Categories
2.5 stars Age Group Book Bullying Dee Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Purchased Standalone young adult

Retro Read: Blindsided By You: A Gay For You Sports Romance by Cameron Riley

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31549350-blindsided-by-you?from_search=true

Blurb

 Could their forbidden romance be everything they never knew they wanted?
Seth is a college senior and star quarterback. Unlike his best friend Marc, he doesn’t love being a football hero — but since his coach is also his father, he feels trapped. When he meets Marc’s younger brother Aaron, Seth is surprised at the instant attraction between them, since he’s always considered himself straight.

Aaron knows he’s gay — his favorite pastime is reading M/M romance novels. It’s almost as if Seth stepped right from the pages of one of Aaron’s books and straight into his fantasies. Aaron is more than ready to make them real … if Seth will make a move.
But Marc doesn’t want his brother’s sexuality making headlines — for Aaron’s protection, yes, but also for the sake of Marc’s future career. Can Seth and Aaron keep their relationship a secret? If they’re discovered, can they survive the fallout?

Review:
The premise of the story had promise, but the execution and editing errors detracted from my enjoyment.
The beginning started off well: Seth plays college football and Aaron is the non- sporty type; complete opposites. Seth realises that he is not entirely happy with his life – he wants more. It dawns on him that he may not be entirely straight and admits to himself that he doesn’t really like football.
The MCs meet at a frat party and interest is kindled. However, from here, the storyline does not flow well. For some reason, Seth takes on the responsibility of paying for damages from the frat party, but what about his frat brothers? It was never clear that Seth orchestrated the party by himself. Another thing that didn’t work – Set takes a job at a gay club (to pay for the damages) and on his first day is able to find time to dance with Aaron? (he said it was his break, but it was last call for closing).
There were other inexplicable instances, but the last straw was that at the end of the book, despite Seth not wanting to play football, he goes in for the NFL draft and is happy to be selected!
The plot and editing issues made this a disappointing read.

2.5 stars out of 5

Copy purchased for review

 

Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Firefighters Friends to lovers Gay Gay Homophobia m/m Mid level angst Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

Release Day Review: Set Ablaze By KC Burn

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/set-ablaze-by-kc-burn-9520-b

Blurb

California firefighter Hayden Hurst is starting to realize there’s more to life than fighting fires and drinking with his buddies. He has room in his home and his life for someone special, but no one has stood out among his hookups. And while he’s out at work, admitting he’s gay is very different from showing up at social functions with a man. He’s afraid that’ll be too much for his less-than-accepting “friends.”
Broadway dancer Jez Bouchet hasn’t been mistaken for straight since he was gay-bashed at seventeen. After getting a lucrative job offer in Hollywood, he uproots his life in New York and drives to Los Angeles. His brother, who is Hayden’s best friend, arranges for him to crash at Hayden’s place.
The attraction between Hayden and Jez is unexpected but fiery, and they succumb before they’re even sure they like each other. But Jez hates Hayden’s homophobic friends, and Hayden knows Jez is too flamboyant for him to fly under the radar. Then there’s the complication of Jez’s brother.
Despite those hurdles, they fling themselves into a relationship. But Jez has secrets: a tiny spoiled dog and a determined stalker. If he doesn’t come clean, he might torch their burgeoning relationship before it has a chance to bloom.
Review

I’ve read several KC Burns stories that I’ve really loved.
Ie
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22294511-rainbow-blues
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/12919441-cop-out

This wasn’t one of them.

To me it felt disconnected and uncertain and I didn’t feel the chemistry between the MCs like I’d wanted to.

I also strongly dislike (you might say hate) “Big Misunderstanding” as a trope and that’s a big theme here.

I’m not sure I understand why these “friends” are friends and why – since we aren’t really told why – they aren’t just dropped. I always support reading of many reviews before judging and this just might be me, but this wasn’t a great fit for me.

3 of 5 stars

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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Alternate World Author Provided Cop/Crime Enemies to Lovers Ghost m/m Magic Mary D Mystery Opposites attract Paranormal Teacher Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

Recent Release: Bad Seed by Gareth Vaughn

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38901778-bad-seed?from_search=true

Blurb
Dane’s a Decrypter down on his luck — after accidentally dispatching the wrong creature, he’s sent to a small town where the cryptids he hunts are sparse. Crypt Coffee becomes his business front, but instead of a thrilling new mission on the side, he’s stuck sending ghosts back to where they came from. Dane can annoy customers, at least, and tries to scare off Professor Sean Sanderson when he starts poking around too much. But Sean isn’t about to stay away. Not when he hears about the murder of a former student, and definitely not if young, exciting Dane has information about it. But the more he allows himself to get dragged into this supernatural world of monsters and ghosts, the more the danger escalates. And if Sean and Dane aren’t careful, tracking down a murderer who can use magic might just get them killed

Review
I’m honestly not sure how I feel about this book. I love the idea of a kind of supernatural enforcer keeping rogue elements in line. But this book just didn’t settle with me. Both Dane and Sean start with an antagonist type relationship and it pretty much stays that way. Dane is very prickly, bitchy and short tempered. I’m not sure if that’s because he doesn’t want to be in bleu falls (he was sent there as a Decrypter) or he is always that way. Sean keeps coming back. If this is a start of a series featuring them that might explain it, they’ll have time to grow. There were also a few loose ends. Sean was initially looking into a student death by what he thought was a werewolf. This is never mentioned again. The investigation diverted on to another who it turns out was poisoned. Another is the all powerful Order Dane works for. We are left wondering if they do come to wipe Sean’s mind because he’s seen to much or not. Is this the start of an investigative/ supernatural peacekeeping partnership? I don’t know but this book hasn’t gripped me enough to want to know.

2.5 of stars out of 5

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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Beth Jumper Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Established Couple Fated Mates Gay Gay Hidden Lovers Hurt/comfort Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Shifter

Release Day Review: Rome and Jules by Tara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rome-and-jules-by-tara-lain-9339-b

Blurb

Two werewolf households, both alike in dignity….
Rome Siracusa, youngest son of the alpha of the nouveau-riche Siracusa pack, wants to be a faithful son and pack member, but he’s got two big secrets. One, he’s blessed with enhanced hearing, vision, strength, and the ability to shift at will. Second, he’s gay, a fact he can’t admit to his deadly homophobic father.
Rome crashes a party at the mansion of his pack’s greatest enemy, the ancient, pure-blooded Havillands. Jules, the gay son of the drunkard alpha, is being married off to a rich entrepreneur. Smitten and moved by the beautiful male’s plight, Rome tries to find a way to save Jules—while digging himself deeper into pack politics and navigating his own arranged marriage. Secrets climb out of the caves as the werewolf gods speak through the mouths of their children, and the two great families clash, suffocating the hopes of star-crossed lovers.

Review

It took a little bit of reading to get into this book for me. But once I got into the second chapter I felt I was getting a better understanding of the flow of the story. We are presented more with shifter society and hierarchy, than shifters, shifting. Although we see more of that as things heat up between Rome and Jules.

The story seems more like 2 gangs trying to control the majority instead of 2 packs. Needless to say one alpha and most of his pack is homophobic, the other pack is strong but broke and is being lead by an alcoholic. Both are looking for a way to take control over all and using their sons as pawns.

I had a hard time believing that just a kiss would alter perceptions of the 2 MC’s. The Story eludes to fated mates, yet never comes out and says it. Also the ending of the major conflict was confusing to me.

I got caught up in the story as the story progresses but in the end it just didn’t work for me

2.5 stars of 5

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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Gay Gay Geek/Jock Geek/nerd/techie/gamer Heat Index Little to no angst m/m model Morgan Mystery Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Opposites attract Paranormal Part of a Series Pride Publishing Scorching/high heat Shifter Standalone

Mr. January (Calendar Men #1) by Bailey Bradford

GoodReads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37541479-mr-january

Blurb

There’s no sense in pussy-footing around when it comes to love.

Albert E. Washington is a nerd and proud of it. He’s a cool cat when he shifts, but for the most part, he’s just a guy who sometimes tapes his glasses together and enjoys quality clothing like bowties and suspenders. When his boss has him acting as an errand boy, Albert finds himself in the middle of a sexy calendar photo shoot. It’s a little too much for him to process and he ends up embarrassing himself.

Gregg is Mr. January—or he will be if the photo shoot ever gets going. Injuring his back when he trips on the set isn’t going to speed things up. The appearance of a seriously hot guy who flips the switch on Gregg’s geeky-man button makes a bad day great. Now, if Gregg can just get Albert to agree to a date, if he doesn’t scare Albert off, if Albert will just pick up on the flirtatious things Gregg says…

That’s a lot of ifs, but Gregg isn’t intimidated by them. He knows his dream man when he meets him. Now all Gregg has to do is survive the photo shoot and convince Albert to give him, and love, a chance.

Review

I’m a big fan of this author’s paranormal stories. One of my favorite shifter series is her Southwestern Shifter series https://www.goodreads.com/series/48347-southwestern-shifters, so I was excited to read this based on that.

Well… though there are shifters in this story I’m not really sure why. There was little if any shifting or use of those characteristics. There wasn’t any “mate” type stuff which I adore, either. Instead this was more about a nerd and a hot guy and a mystery which only involved these guys peripherally.

I skimmed most of it and will not likely pick up more from this series.

If you’re in the mood for some slightly funny nerd/hot guy romance with a lot of smexy times – this might be for you.

2.5 of 5 stars
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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Arranged Marriage Book Dreamspinner Gay Gay Heat Index Hurt/Abuse Mary D Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Mystery Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Politics Shifter Stalker/Abusive Ex

The Gryphon King’s Consort by Jenn Burke

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-gryphon-kings-consort-by-jenn-burke-9104-b

Blurb
Love takes flight.

The sudden death of the Gryphon King throws the kingdom of Mythos into uncertainty, and Crown Prince Luca rushes both his coronation and an arranged marriage to a man he’s never met. Eirian is young and idealistic, and while they both want what’s best for their people, their philosophies couldn’t be more different. While Luca believes in honoring tradition, Eirian is determined to infuse modern values into their kingdom of magical creatures. When given the choice between loyalty to his husband and his own crusade, Eirian makes a decision that might doom their marriage.

Still, Luca is committed to making their union work, and that means forgiving his brash consort. But when Eirian becomes the target of a deadly conspiracy, Luca must act fast—or forever lose the chance to explore their burgeoning love

Review
I did like this take on the arranged marriage. Known to be opposites in outlook they are to be married to give a sense of balance. They both know this going into the arrangement. I did struggle with this book. I felt my attention drifting away to other things that wouldn’t normally distract me from reading. It is roughly halfway through when they consummate their marriage and mark each other. I liked that they started to bond over romance books and other things but this common ground was short lived. I empathised with Eirian’s frustration at not being valued as a person. All Luca seems to worry about is position. I found it hard to connect with either character. Their mood switched too frequently and the relationship seemed too tempestuous to survive. It felt like if it wasn’t for the mating bond they wouldn’t choose to be together. From early on I had an inkling who was behind the disruption between Luca and Eirien but the surprise was another character being the main driving force. Stirring up Luca to be discontent with his choice in Eirien. The story picks up in the last quarter which redeemed it for me. Although the ending did seem a forced happy ever after. Overall I found the story to be mediocre.

2.5 of stars out of 5

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Categories
2.5 stars Angst Level Audiobook Author Provided Chef Closeted Contemporary Dee Gay Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Humor m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Standalone young adult

Audiobook: A Chance for Moore by Alex Miska Narrated by Sean Lenhart

audiobookreview

Audible Link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/A-Chance-for-Moore-Audiobook/B07664SSVQ

Blurb:

“I need you to teach me how to be gay.”

Logan Moore is finally ready to come out of the closet. His days of playing football are far behind him, he has graduated from the Culinary Institute of America (CIA), and his bakery, Moore Delicious, is finally in the black. Although he spends more time talking to his cats than he does people, he technically has time for a social life now that he has hired two new employees. In short, Logan is completely out of excuses to stay in the closet, where it is warm and cozy and he never has to worry about how to dress, what to say, or who is watching. So he turns to his older brother’s friend for guidance. And if that friend just happens to be his longtime crush and if one thing might lead to another…well, that would just be icing on the cake.
Chance Blevins is a math geek through and through, who is more than happy to spend his nights curled up with his dog, Luna. With a few toxic relationships in his past, Chance contents himself with friends with benefits and fantasies involving his best friend’s very straight soon-to-be brother-in-law, Logan. Because of a verbal slip the day they met and a teasingly demanded vow of secrecy, he believes that Logan actually works for the CIA, making him even further out of his league. When Logan comes to him for help with what he can only assume is a cover identity, he is more than happy to oblige.
A Chance for Moore is a quirky friends-to-lovers, first-time gay romance between two sexy, pet-loving geeks. It has a happily ever after ending as well as a gratuitous car chase, obscene bachelorette party pastries, grown men dressing their “furbabies” in ridiculous hats, and truly terrible math-based innuendo.

Review

I enjoyed the story as whole – it’s fun, romantic with a bit of suspense woven in. I didn’t understand why Logan was closeted, not when he had such a cool family, but I guess everyone’s comfort level is different. I also didn’t care for how the relationship between Chance and Logan devolved three-quarters through. Chance was a bit of prat and Logan had to grovel for relatively trivial reasons.
The narration was OK, I got used to it after a while. Sean Lenhart did a good job with conveying the emotions of the characters, but to be honest, I didn’t get into the voices for the female characters.
Overall, I enjoyed listening to the audiobook.

2.5 stars out of 5

 

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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Bodyguard Book co-workers to lovers Contemporary Cop/Crime Dystopian Enemies to Lovers Exploration Fated Mates Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Homophobia m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan mpreg Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Shifter Speculative Fiction Standalone

My Omega’s Baby (Bodyguards and Babies #1) by S.C. Wynne

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/My-Omegas-Baby-Romance-Bodyguards-ebook/dp/B073DCD2YV/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1505413818&sr=1-1&keywords=my+omega+wynne

Blurb

Enemies to Lovers.

Blade Carr and Wyatt Smith are bodyguards from rival agencies who can’t stand each other.
Blade is a younger omega who thinks, Wyatt, a slightly older alpha, is arrogant and disrespectful. Wyatt believes Blade is nothing but a cocky punk. But when Wyatt receives a death threat, his boss decides the last place anyone will look for him is at Blade’s house.

Both men dread spending time together and are shocked when, despite their dislike of one another, they are suddenly physically attracted to each other. When they give into their lust one night, Blade just wants to pretend the perplexing night of passion never happened, but when the younger omega discovers he’s pregnant, the two men are forced to form a closer bond as they try to find a way to come together for the child.

This is a heartwarming, but steamy, 55,000 word story featuring a non-shifter Alpha/Omega world and contains mpreg (male pregnancy). This is a standalone fated-mate, gay for you story and Book One in the: Bodyguards and Babies mpreg series.

Review

This didn’t really work for me. First, they are shifters who “choose not to shift” – so in the blurb when it says non-shifter Alpha/Omega – that’s not really true. The author doesn’t really expound on why they don’t shift – but basically it’s to blend in better with humans.

I love the enemies to lovers trope but this felt like two school boys who fought all the time for no good reason – and they’re mean to one another! Then, when forced together they lose their minds and start having sex. It felt very awkward. I was uncomfortable with how they treated one another from start to finish and never really felt the love.

Towards the end – when they’re making a go of it as a couple – the author tells us rather than shows us how they’ve become closer over the weeks, but I’d have liked to see more of this on page.

I thought the issues of abortion versus adoption could have been handled a bit more on page to give this story a bit more depth.

The other thing that I didn’t understand is why – after the omega gets pregnant – they revert back to no touching when clearly they both crave it. This would have been at least one way for them to reconnect and bond and I wasn’t sure why it was left as it was.

Another issue I had was the world building. I wanted to know more about these guys and why they chose to abandon their wolves. That seems huge to me and worthy of discussion. I also wondered at the fact that so few of their kind know about this ability to get pregnant and why it’s a secret.

As far as a manageable system – the having to be isolated for a month seems pretty unattainable for most people and I would think this would be hard to perpetuate long term.

As a side note I also never liked Wyatt’s mom and I wondered at a name like Blade – without an explanation.

I investigated the second book in the series but it seems like more of the same.

I was disappointed in this and can’t really recommend it. I was grabbed at the beginning but it lost steam for me around the 35% mark and it was a struggle to finish. I love mpreg and chose this because it wasn’t a shifter book but I’m not sure it really satisfies that requirement and I just couldn’t get behind the world building or the romance in this story.

(On a side note – while this SC Wynne book didn’t strike my fancy I really enjoyed their Assassins in love series: https://www.goodreads.com/series/174948-assassins-in-love)

2.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
2.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Extasy Books Fairies Fated Mates Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Little to no angst m/m Magic Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Shifter Single Parent

Shawn (Gillham Pack #24) by Catherine Lievens

Extasy Presents

http://www.extasybooks.com/shawn/

Blurb

Life’s curve balls aren’t always a bad thing.

Shawn has been alone since his wife passed away. He has his three kids, and he loves them more than anything, but he misses having a partner to share his life with. He’s not looking for one, though, not while the kids still live with him. That’s one of the reasons he’s so surprised when he ends up being a Nix’s mate.

Jarah hadn’t expected to meet his mate when he went to talk to Neriah. He has more than enough problems to deal with—Titus still acting crazy, the fight between the rogue shifters and the humans in town getting worse. And now he has to learn how to be a stepfather, even though Terry, Shawn’s oldest child, hates his guts.

Shawn and Jarah learn to mesh their lives together, but when Shawn and his children are threatened for associating with shifters, Jarah decides to take matters into his own hands. Will he manage to keep his mate safe, or will he lose him before he can even get used to having a family?

Review

I’ve read most of the books in this series, but have been reluctant to lately because it feels as if we’ve sort of run out of steam.  However…

I picked this up because I thought we’d get some great “I was married to a woman and now I’m mated to a man” angst. But we don’t.

Shawn already knew about paranormals and had been attracted to men in the past so there was nothing new here at all.

There’s a struggle because Shawn’s kids don’t necessarily want to accept Jarah and some waffling about where to live, but most of this was not very exciting and I was disappointed.

Another problem I had was the ending. It’s very abrupt – so abrupt I thought maybe I was missing some pages! Our MCs are in a big kerfuffle about a kidnapped shifter and then suddenly that gets “solved” and our MCs decide that’s that, everyone’s safe and they love each other. I was like “What just happened???”

I hate to say it, but I think maybe this series has run it’s course…

2.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
2.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Author Provided Book co-workers to lovers Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Gay Heat Index Hidden Lovers long distance love m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Misunderstanding Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Secret Identity

Morning My Angel (Angel Enterprises, Book 1) Audiobook by Sue Brown Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Morning-My-Angel-Audiobook/B071XDB17D?qid=1500501208&sr=1-1

Blurb

Josh Cooper, top US security field agent, is sent on an inter-agency assignment to London, when a partner in his firm goes missing in suspicious circumstances. Used to working in sole charge of his well-honed team, he clashes heads with the handsome, but pompous Cal, his UK cooperator and superior. Josh’s gut tells him something is wrong. He’s being kept out of the loop and Cal’s agenda is running on a different path.
He also has a personal issue to deal with. He’s involved in a cyber-relationship with “Charlie”, an unknown man who connected with Josh by accident. Their banter has led to deeper respect and a sexual interest, but now Josh is faced with a growing attraction to Cal. Between this conflict and the tension of the mission, Josh’s heart and head are overworked and confused. Things can’t get much worse.
Then Josh discovers the enemies he’s seeking have a new target: him.

Review

If it had not been for the excellent narration, I would probably have not finished this story – and if I had – I’d have been more mad than I am now.

First, this is NOT romantic. Our MCs get a barely there HFN and it is TOTALLY unsatisfying. I get that this is the beginning to the series, but I was not invested enough in these guys to continue and was SO frustrated by Charlie and how he treats Josh that I’m hoping Josh moves on!

In the beginning it looked like it was going to be this clever “I’m cyber in love with someone” and then “I meet a real guy but what about the cyber guy”… but that all ends after a brief encounter between Josh and Cal and the mystery is revealed early that Cal is Charlie. (Sorry, not really a spoiler though.)

Our MCs are barely on page together and when the ILYs come, they don’t feel authentic. Josh seems like an interesting guy but he lets Cal totally run over him and I can’t believe the ultimatum Cal gives Josh!

I also didn’t care for the “action/mystery” part of the story – it didn’t really make a lot of sense and seemed unrealistic.

Joel Leslie did a great job with his narration – I love his British accents! – but he wasn’t enough to make me recommend this story.

2.5 of 5 stars

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