Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Closeted Contemporary Gay Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Hockey m/m May/December May/December Mid level angst Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat Standalone Teacher

Off the Ice (Hat Trick #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/off-the-ice

Blurb

Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire—if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

Review

This was a pretty sweet, very low angst May/December/OFY story of opposites attract.  It had some of the trademark snark that Avon is known for and a bit of the hot smexy times that she and Piper are so good at. 

While it had some funny points, for me, it lacked that strong comedic thread that I adore from Avon.  It had a fair amount of hockey –  although I don’t think you can have too much hockey!  I think the relationship developed in a way that felt natural and the sexual tension was sizzling!  (I loved the first confrontation in the professor’s office – yowza!)  I’m not a big fan of the whole power dynamic, vaguely D/s thing – it was mild – but I think the age difference and Tristan’s low self esteem would have been enough without it.  However that wasn’t a huge aspect. 

I really enjoyed this and, as far as this writing team goes, I think I enjoyed this one the most and I’m looking forward to more from the series.

 

This is highly recommended to fans of the author, fans of May/December relationships, fans  of hockey romance and fans of opposites attract.  

4 of 5 stars

 

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4 stars adult - 18+ Age Group Beth Jumper Book Closeted Contemporary Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Homophobia m/m Mid level steam/heat NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Riptide Publishing second chance at love Single Parent Widower

Midlife Crisis by Audra North

Riptide Presents
https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/midlife-crisis

Blurb

Cam McGhee grew up like any other small-town Texas farm boy: he played football, went to church every Sunday, and married his high school sweetheart. But thirty-five years after he said “I do,” Cam finds himself nursing a beer in a gay bar, thinking about what might have been.

Dave Montoya is confident, self-assured, and cautiously single. But when he meets shy, uncertain, and clearly-still-not-out Cam in a coffee shop in Austin, his reservations about getting seriously involved again disappear. Cam is everything he’s looking for in a partner . . . almost, anyway.

No matter how much Dave wants him, and how good they are together, Cam can’t bring himself to fully embrace the life he was meant to live. After all, when his secret finally gets out, he faces the very real possibility of losing everything that kept him going for the first fifty years of his life, just like he’s feared for so long. But with a little faith—and a lot of love—his dream of living fully, truly, as himself might finally be within reach.

Review

Cam has lived in the closet for all of his adult life, he didn’t even have a nightlight. Small, all black Texas town, married, 2 kids and a thriving business. After his wife passes and his son is available to run his business Cam decides to at least try a small taste of what it might be to kiss a man and relocates temporarily to Austin, TX.

Dave is at the point in his life where he can work if he wants to but doesn’t need to. He has been openly gay most of his life.
A chance meeting in a coffee shop and the sparks between them fly. They get together slowly and develop strong feelings along the way

This story is really about coming to terms with Cam’s sexuality. On telling his children and making the choice to finally live his life as he really wants to. His children’s reaction and his reaction to that. It is well told and well developed for the length.

4 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book co-workers to lovers College/University coming of age Contemporary Exploration f/f Friends to lovers Gay Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Humor Mid level angst Morgan Music/Rock Star NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat Standalone Virgin

The Love Song of Sawyer Bell (Tour Dates #1) by Avon Gale

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-love-song-of-sawyer-bell

Blurb

Victoria “Vix” Vincent has only two weeks to find a replacement fiddle player for her band’s summer tour. When classically trained violinist Sawyer Bell shows up for an audition, Vix is thrilled. Sawyer is talented, gorgeous, funny, and excited about playing indie rock instead of Beethoven. Their friendship soon blossoms into romance, even though Vix tries to remember that Sawyer’s presence is only temporary.

Sawyer’s parents think she’s spending the summer months touring Europe with a chamber ensemble. But Sawyer is in dire need of a break from the competitiveness of Juilliard, and desperately wants to rediscover her love of music. Going on tour with her secret high school crush is just an added bonus. Especially when Vix kisses her one night after a show, and they discover that the stage isn’t the only place they have chemistry.

But the tour won’t last forever, and as the summer winds down, Sawyer has to make a tough decision about her future—and what it means to follow her heart.

Review

I was reluctant to read this, I’ll admit. I’ve moved away from M/F because I despise the way women are portrayed in most of those novels, as either subservient or slutty. However, I love Avon’s style and her humor and since I know she can handle the subject of bi-sexuality well, I wanted to see what she came up with. (Plus I’m a sucker for a rock band romance!)

First, let me tell you, Avon is hysterical, whether she’s writing about boys or girls! She does a great job of letting the reader be in both Sawyer’s as well as Vix’s head and really knowing where they’re coming from, without feeling like you’re popping around in space.

I loved the way that bi-sexuality – as an “issue” – is explored in this book. The unconscious (or on purpose) prejudices and how it influences a relationship. The merch girl with all the books about gender equality and non-binary nature of gender … I can totally picture her and I loved that tool used as a way to bring up some of these sensitive subjects.

I was worried about the sex. I admit it. I wish there were words that described women that hadn’t been villainized to the point that reading them takes you out of the story. Or that the medical terms were sexier. I’m sure it’s just a matter of taking these words back and making them as sexy as we want them to be…. I’ll bet the merch girl has a book on that subject, too… In any case, Avon chooses the “c” word and I’ll admit I didn’t like it. Sawyer wasn’t too sure about it either, but over time it came to mean something more to her and no longer felt like an insult. I think the sex scenes in this book were some of the hottest and funniest I’ve ever read! The girls are so real with each other but in ways that were still very, very hot. (I’m making rocket noises right now….)

As far as the rest of the book goes – well – it’s funny and sometimes sad and all about how you have to make decisions for the right reasons for you and nobody else. (I give Sawyer’s parents a giant hug because – WOW – that is impressive!)

I thoroughly enjoyed this and cannot wait for Jax’s story!

5 of 5 stars

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4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Back To School Bi-Sexual Book coming of age Contemporary Exploration Friends to lovers Gay Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Little to no angst m/m Monthly Theme Morgan NetGalley New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat Unrequited Love Virgin

Back to School Month: Five Dares by Eli Easton

Coming October 2nd! To Riptide Publishing

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/five-dares

Blurb

Andy Tyler has been the class daredevil since middle school. Over the years, he’s convinced his best friend, Jake Masterson, to perform some dangerous-looking stunts with him. But the dare they attempt on the night of their college graduation goes sideways. The firecrackers explode too soon and both of them end up with badly burned palms.

But hey, nothing gets the “terrible duo” down for long, and they recuperate in style at Andy’s family cottage in Nantucket. As the weeks go by, both Andy and Jake grow frustrated over the inability to use their hands for all sorts of daily activities—including getting off. So Andy begins a new series of dares that don’t just cross the friendship line, they obliterate it.

But what might be mere sexual relief to Andy is serious business to Jake, who only recently got over years of secret pining for his straight best friend. Inevitably, the burns heal, summer ends, and hearts are broken. To fix things, Andy will have to face the greatest dare of all.

Review

Wow! I was not expecting Eli Easton to write such HOT stuff! I’ve always been a fan of this author and always appreciated her way with chemistry, but she really doesn’t hold back anything with this! I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised, there have been a couple of her recent books that got pretty steamy like: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/29827939-a-second-harvest and https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33865025-snowblind

Anyhow, this is a great book for two guys finding love right under they’re noses. We’re given a series of back stories to fill in the “dares” and this showcases just how good of friends the two are and how close they’ve gotten over the years.

This was fun and steamy and great for fans of the “friends to lovers” trope.

4.5 of 5 stars

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4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book co-workers to lovers Contemporary Cop/Crime Gay Heat Index Hidden Lovers High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Military Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Part of a Series Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat Standalone

Rank and File by LA Witt

release day review

Riptide Presents

https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/rank-and-file

Blurb

Senior Chief Will Curtis is as straitlaced as they come. While his fellow Sailors have partied their way through their enlistments, he’s had his eye on the prize—making master chief and retiring after thirty years of service.
Lieutenant Brent Jameson is a Navy brat turned Annapolis grad. He’s lived and breathed the military his whole life, and he knows he’s destined for great things—once he’s done paying his dues at the bottom of the ladder.
When their paths cross, both men know better than to give in to temptation, but that doesn’t stop them. It also doesn’t keep them from coming back for more, even though being discovered would sink their careers. Something has to give—Will can retire, Brent can resign, or they’ll both face court-martial.
But there’s also the option neither wants to acknowledge: jump ship and walk away from each other instead of ending their careers over a fledgling relationship. And they should probably decide before they fall in love.
Except—too late.

Review

I guess it depends on what you’re looking for.

If you want a reliably good, very sexy, well-written, but not terribly “deep” or emotional story about two military men who have some tough decisions to make – this is for you!

If you’re looking for something more unique, with a larger growth spurt for the main chatacters, or a new twist on “the military keeps us apart” scenario, then this isn’t for you.

LA Witt is a great writer and her sex scenes are amazingly hot. She knows the military and her scenarios feel authentic and plausible. I didn’t see a lot of “new” in this book – the entire Anchor Point series is about how the military makes relationships difficult and this is no different.

I enjoyed it and was glad to see two “non-broken” men find their HEAs by the end, but it wasn’t ground-breaking.

(This can be read as a standalone.)

4 of 5 stars

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3 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book Contemporary DA Demons Enemies to Lovers Fairies Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild/low level heat Misunderstanding Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Riptide Publishing second chance at love Unrequited Love

Bad Boy’s Bard (Fae Out of Water #3) by E.J. Russell

release day review

Riptide Presents

https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/bad-boys-bard

Blurb

As far as rock star Gareth Kendrick, the last true bard in Faerie, is concerned, the only good Unseelie is . . . well . . . there’s no such thing. Two centuries ago, an Unseelie lord abducted Gareth’s human lover, Niall, and Gareth has neither forgotten nor forgiven.

Niall O’Tierney, half-human son of the Unseelie King, had never lost a wager until the day he swore to rid the Seelie court of its bard. That bet cost him everything: his freedom, his family—and his heart. When he’s suddenly face-to-face with Gareth at the ceremony to join the Seelie and Unseelie realms, Niall does the only thing inhumanly possible: he fakes amnesia. Not his finest hour, perhaps, but he never revealed his Unseelie heritage, and to tell the truth now would be to risk Gareth’s revulsion—far harder to bear than two hundred years of imprisonment.

Then a new threat to Gareth’s life arises, and he and Niall stage a mad escape into the Outer World, only to discover the fate of all fae resting on their shoulders. But before they can save the realm, they have to tackle something really tough: mending their own broken relationship.

Review

First, let me say that I’m not a fan of “reunion or second chance” romances – so this already had a mark against it.

Second, I wasn’t ever too keen on Gareth and didn’t quite warm up to him as a romantic interest.

Third, it was long and the slow burn got tiresome and the reward wasn’t enough of a pay off for my patience to feel rewarded.

Fourth – amnesia as a plot device – blech! I hate soap operas and this felt like that.

I’ve really enjoyed the others in this series and the writing and world-buidling are still great, but this wasn’t my favorite.

3 of 5 stars

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4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Back To School Book Bullying College/University coming of age Contemporary Exploration Football Gay Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild level angst Monthly Theme Morgan NetGalley New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat Sports Virgin

Back to School Month: The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair


Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-quarterback

Blurb

Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him.

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happy ever after for both of them.

Review

Well, ‘tis the season for sports minded romance! This is one of three or four GFY or supposedly straight guys finding their gay side that I’ve read in the last month. Honestly, they’ve all been really good, so I haven’t minded one bit!

What I liked about this was that Trevor speaks up for himself and isn’t willing to be shut up in a closet. Trevor is also pretty unique and funny and as a character, was a lot of fun.

Matt is pretty typical, as far as jock characters go – though I found his willingness to try things at the happy ending massage place pretty funny.

There is quite a bit of exploratory/virgin sex , some pretty unrealistic team mates and some super awesome family members. The dialog was witty and fun and there wasn’t a lot of football to get in the way of the romance – which I appreciated!

I really enjoyed this and recommend it to fans of GFY/OFY jock/nerd romances.

4.5 of 5 stars

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4.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book Contemporary DA Enemies to Lovers Exploration Fairies Fantasy Gay Geek/Jock Geek/nerd/techie/gamer Heat Index Hurt/Abuse m/m Magic Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Paranormal Part of a Series Race/Species Difference Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

The Druid Next Door (Fae Out of Water #2) by E.J. Russell

release day review

Riptide Presents

https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-druid-next-door

Blurb

Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling?

Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree-hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101.

All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse.

Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever.

Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway.

Review

This is a great series!
I’m gonna admit that I don’t really love long books. I like to dive in and get my happy and move on. That’s just how I am. (I love short stories for that reason, too!) So… when I see long(ish) books I tend to be leery… but… this totally pays out!

While this can definitely be a standalone, I recommend reading book one first: https://openskyebookreviews.com/cutie-and-the-beast-fae-out-of-water-1-by-e-j-russell/ because it sets up a lot of the very important backstory for the main conflict found here.
However, the author does explain the history, so if you start with this, you’ll be fine.

Being from Oregon I had to laugh at all the “eco consciousness” that Mal fights against. It’s pretty funny! There are several other “inside” jokes about the PNW but really, anyone who understands how liberalism can go to extremes will appreciate them.

Mal is vain and from another generation and it was so gratifying to see him paired with someone like Bryce. Bryce, who seems mild mannered, has a backbone of steel and when it comes to what he cares about he won’t be pushed around. The two get magically linked and from there the two find they also share a powerful sexual connection as well. (This was really interesting – I won’t spoil it- but there’s more here than meets the eye!)

We get to see a lot of David and a bit of Alun in this story, as well – which was fun. There’s the overarching “mystery” of a curse which is tied to David’s story and a somewhat hysterical and daunting list of “tasks” to break the curse – which ties back numerous times to David’s story as well.

This book was even funnier than book one and had lots of magic and was maybe even a bit more steamy than Cutie as well.

I’m giving this 4.5 instead of 5 because there were a few times when the curse/mystery/etc seemed to drag a bit and some of Bryce’s inner waffling got a bit repetitive. However, it was a page turner and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I really hope we get this series on audio because I think it will be even better in the hands of a great narrator!

Highly Recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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4.5 stars Actor/Theatre adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Exploration Firefighters Gay Handyman Heat Index Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Part of a Series Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat second chance at love Single Parent Standalone

Get a Grip (Bluewater Bay #19) by L.A. Witt

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/get-a-grip

Blurb

If a tree falls in Bluewater Bay . . . could it be fate?

A year after his divorce, Shane Andrews isn’t interested in dating—not that he has time, between three kids and a demanding job as a grip. When a windstorm knocks a tree onto one of the Wolf’s Landing soundstages, Shane’s there to help with the mess . . . and so is firefighter Aaron Tucker.

A former smoke jumper, Aaron’s an adrenaline junkie and way too restless and reckless to be relationship material. As far as he’s concerned, monogamy is for penguins, and he’d rather be alone than tied down. Signing up to be a stepparent? No, thank you.

But after a scorching-hot night together, they’re hooked. Aaron is a taste of the excitement Shane’s been lacking, and Shane’s pushing buttons Aaron didn’t know he had. The more they’re together, the less Aaron craves wild nights with other men . . . but the more Shane wants to play the field like he never got to in his twenties.

This could be the love neither man knew he needed, but only if Shane gets his feet back on the ground before Aaron walks away.

Review

I’ve not always had the best of luck with this series, but I was really attracted to this because it has some older MCs. (I’m a sucker for those!) And a family, too!

What I liked about this was the sincere emotions that flowed between our guys throughout most of the book. (Of course it was super annoying when they kept ignoring the obvious…but, hey, that’s what kept me turning pages!)

Witt is amazing when it comes to hot sex scenes and there are plenty here! But she’s also great at giving us really relatable characters with real life problems without bringing it to the level of mundane. (I loved that the ‘ex’ is still part of the picture!)

You don’t have to be following the series at all to enjoy this (it’s really only peripherally part of the series) and I think if you like later in life / second chance love stories this will be right up your alley!

(The only thing that kept this from being a 5 star read was the soft HEA – though it felt very promising I’d have liked to see them a bit further down the road, or with a more definite “promise” if you know what I mean!)

Highly Recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Angst Level Book class difference Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Fairies Fantasy Fated Mates Gay Heat Index High but not hopeless Humor Hurt/comfort m/m Magic Mid level steam/heat Morgan Mystery NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Opposites attract Paranormal Part of a Series Riptide Publishing second chance at love Shifter Standalone vampire Witches/Warlocks/Wizards

Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water #1) by E.J. Russell

July 24th!
Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/cutie-and-the-beast

Blurb

Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission.

Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult—in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face.

But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.

Review

This was WONDERFUL!

If you’re a fan of high fantasy – fairies, and curses, and warlocks and vampires … with a giant sense of humor and some really fun, flirty, sexy romance – this is for you! It’s also this great mix of fairy tale “Beauty and the Beast” mixed in – with a bit of “Cinderella” too.

See, there’s more to David than meets the eye and while he’s super funny, cute and charming as he is – over the course of the story, we find out he’s got more to show us. (The Cinderella factor.)

Then we’ve got stick in the mud Alun who has been cursed and is our “beast”. He’s curmudgeonly and reminds me very much of Scrooge. When he falls for David it’s a total disaster in the making and his guilty conscience won’t let him enjoy it. It takes (practically) an act of God to get this guy to finally give in.

But… there’s a whole host of others – a Dragon who won’t value his treasure, a Vampire who won’t drink blood, an aging aunt… and more!

This was just so much fun! It moves along quickly because the dialog is so witty and the banter and tension between David and Alun so thick. There’s some action and a mystery and of course – the curse.

I’m not even that big of a fan when it comes to high fantasy – but this was great.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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