Categories
New Adult young adult

Wes Toren by J.M. Colail

 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53125802-wes-toren

 

Blurb

 

 

Senior Toren Grey cares more about his family and his grades than what brand of clothes he wears. Majority consensus is that he’s a nerd. So he’s surprised when resident bad boy Wesley Carroll speaks to him in the hall, stirring feelings that Toren has to hide. Though disconcerted by Wes’s free and easy ways, Toren can’t deny the attraction between them. As he relaxes and gets to know Wes better, he finds there’s more to the sexy rebel than his public image. Before long the young men are exploring new territory and falling in love, but life just isn’t that simple. After they graduate, obstacles block their relationship at every turn: Wes working versus Toren in college, the virulent disapproval of parents, and everyday trials faced by any struggling young couple. Wes and Toren have to believe in each other…and never doubt that their love can conquer all. 

 

 

Review

 

I had read this (first edition) a few years ago and I had liked it (more or less).  I never wrote a review, so I can’t tell you exactly what I’d thought, but I remembered it fondly and there is one scene in it that really stuck with me and made me look the book up once or twice after reading it.  (That is an accomplishment in and of itself, as I read so much that a lot of the times anything not very powerful will merge into the quagmire and be more or less forgotten.). (The scene, FWIW is when Toren is in school looking at a swab from his mouth.)

 

So, when I saw this was being re-published, I thought – sure!  I remember that book and thought it would be fun.  It was originally published in 2009!  So, I’m sure, at the time, it was one of only a few of it’s kind out there, and I bet it did feel refreshing and wonderful.  So, with that in mind, I do think it has it’s place.

 

But… it did not stand the test of time.  Probably because I’ve since read stories that covered a similar situation and to my way of thinking, did it better (or as appeals to me better.)

I could barely read it again.  Mostly because I cannot really stand Wes.

I think, originally, I found him to be a cute “bad” boy that helps our poor nerdy Toren to find himself.

 

Well, that’s true, but he’s also just not my favorite character.  He’s kind of a non-communicative bully and I’m just a little too sensitive to the fact that he doesn’t really project a guy that I think Toren would do well with long term and that bugs me now.

 

I just didn’t like him and found him to be like a 1970s punk who isn’t really all that redeemed by the end of the story.

 

It is a sort of nice “coming of age story” and for hard core fans of NA romance/YA romance – you might love this, but I didn’t.

 

I’ll give it 3 of 5 stars (a little generously) because it is a tough genre and it wasn’t awful, but I don’t really recommend it.

 

(I think, when compared to books like Superhero by Eli Easton, it just didn’t tick the right boxes for me.  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18192707-superhero)

 

 

 



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Power Plays & Straight A’s (CU Hockey #1) by Eden Finley , Saxon James

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53336266-power-plays-straight-a-s

Blurb

FOSTER:

“Look out for Zach and don’t hit on him.”

My brother’s request sounds easy enough. Keep an eye out for his best friend on campus and keep my hands to myself.

Easy.

Even if Zach is a quintessential nerd, who I’ve always thought was cute, I don’t have the time to think with my … stick.

There’s only one stick I should be focused on this year, and that’s my hockey stick. My goal once I graduate is to get an NHL contract.

The last thing I need is a distraction. On or off the ice.

Only, keeping to the rules is harder than I thought it would be.

ZACH:

People confuse me.

And no one more than Foster Grant.

I’ve barely spoken two words to him in the whole time I’ve known him, but the second I step foot on campus, he’s impossible to shake.

I can never anticipate his next move. And whenever we’re together, my next move is a total mystery as well.

I want to give in to him, but that might mean coming clean about something I’ve never been bothered about before.

I’m still carrying my V-card.

And I think it’s time to turn it in.

Review

This was really cute. There was a lot of humor, URST – which then became awkwardly then hawtly resolved 😉

Of course I love the hockey aspect of it and the protective instincts were awesome!

All in all I enjoyed this and will look for more from this series in the future.

4 of 5 stars

Categories
New Adult

Recent Release: Eeli (Brotherhood of Ormarr #3) by Steph Marie, Bobbie Rayne

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45882845-eeli

Eeli~
I’ve been training my entire life for this; I need to be the best, the best fighter, the best dragon rider in the entire brotherhood. This is what I was born for. The only problem is that my bonded dragon, Bodhi, and I can’t seem to get it together. One minute I think we’re connecting properly, and the next she’s taking off, leading me to the one guy I don’t want to know: Slash. He’s basically the opposite of me in every way, and I don’t get why he’s suddenly everywhere I turn, but I can’t deny how he makes me feel when he looks at me.
Slash~
Three years ago my sister and I had to come to a new town and started new schools without our parents’ unconditional love and support. My uncle’s an uncaring drunk, so I’m doing the best I can to keep us both clothed and fed with only an after school job. If I didn’t have her to live for, the loneliness would be excruciating. Now, with only a few months until graduation, I’ve suddenly made a friend because of my sister, and another guy keeps stumbling into me who I think needs help: Eeli. I don’t understand why no one else sees how oddly he’s behaving, but I can’t deny my attraction for him is growing with every mishap.
Eeli is the third book in The Brotherhood of Ormarr series. While each book focuses on a different couple, the overall story arc continues in the next installment. For maximum enjoyment, we suggest reading in order. Eeli is a m/m NA romance, and is recommended for adults 18 years and older.
Review

This is my favorite book in the series! I adored this couple! I was worried it was going to be a scaled down romance with the NA in the description but it wasn’t! We get to experience all the horrible stages of falling in love in high school and then transition to a life fighting evil as an adult. It was very well paced and wonderfully humorous and touching, too.

Highly recommended!

6 of 5

Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Recent Release: My Prince (2nd edition) by Anna Martin

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48671727-my-prince

Blurb

After growing up in a rough part of Manchester, George Maguire found his way to Edinburgh and a career as a design engineer. He wasn’t that interested in finding a relationship—his habit of hot and steamy one-night-stands suited him just fine. Falling into a very expensive hotel room bed with Alex really was just another night.

Until George learns that the guy he’d slept with wasn’t just ‘Alex’—he’s Alexander van Amsberg, Prince of the Netherlands.

George puts the incident behind him until he runs into Alex again, and this time Alex makes sure to get George’s phone number. Despite all the reasons why their relationship shouldn’t work, something clicks, and Alex thinks that he might have finally found the right guy.

But Alex’s aristocratic ex stirs up trouble in the tabloid press, and suddenly George’s working class family is put under the spotlight. Alex has to admit that their relationship isn’t a fairy tale, and despite his royal title, he might have lost his chance for a happily ever after.

*This is a second edition, re-release of the October 2015 novel ‘My Prince’ by Anna Martin.

Review

(Original review)

George, a rugby player and sports equipment designer, meets a man out one night and they have a hot night at a hotel. George’s hook-up, Alex, is obviously “posh” so George figures he’ll never see him again. He’s shocked when he sees him on the TV and finds out he’s one of the princes of the Netherlands!

Alex is the fifth in line for the throne (read as never really in line). He’s an architecture student living in Scotland and has no plans to ever go home for any length of time. He has a hot time with George, but doubts to ever see him again. When they meet, months later at a charity event, he thinks it must be kismet. They exchange numbers and from there start a “thing” that becomes a relationship.

There stands a lot between them and happiness including George’s own place in the closet, Alex’s family and expectations, the press and George’s family of 7 siblings. But… after a lot of time and patience they manage to make their own fairy tale happy ending!

**

Anna Martin is an amazing writer! I have admired her work from the first book I read of hers, Tattoos & Teacups and really enjoyed her books Summer Son and Solitude.

This is not only my favorite of her books, but will go on my list as the best book I’ve read this year! I loved it!

George is so very real, but so is Alex. Their relationship is fraught with difficulty and impracticalities but they persevere and survive in a way that seems very authentic and plausible but yet terribly romantic and special.

I loved how open Alex was and how shy George was. I loved the way Alex brought Doug in to “educate” George and how well George responded to the prodding. The need for George to know more about gay history was thought provoking without being preachy.

The sex/chemistry between these guys was incendiary but what got to me the most was their emotional connection.

I was a bit daunted by the length of this book, especially when they hooked up fairly early on. I was anticipating loads of angst and separation or fighting to fill the pages, but what I got was a very organic telling of the blossoming and deepening of their relationship. I really felt that these guys had what it took to make things work by the end of the story because we’d seen their relationship grow.

Anna’s writing is lovely and smooth, her characters are really well developed and three-dimensional. I cannot gush enough about this story. It was really and truly a fairy-tale for modern times and it was wonderful, I can’t recommend it enough!

(All of this and more – with my re-reading I still loved this beyond measure! It was this book that really made me an Anna Martin fan and it’s only been recently that she wasn’t an auto buy for me. This is cute, sweet, sexy, thoughtful and really still quite appropriate even though it’s a few years old now. Highly recommended!)

6 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Recent Release: Across the Pond (Arizona Raptors #2) by R.J. Scott , V.L. Locey

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48637692-across-the-pond?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

The greatest journey isn’t from England to the States, it’s the one that two men take on the way to find each other.

Sebastian Brown is on a mission to rescue the Arizona Raptors and a vow he made to a friend in college. Either that or he’s on vacation. He’s not entirely sure that he’s made up his mind yet. Either way, traveling from England, to the arid desert of Arizona isn’t exactly a picnic, particularly with the doubts and worries he takes with him. He’s turned even the worst of companies around, but faced with the challenge of improving the reputation of a hockey team that everyone seems to hate, he knows his work is cut out for him.

Focus is key, but that is easier said than done when Seb is sent into a tailspin by the intriguing Alejandro. Seb’s entire marketing plan hinges on making Alex a poster boy for equality and fair play. But with Alex’s utter dedication to the game, and his dark secretive eyes, the gorgeous Alex is stubborn, opinionated, doesn’t want any part of being the team focus, and worst of all, doesn’t appear to like Seb at all. It takes everything that Seb has to keep his hands off of Alex, but things get out of hand and Seb’s life might never be the same again.

Alejandro Garcia has had to work hard to get where he’s at. Born to Mexican immigrants, his siblings and himself have never had it easy in this new country their parents dreamed of calling home. A native son of Arizona, Alex has always been the odd man out on the ice but he’s not going to let a stupid thing like his heritage get in the way of his dreams. He’s now a Raptor and he plans to put all that training and collegiate hockey experience to good use. Working hard comes naturally to him. It’s something his parents have instilled in him from the time he was a toddler. Being one of a handful of Latino hockey players makes him strive for success with even more determination. His first pro season has had some ups but a lot more downs, but Alex is one stubborn young man and failure is not an option.

As the Raptors struggle to rebuild not only their team but their core values, Alex finds himself drawn to one of the owner’s friends, a tall, lanky Brit with the face of an angel and an accent and attitude that bewitches and befuddles him. Sebastian is everything he thought he would never be attracted to but he can’t push the sexy, older, fun-loving man out of his thoughts. If ever there were a man he would not be able to take home to his parents – not that he can bring a man home since he is deeply closeted – it’s Sebastian, but desire knows no socioeconomic, age, or international borders. The heart wants what the heart wants and Alejandro’s wants Sebastian.

Review

(Contains mild spoilers)

 

 

 

 

I am soooo disappointed in this. I’ve been (mostly) loving this series and the original and I was really anticipating Alex’s story, but this did not deliver.

First, Sebastian is so bland and not fleshed-out, as to be almost non-existant. There is next to no real romance building between him and Alex and what there is goes by waaaayyy to fast to feel good.

Second, Alex is so all over the map, he gave me whiplash.  On one hand I know some of that is his character, but on the other hand he goes from being so deep in the closet to out and proud at his sisters party!  It just didn’t feel right.  I didn’t get the sense that the two really spent quality time together to build a relationship worthy of his spectacular coming out.

 

I think there are just too many plot points so none got well developed.  One that really deserved attention was the age gap and it was really skimmed over – at best.  Then they have to deal with either a long distance relationship or moving permanently?    We also had Alex’s virginity and his religion to contend with. Nope.  We just didn’t get enough of that for me to buy this romance as settled or even well thought out.

 

I’ll give the story a 2.5 stars for the characters and the continuation of other story lines, but their romance in particular did not shine as I’d hoped.

 

2.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Audiobook: A Forbidden Rumspringa (Gay Amish Romance #1) by Keira Andrews Narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/A-Forbidden-Rumspringa-Audiobook/151594395X?qid=1567270521&sr=1-1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=C1ZBX33XBS1DN4T22H8S&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1

Blurb

When two young Amish men find love, will they risk losing everything?

In a world where every detail of life—down to the width of a hat brim—is dictated by God and the all-powerful rules of the community, two men dare to imagine a different way. At 18, Isaac Byler knows little outside the strict Amish settlement of Zebulon, Minnesota, where there is no rumspringa for exploration beyond the boundaries of their insular world. Isaac knows he’ll have to officially join the church and find a wife before too long, but he yearns for something else—something he can’t name.

Dark tragedy has left carpenter David Lantz alone to support his mother and sisters, and he can’t put off joining the church any longer. But when he takes on Isaac as an apprentice, their attraction grows amid the sweat and sawdust. David shares his sinful secrets, and he and Isaac struggle to reconcile their shocking desires with their commitment to faith, family and community.

Now that they’ve found each other, are they willing to lose it all?

Note: Contains explicit sexual situations and graphic language. This is not an inspirational/Christian romance.

Review

In this version of the Amish faith, electricity and running water are forbidden. Even English isn’t spoken in the home. School stops at the 8th grade and boys become married men at 18. In Zebulon even other versions of the faith are considered too lax and allow too much freedom.
Isaac is 18, and is now considered the oldest son since his brother Aaron left the faith in shame and is now, for all intents and purposes, dead to them. Isaac isn’t much of a farmer, the family business, so his father arranges for him to apprentice with their group’s carpenter, David Lantz.
David’s younger brother also shamed the community when he and 2 other kids got high and crashed their car and died. Now David is responsible for his mother and sisters, but financially speaking things are tough. David meets an “English” (non Amish) neighbor who helps him to sell some of his carpentry for cash to help his family. She also exposes him to things he never would have seen in the community: movies, magazines, MIRRORS, zippers, cars… the list is endless and with each new experience David’s beliefs are challenged more and more. Only his feeling of responsibility to his family remains the same: he can’t leave the community because he can’t leave them.
Isaac had noticed David and vice versa months before. When put in a situation of day to day proximity to one another the spark that started then ignites. It doesn’t take long before the two are engaged in their own version of “rumspringa” or adolescent romantic exploration and it involves lube!
Both men know what they are doing is strictly forbidden and this adds to the excitement. However, there will come a time when they both need to decide what the future holds : more unquestioning belief in a faith that has more questions than answers or doing the unimaginable and leaving behind everything they know to be together.

**
I admit I was not at all attracted to this book when I first saw it. I just don’t like religious themes – having had too many bad experiences. But I kept seeing the good reviews from people I trusted and I thought… well, I’ll give it a shot.
What a pleasant surprise! Yes, the religion plays a heavy, heavy role, but the romance is so beautiful that I didn’t mind the religion. For those of you with an interest in the religion Keira Andrews does an amazingly thorough job of explaining the Amish faith and the differences. I think you can skim those parts and still get the benefit of reading the story if those parts don’t interest you.
Isaac’s naïve view of the world, then his complete faith in love are really touching. I thought it was fascinating that of all the sins he was committing, he stood firm on not looking at himself in the mirror. Like, if he didn’t see himself doing these things, then perhaps he could still hide? David, is more comfortable with the “sin”, he’s more concerned about his family and his feelings of guilt surrounding them.
I found the ending to be actually sort of a surprise in the way things unfolded – it’s very exciting – you’ll enjoy it! And, even better news, this is book one and in book two we get to see more of the characters, that is awesome because … well I can’t tell you, but it will be great to see what happens next.
I had read Keira Andrews before and I found this book to be a step above her other books – it is very well written and the story is very touching and might just make you think, too.

Audio

John Solo seems to fit this story really well.  He does a nice job with the pacing and his tone matched that of the story.  This is a nice way to enjoy the story!

Recommended!

 

4 stars 


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Recent Release: Paint It Black by Amy Lane

Dreamspinner
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/paint-it-black-by-amy-lane-10680-b

Blurb

Everybody thinks Mackey Sanders’s Outbreak Monkey is the last coming of Rock ’n’ Roll Jesus, but Cheever Sanders can’t wait to make a name for himself where nobody expects him to fill his famous brothers’ shoes. He’s tired of living in their shadow.

Blake Manning has been one of Outbreak Monkey’s lead guitarists for ten years. He got this gig on luck and love, not talent. So hearing that Cheever is blowing through Outbreak Monkey’s hard-earned money in an epic stretch of partying pisses him off.

Blake shows up at Cheever’s nonstop orgy to enforce some rules, but instead of a jaded punk, he finds a lost boy as talented at painting as Mackey is at song-making, and terrified to let anybody see the real him. Childhood abuse and a suicide attempt left Cheever on the edge of survival—a place Blake knows all too well.

Both men have to make peace with being second banana in the public eye. Can they find the magic of coming absolute first with each other?

Review

Beneath the Stain is one of my all time favorite books, not just Amy book, but all time. I was ECSTATIC to find she’d written more! The story takes place several years and several kids later for the band and it’s members.

Just as Stain ripped our hearts out, so too does Paint it Black.

Poor Cheever. Gah. Remember how we hated him in Stain? Well, there was a HORRIBLE reason he was such a dick. That part of the story was very, very hard to read and it made Grant and Mackey seem only a little sad.

I loved the slight switch here where – once things are a little stabilized, Cheever is the one explaining life to Blake and helping him to see the Truth.

It was fantastic seeing the boys again and watching them with their kids and finding out how Briony keeps them all under control! I can’t wait for the audio and I can’t recommend the book highly enough!

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Recent Release: Benoit (Owatonna U Hockey #3) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43560366-benoit?from_search=true

Blurb

When the lines between career and love blur, will Ethan and Ben find a way to create a future that will work for both of them?

Senior year is here, and everything is on the line. Benoit’s time to shine in the crease is now, and he’s going to do everything he can to make sure those professional scouts take notice. He’s earned a great reputation for his skills in the net, and his laid-back demeanor is his key to maintaining his cool when things get heated in the goal crease.

As the Eagles roar into a new season, Ben’s laser-sharp focus is shattered by his attraction to Ethan Girard, the team’s new defensive consultant. Trying his best to ignore the budding friendship that’s taking a hard, fast turn into something far more passionate, Ben is determined to keep his mind on the sport he loves and not let his feelings for the handsome older man creep into his performance. But love, like hockey, is wildly unpredictable, and soon Ben finds that he’s unable to distance himself from Ethan who is slowly and surely working himself into his heart.

Famed Boston defenseman, Ethan Girard, isn’t stupid. Celebrating his thirty-second birthday in the emergency room after breaking his leg, and with a warning that healing will be a long process, he knows he has to think about his future. He was drafted at eighteen, and he’s never known anything but hockey, but with no contract in place yet for the new season he considers that maybe it’s time for him to hang up his skates for good.

Volunteering to help out with the Owatonna Eagles fills his time, but from the moment he lays eyes on goalie Ben, he knows his world will never be the same again. Falling in lust is as easy as stealing his first kiss, but Ben refuses to engage. Has Ethan finally met his match?

Review

I love goalies! And goalie stories! Benoit is a little odd, as are all goalies, and he has his own traditions and peculiarities which make him feel authentic.

Ethan did not get as fleshed out, for me, as Benoit did and though he was a lot older than Ben, I didn’t get the same feeling of age difference as I did with Ten and Jared. I loved having the characters from the Railers come through here – especially Stan – who remains my favorite character in both series.

The romance was pretty darn easy and the “suspense” was pretty uneventful. All in all it was a nice, relatively angst free romance with a few smexy times, a nice re-visiting with prior characters and a little bit of hockey on the side.

4 of 5 stars



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
New Adult

Recent Release: Living on a Dare (Shore Thing #1) by Grace Kilian Delaney

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44835269-living-on-a-dare?from_search=true

Blurb

Stuntman Draven O’Connor never turns down a dare—even if it means getting down on one knee to propose to his former college roommate and friend. The same man he’s been crushing on since the first day they met. The same man that has grown distant over the past year. And the same man who just agreed to be his fiancé.

Julien Bouchard is tired of living a lie. He spent the past year exploring his sexuality in secret, enduring countless dates with women to appease his mother, and dodging his best friend, Draven, who knows everything there is to know about him, except the one thing that could change their friendship. Ready to face his friend, he meets him at a bar and is greeted by an unexpected marriage proposal. The dare isn’t surprising; it’s the scorching hot kiss that sends Julien’s head and heart in a tailspin—and gives him an idea for the perfect plan.

But his plan hits a bump when news of their fake engagement spreads to their families as fast as a wildfire, forcing them to confront their true feelings about each other and hope they don’t get burned.

Review

Phenomenal book. You meet college roommates and best friends Julian and Draven. Both men have pined for the other, though Julian hadn’t realized until later. Julian’s mother and father made me cringe every time I read their parts. Hated how Julian let them treat him, but it’s relatable. Especially the “what ifs”. What started as a harmless prank proposal brought the real feelings to the surface along with Julian learning the extent of his family’s tolerance. Not many steamy moments, but the ones that were there are very hot. I loved reading how sweet and easy flowing things are with the guys. Draven had a really bad relationship that caused him to be very guarded, but both laid their insecurities in their own time. Was a nail biter when Draven had an accident. Happy when things smoothed out for the couple. Definitely recommend this book.

Number of stars out of 5

5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
New Adult

Recent Release: Not Gonna Lie (#Lovehim series #4) by S.M. James

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/44600013-not-gonna-lie

Blurb

Everyone has their secrets.

Last year Digi walked out on Webcon, on his fans, and on Gram.

Now he’s back determined to give what they had a real shot, but Gram is more prickly than ever, not willing to risk his heart again.

Despite trying to stay out of the spotlight, the anonymous Public Service Announcements draw Digi back in. As the secrets of the internet’s top celebrities are leaked to the world, it’s only a matter of time before Digi and Gram are next.

To get through it, they have to set their rivalry aside.

Will Digi handle the pressure of the bright lights long enough to find who is tearing their world apart? Or will the threat of full exposure be too much for him to handle?

Review

Swoon…Where to even start? This was just such an amazing story! I’m totally in love with this entire series and I’m at a loss to comprehend how it can keep getting better with every new title but it so does!

Each book tackles different issues and diverse characters in the most amazing, sensitive, moving way, always keeping the perfect balance between humor and genuine emotion, lighthearted scenes and angst-filled ones. There are a couple of surprising plot twists and I really liked how the tension built with every new secret that got leaked.

Digi and Gram’s feelings for each other are so intense, even when they’re still “frenemies” so to speak. My heart ached for them throughout the book. Digi is struggling so much with his low self-esteem and his eating disorder, and he remains completely unaware of Gram’s feelings for him for a long time. Gram is so endearing, even hiding as he as behind his snarky attitude and angry outbursts, all the while secretly pining for Digi.

I simply adore Digi and Gram and I was over the moon to get little glimpses of Archie and Yarran as well as Brooks and Darien. I love how all the characters of the different books in the series are connected somehow and I’m keeping my fingers crossed that some of the secondary characters will get their own book in the hopefully near future.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Purchased for Honest Review