and Joanne “Joe Mama” Delario comes to the rescue. Joe is sweet, funny, and good at fixing things. She also sees something special in Tina and invites her to try out for the roller derby team she coaches.

Derby offers Tina an outlet for her frustrations, a chance to excel, and the female friendships she’s never had before. And as Tina starts to thrive at derby, the tension between her and Joe cranks up. Despite their player/coach relationship, they give in to their mutual attraction. Sex in secret is hot, but Tina can’t help but want more.

With work still on the rocks and her relationship in the closet, Tina is forced to reevaluate her life. Can she be content with a secret lover? Or with being dependent on someone else again? It’s time for Tina to tackle her fears, both on and off the track.

Review

We met Tina in book one, she is one of the wake boarders the guys grew up with and competed against on the circuit. In recent years she underwent sex-re-assignment surgery and got a divorce. She’s re-building her life both socially and professionally. She’s not sure she’s ready to date, but she knows she’s ready to find something that excites her again and she misses competition.

When her washer overflows she calls in a plumber and is grateful that “Joe” is short for Joanna not Joseph. They have an instant spark and when Joe offers her a date, Tina readily accepts.

It is with a bit of disappointment that she finds out the date was mostly to ask her to joint Roller Derby. Though she’s psyched to be involved in something competitive again, especially something women centered, she’s really attracted to Joe and accepts (grudgingly) that Joe doesn’t want to get involved with a team member.

So… despite their attraction, they agree to be friends rather than lovers and Joe begins to introduce Tina to the world of Roller Derby.

Tina is hooked! This is all she wanted and more! It’s cahllenging, exciting, full of friendship and fun. The attraction to Joe simmers and eventually they can’t fight it. But now Tina is a “secret” girlfriend and she doesn’t think that’s much better.

Eventually Joe has to decide between Tina or her “rules” and Tina must decide if Joe was a rebound or the real thing.

**

One of the down sides of being an amazing writer and having produced books that got great reviews is that every book is compared not only to other books but to the writer’s own previous works. In some cases that can work for you – in others, against.

If I were to compare this only to other books (not to Vanessa’s own) I’d absolutely give it a 5 out of 5 because it’s truly fantastic. It touches on unique themes. Uses (of all things!) Roller Derby to showcase the ability to be open and diverse and as a way to empower women of all types. The author is able to bring in the previous MCs and show them from a new perspective but still give us readers tingles at seeing our boys so in love. She tastefully and without being overly didactic explains a bit about sex reassignment in a way that was informative without being clinical.

BUT… I’ve loved her other stories so I hold them up for comparison as well and there is one part of this story that didn’t quite compare – in the series or elsewhere – and that is the romance. Yes – Joe is awesome and the friendship is real and the hot smexy times were scorching. But – the relationship building felt rushed, the ending even more rushed, and I didn’t connect with them as a couple so much as I felt like they could BE a couple. Most of this felt like Tina’s book and only a little felt like it was Tina and Joe’s book.

So… from the standpoint of writing perfection – which is what I’ve seen from Vanessa North – this one little niggle drops it a tiny bit for me in terms of romance. As for all the rest – I’d give it a total seal of approval and then some!

4.5 of 5 stars

Posted in 4.5, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, coming of age, Contemporary, f/f, Gay, Heat Index, Mid, Morgan, NetGalley, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Part of a Series, Riptide Publishing, Scorching, Sports, Sports | Leave a comment

Falling for Santa Claus by CJ Anthony

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/falling-for-santa-claus-by-c-j-anthony-7306-b

 

30740894Blurb

 

When Jack Frost’s aunt dies and leaves him her house in the tiny town of Great Falls, Jack seizes the opportunity to escape the rat race of Chicago for the quaint village he loved as a child. On his first night he’s welcomed by a baseball bat and a trespassing warning from Nick St. James—longtime Great Falls resident and infamous curmudgeon.

Jack wants to give Nick the benefit of the doubt—he can’t deny his attraction to the big man—but after several run-ins with Nick’s grumpiness and closed-off heart, he’s ready to give up. Only after discovering the secret Nick’s been covering up for years does he vow to break through Nick’s walls to find the loving man hiding behind them.

 

Review

First – this is not a paranormal book about Jack Frost and Santa Claus, but two guys with interesting names.

Jack inherited his aunt’s house in the country and leaves Chicago to start a new life in a totally new place. He meets his grumpy new neighbor, Nick, and the two immediately rub the other wrong.

It’s a small town and everyone knows everyone’s business, and soon the two are forced together as the only two gay men in town, with everyone’s best intentions at heart.

But Nick has a painful past and a secret – will he let his guard down to share himself with Jack?

**

OMG this was so funny! There were many hysterical lines and the storyline itself was really cute and clever.

The town is so open of having the two gay men in town that they immediately plan a pride parade to show their support.

Since it’s the holiday season, and the quirky town has pushed Nick and Jack together in a holiday parade which ends in them being stuck together overnight, the two are forced to really open up and talk. But it’s not til Jack learns Nick’s secret that the two really connect.

This is a fade to black story, but it fit and I didn’t miss it.

If you’re looking for a cute “Christmas in July” story, this is one you should try!

4 of 5 stars

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Posted in 4 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, Christmas, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Enemies to Lovers, Gay, Holiday, Mid, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Older MCs | Leave a comment

Have a Hygge Holiday by B Snow

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/have-a-hygge-holiday-by-b-snow-7307-b

 

30740882Blurb

 

Niall is having second thoughts about spending the holidays with Josh. If Josh’s sweet nature masks the fact that he’s a spineless pushover, Niall doesn’t want a long-term relationship with him. Guilt—an annoying voice in his head—agrees, telling him to end it before Josh gets hurt. But then Niall sees how Josh has turned his apartment into a cozy, inviting nest for winter, based on the Scandinavian tradition of hygge: curling up with good food, candles, music, hot drinks, family, and friends.

Niall decides to stay, telling himself he’ll discover the real Josh when the two of them are together for a week, but two become four when Niall’s Christmas-crazy parents show up on Josh’s doorstep, and four become five when Josh’s father arrives to celebrate the last night of Hanukkah. The two sets of parents clash over decorations, food, and public displays of affection. Their bickering drives Niall crazy, as does Josh’s calm acceptance. If something doesn’t change, Niall will walk away from all of it, including his future with Josh.

Review

This is a short story about two guys who are only 6 weeks into their relationship when the holidays hit. Niall isn’t sure Josh is the guy he wants to be with and spending the holidays with him might give him the wrong message. But, if he’s wrong, he needs this time to move their relationship forward.

Niall had a recent bad experience with a boyfriend telling him he was too demanding and selfish, so he’s very sensitive to someone unwilling to stand up for themselves. Josh, on the other hand, finds Niall a bit wishy washy and unable to commit.

Then things really get interesting when both of their parents show up to share the holidays with their respective sons.

**

****warning spoilers ahead ***************

 

 

 

Do not read further if you don’t want to read a spoiler!

 

 

 

At first this seemed really cute. Niall’s voice in his head (he’s named it “GUILT”) is funny and felt truly apropos. It keeps nudging Niall to do one thing or another and often, it’s messages are conflicting. For example, Niall really wants to like Josh but Josh keeps “failing” the tests Niall gives him to see if he’ll push back or if he’s a push-over. Niall wants to please his family, but their OTT Christmas traditions give him headaches and he’s looking forward to skipping the madness this year. He can’t please both Josh and his parents, so he’s forced to choose, right away.

Josh, on the other hand, is nothing but sweet and kind and cute and sexy and Niall feels bad for giving him the tests in the first place. The tests also make Niall look wishy washy and give Josh pause about their relationship, too.

I liked the interaction between the two boys when they were alone. It was funny and sweet and I learned a new word! (Hyyge – pronounced hyoogah by the author – is the nesting or snuggling in a warm house with friends, good food, wine and a fire. “Sort of like Christmas.” “Yes, but without the frantic shopping.”)

Later, it gets very frustrating and uncomfortable. The parents come and they are ridiculously over the top in their unwillingness to appreciate differences. Much of the story is the sons arguing with their parents over their bigotry. Then they argue with one another. Then everyone ends up making up and suddenly they declare their love.

The thing that probably pushed this story into disfavor for me was when Josh’s father and Niall’s parents end up in bed together. It was weird, uncomfortable for me. I already disliked all the arguing and conflict and to have this be the method by which it was resolved felt very unsatisfying and unbelievable.

I’m a fan of the author’s writing style and creativity and I think this just rubbed me the wrong way (I really hate arguing) so, if you’re looking for a story that’s a bit tongue-in-cheek/absurd, this might really tickle your fancy.

2 of 5 stars

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Posted in 2 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, Christmas, Dreamspinner, Enemies to Lovers, Established Couple, Fade to black/No Steam, Gay, Holiday, Hopelessly Crying, m/m, Morgan, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) | Leave a comment

Diary Dates by TJ Masters

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/diary-dates-by-tj-masters-7305-b

30740860Blurb

Postgraduate student Andrew Chin arrives in London not only to study, but to explore life away from his traditional family in Singapore. His adventure begins at the airport, where he finds the diary of a wealthy British businessman and endeavors to return it.

James Howard is twice Andrew’s age, and he’s not used to selfless youngsters. Despite a rocky first meeting, the two develop an unlikely friendship as James introduces Andrew to the city. James is looking forward to the festivities leading up to Christmas in London and maybe a celebration with Andrew. But will a nasty bout of the flu ruin their romantic holiday?

Not if Andrew has anything to say about it.

Review

This is a short story about a 24 year old grad student from Singapore who comes to London to study. On his first day he finds a “Diary” (Day Planner) of a business man and returns it to him only to befriend him and learn about London through his eyes.

When the business man, James, gets sick, Andrew takes care of them, and their friendship turns to something more.

**

While the story started off well, Andrew seemed like an adorably sweet if somewhat naïve young student and James was the perfect cynical older man, it never felt like a complete story to me.

We get the slow building up of friendship from the first meeting where things went so wrong, but I never felt the transition to lover. When it happens in the story, it felt very abrupt and out of place. The sex scenes felt awkward and not at all romantic, and I’d almost wished it had been fade to black, they made me feel so uncomfortable.

Several aspects of James’ character were never really explained and I didn’t feel like I got to know him or ever felt his attraction to Andrew beyond that of friend, so when he and Andrew become lovers it felt too much like the uncle-figure he’d been portraying suddenly being hit on by his nephew (or something less squicky but still out in left field).

This story was just a miss for me. Other reviews out there seemed to like it, so – as always – I recommend reading a few before deciding if this story might be something you’d like to pick up.

2 of 5 stars

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Posted in 2 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, Christmas, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Heat Index, Holiday, Little to no angst, m/m, May/December, May/December, Mild, Morgan, New Adult, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) | Leave a comment

Alex’s Law by Jayce Ellis

 

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/alexs-law-by-jayce-ellis-7303-b

 

30741614Blurb

 

Alex Corrigan is in love with his boss, Judge Lawson Daniels, and thinks those feelings are returned. That assumption is sorely tested two days before the court holiday party they’re organizing together, when the venue calls and cancels, followed by a snafu with the caterer. Alex could handle that, but after an intimate dinner followed by a decidedly unromantic e-mail, he’s left wondering about the future of his employment as well as his relationship with the debonair older man.

Law can’t wait to see his clerk again. But Alex is cold and distant in the light of day, and Law doesn’t understand. The party looms in the background, but Law’s excitement is turning to dread. On top of that, someone is sabotaging them, trying to get Alex fired and drive Law off the bench. If there’s any chance for a happy holiday for Alex and Law, they’ll have to find out who.

Review

Alex has a crush on his boss, the judge named Law. The two of them are in charge of organizing a holiday party for the entire court and when it looks like everything is falling apart at the seams, they find consolation in one another.

Law is trying hard to make a good impression, he’s the new hire and therefore granted the grunt work. In addition to the party, some of his cases are showing up mis-written. He’s worried about losing his job and Alex when someone tries to keep them apart.

**

This was an okay story. I never quite felt the attraction between the two MCs as it went from zero to sixty. The minor mystery was good, but I didn’t quite get it either. It came from left field and felt a bit OTT.

In any case, it’s a cute story about a little intra-office romance with a May/December theme.

3.0 of 5 stars3-stars-small

 

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Posted in 3 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Book, Boss/employee, Christmas, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Gay, Heat Index, Holiday, lawyer, m/m, May/December, Mid, Mid-grade, Morgan, New Adult, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Older MCs | Leave a comment

Counting Fence Posts by Kelly Jensen

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/counting-fence-posts-by-kelly-jensen-7304-b

counting-fence-postsBlurb

 

There are over two hundred thousand fence posts between Syracuse and Boston. Henry Auttenberg likes numbers—it’s his job—but he isn’t going to count them all, even if the view outside the rental car is less confounding than the driver, his attractive but oh so obnoxious colleague, Marcus Winnamore. It’s Christmas Eve, and Henry would much rather be home with his family. When the blizzard that grounded their flight forces them off the road, however, he’s stuck with Marc until the storm passes—or a plow digs them out.

As the temperature outside plummets, the atmosphere inside the car slowly heats up. Henry learns the true reason for Marc’s chilly distance—he’s not exactly straight… maybe… and he’s been fantasizing about Henry’s mouth, among other things. Confession laid out, Marc is all for sharing body heat… and more. Henry isn’t interested in being an experiment, but as the night and cold deepen, he could be convinced to balance certain risk against uncertain reward.

Review

Henry works for a financial firm where Marc is the revered “big man on campus”. Everyone loves Marc and Henry is no different. They both went to BU, but that’s where the similarities end.

Henry always ends up tongue tied around the charismatic Marc and feels inferior to his obvious charms. When they end up stuck in a car together over the holidays, he realizes there’s more to Marc than he thought. And most importantly, so does Marc.

**

This was a short story I was sad to see end. Just when our MCs find one another the story’s over! L

The simmering sexual tension was well played, the dialog witting and engaging and the slow realization of Marc’s sexuality was well done.

I really enjoyed this and hope to see more of these guys in the future!

(PS I love that the “rescuer” is Betty!)

4.5 of 5 stars

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Posted in 4.5, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Bi-Sexual, Book, Boss/employee, Christmas, coming of age, Contemporary, Demi, Dreamspinner, Enemies to Lovers, Exploration, Gay, Heat Index, m/m, Mid-grade, Mild, Morgan, Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words), Virgin | Leave a comment

Boy Next Door by Kate McMurray

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-boy-next-door-by-kate-mcmurray-7283-b

the-boy-next-doorBlurb

Life is full of surprises and, with luck, second chances.

After his father’s death, Lowell leaves the big city to help his sick mother in the conservative small town where he grew up. He’s shocked to find himself living next to none other than his childhood friend Jase. Lowell always had a crush on Jase, and the man has only gotten more attractive with age. Unfortunately Jase is straight, now divorced, and raising his six-year-old daughter. It’s nice to reconnect, but Lowell doesn’t see a chance for anything beyond friendship.

Until a night out together changes everything.

Jase can’t fight his growing feelings for Lowell, and he doesn’t want to give up the happy future they could have. But his ex-wife issues an ultimatum: he must keep his homosexuality secret or she’ll revoke his custody of their daughter, Layla. Now Jase faces an impossible choice: Lowell and the love he’s always wanted, or his daughter.

1st Edition published by Loose Id LLC, 2011.

Review

From the blurb we know that Jase is in the closet (at least to the world and as it turns out NOT to himself.) Lowell has been out and proud since high school and that was the main reason for the two boys to lose touch with one another. Jase, the jock, couldn’t handle his feelings for another boy.

Now Jase is divorced, but forced to stay in the closet or risk losing his daughter to his evil ex. Lowell wants to be with Jase, but can’t be forced into a secret relationship.

Jase has to decide – seemingly – between his daughter or his love.

**

Most of the story hinges on the reader resonating with the characters. Though there is the sub plot with the ex and Lowell has some angst with his mother, most of this is the two men finding one another and building on their mutual attraction.

My problem is that for the vast majority of the book I didn’t like Jase. He admits he’s a coward and he treats Lowell like crap. I also wasn’t sure why the ex-wife- who clearly shouldn’t ever be allowed to be alone with her own daughter – could possibly represent a viable threat to custody. Any judge – even in 2011 – would have to side on Jase’s side as she was clearly a nut job.

So my first dislike of Jase was picking that woman for a wife, then supporting her crazy antics for so long and then finally for not recognizing how much he was hurting Lowell. It made it hard for me too root for their relationship and thus I wasn’t terribly invested in this story.

I wasn’t ever invested in the subplots either – beyond hoping the ex-wife got out of the picture quickly – and so when the story diverged to those parts of the story – without seeming to add much to the overall story arc – I got annoyed and pulled from the story too much.

If you’re a fan of the author, you like reunion stories and coming out stories – this might be for you. It just didn’t resonate with me, though the writing was fine and I didn’t find editing errors.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Posted in 3 star, adult - 18+, Angst Level, Baseball, Book, coming of age, Contemporary, Dreamspinner, Enemies to Lovers, Friends to lovers, Gay, GFY/OFY, Heat Index, Hidden Lovers, Homophobia, Hopelessly Crying, Hurt/Abuse, m/m, Mid-grade, Morgan, Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words), Opposites attract, second chance at love, Teacher | Leave a comment