Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Gay Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hopelessly Crying m/m Mystery Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat

Dirty Kiss (Book 1) Audiobook by Rhys Ford Narrated by Greg Tremblay

DirtyKissAudLGBlurb:

Cole Kenjiro McGinnis, ex-cop and PI, is trying to get over the shooting death of his lover when a supposedly routine investigation lands in his lap. Investigating the apparent suicide of a prominent Korean businessman’s son proves to be anything but ordinary, especially when it introduces Cole to the dead man’s handsome cousin, Kim Jae-Min.

Jae-Min’s cousin had a dirty little secret, the kind that Cole has been familiar with all his life and that Jae-Min is still hiding from his family. The investigation leads Cole from tasteful mansions to seedy lover s trysts to Dirty Kiss, the place where the rich and discreet go to indulge in desires their traditional-minded families would rather know nothing about.

It also leads Cole McGinnis into Jae-Min’s arms, and that could be a problem. The death of Jae-Min’s cousin is looking less and less like a suicide, and Jae-Min is looking more and more like a target. Cole has already lost one lover to violence he’s not about to lose Jae-Min too.

Review:

Cole was a police officer who lost his lover and his job to a murder.  (It’s way more complicated than that, but you’ll have to read/listen to the entire series to get the full extent of the story.  You don’t find out here, but you get dribbles and drabbles along the way, piquing your interest.)  He’s now a private investigator, on a job.  He meets Jae-Min at the house of one of the people he’s investigating and is instantly attracted.

Jae is Korean, he can’t be gay.  But he is.  That is a huge deal for him.  He’s attracted to Cole but he knows for the sake of his family he has to push him away.  Cole won’t let that happen.

The mystery in this book is: Jae’s cousin committed suicide – or did he?  There is a lot hidden in Korean society and it’s up to Cole to dig through all the secrets to find the truth.  Of course, in the meantime he gets hurt too, but he seems to have 9 lives – like Jae’s cat!

We get to meet most of the characters we will grow to love throughout the series including Cole’s brother Mike, his assistant Claudia, his BFF Bobby and Jae’s bestie Scarlet.  The mystery gets solved and the beginning of the romance between Jae and Cole begins.

Though the mystery takes up the bulk of the story, to me, the romance is the main thrust of this book and the entire series. Watching Jae-Min and Cole learn to be a couple is the best part of this series. The funny side characters (some of whom get their own stories later on) are an added bonus.

I loved this book and the entire series and also gave it a 5 of 5 stars.

Audio version:
This is a case where the audio version is so amazing as to sometimes surpasses the written word. Greg Tremblay totally gets what Rhys is writing and he “performs” the story, not just reading it.

There are times, and I have said this before, where you feel like you are listening at the door, or listening to a movie soundtrack, instead of a simple narration.

It is supremely excellent.

Each character has a distinct and unique voice, and Greg even has a great singing voice.

I give the audio version a 6 out of 5 stars because it is Rhys’ words performed so excellently by Greg that together, the combination surpasses the book as an experience.

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Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.amazon.com/Dirty-Kiss-Book-1/dp/B00IX3FOKM/ref=tmm_aud_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=undefined&sr=1-1

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level BDSM Book Christmas Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Exploration Gay Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying m/m Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Samhain Publishing Scorching/high heat

Sleigh Ride (Minnesota Christmas Book 2) by Heidi Cullinan

sleigh rideBlurb

The way to a man’s heart is on a sleigh.

Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.

It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.

As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.

Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.

Review

We met Arthur in book one. He was Paul’s f*ck buddy, he likes his sex rough, he’s a ginger, “pocket bear”, rough around the edges, not looking for a “partner” but he doesn’t like to be alone either.

Gabriel is the new librarian. He’s tall, geeky, awkward and in no way interested in Arthur.

Arthur’s mother works with Gabe at the library and schemes to get these guys working together in the hopes that sparks might fly between them, romantically. It’s a preposterous notion – they couldn’t be more different – but somehow… they connect – and how!

It is far from smooth sailing between them. Gabe has so many issues, including trust, and he needs special handling. Arthur is like a bull in a china shop when emotions are involved so it seems pretty hopeless.

They rally around the library fund-raiser and Arthur’s nephew and find that – if they’re both really brave – they might just have what it takes to make things between them work.

**

This book resonated with me on so many levels. It was amazing. I absolutely laughed then cried then swooned… it truly affected me very strongly.

I think Gabe’s character was the most compelling – for me. He feels such shame about his desires. He wants so badly to be the champion for the under-dog and when it comes to others he can be so fierce, but when it comes to defending himself and his wants and needs, he crumples.

My most favorite part of this book revolves around “William’s Doll” a story for children wherein a boy wants a doll and his folks won’t let him have it. Oh. My. God. I bawled! The way Gabriel handled it was absolutely amazing. I would have loved to have such a strong advocate in my library growing up. He was so brave. Bringing “big city” ideas to the sticks and letting people see that caring and nurturing are not exclusively feminine traits. (Or if they are, then we all have both types of characters in us.)

I also loved his vision of what a library should be. Being a library lover, I found his “new and improved” vision to be astounding. To look at the library as more than a stacking place for books and see it as a place for disseminating information of all types… amazing!

Another really touching scene was when Arthur and Gabe connected over graphic novels. Again, another “hidden” prejudice that gets “outed”. The love of literature can really extend past our traditional definitions.

And the smexy times. Though I connected the least with the things Arthur and Gabe liked to share in bed, I really appreciated Arthur’s no-nonsense approach to it. “Sex is sex”. If it feels good to both partners – do it. No need to perseverate on it and feel badly about it. So down to earth and such good advice.

“Next time I’m gonna lick you.” Arthur flashed his tongue over the nipple tip as he roughly palmed Gabriel’s dick, tugging his own out of his pants and thrusting them together, heated, velvet flesh. “For an hour. Make you crazy. Make you beg, honey. Let you say no to me, then I’ll makeyou say yes.” He humped, sliding their cocks together, sucking on Gabriel’s chest. “Because you don’t want me to stop, do you, baby? Say it. Hump me and say it.”

Finally – the ending. It has to rank – for me- up in the top ten most romantic endings I’ve ever read. It was absolutely wonderful and ooey and gooey and tear-jerking and perfect!

Gabriel bit his lip and closed his eyes, but the tears spilled out. He could feel everyone around him, feel them waiting, hoping, worrying.

Loving him. Just the way he was.

I think each book in this series can be read on it’s own, but I think it’s best read in order. This is (by far) my favorite in the series and I can’t recommend it, the series or the author enough.

6 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Samhain Publishing Presents

http://www.heidicullinan.com/sleigh-ride

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Christmas Contemporary Cop/Crime Dreamspinner Established Couple Gay Heat Index Holiday Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Purchased second chance at love

What Can Be by Mary Calmes

what can beBlurb

Thirteen years ago, Eli went on a summer trip with his mother and never came back. Now, existing in a new life as Jacob Somerville, he’s again running from fear and memories, only to end up where he started. As Jacob struggles to reconnect with his father and brothers, he realizes that his lover, Craig Zhao, was the only thing filling his empty heart and standing between him and ghosts of the past. It will take the power of love—from his family, from Craig, and from himself—for Jacob to see that his life truly is filled with the promise of what can be.

Review

Eli/Jake has a reason to go home, but he’s scared. He doesn’t know who he is now. He’s run all his life and now he can’t decide the next step, so he cuts all ties, even though he has a happy life and love in Chicago.

Craig won’t accept that Jake wants out. He knows Jake. Knows all his secrets. Knows he needs Craig’s help.

When Eli/Jake finally faces his family after 13 years of absence, there’s a chance he could lose it all, or finally be free.

**

This is a no-holds-barred emotional read. Eli’s past is harsh and the love that he shares with Craig is special.

It was hard reading about what happened, and so many times I was tempted to rush to the end to see what he’s hiding, but the way it’s laid out is perfect – of course – it’s Mary!

Craig and Eli/Jake are a wonderful couple and I wish we’d gotten more of their story – but I almost think it would have been even more painful to have it drawn out. Seeing this – the pinnacle moment – was hard enough.

“You look at me and I feel like I could do anything just because you love me. We fit so perfect. I mean, I just have to see you, and I know I’m home.”

I love all of Mary’s work, and this is one of her more dark stories, showing us her breadth of talent.

I highly recommend this and the author, in this case, especially if you are in the mood for a happy ending but a darker story.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?cPath=62_519&products_id=2625

 

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Basketball College/University coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers High School Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Sports Virgin

The Locker Room Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Sean Crisden


locker roomBlurb

Xander Karcek has only wanted two things in his life: Christian Edwards and basketball—the man he loves and the game that let him escape a childhood he’d rather forget. His two obsessions have served him well. He and Chris beat the odds and stayed together through high school, college, and right on to the NBA. But life under fame’s microscope isn’t easy, especially when two men are pretending to be frat-buddies so the world doesn’t know they’re the next best thing to married. Their relationship survives the sacrifices they make and the lies they tell to stay together, but when their secret is exposed, the fallout might destroy them when nothing else could. Chris and basketball are the two things holding Xander together. Now the world is asking Xander to make a choice. Is there an option that includes a future with the man he loves?

Review

I feel like this story is so well known and beloved that everyone knows what it’s about and it’s hard to remember a time when I hadn’t read it or had it affect me.

But I know that’s not entirely true, and somewhere there are readers out there who have yet to experience the amazement that is this story.

So…

Xander is poor, pretty much raising himself as a teenager, keeping out of the way from mom’s “boyfriends” who want to steal his money and slap him around. The only thing that gives him any hope in the world are basketball and his “friend” Christian Edwards.

Chris is your typical all-American boy, a great family at home including a little sister, who meets a young boy playing basketball one day and sort of “adopts” him into his life and his family.

When Xander’s mother’s latest man friend forces Xander on to the streets Chris’ and Xander hatch a plan for him to work and go to school and live on his own. This lasts for a little while until exhaustion and hunger make him collapse one day on the courts, driving him to first move to a group home then later the Edwards’ house.

Everything would be perfect but for one thing: Xander and Chris have realized that they are more than friends. They don’t act upon it. A sense of morality keeps them to furtive kisses until they’re 18.

Basketball treats them both well, and sends them to be roommates in college. There, the fact that they’re so good works against them. Instead of living together as roommates as they’d dreamed, their skill lands them in the house of the varsity team, forcing them to keep their love quiet yet again.

When graduation comes they have to make the miraculous occur and get drafted by the same NBA team… they manage it, but at a cost. They can’t be gay and in the NBA. So, they manage an arrangement that … well, let’s just say they end up having to do more than just show up with a woman now and again to look like the straight celebrity athletes they are.

Finally, after years of hiding and the shame from denying their true nature, disaster strikes, eliminating basketball for one of them but opening the door to their future at the same time.

**

This book. GAH! I’ve read and listened to it so many times, and each and every time I am TORN OPEN. It is so gut-wrenching. They love each other so damn much and their pain kills me. Unlike some romances where them finding love is at least one if not the main obstacle, keeping their love quiet is the only focus in the book.

Probably the part of the story that guts me the worst is the part when they’re teenagers and Xander is living by himself and Chris’ mom finds out just how he’s been doing that… GOD I cry like a baby every time.

Then, there’s the nights the boys have to “fake it” to convince the media they are straight. It’s so heartbreaking!

Finally there’s the ending, which ends up being so bittersweet, but that interview they do with Barbara WaWa… bawling!

Amy’s ability to grab your heart and make it bleed is profound and amazing. She has such a way with emotion and finding just the right small thing to focus upon which manages to impart the greatest impact.

These guys are so well written that they feel real celebrities to me – they’ve made appearances in her other books as well as some guest appearances in other author’s works- it’s as if they are truly part of basketball history.

I know Amy has mentioned a book two for these guys and I know I for one would LOVE that. They need more time and we need to see Chris healed and give them their reward for all their years of silence.

Audio

Sean Crisden is just awesome! He is one of my favorite narrators and he does an amazing job here. Xander is just so stolid and stoic and Chris is just the right amount of peppy and growly. This is an absolute joy to listen to.

6 of 5 stars! A true M/M must read.

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(Copy Purchased for Review)

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3121

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Contemporary Established Couple Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Magic New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Paranormal Purchased Scorching/high heat second chance at love Totally Bound

Someday It Will Be by SA McAuley

 

someday it will beBlurb

Poe is about to learn death and time are fragile barriers—if he has the strength of will to let go.

Poe passes through a graffiti-laden alley, his chin tucked into his chest, a scarf wrapped tightly over his mouth to keep out the cold. He has nowhere to go since Isaac’s death, but something compels him out in the frigid Chicago winter.

He steps out of the alley, off the curb, and…into sand. In summertime. Isaac told him it would happen but Poe doesn’t care how it’s possible, only that now he has a chance to make everything right.

 

Review

I can’t really sum this up without giving up the entire story. So … let me tell you that this is a very short, but profound story about two kids who grow up as best friends, find one another later in life and after way too much time admit what the other means to each other.

There’s a touch of the supernatural and mystery thrown in, some regret, growth, and pain, but in the end a truly beautiful happy ending that will leave you wanting more.

It’s a quick read, but it will stick with you.  SA McAuley is a new author to me, but I one I’m going to definitely look into for further reads.

5 of 5 stars

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(Copy Purchased for Review)

Totally Bound Presents

https://www.totallybound.com/someday-it-will-be

 

Categories
A Tour/Guest Post/Blitz Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Author Provided Contemporary Established Couple Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying m/m Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series vampire

Cronin’s Key III by NR Walker (Review for Tour)

cronin's 3Blurb

History isn’t always what it seems…

Twelve months after his change, Alec MacAidan is still getting used to his many vampire talents. While most vampires would give anything to have more than one supernatural power, Alec craves nothing more than peace and time alone with Cronin. But when Alec meets entities from outside this realm, he’s left powerless in their presence.

Zoan are half-lycan, half-dragon creatures that have slipped through time and reality, seemingly undetected by man and vampire. Or have they? They bear an uncanny resemblance to gargoyles, leaving Alec’s view on all things weird to get a whole lot weirder.

This new quest leads Alec, Cronin, and their band of friends to Paris, Rome, and Moscow, where they learn that gargoyles aren’t simply statues on walls. In the underground pits beneath churches all over the world, Alec discovers the Key’s true destiny. Facing the Zoan might take every talent he has. And he may need help from the dead to get them all out alive.

Review

If you’ve been following along, we met Alec and Cronin in book one – fated mates, one human one vampire. It took until book two for them to finally complete the bonding process and they risked everything for the conversion. Now we finally get to see just what a “key” is made of and what he can do with his newfound talents.

It’s not a surprise when I tell you that Alec ends up with not one, or two, or three, but ALL the vampire skills and it’s a bit overwhelming. There is yet another crisis to save the world – a portal which opened up upon his conversion allowed in, the Zoan (sort of gargoyles, lycan, werewolf… creatures who are very bad and can stop time!)

In the end there is lots of drama – some loss of good friends – some reconnecting with past friends and lots of ooey gooey lurve between Cronin and Alec.

**

I’m having a hard time rating this… on the one hand I really liked that we got to spend so much time with Alec and Cronin as a couple and I loved that we got to see all the cool things Alec could do! That was amazing. By then end of the book I really felt like their story was complete and that’s a great feeling.

However, I missed the electrical connection we saw in books one and two between Alec and Cronin as there were few smexy times and most of the book was devoted to the conquering of the Zoan. So I missed the “romance” in this romance.

I appreciated the tied-up loose ends and the really happy future that got laid out for our MCs and the nice, tidy ending for some of the secondary characters, but I missed spending time alone with our guys.

Overall, it was a great series and a nice ending and I recommend it to fans of the series.

3.5 of 5 stars

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(Copy provided by Author for honest review)

NR Walker Presents

http://www.amazon.com/Cronins-Key-III-N-R-Walker-ebook/dp/B015425184/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1442196063&sr=1-4&keywords=cronin%27s+key

 

cronin tour

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook BDSM coming of age Contemporary Exploration Fade to black/No Steam Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m/m May/December May/December Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased

The Foster Family Audiobook by Jamie Samms Narrated by Greg Tremblay

 

foster familyBlurb

Growing up in foster care has left Kerry Grey with little self-esteem or hope for his future. A college dropout, Kerry scrapes by on a part-time job at a garden nursery. His friendship with his boss and working with the plants are the only high points in Kerry’s life. He’s been dating the man who bullied him at school, but when his boyfriend abandons him at a party, Kerry wanders down the beach to drown his sorrows in a bottle of scotch.

Malcolm Holmes and Charlie Stone have been together for 15 years. Despite Charlie’s willingness to accept Malcolm’s unspoken domination in bed, something is missing from their relationship. Early one morning, they rescue a passed-out Kerry from being washed away by the tide, and Charlie immediately senses a kindred spirit in the lost younger man. When Kerry’s roommate kicks him out, Malcolm and Charlie invite him into their home. As Charlie and Kerry bond over Charlie’s garden, Malcolm sees Kerry may be just who they have been looking for to complete their lives. All they have to do is show Kerry, and each other, that Kerry’s submissive tendencies will fit their dynamic.

But someone is sabotaging Kerry at every turn. As he struggles to discover the culprit, he fears for the safety of his new friends. If Malcolm and Charlie cannot help, their lifelong search for their perfect third may not end with the happily ever after they imagined.

Review

I think the gist of the story is pretty well laid out in the blurb.

**

Let me start by saying that I took a long time to finish this book and write a review because I feel pretty conflicted about it.

I really wanted to like the triad, I don’t generally have a “problem” with them as a concept, but in this case the relationship felt really unequal. I never felt that Kerry was a full partner in this relationship.

I also really don’t like BDSM – esp the Dom/sub thing and I struggle to keep that bias free from clouding the story. I totally understand that for some this dynamic works – but it goes against my personal “equality” issues so – again – this partnership just felt out of balance.

Kerry’s coming of age story was really well done and I almost think that if it had been the main thrust of the story it would have had been a better story overall.

I can’t fault the writing and I think the characters were really well developed – people not so hung up on equality will probably really like this story – it’s very touching.

Audiobook

I love Greg Tremblay and he just does amazing things for this or any story he reads. He is so good at adding emotion to a story that you feel made part of it. His narration is why I even took this story on – otherwise I would have let it lie, based on the description.

For the book and the narration as a sum total I give it 3.5 hearts

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(Copy purchased for review)

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Foster-Family-Audiobook/B00PX86ZP8/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1441569101&sr=1-2

Categories
Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual College/University Contemporary Exploration Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hopelessly Crying m/m Mild/low level heat Music/Rock Star Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Sports Virgin young adult

Social Skills Audiobook by Sara Alva Narrated by Andrew Eiden

 

 

social skillsBlurb

Music is the only form of communication Connor Owens controls. No matter how badly he wishes to fit in, friendly banter and casual conversations have never been his thing. College is yet another social universe he has no clue how to navigate – until he meets Jared, a football player with chestnut eyes and a cocky grin that holds the power to shatter his self-imposed prison. Jared’s attention opens Connor up to a new realm of emotional and physical intimacy. But as Connor’s self-confidence grows, so does his fear that everything will fall apart. Because in this socially stratified world, how long can a relationship between an introverted violinist and a closeted football player really last?

Review

Connor’s first year at university is turning out to be very hard. He’s very shy and socially awkard and gay. He finds a group of friends but is still rather lonely. When he meets (and falls for) Jared, a jock, he’s shocked when his attentions are returned.

Jared is a jock and tries hard to be “a man”. In fact, that’s one of his most identifying “issues”. When he realizes his attraction to men, he tries to be “bi” but finds that if he’s honest, he’s really “gay” and that’s hard for him to accept. He doesn’t want to let his mom down and his friends are kind of jerks about stuff like that.

Jared, however, loves being “the one” for Connor. They click and just feel good together. Jared, however, can’t deal with being public about their relationship and ultimately they split.

When something happens to make Jared realize he can’t let his friends or family expecations rule his life, he realizes he needs Connor more than he ever thought possible.

**

Boy… what to say?

First, it’s easy to love Connor. God, he’s just so painfully shy and geeky and you want to wrap him in a blanket and tell him it all gets better from here. (As a former band-geek I TOTALLY get Connor, so I’m a little attached to his happiness.)

Then there’s Jared… who, let’s face it, acts like a guy in his situation really probably would.

So… on the one hand I commend the author for that feeling of authenticity. I could buy this story as happening. There was some (mild) on page sex but mostly this is a YA book about coming out and coming into your own “selfness”.

I was (of course) rooting for the couple… who wouldn’t… but Jared has a long way to go to convince me he’s worthy of Connor and I’m not sure we quite got there. Jared’s kind of a jerk and though I think (especially in private) he really cares for Connor, are they really likely to succeed (long term) as a couple… meh… I don’t know.

But… FWIW I do think they come really close to being a good example of “first love” and gave both characters their first taste at being true to themselves.

So… the die hard romantic in me wasn’t very satisfied, but the more pragmatic reader of stories recognizes that this is a well written book full of really well developed and realistic characters that touches on some important topics in growing up and does it very well.

(I LOVE the cover and really, really want to give that boy a big hug!)

Audio

I thought Andrew Eiden did a good job with the narration. I liked how he handled the emotions and though he didn’t do a lot to “act” or give special voices to the characters, he was easy to listen to and made for a good way to experience this story.

4 of 5 stars

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(Copy purchased for review)

Sara Alva Presents

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Social-Skills-Audiobook/B00NIYVOW8/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1441569197&sr=1-1

Categories
Angst Level Audiobook College/University coming of age Contemporary Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat

Smitten (SSU Book 2) Audiobook by Maris Black Narrated by Chris Patton

 

Smitten AudioBlurb

Dan Fisher is a fun-loving slacker from SSU with a passion for partying and dancing. When rich girl Avery Wakefield offers him a brand-new designer wardrobe in exchange for posing as her boyfriend, he reluctantly agrees. He hates lying, but it’s hard to turn down nice clothes and a chance to live in a historic mansion in Savannah for two weeks. What he doesn’t count on is falling hard for her mysterious, straight brother.

Julian Wakefield is as tortured as he is handsome. He keeps a secret close to his heart and everyone else at a distance. But now his sister’s new boyfriend is stirring up feelings he’s always been able to deny. Like an angel and the devil all rolled into one, he tempts him to take chances he never would have taken before. Too bad Dan belongs to his sister, whom he would never dream of betraying.

But…put two hot boys with an irresistible attraction in the same house for long enough, something is bound to happen.

Review

So we start at SSU with Dan, a friend of the wrestlers we met in book 1, but we quickly leave the state and head to North Carolina where Dan acts as the straight boyfriend to snooty Avery Wakefield for her cotillion. While there Dan meets her “straight” brother Julian and the two find themselves embroiled in a hot romance that was a bit expected when the dust settles.

It seems a simple enough plot and it was, but there is a hell of a lot of other stuff thrown in to make this simple story more (unnecessarily?) complex.

First, Julian is hiding his sexuality but it doesn’t take much for him to abandon that secret because of his obvious infatuation of Dan.

Second, there is a plot line involving a gay friend who ends up committing suicide and that impacts the group for a minute or two –but I’m not sure it was necessary or really handled all that well.

Third, Julian has a problem with alcohol and his new relationship forces him to come to grips with this in a way that was handled very poorly by Julian and mostly unbelievably by Dan.

Finally, there’s a Big Misunderstanding when Julian disappears that made me absolutely crazy in it’s ridiculousness. Avery wasn’t even freaked when her brother just disappears giving his lover his car and an expensive bracelet. Hello? Someone close to them just killed themselves, shouldn’t that act as a wake-up-call that the closeted Julian might be in danger?

So though I appreciated the attempt at making this story a bit more deep and complex than the previous two stories I have to say it didn’t work for me. I’m still a huge fan of Maris Black and am excited to move on to book 3, but this one left me feeling a little confused and unhappy.

Audio

Chris Patton rocks this narration! His southern accents are to die for and I loved listening to his interpretation of this story. It’s definitely worth a listen especially if you’ve been a fan of the series and of this narrator.

With that all being said, I give this 3 of 5 stars for the narration and the mostly good if somewhat hard to swallow story-line.

 

(Copy Purchased for Review)

Maris Black Presents

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Smitten-Audiobook/B00YT8A8KG

Categories
Angst Level Audiobook College/University Contemporary Exploration Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Sports Wrestling young adult

Pinned Audiobook (SSU Book one) by Maris Black Narrated by Chris Patton

pinnedBlurb

On his first day of college, all Jeremy Miller can think about is getting away from his hellish home life, making the wrestling team, and finally getting a real boyfriend. He’s sick to death of being used by closeted football players who are too afraid to admit they like guys. What he doesn’t count on is losing his mind over the gorgeous, golden-eyed wrestling captain who needs to keep their attraction a secret at all costs.
After earning a full-ride wrestling scholarship and getting accepted into an elite sports medicine program, Beck thinks he’s got it made. Now he’s a favorite for the national championship in his weight class. Life has never been sweeter or more predictable. Never mind that he’s gay and wishing he didn’t have to hide it. There will be plenty of time for a social life after graduation. Until then he doesn’t need anything to get in the way of his big plans, and that includes the adorable little wrestler who’s got him all tied up in knots.

Review

This is a complex YA/NA story about two wrestlers finding love in a sport that is fairly homophobic, but in this case their coach is dangerously homophobic.

There is a lot of sex in this – so I think for groupings New Adult is more appropriate, but the angst and drama and sometimes over-the-topness sometimes felt more Young Adult.

Beck’s is gay but closeted, doesn’t want to lose his wrestling scholarship. Jeremy is the new guy, super attracted and attractive to Becks, but having to fight against the fear of outing.

The first part of the book is their push-pull of attraction, the second part is dealing with the aftermath.

The second part is where (for me) it got a bit too dramatic at times, though I appreciated the overall statements that get made and the end result. (I won’t say but it involves the Coach in a very bad way and Jeremy makes some decisions that are really hard to witness.)

At the end we get a very satisfying HEA and our MCs manage to bring the bad guy to justice! (I loved the whole Batman/Robin switcheroo underwear thing – very clever!)

Audio

Well I just love Chris Patton so I loved the hell out of this narration. He’s so easy to listen to and I think this hits his “age level” spot on. Kind of young, but mature enough for some hot man on man action. ☺

4.5 of 5 stars

4.5-stars-small

Morgan - Signature-small

(Copy purchased for review)

Maris Black Presents

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Pinned-Audiobook/B00YSSPEUQ