Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Book Gay Gay Mid level angst Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series

Coming Soon: Life of Bliss (Love Life #2) by Erin McLellan

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39695252-life-of-bliss

Blurb

Nobody plans to accidentally marry their frenemy with benefits.

Todd McGower and Victor Consuelos do not like each other. They can’t have a conversation without insults flying, and Victor seems to get off on pushing Todd’s buttons. The fact that their antagonism always leads to explosive sex . . . well, that’s their little secret.

Victor has a secret of his own. His full-blown crush on Todd is ruining his sex life. He hasn’t looked at anyone else in months, and he’s too hung up on Todd to find a date to his cousin’s wedding.

In a moment of weakness after a heart-stopping night together, Todd agrees to be Victor’s fake boyfriend for the wedding. Victor will have his plus-one—which will get his family off his back—and Todd will get a free mini-vacation. It’s a win-win.

But pretending to be fake boyfriends leads to real intimacy, which leads to too much wine, and suddenly, Todd and Victor wake up with wedding bands and a marriage license between them. That was not their plan, but a summer of wedded bliss might just change their minds.

Review

I loved the blurb for this. Frenemies. Fake relationships. Secret romance. It sounded funny and sexy and intriguing.

Welllll…. It was hard to get into and I kept going back to see what I’d missed because it felt like I needed more information than I had and it felt like I’d skipped a chapter or something. (Which happens if you don’t read a book in one fell swoop.) It turns out that this is a book 2 of a series and (I hadn’t paid attention to that) and I think someone really needs to read book 1 to enjoy this book 2. I figured things out, but it didn’t feel as engrossing as I bet it would if I’d read book one.

I wasn’t that attached to these guys and I never felt the chemistry like I wanted to.

My recommendation is to read book 1 first and then this.

3 of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Asexual Book coming of age Contemporary DA Demi Friends to lovers Gay Gay High but not hopeless Hurt/comfort m/m May/December May/December Mild/low level heat Military Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series PTSD second chance at love Single Parent Standalone Unrequited Love

Coming Soon! Squared Away (Out of Uniform #5) by Annabeth Albert

 


April 16 by Carina Press

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37544729-squared-away

Blurb

In the wake of tragedy, SEAL Mark Whitley rushed stateside to act as guardian to his sister’s three young children. But a conflicting will could give custody to someone else—someone Mark remembers as a too young, too hot, wild party boy. Even after six years, Mark can’t shake the memory of his close encounter with Isaiah James, or face up to what it says about his own sexuality.

Isaiah’s totally over the crush that made him proposition Mark all those years ago. In fact, he’s done with crushing on the wrong men altogether. For now, he’s throwing himself into proving he’s the best person to care for his cousin’s kids. But there’s no denying there’s something sexy about a big, tough military man with a baby in his arms.

As the legal details get sorted out, their long-buried attraction resurfaces, leading to intimate evenings after the kids are tucked in. A forever future is within reach for all of them, if only Mark can find the courage he needs to trust Isaiah with his secrets—and his heart.

Review

I don’t think this is too much of a spoiler and I think people would want to know and I think you should read this regardless – but… Mark is Gray Asexual.

Definition: From AVENwiki. Sexuality is not black and white; some people identify in the gray(spelled “grey” in some countries) area between asexual and sexual. People who identify as gray-A can include, but are not limited to those who: do not normally experience sexual attraction, but do experience it sometimes.

This story was very touching, emotional and sexy despite it’s non-traditional characters. I was really rooting for the two of them and it made every physical encounter that much more resonant for what it meant to each man.

The family stuff gets in the way – and that too felt really “real”.

There were times when the story lagged and there were times when I wanted the guys to just “figure it out “ already – but for the most part this was a well-paced, very well-developed love story. (I have only a limited tolerance for angst and there is a fair amount in this.)

Highly recommended- esp for the HEA!

(I don’t think you need to have read the others in the series to appreciate this book.)

4.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Book Bullying Closeted College/University Contemporary Cop/Crime Gay Gay GFY/OFY Hidden Lovers Homophobia m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Mild/low level heat Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Riptide Publishing Stalker/Abusive Ex

Release Day Review: The Little Library by Kim Fielding

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-little-library

Blurb

Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.

Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.

In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.

Review

Kim Fielding is a terrific writer, you can trust that any of her stories are always going to be an amazing journey with well-developed characters and a well-planned plot.   This is a very gentle love story about two men who’ve had some struggles in their romantic pasts but are still willing to try.

I love the imagery of the little town bonding over books and the idea of book sharing as a community. (I wish things like that would happen!) While e-books are fantastic that is one major down side to the technology – fewer paper books to share. L

There wasn’t anything earth shaking in this, but the love between these guys and their personal growth was sweet and easily captivating.

This is the perfect book for people in the mood for something light, sweet and easy.

Highly recommended!

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3 stars adult - 18+ Book Contemporary Gay Gay Homophobia m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Riptide Publishing Single Parent Standalone Teacher

Release Day Review: The Pick Up (Up Red Creek #1) by Allison Temple

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-pick-up

Blurb

Kyle’s life is going backwards. He wanted to build a bigger life for himself than Red Creek could give him, but a family crisis has forced him to return to his hometown with his six-year-old daughter. Now he’s standing in the rain at his old elementary school, and his daughter’s teacher, Mr. Hathaway, is lecturing him about punctuality.

Adam Hathaway is not looking for love. He’s learned the hard way to keep his personal and professional life separate. But Kyle is struggling and needs a friend, and Adam wants to be that friend. He just needs to ignore his growing attraction to Kyle’s goofy charm, because acting on it would mean breaking all the rules that protect his heart.

Putting down roots in this town again is not Kyle’s plan. As soon as he can, he’s taking his daughter and her princess costumes and moving on. The more time he spends with Adam, though, the more he thinks the quiet teacher might give him a reason to stay. Now he just has to convince Adam to take a chance on a bigger future than either of them could have planned.

Review

There was a lot about this that had potential. I liked the idea of Kyle revisiting his hometown and reconnecting there. I liked the idea of a nerdy teacher giving him a run for his money and I thought his daughter was adorable. (Later in the story I also really liked Kyle’s father, too.)

For me, unfortunately, I never really liked Kyle all that much. I didn’t connect strongly with him, or understand his background fully. While I thought it was cute at first, his calling Adam “Mr Hathaway” all the time got under my skin. Since our guys spend so much time struggling, I really wanted them to have a decisive HEA and it’s only tepid.

I won’t say that I’m looking forward to book 2 in this series, but if the blurb is intriguing I wouldn’t turn it down based on this experience.

This might be a case of “it’s not the book, it’s me” but this just didn’t work for me that well.

3 of 5 stars
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Categories
Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Book Cop/Crime Gay Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m NetGalley no rating Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Re-Release

Retro Review: A Matter of Duty (Hong Kong Nights #1) by J.C. Long

Ninestar Press

http://ninestarpress.com/product/a-matter-of-duty/

Blurb

Noah Potter has come to Hong Kong to find his missing sister, Lianne, who disappeared after leaving him a voice mail pleading for his help. Unfortunately the Hong Kong police are unwilling to help him, so Noah has to find her himself.

Noah’s search for his sister brings him across Wei Tseng, leader of the Dragons, a group of dedicated men and women willing to do whatever it takes to keep their district safe from the violence and triads that plague the rest of the city’s underworld. Wei is a man of violence but also one of incredible compassion, and his history is one that resonates with Noah, igniting a passion neither man expects.

Together they search for Lianne, a search that will lead right into a conflict with the Dragons’ greatest rivals in the city.

Review

This was originally released in March 2017.  It is now in audio format and I believe the publisher is pushing the series again for that reason.

I was intrigued by the setting and all the praise this series has gotten.  However, this is absolutely a case of “it’s me not you”. This is a well-written, intriguing and fast paced story.

It was too dark and I couldn’t handle the ending. (I don’t want to spoil it, and NO the MCs don’t die.)

Many others really resonated with this story, but – for my current mood – I couldn’t deal with the darkness here.

No rating.

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Categories
adult - 18+ BDSM Boss/employee Closeted co-workers to lovers College/University coming of age Contemporary Homophobia Hurt/comfort lawyer m/m Mid level angst Morgan NetGalley New Adult no rating Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Secret Identity

Release Day Review: Waking Oisin by Grace Kilian Delaney

release day review

Releases Tomorrow: February 26, 2018

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38235138-waking-oisin?from_search=true

Blurb

Oisin Harrison blames his fiancée’s distrust for ruining their relationship. He blames his father for pushing him into law school. But more than all that, he blames himself for letting other people’s expectations stop him from going after his dream. But dressing in drag with his best friend is the one thing Oisin refuses to compromise.

As Sin, he meets handsome Trenton Fisher, a man who appreciates Oisin’s cross-dressing. Trent upends his world by doing things to his body no one ever has, making him want more than just one night together. That is, until Oisin discovers his hot hookup works at his father’s law firm and is angling for a promotion.

To complicate things, Trent doesn’t seem to recognize Oisin out of drag. Or does he?

Will Oisin and Trent’s magnetic attraction grow to something deeper, or will it threaten to jeopardize their careers and futures?

Waking Oisin contains characters from Seven Minutes but can be read as a standalone.

Review

I am not a fan of BDSM or other forms of power/control and though it is not a huge factor in this story it absolutely influenced my enjoyment of this.

I was thinking this would be about coming out of the closet and getting out from an oppressive family – and it sort of was – but it was also a bit disjointed and kind of all over the place.  Oisin is sometimes matures, sometimes a brat, his dad is sometimes supportive, sometimes a jerk, and Trenton is sometimes supportive and sometimes a user.

Oisin isn’t what his dad wants him to be and he rebels and ends up meeting one of his father’s lawyers. When it comes time for them to work together, Trenton is just kind of “blah” about it all and Oisin isn’t as freaked out as I’d have thought he’d be. He’s a bit whiny and petulant and that made the whole power dynamic even more distasteful to me.

I ended up skimming the rest of this because it just wasn’t my thing and had the blurb been more specific I’d have probably skipped it. This is one of those cases of personal preference so I won’t rate it.

Though it can be a standalone, I think it’s better having read book 1, first.

No rating.

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Bullying Closeted coming of age Contemporary DA Enemies to Lovers Gay Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers High but not hopeless Homophobia m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Riptide Publishing second chance at love Standalone Swimming/Diving The one that got away Unrequited Love

Relay (Changing Lanes #1) by Layla Reyne

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/relay

Blurb

Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.

Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.

Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.

Review

There were things I loved and some things I didn’t care for with this story.

Loved:

The Ginger.

Alex.
The Olympics.
Swimming.
The team.
The chemistry between Alex and Dane.
Alex’s family.
How Dane handled his family in the end.

Not so much:
I’m not a fan of “second chance” stories because I miss that initial “spark.” I thought Dane was very immature and I’m not sure Alex was wise in getting back together with him. (Of course it pays out later in the story – but Dane didn’t do enough to regain his trust at first -IMHO.)

I can’t wait for the audio – I’m really hoping it’s someone who can do all the accents!

I’m really looking forward to the next installment!

4 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars Action/Adventure Angst Level Book Bullying Contemporary DA Friends to lovers Gay Gender Fluid High but not hopeless m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild/low level heat Morgan NetGalley New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Trans Witches/Warlocks/Wizards young adult

Darkling by Brooklyn Ray

Nine Star Presents on January 8, 2018

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36572967-darkling?from_search=true

Blurb

Port Lewis, a coastal town perched on the Washington cliffs, is surrounded by dense woods, and is home to quaint coffee shops, a movie theater, a few bars, two churches, the local college, and witches, of course.

Ryder is a witch with two secrets—one about his blood and the other about his heart. Keeping the secrets hasn’t been a problem, until a tarot reading with his best friend, Liam Montgomery, who happens to be one of his secrets, starts a chain of events that can’t be undone.

Dark magic runs through Ryder’s veins. The cards have prophesized a magical catastrophe that could shake the foundation of Ryder’s life, and a vicious partnership with the one person he doesn’t want to risk.

Magic and secrets both come at a cost, and Ryder must figure out what he’s willing to pay to become who he truly is.

Review

This is more about Ryder learning and growing and coming into his own more than a romance. Maybe romantic fiction? It’s got a definite YA/NA feel and the steam is pretty low.

However, it’s fascinating! Ryder is trans and there are some other non-traditional folks in this story – but that’s not the focus. Which is awesome! It just is. Instead, the true story is about Ryder dealing with his own duality in the paranormal world and what that means to him and his family and friends.

It’s a really detailed and unique world the author has given us and if you’re at all interested in witchcraft – this is for you!

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book Contemporary Cowboys Gay Gay Heat Index Homophobia m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Purchased Standalone

Audiobook: Wild Trail By AM Arthur Narrated by Greg Boudreaux

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Wild-Trail-Audiobook/B076BJ8DYG?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=Q2TZM1YJ7KCJM26PWF8F&
Blurb

Welcome to Clean Slate Ranch: home of tight jeans, cowboy boots, and rough trails. For some men, it’s a fantasy come true.
Mack Garrett loves the rolling hills surrounding his Northern California dude ranch. Leading vacationers on horse trails with his two best friends is enough – romance is definitely not in the cards. When a sexy tourist shows up at Clean Slate, he’s as far from Mack’s type as can be. So why is the handsome city slicker so far under his skin in less than a day?
Roughing it in the middle of nowhere isn’t anywhere near Wes Bentley’s idea of fun. Then he lays eyes on the gruffest, hottest papa bear he’s ever seen. But Mack is as hard to pin down as he looks – distant, sharp-tongued, and in desperate need of a shave. Until a campout gone wrong strands both men in the mountains with nothing to do but get to know each other.
Mack intends to keep his closely guarded heart out of Wes’ very talented hands. But for a seven-day cowboy, Wes is packing some long-term possibility. The cold country air can do wonders for bringing bodies together – but it will take more than that to bridge the distance between two men whose lives are worlds apart.
This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Review

This was a nicely written story about a black-balled actor and a burnt-out Cop who find love on a dude ranch.

The characters were pretty predictable and the “mystery” wasn’t all that exciting.

If you’re a fan of City Boy meets Country boy, actors or Westerns – this might be for you. While there wasn’t anything wrong with this, nothing really inspired me either.

3 of 5 stars
Audio

Greg does his typical amazing job with this. Giving more life to the story than I found while reading it. He gives everyone nice distinct voices and handles the emotions very nicely.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars
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Categories
5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary DA Firefighters Friends to lovers Gay Gay Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/comfort m/m Medical Mid level angst Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Stalker/Abusive Ex Standalone

On Duty (Smoke & Bullets #1) by A.R. Barley

Carina Presents
https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488079221_on-duty.html

Blurb

Number one rule for a firefighter: never take your eyes off the flame. Male/male author A.R. Barley is back with a new contemporary romance series.

Former marine and seasoned firefighter Troy Barnes has always kept his sex life on the down low, until he takes back-to-back hits: physically injured in a suspicious warehouse explosion and emotionally blindsided when he’s ditched by his boyfriend. When a flirty young paramedic offers him a place to crash, Troy’s not so willing to give in. He’s never needed help before. But if anyone can break through his tough-guy act, it’s Alex Tate.

Alex has crushed on Troy since the minute he saw him. Now here he is, stripped of his turnout gear and recuperating in Alex’s bed. The tattooed hero may be a fantasy-come-true, but Alex wants more than rebound sex—and he’s not sure Troy’s ex is gone or forgotten.

As each night brings them closer together, Troy realizes there’s more to Alex than he’d ever imagined. And with an arsonist loose in Manhattan, neither he nor Alex realizes just how combustible things are going to get.

This book is approximately 64,000 words

Carina Press acknowledges the editorial services of Deborah Nemeth

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise: all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

Review

This was really, really good! It had so many things that I love. Firefighters, paramedics, a funny family, some denial, the right opportunity, a dangerous setting and the chance for one MC to constantly take care of the other MC’s boo-boos!

Troy and Alex are a great couple and their romance felt really natural and proceeded in a way that felt appropriate. They had wonderful chemistry and the other “story” about the arsonist was involving without being overwhelming.

I really enjoyed this and am looking forward to more in this series!

5 of 5 stars

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