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4.5 stars Actor/Theatre adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Gay Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hopelessly Crying m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series

Prince of the Playhouse (Love in Laguna Book 3) By Tara Lain

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Blurb

Driven by his desire to become a successful fashion designer and concerned with hiding his questionable past, Ru Maitland lets his obsession with action movie star Gray Anson on the big screen replace his social life. Then obsession and reality collide when Ru is asked to design fashion costumes for a special performance of Hamlet at the Playhouse in Laguna starring none other than Gray Anson. Gray turns out to be a compelling mix of shy and brash and, despite a high profile engagement to a female socialite, the signals Gray sends Ru have his libido doing the salsa.

Gray Anson has what most people only dream of—great wealth, huge fame, a job he loves. For that, he’s given up any semblance of privacy and the right to say no to the thousands of people who depend on him and the millions who love him. He sees everything he’s ever wanted just outside the bubble of his life, but how can he make the compromises needed to embrace it? When Ru’s shady past crashes into Gray’s paparazzi-haunted present, both men have to learn that sometimes the only acceptable compromise is the truth.

Review

This is book three in the series Love in Laguna and I highly recommend reading all three in order to really appreciate this book – though technically it can be read as a standalone.

Ru is Shaz’ BFF and assistant. Now that Shaz is moving up in the world, Ru is taking his turn to really shine his own light.

Ru has never been shy about his willingness and desire for sex – without strings – but he’s not a player. In fact, he’s more of a homebody than anything else.

He’s had a terrible crush on actor Gray Anson and though he knows nothing will ever come of it – he still longs for the guy he sees up on the screen. So… he’s shocked out of his socks when the guy ends up doing a play at his very own playhouse in town and Ru ends up being his costumer.

Gray is hiding his secret gayness with a pretty but ruthless beard. Nobody – including his family – knows he’s gay and it’s been a huge stress for him.

When Gray needs some help with his lines, Ru steps in and the two have an instant connection. The problem is keeping their hands off one another in public because the paparazzi is literally everywhere and nobody thinks Gray could be “out” and keep his action/adventure hero status in the box office.

**

This book ties closely with book one as my favorite in the series! I love, love, love Ru! He’s so unexpected! Nothing he does is without plotting or planning and yet you’d never guess his history or what he does behind closed doors.

He’s totally unique and wonderful! Gray is the sweet side to Ru’s tough-as-nails attitude and they make a great couple.

I was glad to see the “coming out” part finally reach it’s conclusion as that was getting to be a big strain – but adding in the ghosts from Ru’s past kept the story vibrant and on it’s toes!

Though it felt a little OTT, I liked the scene in the church with Gray’s family and thought they were very sweet.

I highly recommend this book and this series.

4.5 of 5 stars

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2 stars Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Football Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Insta Love m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series second chance at love

About Last Night (Thornwood Book 2) By Caitlin Ricci

release day reviewDreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7581

about last nightBlurb

Before jumping into his first semester of college, Thomas Maloney decides to lose his virginity at a party to a stranger he’s sure he’ll never see again. Only the next day, he’s surprised to learn the same one-night stand will be sharing his dorm room. Thomas considers himself lucky, but his new roommate—not so much.

Closeted as they come, football jock Remington “Rem” Daniels is on track for a shot at the pros. Rem tries to play it cool and avoid falling for the confidently gay Thomas, which could hurt his chances. Dealing with their constant need to get in bed together wouldn’t be so hard if Rem didn’t have a girlfriend and Thomas didn’t have a conscience.

When she delivers news that will change Rem’s life forever, Thomas knows it’s time to move back home to Thornwood, Colorado. But neither the distance nor knowing Rem belongs to someone else helps Thomas get over him. Rem’s feelings haven’t changed either. When it comes down to love or football, Rem will have to make the hardest choice of his life and hope Thomas will still be waiting for him when he does.

Review

Let me start by saying that Caitlin Ricci is hit or miss for me. I’ve really loved some of her series like “The Watchers” and “Master of Dragons” and “Patching Up” but this was a total miss for me.

The premise was interesting – that’s why I chose it to review – a planned loss of virginity to a one night stand goes wrong when they end up being roommates.

 

 

 

 

***Warning from here on out spoilers abound – I don’t usually like to give spoilers but I have to in order to explain my review****

 

 

 

 

 

*I didn’t understand why Thomas wanted a stranger to take his virginity – sure he told us – but I didn’t buy it.
*I HATED that both Thomas and Rem were willing to cheat on Rem’s girlfriend.
*I thought the whole adoption thing where Rem’s girlfriend gives the baby to Rem’s roommate’s (and boyfriend’s) parents was preposterous and totally unbelievable.
*I had no earthly idea why Rem felt he needed to marry said girlfriend once the baby was out of the picture – especially when he didn’t even really like her all that much.
*I thought Thomas acted like a doormat in allowing Rem to treat him like a booty call up to and including where he calls him a fag.
*The idea of these boys having any relationship whatsoever is totally unbelievable as they only demonstrable feelings they have for one another is a very unbalanced and unhealthy sexual obsession with the other.
*I felt very bad for Rem’s daughter as she was going to have a rough time reconciling her role in this family with Thomas and his parents and then later Rem all acting as parental figures.

I usually don’t go into specifics but I was so surprised by this book. I am absolutely willing to look over plot holes and gloss over improbabilities when it moves a story forward in a meaningful way. I never liked these characters or felt compassion for them and so it was very difficult to look over the other problems in this story.

I cannot recommend this story. I still admire and respect the author and will continue to read her other works – especially the paranormal series – but I won’t be reading book one or other books in this series. I rounded up from a 1 to a 2 because the writing was fine and I liked Thomas’ family so much.

2 of 5 stars

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Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Virgin young adult

Big Love by Rick R Reed

release day review

 

BigLoveLGBlurb

 

Teacher Dane Bernard is a gentle giant, loved by all at Summitville High School. He has a beautiful wife, two kids, and an easy rapport with staff and students alike. But Dane has a secret, one he expects to keep hidden for the rest of his life—he’s gay.

But when he loses his wife, Dane finally confronts his attraction to men. And a new teacher, Seth Wolcott, immediately catches his eye. Seth himself is starting over, licking his wounds from a breakup. The last thing Seth wants is another relationship—but when he spies Dane on his first day at Summitville High, his attraction is immediate and electric.

As the two men enter into a dance of discovery and new love, they’re called upon to come to the aid of bullied gay student Truman Reid. Truman is out and proud, which not everyone at his small town high school approves of. As the two men work to help Truman ignore the bullies and love himself without reservation, they all learn life-changing lessons about coming out, coming to terms, acceptance, heartbreak, and falling in love.

Review

(Contains spoilers)

*

*

*

Dane is a teacher who is married to a woman and has two teenaged children. He knows he’s gay but has never acted on the fact as he and his wife got married out of college but were high school sweet-hearts.

When his wife dies suddenly, in a car wreck, he feels this release and the need to “be himself” so he tells his children he’s gay and has been hiding it all these years.

The very next day, one of his students attempts suicide for being bullied about being gay and Dane confesses to the entire school that he, too, is gay to show support to the student, Truman.

Seth is a new teacher in Dane’s department and he had developed a crush on Dane before he knew he was gay. He helps Dane help Truman and Truman’s mom during the time surrounding Truman’s suicide attempt. This allows him and Dane to get closer and explore their feelings for one another.

**

I have so many divided feelings about this book.

What I liked/loved:

Truman- he’s a great character and I loved the message that his story tells (Be yourself, no matter the cost!) I loved his little side romance and the ex, too.

The way it was told. I liked the alternating POVs. I felt like each man had their own growing and changing to do, and seeing the world through each of their eyes allowed them to all have a representative chunk of the story that was theirs and theirs alone. It felt really complete that way.

Truman’s mom – she was THE BOMB! I loved how she always knew that simply loving Truman was her best bet even if it might not always be enough.

Dane’s son- he was so supportive and yet a realistic teenager in that he didn’t go OTT to help out, just quietly supported his dad.

What didn’t work for me:

Dane – Is he gay or bi or demi? He says he really loved his wife, but yet never felt complete? I didn’t always understand his character. I really didn’t understand how he just blurted things out to his kids, the school, etcetera – without expecting major blow-back – and I would think being in the closet for all your life and just losing your wife – you might waffle a bit more than 6 months…

Seth and Dane – their relationship felt from out in left field. They barely knew each other, then their having sex, then they’re saying I love yous… it felt awkward in the grand scheme of things and really unfulfilling.

Truman – sometimes he acted in ways that felt older than his age – but that could be a function of his situation…

Coming out – I really felt like Dane would have had more issues coming out than he did.

Dane’s daughter – I never understood what her deal was and why Dane was virtually ignoring her eating disorder, letting her run around without permission and allowing her to treat him so badly…this bothered me a lot.

So… the book absolutely kept my attention – Rick Reed is a great writer and he knows how to draw you into a story – but there were several areas that just felt… imperfect to me. I liked it and was glad to have read it, but I had some high hopes that weren’t met.

3 of 5 stars

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4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Soccer

The Right Time (Right and Wrong Series) Audiobook by Lane Hayes Narrated by Michael Ferraiulo

audiobookreview

 

Dreamspinner Presents

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RightTime[The]AUDLGBlurb

Workaholic Nate Erickson is a successful real estate developer who thrives on long hours and stress. When a Los Angeles project prompts him to relocate to Santa Monica, he welcomes the change of scenery. Nate has always considered romantic entanglements trouble, but his sexy next-door neighbor isn’t easy to ignore. Which makes no sense, because Nate is straight… or so he’s always thought.

Alex Reyes is a retired professional soccer player turned West Hollywood business owner with an insatiable lust for life. He loves his family, friends, and work. But there’s one life challenge left to accomplish: coming out publicly. Respect for traditional Latino values has kept him in the closet, but Alex begins to think he and his new neighbor might help one another combat their fears. As Alex and Nate forge a strong friendship, they soon realize facing their personal demons will take more courage than either man bargained. The reward is immeasurable… if the timing is right.

Review

(Book reviewed here originally http://kimichanexperience.com/the-right-time-right-and-wrong-series-by-lane-hayes/)

Abridged

We met Alex in book one, an ex professional soccer player who now runs his own gym. He’s also a landlord and rents Nate a place as Nate works on his latest real estate deal.

Though he’s divorced from a woman, Nate is no stranger to being involved with men. In fact, it’s his past that colors his present belief that it’s “better” and surely “easier” to be involved with women. He claims his bisexuality but is reluctant to act on any male attraction.   Alex works to convince him to let his other side out.

Interestingly enough, Alex isn’t out himself because he doesn’t want to let his traditional father down.

They tentatively agree to a “for right now” sexual relationship that morphs into more as time goes on. But when Alex finds out something disturbing from Nate’s past it looks like things are all over.

**

There were things that really worked for me:

Nate’s eventual willingness to explore his sexuality, giving it his all once his mind was made up.

Seeing the previous MCs again.

The excellent writing

The hot smexy times

The great character development

 

But… there were some things that didn’t work for me as well:

The drama with Nate’s college girlfriend

Not being able to see things from Alex’s POV

Not understanding exactly why Alex was still stuck in the closet

Overall, I liked it – Lane Hayes is a terrific writer after all, but didn’t love it as much as some of her other works.

3.5 of 5 stars

Audio

Michael Ferraiulo is a good narrator. He does a really nice job with the Spanish accents – which really helps to bring this story to life. He does a nice job of giving Nate a voice that seemed to match his personality. I enjoyed listening to this and it definitely increased my enjoyment of this story.

Narration 5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.25 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Fated Mates Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index m/m Magic Medical Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Shifter

Psychic Moon (Shifter’s Book 1) by MD Grimm

retro read

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PsychicMoonLGBlurb
Humane Officer Derek Wiliams has been toying with the idea of asking out Brian O’Donogue since the veterinarian started working at the Pet Rescue Center two years ago. So why hasn’t he made his move? It’s complicated… but it has something to do with the fact that Derek occasionally likes to run around on four legs instead of two.

Recovering from an abusive relationship and hiding supernatural abilities of his own, Brian takes a chance and agrees to go on a date with Derek. The ensuing relationship is better than either of them could have hoped-until a rogue wolf shifter attacks Brian while he’s walking his dogs. The abrupt attack forces Derek to confront his feelings, but the danger isn’t over. The rogue shifter is out there, and he’s hunting them.

Review

This is a Retro Read from 2011.

I have read several books in this series and not the first one until now – so … feel free to pick and choose which books you want to read in what order. But… I read this one because I wanted to read book 10, which is the sequel to this, and I was so glad to have done so!

Derek is a werewolf, Humane officer, and a guy with anger issues. He loves working with Brian, the veterinarian at the shelter, but he absolutely hates finding animals in deplorable conditions.

Brian loves his job as the doctor on premises and isn’t afraid to use his extra “abilities” to help the animals he cares for. He’s been crushing on Derek for the entire two years they’ve worked together, but no way can Derek (mr. manly man) be gay, right?

**

This is a fairly short story and we jump in right when Derek finally decides to ask Brian out and invite him into his world. There is a bit of danger and some drama regarding a rogue werewolf but most of this is two guys going from friends to lovers to partners and opening up and being honest with the other.

I loved how Derek was a breedist and a sizeist but that Brian totally called him on it and didn’t let preconceived notions guide him in regards to what he wanted from the relationship.

I really enjoyed it and am looking forward to it’s sequel.

4.25 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series second chance at love Soccer

The Wrong Man (Right and Wrong Series) Audiobook by Lane Hayes Narrated by Michael Ferraiulo

audiobookreview

 

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7612

WrongMan[The]AUDLGBlurb

 

Successful owner of an upscale boutique in fabulous West Hollywood, Brandon Good swears by his personal edict to “live in the present.” After a bad breakup, he agrees to dog-sit to keep his mind off his ex. Never did he expect the dog to belong to a man from his past, the only man to ever truly break his heart.

When Jake Westley relocates to join the WeHo fire department, the last thing he anticipates is reuniting with his secret high school love. Thrilled with the prospect of reconnecting with Bran, Jake feels no guilt in using his charming old dog as an unwitting matchmaker. As he and Bran rekindle their friendship, it becomes clear the intense attraction they once felt is stronger than ever. But as hard as they try to leave the past behind, painful memories resurface. Bran will have to confront his fears and consider the possibility that the man he swore was absolutely the wrong one might be perfect after all.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously http://kimichanexperience.com/wrong-man-right-wrong-2-lane-hayes/)

Abridged

Jake was Brandon’s closeted high school boyfriend who was too young and scared to come out back then, so he gave Brandon up.

Now, 12 years later, Brandon is out and proud, a fireman with a great old dog, and an ex.

They begin their second-time-around as friends. Brandon helps Jake with his dog, Mack, and Brandon (Bran) gets some help with his ex, Trevor.

But… they don’t stay “friends” for long. It gets steamy and more involved from there fairly quickly.

And… it’s not easy. Bran is pretty walled off. He’s been hurt before and is wary of letting anyone in. Jake, however, is more than ready for the challenge.

**

Call me a sucker, but the dog totally did it for me. He was wonderful. He acted as a catalyst for these guys in more ways than one. First, he was the entrée for Jake back into Bran’s life. Then, he was the four legged chaperone that gave them common ground and an excuse to be together without pressure. Finally, he represented that age-old dilemma that to have love, you have to be prepared for potential loss and complications and that nothing great comes without risk.

We get to see the boys from book one, but this is definitely a stand-alone novel. The writing is excellent and the sex is really hot.

I really enjoyed this book.

4.5 of 5 stars for the story

Audio

Michael Ferraiulo is a really good narrator. He has a good sense of pacing and emoting and he does a nice job of giving everyone a unique voice to really make you feel involved in the story. This definitely adds to the overall enjoyment of the story.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.75 of 5 stars

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4.5 stars Angst Level artists Audiobook Book College/University coming of age Contemporary DA Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased

Focus on Me Audiobook by Megan Erickson Narrated by Marc Bachmann

audiobookreview

51DJox6LbVL._SL300_Blurb
Colin Hartman can now add college to his list of failures. On the coast-to-coast trek home from California, Colin stops at a gas station in the Nevada desert and can’t help noticing the guy in tight jeans looking like he just stepped off a catwalk. When he realizes that Catwalk is stranded, Colin offers a ride.
Riley intended only to take a short ride in Colin’s Jeep to the Grand Canyon. But one detour leads to another until they finally find themselves tumbling into bed together. However, there are shadows in Riley’s eyes that hide a troubled past. And when those shadows threaten to bury the man whom Colin has fallen in love with, he vows to get Riley the help he needs. For once in his life, quitting isn’t an option.

Review
This is book two in the series, but it’s absolutely a standalone, there is a link through some characters to book one, but not necessary to have read it first.
From the blurb you get the idea that Colin and Riley meet at a gas station and begin a unique friendship that develops into a meaningful relationship over time.
What you don’t see is the depth of emotion and pain that Riley has. Riley has so many body issues and so much pain in his past as well as other psychological issues that make Colin’s low self-esteem issues really look paltry.
There is a lot of pain and healing in this book as both men help the other to see one another with fresh eyes. It’s beautifully written and the audiobook is just tremendous. Marc Bachmann gives Colin a lovely drawl without being OTT with it and he gives Riley a nice, lighter voice that suits his personality so well.
I really enjoyed listening to this and thought it was a great way to experience this book. To me, listening to a book forces me to really slow down and experience it at a greater level than reading because the listening itself is so much slower than I can read. Therefore the words speak to me longer and more profoundly. This is a great story for that type of listening.
I loved the pet name “Catwalk” as it fit Riley so well. I also loved all the secondary characters (who we get to see in book 3 – yay!) as well as the re-visit with Justin and Landry from book 1.
This is a much “broodier” book than book one and definitely hard to read at times. Be prepared that though the ending is wonderful and fully happy – there are rough roads ahead for these two and for most of the book these guys make you want to cry.

All in all I thought the writing was amazing, the narration really good and the overall story excellent.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Established Couple Gay Heat Index Humor m/m Mild level angst Mild/low level heat Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series

Spring Fever (Holly Creek Book 2) by Poppy Dennison

release day review

 

Dreamspinner Presents

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spring feverBlurb

 

Jefferson Lee Davis, Holly Creek’s new Director of Publicity, is gearing up for the next big town event, the summer Rose Festival. The job is running smoothly, but the course of true love has hit a rocky patch. His hunky boyfriend, Sheriff Zane Yarbrough, is receiving mysterious phone calls he doesn’t want to discuss. While Jefferson Lee is blindsided by jealousy, the second shoe drops with the appearance of a handsome stranger in the small tight-knit community. Needing answers, Jefferson Lee enlists his best gal-pal Clover Crofton to help find out what secrets Zane is hiding. When they land themselves in more trouble than Jefferson Lee bargained for, he and Zane face the first big test of their relationship. Zane and Jefferson Lee must work through their trust issues if they’re going to make it as a couple, and Clover may just have a thing or two to learn herself.

Review

This is the sequel to Dogwood Days and pretty much takes off where book one left off.

Jefferson Lee Davis is still dating the hot sheriff Zane and things are beginning to look serious between the two of them.

There is some drama surrounding the town’s annual festival that Jefferson manages to create into a big hub-bub, and a mysterious “friend” of Zane’s comes into town stirring all kinds of jealousy in Jefferson Lee.

The two fight a bit – Zane asks Jefferson Lee to move in but Jefferson’s not ready and Jefferson realizes he doesn’t trust Zane or vice versa when it comes to the mysterious stranger. But… the two manage to figure things out and we get a lot of ooey gooey sweet and sexy lovin’ between the two as their saga continues.

**

This is another fun installment in the Holly Creek series, just as much fun as book one. Light, full of hilarious small town antics and good feels.

4 of 5 stars

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