Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Gay Ghost Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat Music/Rock Star NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Riptide Publishing second chance at love Virgin

Rock N Soul by Lauren Sattersby

 

release day review

51tWcS6Z81L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Blurb

I’m Tyler Lindsey, and until recently, I had an okay apartment, an okay girlfriend, and an okay job as a bellboy at a respectable Boston hotel. Then rock star Chris Raiden died right before I brought his room service—stiffing me on the tip, by the way—and my life went to hell. My fifteen minutes of fame was more like five seconds, and my girlfriend left me in disgust.

But even worse—Chris is haunting me. Not the room where he died, like a normal ghost. No, somehow he’s stuck to me and is insisting on taking care of a bunch of unfinished business in California. So now I have to traipse across the country with the world’s most narcissistic ghost.

But . . . I keep having these weird thoughts. Thoughts about how much I like the way he makes me laugh. Thoughts where I kind of want to kiss the emo-narcissist, even though he’s a ghost and an asshole and I can’t touch him anyway. And even if I could, what will happen when he finishes his business and nothing’s keeping him here anymore?

Review

Tyler is adrift as a bellboy in a hotel when he runs into Chris – an emo rock-star who demands some grapes. After running around trying to find them he returns to find Chris dead of an overdose. After finding and wearing Chris’ ring, he finds that he – HIMSELF – is haunted by Chris.

Chris has unfinished business – don’t we all! – and demands that Tyler help him accomplish this.

Though the two start out as mostly enemies – Tyler’s girl leaves him when she accuses him of “letting” Chris (her idol) die – and Chris is narcissitic enough not to understand why Tyler isn’t more happy to help him – they end up developing a deep relationship that helps them both find more meaning in – ironically – life.

Eventually the story comes to it’s climax as Chris finishes his business on earth and things look like they’ll need to change again, the only question is how.

**

First, let me say that for a debut novel – or any freakin’ novel – this was amazingly well written. I was absolutely intrigued by the blurb and found the end result to be full of ALL the emotions: laughter, tears, anger, frustration, happiness, and love.

I loved the MCs and found their personal growth to be very touching.

I’m not a huge “ghost” fan – it’s hard to reconcile the whole “dead” thing with “happy ever after”, but I’ve read some books that did this very well (ie Motel. Pool by Kim Fielding) and the blurb hooked me.

In the end there were way more things that worked for me than not.

Things that worked for me: The writing is excellent. Very well developed characters. Intriguing plot line. “Believable” conversion of ghost into lover (and HEA). Great dialog. Hot smexy scenes. Loads of feels. Tons of funny/punny moments.

Only a few things that didn’t work for me: While I appreciated the slow burn, it was already a painful book to read – the guy is dead and we know it and without an absolutely huge magic wand or creepy zombie thing , he will remain dead – so I didn’t need MORE pain – so I didn’t like seeing the hurt on Chris’ face with the trials as Tyler got involved with other men and women. Limiting this would also help to shorten it a bit as it is fairly long and I’m not sure it needs to be this long. For example, there is a bit at the beginning that began to drag where the two are “learning” about each other but reluctant to share their sexuality and dancing around the subject that I think could have been shortened.

Those little niggles took this from a VERY SOLID 5 star read to a 4.5 star for me, but it’s really a great book and I do highly recommend it.

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Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/rock-n-soul

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Fade to black/No Steam Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m May/December New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Opposites attract second chance at love

Snowman Audiobook by Isabelle Rowan Narrated by Brad Walton

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7322

snowmanBlurb

We all find ways to run away. Some do it in seclusion, others in the arms of lovers.

Since the death of his long-time partner, Caleb Maguire lives a quiet life in Australia’s Victorian high country with only his dog and horses for company. Each day is the same. There are no surprises—good or bad—until a major snowstorm hits his mountain and Caleb is called out to rescue a stranded tourist. The late night snow brings with it a lost soul who forces Caleb to reassess his solitary life.

Paul Turner is a barista in the trendy Melbourne suburb of Carlton. He lives life totally in the moment, but a life of no commitments is about to change for this city boy. Three days is all it takes for Paul to fall hard for Caleb, and Paul returns to the city with a promise he’ll be back after turning his life around… but only when all the roads are clear.

Review

Caleb lost his lover several years ago and has since sequestered himself in their cabin in Australia’s mountains all by himself (except for the animals). He doesn’t want to meet anyone new and seems to be happy with his life, even though he misses his lover desperately.

Paul is a party-boy who sleeps with a new guy every night. When he and his pals go to the mountains for a party he ends up lost in a snowstorm and is rescued by the reclusive Caleb. There is an instant attraction, but Caleb staves Paul off up until the last day.

When Paul leaves, Caleb’s life advice sticks with Paul – forcing him to re-evaluate himself and his goals.

Caleb is more determined than ever to remain alone and miserable. Paul texts Caleb over and over and over, but Caleb won’t let Paul in to his life. When there is another emergency, Caleb and Paul are thrown together briefly, but Caleb again rebuffs Paul – and Paul almost concedes the fight.

Paul ends up meeting the sister of the dead lover and befriends her, she pushes Paul into continuing her pursuit and ultimately coming back to the mountain to try to knock some sense into Caleb.

Caleb resists up until the very end, when he finally capitulates.

**

Though the above seems to give the story away – it’s obvious the two MCs end up together because this is a HEA romance and so we know eventually it has to work out, the question is how? Well… I’m not sure how.

My problem with this book is that I never felt like Caleb got over his lover and so I didn’t feel that he and Paul really stood a good chance.

I also HATED that 99% of the book the two MCs are apart and not even talking to one another.

Paul’s infatuation with Caleb felt more like him being stubborn and feeling challenged because Caleb kept telling him “no” and less like any authentic emotional bond. How could they really bond after 3 days together (where Caleb is anything but open) and months (literally) of one-sided texting.

I just didn’t buy into the romance. I almost wanted the potential sad ending that Caleb was headed toward to happen just so the miserable guy could finally find some peace!

The narration was fine – very Australian Brad Walton used some nice emotional inflections but didn’t “wow” me either.

All in all – though I was compelled to finish the story, in the end I wasn’t really pleased with the final result.

2 of 5 stars for the audiobook

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Categories
4.5 stars Angst Level Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild/low level heat New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Purchased Virgin young adult

The Way You Are by LJ Mile

way you areBlurb

By the time he reaches college, Robert is an expert at hiding his feelings—with a few side effects. If he has a little attraction towards boys now and again, he can bury it with a candy bar and go on living the life his parents want for him. The only thing he never expected was that he’d meet someone who would like him just as he was, flaws and all. Now his emotional armor has stopped working and he’ll be forced to decide which life he wants for himself.

 

 

Review

Robert starts to “notice” other boys around the age of 13. His ultra-conservative family will freak out if he lets those feelings blossom, so he begins to subvert his feelings into food. Things get worse as puberty continues until he’s officially obese.

As a college freshman he looks forward to a new life, but is thwarted again by the innocent wonder that is his gay roommate, Pete.

Suddenly his “need” for food becomes even worse.

When he allows himself to explore his feelings for Pete, the food issues don’t go away, they only change to be focused on guilt rather than subversion.

Luckily, Pete and his family are amazing people and Robert ends up exactly where he needs to be.

**

This can be a very painful book for some people – I’m sure. It was hard to read Robert making these bad decisions over and over and over. Not unlike a junkie, he just couldn’t find a healthy way to deal with his emotions.

What bothered me (only a bit) was that I don’t think they author made Pete healthy enough for Robert. In ways he was an enabler only, but mostly just a loving presence that offered blind support without judgment.

I think there is a fine line between loving Robert as a “big guy” and endangering his health, and this danced along the line. Had Robert’s vice been drugs, I think it would have been a more clearly drawn line of zero tolerance and I’m definitely not saying that he needed to diet or be thin, but I think a more firm resolution to work with a therapist so that Robert’s health was out of Pete’s hands would make the most sense.

In any case, I absolutely loved this. Bravo for attacking such a painful and societally shunned subject and YAY to Pete for loving “big guys”!

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Free on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon Link

http://www.amazon.com/Way-You-Are-L-J-Mile-ebook/dp/B010E8MUBY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1452456706&sr=1-1&keywords=the+way+you+are+by+l.j.+mile

Categories
4.5 stars Angst Level Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Established Couple Exploration Gay Heat Index m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst New Adult Opposites attract Part of a Series Purchased Short Story 1-20 pages (1-5k words) Virgin

The Shirt (Ryan and Scott #1) by Amy Lane

Found in Curious? By Dreamspinner Press
(Currently unavailable for purchase – BUT Amy promises the entire series will be coming out soon for free as a bundled set! – Look here for reviews on books 2 and 3 as well as information regarding the freebie!)

curiousBlurb

Polar opposites Scotty and Ryan’s love-at-first-sight romance should never have worked—but it has. Now the two lovers are welcoming Ryan’s parents into town to meet the love of their son’s life… until Ryan encounters technical difficulties with the world’s most common object. Can Scotty and Ryan’s relationship survive the tangle caused by one woven, oxford blue, button-down shirt?

 

 

Review

Super short little love story of two opposites attracting.

This fast moving story shows how the lovers met and then shows them about to meet Ryan’s parents for the first time.

It’s got a little sex, a lot of love and lots of laughs.

Highly recommended.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
5 stars Action/Adventure Angst Level Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Cop/Crime DA Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Exploration Football Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat Mystery New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Virgin

Tackling the Tight End by Tara Lain

release day review

Long Pass Chronicles Book 3

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7254

23264422Blurb

Everyone wants the best for SCU student and tight end Raven Nez — and they know exactly what that is. Enter the NFL draft, become a big football hero, promote his tribe’s casino, and make a lot of money to help people on the reservation. Just one problem. Raven’s gay and he really wants to work with gay kids. Plus he figures a gay Native tight end will get flattened in the NFL. Then the casino board hires a talented student filmmaker to create ads for the tribal business and asks Raven to work with him. But the filmmaker is Dennis Hascomb, a guy with so much to hide and a life so ugly it’s beyond Raven’s understanding. Still he’s drawn to Dennis’s pain and incredible ability to survive. Captivated by Raven’s stories of the two-spirited and by the amazing joy of finally having a friend, Dennis knows he has to break free from everything he’s ever been taught was good—but that’s a struggle that could kill him and Raven too. Is there a chance for “the great red hope” and the “whitest guy on earth”? A future for the serpent and the raven?

Review

I’m going to say right now that Tara Lain is an amazing author. I was SO uncomfortable reading this – a hallmark that she really made the characters and their situation come to life.

I’m not going to give a summary because the blurb tells the highlights and I don’t want to give too much away.

It is HARD to read about Dennis and his “activities”. SO HARD. I was skeeved the hell out and wanted it to all stop! I knew he’d be redeemed in the end and I needed it to come quickly because my heart was seriously hurting for all his family’s victims.

Raven is so perfect.

He’s the all-American boy (only Native American!) and tries so hard to do the right thing all the time that it’s tearing him up inside. Life isn’t black or white and he has some really hard decisions to make.

I found their relationship so fascinating as Dennis opened up to his newfound sexuality and Raven let him in.

I also really loved Walter. What an amazing friend and what a clever twist on the “beard”.

In terms of reading this – I’d tell you to brace yourself for some serious ugliness. The first half of the book is painful – but sets things up beautifully for a fantastic HEA at the end.

(When this goes to Audiobook I hope Andrew McFerrin does it – he did Andrew Grey’s Good Fight series and I really liked his accents.)

Highly recommended but be warned – you’ll work for your HEA.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
4 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book Contemporary Cop/Crime DA Fated Mates Firefighters Gay Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Medical Military Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat Siren-Bookstrand

Bear’s Pup (Rescue for Hire Book 1) Audiobook by Bellann Summer Narrated by Darcy Stark

bear's pupBlurb

Welcome to the world of Rescue for Hire. Meet the team members that make up a company that forms a family of heroes. Cade Miller is the owner of the company and is a dominating alpha in mind and body. Cade rescues Bret James on a mission. The instant connection between the two cannot be denied, and he decides to keep him. Bret may have submissive qualities that mesh completely with the big bear, but it is his mischievous side that keeps Cade on his toes and coming back for more. But Bret has evil stalking him.
When the past wants revenge, can Cade discover who has taken Bret and stop him from being a victim again? The team will have to use all of their skills to rescue Bret before all hell breaks loose. Because when the big, bad alpha is crossed, nothing will stop him from getting his pup back.

Review

This is the introduction to the Rescue For Hire series. In it we meet the team and it’s team leader, Cade. Cade rescues Bret from an abusive boyfriend and immediately “claims him as his own.”

It’s sort of a D/s relationship but not by any sort of typical rules. Bret lets Cade make most of the decisions until he decides to throw a fit and then he gets his way.

In this book Bret is thrown into trouble at least three times, and Cade must rescue him in his super-alpha-badass way. Bret is teeny tiny and Cade is huge.

I love this series and love this couple, but it honestly isn’t my favorite in the series but it’s still so much fun!

Darcy Stark narrates the entire series (so far!) and I really like his interpretation of the alphas and their mates in these stories.

If you like a very sappy, sometimes OTT romance where the alpha does a lot of rescuing but is in turned cowed by his partner – with a small element of D/s – this is right up your alley and I highly recommend it.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Erotica-Sexuality/Bears-Pup-Audiobook/B00SBQI1NS/ref=a_search_c4_1_4_srTtl?qid=1452788091&sr=1-4

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Gay Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series

First Comes Marriage by Shira Anthony

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7302

FirstComeMarriageLGBlurb

Their marriage was supposed to be all business….

When struggling novelist Chris Valentine meets Jesse Donovan, he’s interested in a book contract, or possibly a date. The last thing Chris expects is a marriage proposal from New York City’s most eligible bachelor!

Jesse’s in a pinch: to keep control of his company, he has to marry. So he has valid reasons for offering Chris this business deal. In exchange for living in a gorgeous mansion for a year, playing the doting husband, Chris gets all the writing time he wants and walks away with a million dollar payoff. Surely Chris can handle that. He can handle living with the most handsome and endearing man he’s ever met, a man he immediately knows he wants in the worst way and can’t have. Or can he?

A Dreamspun Desires title

Review

Jesse is a billionaire in need of a marriage to save his inheritance from the “evil” step-grandmother who would sell his beloved business if she inherits. (Yay – I love this trope!)

Chris is a struggling novelist. He’s got a few titles under his belt and has high hopes his newest will gain him a heft advance, but living in New York is expensive and his part time job as a barista isn’t doing much for his savings account.

Jesse happens to be a fan of Chris’ and approaches him at a reading for a date to discuss what Jesse’s connections can do for Chris’ career. They have a good meeting, but Jesse is straight so…

Later, Jesse approaches Chris about a business arrangement wherein they’d be platonically married for the sake of getting the inheritance Jesse’s grandfather left him, and Chris could leave the marriage after a year with a million dollars for his efforts.

At first Chris is offended and declines. He’s not ready for a marriage – he’s young, inexperienced in dating and doesn’t even know which hand a wedding ring is supposed to go on (they’re worn on the left hand FYI, Chris) – but his friends and Jesse show him how silly that idea is and he eventually agrees.

From there is a whirlwind of change into Jesse’s decadent beach house and life as a writer exclusively. The only problem is Jesse keeps giving mixed signals to Chris about his sexuality and after a couple of scorching kisses, Chris has to wonder…

Eventually some truths are uncovered and both parties feel betrayed by the other. Will their burgeoning relationship have a chance at forever once the lies are dispelled or have they ruined it with their deceptions?

**

So this is totally what I was expecting when I read about this series. This trope – the Cinderfella trope (in this case) is a tried and true one. Shira Anthony played it off perfectly!

She gave us a believable scenario, with a fairly realistic approach to the arranged marriage and then gave us some sizzling chemistry and a confusing step-grandmother to keep us on our toes.

My only quibble was I wasn’t sure why Jesse kept the secrets he did… it seems to me he’d have been better off being honest from the start and I’m not sure what he thought he’d gain by lying… but… in the end it absolutely worked out and I loved it!

Highly recommended.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Gay Heat Index m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Opposites attract Rating

Flushed by Susan Laine

Recent Release

Dreamspinner Presents:

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7311

 

FlushedLGBlurb

To prove to his annoying older brother that he’s a man, well-to-do sculptor Rupert Pemberton tries to repair his broken toilet. But he has no knack for practical tools and no know-how. After a flood of biblical proportions, he has no choice but to call for help.

A gorgeous hunk of a plumber named Paul Cooper shows up at Rupert’s doorstep with a ready toolbox and a sexy smile. With Paul at his side, Rupert realizes he wants more than a quick fix. After a couple of cozy dates and a few bouts of steamy sex, Rupert wonders how he can keep Paul around for good.

 

Review

This is a very sweet, low to no angst short story about an insecure artist (trust funder) who falls for a blue collar plumber and in return finds himself in the process.

Paul is 100% sweet and perfect and really brings out the best in Rupert “Roo”. There is a little drama with some bigots and a small bit of family drama, a fair amount of steamy sex and lots of feels.

For a quick, hot, and sweet read – I highly recommend this short story.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Gay Heat Index lawyer m/m Mid level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Purchased Scorching/high heat

Force of Law Audiobook by Jez Morow Narrated by Joel Leslie

force of lawBlurb

When a Lamborghini Diablo car pulls into the quick oil change shop on Cleveland’s west side, Tom Russell immediately assumes this is his old lover, Wells, has come back to torment him. But it’s worse.

The driver is Wells’ arrogant, obscenely rich cousin Law Castille. He invites Tom on a little subtle revenge tip, accompanying Law as his guest to Wells’ wedding. But dance with the devil and there’s hell to pay. Tom thinks Law is toying with him, but Law’s visit to the poor side of a rustbelt town was never about revenge. It was never about cousin Wells at all. Law has come for Tom.

 

Review

Tom used to date Law’s cousin until Law and their family (who control the  money) essentially frowned on the blue collar/white collar relationship and Wells (the ex) flew away to marry a woman.

Now Wells is getting married and for some reason Law wants to flaunt Tom in the face of both Wells and his family’s faces.

Tom isn’t beneath a little revenge and plus Law is HOT!

Afterward Law continues to shock the hell out of Tom … for a long time to follow.

**

If you haven’t read this book – go do it!  It is relatively short but SO HOT and yet full of surprising feels too…

I’ve read and re-read this often- it’s very good.

The author’s done some other work, but this – IMHO – is the best so far.

Audio

I FLIPPED OUT when I accidentally ran into this on audible – I couldn’t believe I’d missed it!  (Audible categorizes things really weird sometimes.)

Joel Leslie gives each character a unique voice and I love that!  He’s sometimes a bit melodramatic but not enough to bother me.

Since I loved the book so much and Joel is so much fun to listen to – I highly recommend this audio and book!

5 of 5 stars

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Audible link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Erotica-Sexuality/Force-of-Law-Audiobook/B00WL4MZQU/ref=a_search_c4_1_3_srTtl?qid=1452700050&sr=1-3

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Fan Art by Karrie Jax

12528353_10156366490575414_607424806_oHappy Birthday by BD Roca