Categories
adult - 18+ Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Homophobia m/m Mild level angst Mild/low level heat Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Purchased

Beware of Geeks Bearing Gifts by Charlie Cochet

BewareOfGeeksBlurb

Julian “Quinn” Quinetro, a gruff, tough Miami SWAT officer, has been injured on the job, and all he’s looking for is a little peace and quiet to recover—difficult to achieve with his large Cuban family. An adventure in picking up his prescriptions puts him in the path of his geeky, brownie-baking neighbor, Spencer Morgan. Spencer sweeps into Quinn’s life like a tropical storm of sunshine and rainbows. Not surprisingly, it’s chaos at first sight. Quinn’s in need of a little tender loving care, and Spencer decides he’s just the man for the job. Their very different lives might clash, but they might also find some common ground—and maybe more.

 

Review

Spencer is a socially awkward, comic-book-loving, computer nerd who works from home. He’s been secretly crushing on his super-hot SWAT team neighbor for the last year and now that the guy’s injured he figures it’s his chance to be “friendly”.

Quinn is a no-nonsense, kinda grumpy guy who isn’t really looking for a relationship. He’s never even noticed Spencer before and now the guy is showing up all over the place.

After a disastrous “first” meeting, they quickly become friends. When Quinn’s loving but meddlesome family butts in AND his sometimes dickish friends get involved things move from friends to “more”, but can it last and is it real or just a game to Quinn while he’s laid up?

**

First I have to say that I love, love, love, LOVE Charlie Cochet. I’m a huge fan. So I was psyched to see a contemporary short of hers coming out and devoured it right away.

I love the humor, the characters, and the set-up. Geek meets God. God’s a grumpy-ass and Geek is too-cute-for-words.

What I think was missing in this story is length. I know, I know. People always say they want more, more, more. But really, in this case I did think it was necessary.

I wanted the conversion from pesky neighbor to friend to be slower. As it stands, one big meal and Quinn is spilling all his feelings and Spencer is telling his life story. I wanted Quinn to be reticent for a longer period of time, forcing Spencer to really make the effort.

Second, there was so much wonderful detail that kind of got squished in the middle and left alone. Quinn’s family is hysterical! I love them! I wanted more time with the mother plotting to get Quinn and Spencer together. More inappropriate blurts from the father. More matchmaking from the brother-in-law.

Third, I was sort-of confused by the direction the sexual nature of the relationship went. Once there was kissing there was off page “making out” for days? Weeks? Then the final scene – definitely HOT – but the only time we see them in that way. It felt kinda disjointed and strange to not see the physical side of their relationship develop more organically.

Fourth, the climactic final scene. Ugh! I wanted to punch Javier square in his… well face is fine but really?!? What an a-hole! I was glad Quinn got him a good one, but I didn’t understand his motivation at all! I also didn’t think Spencer would have gone for the whole stripping thing to begin with and once he saw a room full of people – he’d have been out of there! But he stayed then there was the Misunderstanding (capital M) and a quick make up scene.

If we’re going to have a Big Misunderstanding, give it time to fester and have the boy do some real groveling. But since the whole stripper thing kind of felt like left field I’m not sure how that would have even worked out.

So… on the one hand I loved so much of the story and thought it was terribly cute and sweet but knowing how well Charlie can create full and well drawn out stories I was a bit let down. Maybe if I’d never read anything else by her I would have been satisfied, but even her Christmasy short stories seemed more well-rounded than this did.

I still liked it and would recommend it and give it 3.5 of 5 stars.

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(Purchased for review)

To Buy

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6637

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Contemporary Dreamspinner Gay GFY/OFY Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat

Chase in Shadow (Johnnies #1) Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Sean Crisden

ChaseinShadowAudMEDBlurb

Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future.

Nobody knows the real Chase.

Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell of his lover’s goodbye clinging to his skin. He has a door in his heart so frightening he’d rather die than open it, and the lies he’s used to block it shut are thinning with every forbidden touch. Chase has spent his entire life unraveling, and his decision to set his sexuality free in secret has only torn his mind apart faster.

Chase has one chance for true love and salvation. He may have met Tommy Halloran in the world of gay-for-pay—where the number of lovers doesn’t matter as long as the come-shot’s good—but if he wants the healing that Tommy’s love has to offer, he’ll need the courage to leave the shadows for the sunlight. That may be too much to ask from a man who’s spent his entire life hiding his true self. Chase knows all too well that the only things thriving in a heart’s darkness are the bitter personal demons that love to watch us bleed.

Review

Wow. Okay. First, if you haven’t read an Amy Lane book and you are starting with this series – take heed and have plenty of tissues on hand!

Amy can write fantastical fantasy with crazy and sometimes funny figures, she can write humorous contemporary romance with quirky and quant characters, and she can write heart-wrenching, gut-twisting, hanky-shredding, angst-filled stories that rip your heart out and make it bleed.

This is that last kind.

But – and this is HUGE – she gives you a tremendous pay out. This is important. In her stories she will absolutely drag your heart out through your nostrils but then she mends it, patches it up, and fluffs it with so much caring and tenderness and purely sweet and luscious goodness that when it goes back into your chest (usually at the end) it feels so much better than when you started.

In this series we have Johnnie (who we hear from in his own story Black John) a director of gay pornography. He runs a respectable shop, no taking advantage of the models, clean, safe, etcetera – but it’s porn. Now it’s often called gay for pay, but the so-called straight guys… not always so straight.

That’s where Chase comes in. Chase is gay but he “can’t be”. He has had a horrible childhood – one where he sees his own mother’s suicide and lives with a father who somehow blames Chase for her death.

He turns to porn to make money, though he has a girlfriend he “loves” and wants to be with. He takes on the name Chance and finds his true home with Johnnies.

There Chance meets Tango. Tango is really Tommy, and Tango/Tommy has no problem being gay. They hook up and find an immediate love connection. But Tommy can’t take it that Chase continues to stay with the girlfriend and internalizes his own pain with a horrible eating disorder.

(I warned you – Angst. City.)

We know from early on in the story that Chase attempts suicide. The story explains the whys and the hows and then the what happens next.

Mercy, Chase’s girlfriend is not particularly vilified – although her decision at the end strikes me as not necessarily in line with the rest of her persona and is particularly harsh given the circumstances.

Chase and Tommy are a match made in heaven – both kinda screwed up but oh so passionate. It’s wonderful to watch them fall in love and it was absolutely horrible to watch each of them fall apart as a result of this love.

We also get to meet the cast of characters that fill the coming books and that, too, is fascinating.

I really loved how Amy was able to really get into Chase’s head and show us that in his mind he had NO CHOICE but to do what he did but then – at the last frickin’ moment – it all got so clear for him.

The time spent in the psych ward was hard to read and maybe drug a bit, but I think it helped to really cement the huge change in direction that occurred in Chase’s thinking.

Like I said at the beginning – Amy knows how to bring on the Angst (with a capital A) – but she also brings you back down with an incredible happy ending – one that we get to see develop in the next books even more.

I absolutely love this book, this series and the author. (FWIW this is my second favorite book in the series – Dex is my favorite – but they are all so dang good!)

Audio:

Sean Crisden is a master! I love all his narrations and this was one of the first I’d listened to. He makes a point of keeping all the various characters separate which is a huge undertaking in this series. We end up with a total of 4 couples and lots of side characters and they all are voiced somewhat differently. So giant Kudos there! He also has a way of making the emotion feel so authentic. He does “perform” the stories – not merely read them.

6 of 5 stars

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To Buy

Dreamspinner Presents
http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4948

Categories
adult - 18+ Audiobook Bodyguard Book Contemporary Cop/Crime Gay m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Romance

Guarding Morgan: Sanctuary, Book 1 by RJ Scott Narrated by Sean Crisden

guarding morganBlurb

Morgan Drake is the only witness to a murder in an alleyway. Nik Valentinov works for Sanctuary, a foundation offering witness protection to anyone whose safety is compromised. Morgan discovers a bodyguard’s arms can offer more than protection.
Morgan is the only person who can give evidence for prosecuting the cop responsible for the crime. When the FBI safe house where he’s being held is compromised, he follows the instructions of the agent in charge and runs.
Nik Valentinov works for Sanctuary, a foundation that offers witness protection when FBI security is questionable.
When Morgan’s handler sends him to Nik for safety, neither Morgan nor Nik could imagine that two weeks alone in a cabin in the woods would have their hearts racing with something much more than merely trying to keep Morgan alive.

Review

Morgan runs away from his safe house where someone has compromised and injured his FBI protector. Luckily there’s a backup plan and Nik and Sanctuary is on deck to take over when the FBI fails.

Nik is exhausted from having just finished an assignment but he can’t tell his friend Taylor from the FBI no.

Nik and Morgan find the safehouse and begin the long wait for the trial that will hopefully end Morgan’s confinement, but it’s not easy. Morgan is worried about his safety and having nightmares from the murder he witnessed.

Nik doesn’t want to compromise Morgan’s safety but he can’t deny the attraction between the two.

Ultimately they give in to attraction but lust and maybe even love isn’t enough to keep them safe.

When Morgan is injured Nik runs away, thinking himself a failure. But Morgan won’t give up easily.

**

I thought that this was a fun and sexy, mostly light hearted listen. Sean Crisden is one of my favorite narrators and he always does a fantastic job with the growly alphas and the smokin’ sex scenes.

This is a great start to a new series.

4 of 5 stars for the book and the narration

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(Copy purchased for review)

To Buy:Love Lane Books Limited Presents

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Guarding-Morgan-Audiobook/B00WNBIKMY/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1439753785&sr=1-1

Categories
adult - 18+ Bi-Sexual Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Gay GFY/OFY m/m May/December May/December Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Part of a Series Purchased Short Story 1-20 pages (1-5k words) Sports Virgin

Fragile by Monika Krasnorada

fragileBlurb

Part of the First Time For Everything Daily Dose 2011 collection

Dr. Andy Jameson considers the job of team physician for a regional college football team to be the perfect prelude to a specialized residency. But tending to injuries suffered during the brutal, full-contact sport is nothing compared to the injury he inflicts upon himself by falling in love with the ruggedly handsome head coach, Erik Sheridan. Andy’s content to love from afar until he literally sees the writing on the wall-a message hastily scrawled on the coach’s bathroom mirror-and realizes his last night on the job could be just the beginning of a life with the man he loves.

 

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(Fan Art by Karrie Jax)

Review

This is a delightful example of just how a short story should be!

In only 23 pages Monika Krasnorada shows us (emphasis on shows) that Dr. Andy has had a long time crush on the “straight” college football coach he works for as a team doctor.

Today is his last day serving the team and he’s sad and also longing for the ability to do something about his attraction.

Meanwhile the coach might have something to say about this attraction and how he goes about letting the Doc know… so sweet, so awesome!

Obviously we only get a small glimpse of this couple. But it’s enough to show us that the coach is new to gay sex, which I am sure they experimented with even more with help from videos at teentuber.xxx or places similar. The two men really match well together and the thought of long term and forever is definitely there.

5 of 5 stars

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(Copy purchased for review)

To Buy

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=2357

Categories
adult - 18+ Book Contemporary Gay Homophobia Length m/m May/December May/December Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Purchased

Clarity of Lines (Thomas Elkin #2) by NR Walker

clarity of linesBlurb

Sometimes it’s not the two people in a relationship who fight falling in love, sometimes it’s those who love us that fight against it the most.

Finally together, forty-four year old Tom, and twenty-two year old Cooper, are ready to show the world they’re together. They’ve established their relationship is worth it, and want to share it with their families.

Both men thought accepting the age difference was their adversity to overcome, and theirs alone.

Their loved ones, however, will prove them wrong.

For their families, lines are drawn and start blur. Through a series of events, life shakes Tom’s foundations, the lines for him have never been clearer.

Review

In book two Tom and Cooper are established as a couple, but there are obstacles to overcome.

Tom and his ex-wife and son. Cooper and his friends and his family.

Tom and Cooper also have to work out living arrangements. Tom just can’t quite find the words to convince Cooper to move into his apartment.

**

In a lovely extension we get to move into the meat and potatoes of their relationship. Beyond the heat of attraction into the seriousness and the emotion.

I really love how NR Walker allows us to see her characters grow and change as the relationship changes. In this case using Tom’s asking Cooper to move in with him as a way to guage where he’s at emotionally is a very clever tool that both illustrates that Tom may still have some reservations about opening his heart and Cooper might also still be craving some independence.

The smexy times are super hot, too!

This is a wonderful sequel and the new cover is beautiful!

5 of 5 stars

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(Copy purchased for review)

To Buy:

Pride Publishing Presents
https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/clarity-of-lines

Categories
adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Bodyguard Book Exploration Fantasy Friends to lovers Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Magic Mid level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Purchased Scorching/high heat Shifter Virgin

Healing Fire by Sean Michael

healing fireBlurb

What will it take for a dragon prince to defy his father and fly on his own?

Prince Jules, the least favorite of the Dragon King’s children, lives simply, banished to his rooms and the amazing adventures found in his books. He has never left the palace or shifted into his dragon form…he’s never done anything.

Dragon shifter Lem is assigned to Jules as his new bodyguard, and is determined to keep Jules safe from the Graithen, who killed the prince’s previous guardian. Lem grows to hate how the King hides Jules away, and longs to show him how to fly. His love for Jules also grows but it is forbidden, like so much in Jules’ life.

When the Graithen attack again, though, everything changes.

Review

The story starts with both Lem and Jules losing someone close to them. Lem is a guardian and he fights to keep the kingdom safe from the Graithen. Jules is the last and unwanted heir to a throne that hides him away.

When Lem is newly assigned to Jules’ care he and Jules forge an immediate bond, one that rapidly transcends bodyguard/charge.

They explore their relationship in the palace until one day it becomes imperative that they flee. Once they are out in the world magnificent changes occur and Jules and Lem finally learn their true potential.

**

Sean Michael is as diverse a writer as I have seen. He can write some incredibly raunchy, sordid, kinky and super-sexed stories and then he surprises me with something like this.

This is a tender and sweet, though very full of sex, story. Lem and Jules are wonderful together and their magic is spectacular.

I loved almost every bit of it – my only complaint was the way Jules and Lem sometimes thought or spoke in these one word phrases. I think that a few scattered in gives a nice impression but they were fairly constant and after awhile they pulled me from the story.

4 of 5 stars

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To buy

 

http://www.amazon.com/HEALING-FIRE-Sean-Michael-ebook/dp/B013HDK12S/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1439599952&sr=1-1&keywords=healing+fire

 

(Purchased for review)

Categories
adult - 18+ Book Contemporary Exploration Friends to lovers Gay Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased

Served Hot (Portland Heat #1) by Annabeth Albert

served hotBlurb

In Portland, Oregon, the only thing hotter than the coffee shops, restaurants, and bakeries are the hard-working men who serve it up—hot, fresh, and ready to go—with no reservations…

Robby is a self-employed barista with a busy coffee cart, a warm smile, and a major crush on one of his customers. David is a handsome finance director who works nearby, eats lunch by himself, and expects nothing but “the usual”—small vanilla latte—from the cute guy in the cart. But when David shows up for his first Portland Pride festival, Robby works up the nerve to take their slow-brewing relationship to the next level. David, however, is newly out and single, still grieving the loss of his longtime lover, and unsure if he’s ready to date again. Yet with every fresh latte, sweet exchange—and near hook-up—David and Robby go from simmering to steaming to piping hot. The question is: Will someone get burned?

Review

Robby is a guy who can’t get a break in the boyfriend department – that’s all he wants, but he can’t find a permanent guy. He’s in a great place to find love, Portland, OR – and he’s had quite a few try-outs, but none who are perfect.

David is a “just out of the closet” coffee drinker who casually pushes all Robby’s buttons. They sort of flirt with one another for weeks and months then at a Pride Fest Parade they kiss and thus start their “relationship.”

Here’s the main problem: David doesn’t know how to be in an “out” relationship, his last partner died while in complete denial that they were even “dating”. Robby has so many insecurities that he hesitates to ask for or expect what he wants and deserves. So… for weeks and months more the relationship very (agonizingly) slowly moves forward.

Something’s gotta break though, because Robby can only stand in the shadows so long before he’s going to run.

Luckily – David gets his act together before it all ends in tears.

**

What I loved about this:
The writing: crisp, clear, subtle artistry, deliberate and evocative.
The setting: I loved how well Annabeth described Portlandia. From the gentrification of Alberta to the coffee snobbery to the hipsters on every corner.
The characters: Each was a very three-dimensional person and intriguing on their own merits.

What I didn’t love:
The fact that if Robby had only spoken up so much could have been resolved. It felt a bit contrived, though it did make some sense given his dating history.

All in all it was a wonderful first novel (for me) from this author and I will absolutely be looking for more from her and the series!

4.5 of 5 stars

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To buy

http://www.amazon.com/Served-Portland-Heat-Annabeth-Albert-ebook/dp/B00ONTR778/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8

(Copy purchased for review)

Categories
adult - 18+ Audiobook Contemporary Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Purchased

Just Desserts Audiobook by Mary Calmes Narrated by Greg Tremblay

just desserts audioBlurb

Boone Walton has tried hard to create some distance between himself and his past. He’s invested in his new life, his New Orleans art gallery, and his friendship with Scott Wren. Things finally seem to be settling down to normal, and Boone couldn’t be happier.

Chef Scott Wren wants much more than normal with Boone. He wants to raise things to the next level, but Boone is terrified—and not because of the ghost in Scott’s apartment or Scott’s relatives. No, Boone’s past is about to pay him a visit, and the only thing that can get between Boone, Scott, and a hinky recipe for chocolate mousse found in a curious cookbook is the river of pain Boone had to swim across to get to this side of The Big Easy. There’s a secret behind the ingredients, though—one that might reveal the trust and love that have been missing from Boone’s life.

Review
(Book review previously seen on kimichanexperience.com)
Boone’s heart was broken years ago and he hasn’t let anyone in since. His buddy, Scott, captures his interest, but he’s a player and Boone can’t risk that kind of hurt again.

When it finally looks like the player might settle down, Boone realizes he can’t let Scott go to someone else and together they embark on the relationship both had been pining for, for years.

This is another wonderful Mary Calmes love story, full of clueless MCs, tough guys, friendship, laughter, well structured secondary characters and hot sex. Add to it the Yakuza, NOLA and some amazing chocolate mousse and you have Just Desserts!

Audio

Greg Tremblay has done it again. He is such an amazing performer! He always adds to the story and brings it to life.  I ADORE the lovemaking scenes and he’s always so great with secondary characters and unique accents.  Simply wonderful!

5 of 5 stars

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To Buy
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Just-Desserts-Audiobook/B013PUKEE8

(Copy purchased for review.)

Categories
adult - 18+ Age Group Book Contemporary Gay m/m May/December May/December Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Purchased Romance Time Period

Elements of Retrofit (Thomas Elkins Series Book 1) NR Walker

elemets retrofitBlurb

Book one in the Thomas Elkin series
Generation versus generation, traditional versus contemporary, these men are about to learn a lesson in architecture and love. Can they prove that the old and new can be the perfect design?
A successful New York architect, Thomas Elkin almost has it all. Coming out as gay and ending his marriage before his fortieth birthday, he needed to start living his life. Now, four years later, with his relationship with his son back on track, and after a few short-lived romances, this esteemed traditional draftsman thinks he knows everything about architecture, about life.
Cooper Jones, twenty-two years old, is about to take the architect world by storm. Talented, professional, driven and completely infuriating, Cooper is the definition of Generation Y.
Starting an internship working with Thomas, Cooper is about to knock Tom’s world off its axis. Tom can teach Cooper about the architecture industry, but Cooper is about to teach Tom what it means to live.
Review

Thomas Elkins got married young to a woman he mostly loved, they had a wonderful son but then Tom realized as he got older that his love of men could no longer be denied. He got divorced, moved out and moved on.

Now, he lives his life as a rather famous architect in a lonely apartment in NYC, neither miserable nor happy.

One day his son brings home a friend, a very cute, very interested and interesting friend. Eye-ball messages may have been exchanged, but really, Tom thought nothing of it. He’s 22 years older than the guy for Pete’s sake!

When that friend, Cooper, ends up being Tom’s new intern, trouble really starts showing up.

Cooper is 22, trying to make the best impression he can on an icon in the industry who also turns out to be his friend’s father and a super-hot-newly-out-gay-guy!

Cooper doesn’t back down from a challenge and when he notices the looks Tom inadvertently sends his way, not to mention the fact that the two can talk for hours without missing a beat, and the fact that he’s smokin’ hot… he decides to go for it.

What happens next is the two men making room in their lives for a less-than-usual relationship, in a dangerous-for-them environment.

Tom is afraid he’s too old. Cooper doesn’t know what a real relationship even looks like. Tom is scared that Cooper might be using him for his prestige. Cooper is worried he’ll never measure up or be thought of as an equal. Both are afraid of getting caught by their friends and family.

In the end (part one that is) they decide to dive in and make a go of it because what they feel is too wild and amazing to dismiss.

**

This is the first series I read by NR Walker. I have to admit that I avoided it for a long time mainly due to the name. It felt – stodgy. When I read the blurb I was worried it was going to be a very weird father figure type romance due to the tremendously large age gap.

BOY was I wrong. NR Walker is an amazing writer. Her stories simply flow off the page and into your heart. She creates these REAL characters with heart, and flaws, and compassion and fears and then shows us how they can grow/change/heal in the new relationships they forge.

Tom is kind of … boring. He doesn’t take a lot of chances in the personal department and has gotten lackadaisical at work. He’s… comfortable.
Cooper comes along and messes that right up!

Cooper is young, but way older than his years. Sure, he messes up and acts his “age” sometimes, but for the most these two guys are really well suited and never did I feel like there was a father figure vibe whatsoever.  (Amen to the differences between Gen X and Gen Y!)

The sexual chemistry between them is scorching hot, but has elements of realism too. The boundaries they set and the expectations.

All in all I absolutely loved this book (and series) and am happy to promote the new cover!

6 of 5 stars

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To Buy:  http://www.amazon.com/Elements-Retrofit-Thomas-Elkin-Book-ebook/dp/B013E7UN8O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439500494&sr=8-1&keywords=elements+of+retrofit+walker