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4.5 stars Angst Level Book coming of age Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hopelessly Crying m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Recent Past Riptide Publishing Virgin young adult

Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton

release day review

 

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28531239Blurb

It’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.

Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.

Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.

Review

Wow. So not what I was expecting when I first read the blurb.

There’s so much going on in this book.

First, Nate’s story. He and his dad move to Warren, WY (Nowhere) and it’s a hard adjustment. His mom is still in Austin, Tx. He has no friends. The teeny tiny town is about as different from life in Austin as you can get and the only friend he likes is the town pariah.

Then, Cody. Cody’s mom is all alone, doing what she can to make ends meet. Sometimes things she doesn’t want to talk about. The town knows about Cody and his mom and then… there’s the gay thing. Somehow the little town finds out Cody’s most hidden secret and they won’t let it go. (This is the state that killed Matthew Shepard in 1988.)

At first (over the summer), the two are really close friends. But when school starts, Cody distances himself from Nate in an effort to “save” Nate from being associated with Cody. Well, as time goes on, not only does Nate NOT want to be with the other jerks in town, he longs to be with Cody. He’s not sure why he wants that so badly… at first.

**

I had such a visceral reaction to this story. I grew up in that town (not literally, but almost – Colorado instead of Wyoming – but the wind still blew all the time, it was cold, there was nothing to do but get in trouble and we didn’t have MTV either!) so I know exactly how it feels to live in a town and your only fantasy is about the day you graduate so you can leave and never look back.

Of course, it’s different if in addition to all that other stuff you have to deal with the threat of gay-bashing and AIDS and losing your parents’ love too…

I thought Marie did an amazing job of letting the fear be real but not crushing for these boys. She gave them some real hope in a way that felt plausible and authentic. God, it would be so easy to turn this story into another Brokeback Mountain, but thankfully we get a HFN – probably a HEA to look forward to. (With one exception… so sad…)

I guess this book just really made me think and be thankful we live in a “different” world now… at least there’s more information out there and resources and less? fear… I hope so at least.

Anyhow, this is a very moving book that is well written and very compelling. There’s not a bunch of sex in it, it wouldn’t really feel right anyway, but there’s a lot of emotion and heart.

I highly recommend it and give it 4.5 of 5 stars

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4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book coming of age Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild/low level heat NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Riptide Publishing

Until September by Chris Scully

release day review

 

27011392Blurb

As a teenager, Archie Noblesse clawed his way out of the poverty, heartache, and abuse of the reservation and left his family behind. Desperate to shake the shadow of his past, he reinvents himself as Archer Noble, an outspoken blogger and controversial author who lives only for himself. But when his beloved sister dies, Archer is saddled with guardianship of his niece and nephew.

Elementary school teacher Ryan Eriksson is devastated when his best friend Marguerite is killed, leaving her two young children orphaned. Helping Archer with his new responsibilities eases his grief, but when Archer offers him custody of the children, Ryan’s left with an impossible choice: get the family he’s always wanted, or respect Margie’s wishes and convince Archer to give parenting—and his heritage—a chance.

To buy time, Ryan promises to stay for the summer, hoping that Archer will change his mind and fall for the kids. But Archer’s reluctant, and the growing attraction between him and Ryan complicates matters. Legal decisions must be made, and soon, before Ryan returns to school. But with hearts involved, more than just the children’s future is on the line.

Review

Archer is a blogger/writer who rails about gays who want to be married to be “normal” and ridicules them for their misbelief that monogamy and love are real. He goes so far as to say gay men aren’t supposed to be parents, it’s unnatural to their true selves. He has a good reason for believing as he does and voicing his opinion has been lucrative. When he finds out his only (beloved) sister has died and left him her children he’s not only crushed by the loss but devastated by the implications it could have on him and on the children to be their only parent.

Ryan is a teacher who knew Archer’s sister closely the last year, enough that she listed him as an alternate guardian for her kids in an emergency. (The father is also dead.) He has wanted nothing but a marriage and family of his own since he could remember wanting a future. In fact, his last boyfriend left him because he was pressuring him too much.

It’s not a good meeting when Archer and Ryan meet – Archer is mostly an ass and Ryan is pretty judgmental. But… for the sake of the kids they agree to live with one another over the summer in the hopes of getting Archer to a point where he’s comfortable with the kids on his own.

Of course – a lot can happen over a summer…

**

Chris Scully has a knack for delivering real romance and three-dimensional, authentic characters. This story, like her others, is a slow-burn romance with not a lot of heat. There is a boat-load of sexual tension and oodles of feels developing, but she doesn’t emphasize the sex as a way for these guys to get close.

There is a lot of deep soul searching and a lovely growth process for both men. The children seem pretty realistic if a little too “easy” and the love that grows between the family is the most beautiful part of this story.

Though the Epilogue doesn’t leave a big window for a sequel- I’d sure love to see these guys after they decided to plant roots together. We spend so much time watching them avoid each other it’d be nice to see them together – at least for awhile.

It’s a really touching and beautiful story on it’s own – add in to the mix the Aboriginal aspect to the story (Archer and his sister are Cree ) and it’s even more rich and powerful.

I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it.

4.5 of 5 stars

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4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Gay Ghost Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat Music/Rock Star NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Riptide Publishing second chance at love Virgin

Rock N Soul by Lauren Sattersby

 

release day review

51tWcS6Z81L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_Blurb

I’m Tyler Lindsey, and until recently, I had an okay apartment, an okay girlfriend, and an okay job as a bellboy at a respectable Boston hotel. Then rock star Chris Raiden died right before I brought his room service—stiffing me on the tip, by the way—and my life went to hell. My fifteen minutes of fame was more like five seconds, and my girlfriend left me in disgust.

But even worse—Chris is haunting me. Not the room where he died, like a normal ghost. No, somehow he’s stuck to me and is insisting on taking care of a bunch of unfinished business in California. So now I have to traipse across the country with the world’s most narcissistic ghost.

But . . . I keep having these weird thoughts. Thoughts about how much I like the way he makes me laugh. Thoughts where I kind of want to kiss the emo-narcissist, even though he’s a ghost and an asshole and I can’t touch him anyway. And even if I could, what will happen when he finishes his business and nothing’s keeping him here anymore?

Review

Tyler is adrift as a bellboy in a hotel when he runs into Chris – an emo rock-star who demands some grapes. After running around trying to find them he returns to find Chris dead of an overdose. After finding and wearing Chris’ ring, he finds that he – HIMSELF – is haunted by Chris.

Chris has unfinished business – don’t we all! – and demands that Tyler help him accomplish this.

Though the two start out as mostly enemies – Tyler’s girl leaves him when she accuses him of “letting” Chris (her idol) die – and Chris is narcissitic enough not to understand why Tyler isn’t more happy to help him – they end up developing a deep relationship that helps them both find more meaning in – ironically – life.

Eventually the story comes to it’s climax as Chris finishes his business on earth and things look like they’ll need to change again, the only question is how.

**

First, let me say that for a debut novel – or any freakin’ novel – this was amazingly well written. I was absolutely intrigued by the blurb and found the end result to be full of ALL the emotions: laughter, tears, anger, frustration, happiness, and love.

I loved the MCs and found their personal growth to be very touching.

I’m not a huge “ghost” fan – it’s hard to reconcile the whole “dead” thing with “happy ever after”, but I’ve read some books that did this very well (ie Motel. Pool by Kim Fielding) and the blurb hooked me.

In the end there were way more things that worked for me than not.

Things that worked for me: The writing is excellent. Very well developed characters. Intriguing plot line. “Believable” conversion of ghost into lover (and HEA). Great dialog. Hot smexy scenes. Loads of feels. Tons of funny/punny moments.

Only a few things that didn’t work for me: While I appreciated the slow burn, it was already a painful book to read – the guy is dead and we know it and without an absolutely huge magic wand or creepy zombie thing , he will remain dead – so I didn’t need MORE pain – so I didn’t like seeing the hurt on Chris’ face with the trials as Tyler got involved with other men and women. Limiting this would also help to shorten it a bit as it is fairly long and I’m not sure it needs to be this long. For example, there is a bit at the beginning that began to drag where the two are “learning” about each other but reluctant to share their sexuality and dancing around the subject that I think could have been shortened.

Those little niggles took this from a VERY SOLID 5 star read to a 4.5 star for me, but it’s really a great book and I do highly recommend it.

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Categories
Actor/Theatre adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Mid level angst NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat

Stuck Landing by Lauren Gallagher

StuckLanding_600x900Blurb

For months, acclaimed Wolf’s Landing director/producer Anna Maxwell has been nursing a crush on Natalya Izmaylova, a former Russian gymnast and current Wolf’s Landing stunt coordinator. When Anna witnesses Natalya’s very public breakup with her boyfriend, she can’t resist inviting her over for drinks to commiserate about love and all that nonsense. Commiseration doesn’t last long, and soon Anna’s in bed with the hottest woman she’s ever touched, living out fantasies she didn’t even know she had.

Despite the amazing sex, Anna wants to proceed with caution. They’re both newly single. They’re colleagues. And there’s the not-so-small matter of Anna’s biphobia.

Natalya won’t commit to someone who clings to ridiculous stereotypes, but they can’t avoid each other at work, and there’s no ignoring their chemistry. Anna’s defenses are slowly eroding, and Natalya is willing to give her another chance. But Natalya only has so much patience, and even scorching hot sex won’t keep her coming back forever. If Anna doesn’t come to her senses soon and let go of her prejudices — not to mention her insecurities — she’s going to lose the woman of her dreams.

Review

Anna has just split with her ex of a long time relationship – the relationship’s been dead a long time, too. Natalya just dropped her boyfriend of the last year as well. They decide to go commiserate with some drinks when Natalya lets Anna know that she’s bisexual and very interested in Anna.

At first everything is great. They share a lot of common interests and a super hot chemistry. But Anna has been burned by a bi-sexual woman in the past and this clouds her ability to see Natalya.

Natalya feels judged by the straight and gay people of the world for being bi-sexual. She doesn’t feel safe in either world and that’s not acceptable with a lover.

Eventually Anna pulls her head out with some help from Levi and Carter and the two embark on a relationship.

**

I haven’t read a romance between two women before so I found this fascinating. I loved the dynamics of the gay v bi-sexual arguments as well as the different emotions the women showed.

I thought the smexy times were hot – which I was surprised about! – and thought the writing was excellent.

I loved seeing Levi and Carter get married as well – so sweet!

I recommend this to fans of the series and to f/f romance lovers.

4.0 of 5 stars

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Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Asexual Bi-Sexual Book coming of age Contemporary Cop/Crime Established Couple Exploration Fan Art Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Karrie Jax m/m Medical Military Mystery NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Reconcilliation Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat second chance at love

Part & Parcel (A Sidewinder Story) by Abigail Roux

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/part-and-parcel

Part&Parcel_500x750Blurb

Nick O’Flaherty and Kelly Abbott had their happy ending in sight when a friend’s call for help almost ended with them losing it to the blade of a knife. Now, in the aftermath of near-disaster, both men are trying to heal and move on.
Moving on together, though, is harder than either of them realized it would be. Kelly struggles with simply being a lover instead of the Doc, while Nick is mired in his recovery. The distance between them inches along in stilted silence.
Desperately seeking solace, Nick finally gathers the courage to sort through the possessions his dear friend and fellow Sidewinder teammate Elias Sanchez left him when he died. Instead of comforting memories, Nick and Kelly find a stack of letters and strict instructions from Eli that prompt them to send out a call for assistance. With Eli’s letters in hand, Sidewinder sets out on one last mission together, seeking peace and absolution from beyond the grave—and from each other.
Review

So the Sidewinder series is definitely something that “could be read alone” but I don’t really believe it 😉

These books are all best read in order and Part & Parcel falls in the timeline after Crash & Burn, the last of the Cut & Run series books. I think that Nick and Kelly’s story is far too woven in to really appreciate without reading the entire series.

Kelly & Nick have been best friends for years and only recently been lovers. In Shock & Awe the two cross from friends to lover and in Cross & Crown they “cement” their relationship more, but as you find out in Part & Parcel they are definitely not as fully entrenched in the relationship as you’d think. In Crash & Burn, Nick almost dies and we are left at the end of that book with Kelly and Nick post-stabbing.

Kelly is helping Nick to recover and this is something he’s done for his team forever, but now that Nick is his lover, things have changed. But it’s way more than just that. Nick held a lot back from Kelly over the last year or more and Kelly has to decide if he can forgive Nick for that. So, in addition to changing their relationship from friend, to nurse, to lover – they also have to navigate both Kelly’s feelings and Nick’s regarding the lies.

But that isn’t all… Nick has even more “truths” in store for Kelly – and vice versa, Kelly has some stuff he’s keeping from Nick. The two don’t know how to breach the chasm that seems to have formed between them. They know they love one another but there’s all this – stuff – between them. Using a letter and scavenger hunt left by their buddy Eli Sanchez, Nick, Kelly and the rest of the Sidewinder team end up going on a days long road trip together down memory lane. It’s an amazingly healing and painful trip and along the way – we hope – these guys finally begin to find some peace.

**12400073_10156295890225414_969637563_o

This was such an unexpected book! All of the other books in this series have had some mystery or crime or puzzle to solve and a lot of violence. I guess Eli’s game is a little puzzling – but it is in no way similar to the crimes and blood-shed, fires, weaponry, etcetera that we’ve seen in the other books in the series. Instead, a lot of really deep and sometimes funny, sometimes sad, and sometimes awkward backstory is told about the members of the team.

Nick is a surprisingly multi-faceted guy and we learn so much about him and Kelly (as well as the other guys on the team) that I’m really excited about the direction the series is headed.

Abigail Roux gave us Ty and Zane who are very deep and complex characters and up until now, I really didn’t see Nick and Kelly as very “deep”. They seemed like lunatics who loved sex and had wild fun times together, but who are not nearly as complicated as Ty and Zane (as far as character development).

So, for me at least, this book really got me re-reading the other books looking at Nick and Kelly with different eyes and with a different appreciation.

I loved that Abi took so much time with the emotions in this book. I loved that she made Digger’s character unique – and Kelly’s too – in a final confessional near the end. It gives the entire gang more solidity to them and makes their stories that much more intriguing. We get a break from the explosions to really look at the underpinnings of the team and it was really, really well done.

I know that fans of the series will love this and if you aren’t a fan of the series – you should really skip this 😉

Highly recommended. 5 of 5 stars

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adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Book coming of age Contemporary Exploration Fan Art Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Karrie Jax m/m Mid level steam/heat NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Riptide Publishing Thanksgiving Virgin

Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North

release day review

 

 

 

blueberry boys

Blurb

Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.

Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.

Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.

Review

Connor has been living in New York, he’s a successful photographer and really happy with his life. When his uncle dies, leaving him a 1/3 of the blueberry farm he never wanted, he returns only to do what’s necessary to expedite the sale. There he meets Jed.

Jed is a tenant farmer, reliant on good weather and luck to make his livelihood. He loves growing things and though he’s gay, closeted, and resents the fact that he’s made to feel his life is “wrong”, he still hasn’t turned away from his religion.

Jed and Connor strike an interest in one another right from the start. That is never the problem. The problem is making their lives mesh given geography, politics, religion and convictions.

Fortunately – the universe is a funny place – and in a moment of sadness we find what we’ve most been searching for.

**

Blueberry Boys - Vanessa North

Vanessa North amazes me! If you look at the books she’s written, they cover all sorts of topics, themes, characters – you name it. This is an absolutely unique story and different from her others.

The theme of religion and coming home at first put me off reading this book. But I love her work, so I decided to trust (or as Jed would say – have faith). It totally paid out.

Yes – there are some stiff and uncomfortable scenes wherein we watch Jed wrestle with what he’s been taught and what he feels to be true. But – the religion aspect isn’t hit over the head, nor is it vilified. In fact, the new pastor- Brenda – actually steps up to help when nobody else can.

I loved how Jed trusted Connor and how Connor always respected Jed’s limits, tried to make his life easier and never tried to “change” him.  Just acceptance, all the time.

The sweet smexy times are appropriate and meaningful. The feels are abundant. And the Epilogue is OUTSTANDING!

I loved this book and highly recommend it!

5 of 5 stars

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Actor/Theatre adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Christmas coming of age Contemporary Exploration Friends to lovers Gay Ghost Heat Index Holiday Homophobia Hopelessly Crying m/m Magic Mid level steam/heat NetGalley New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Riptide Publishing Virgin

Winter Oranges by Marie Sexton

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winter orangesBlurb

Jason Walker is a child star turned teen heartthrob turned reluctant B-movie regular who’s sick of his failing career. So he gives up Hollywood for northern Idaho, far away from the press, the drama of LA, and the best friend he’s secretly been in love with for years.

There’s only one problem with his new life: a strange young man only he can see is haunting his guesthouse. Except Benjamin Ward isn’t a ghost. He’s a man caught out of time, trapped since the Civil War in a magical prison where he can only watch the lives of those around him. He’s also sweet, funny, and cute as hell, with an affinity for cheesy ’80s TV shows. And he’s thrilled to finally have someone to talk to.

But Jason quickly discovers that spending all his time with a man nobody else can see or hear isn’t without its problems—especially when the tabloids find him again and make him front-page news. The local sheriff thinks he’s on drugs, and his best friend thinks he’s crazy. But Jason knows he hasn’t lost his mind. Too bad he can’t say the same thing about his heart.

———————–

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/ 

Review

Jason Walker is a B list actor – he used to be a big star as a child actor but hasn’t really found his place as an adult in the industry. He moves to a small town to “get his head together” and decide where his career is going. At the new house he begins to see things and worries he may be going crazy. But eventually he comes to the conclusion that the house is haunted.

Ben “haunts” a snowglobe found in Jason’s house. Up until now, nobody has been able to see him, so he knows Jason is something special. Without giving away the magic in this story – I’ll let you know that they find a way to talk and even touch and this is how their relationship starts.

Eventually, both Jason and Ben worry that at some point their relationship has to end. There is a price to be paid for their love and one or both are afraid that death may be the cost.

**

What an absolutely amazing, beautifully written, totally unique and gorgeous story we have here!

Marie Sexton is a fantastic writer and she’s managed to one-up herself with this story. I think it stands as one of my favorite of hers and that’s saying a lot. (I’m a huge fan of her Coda series!)

I don’t want to give too much away, but the way she “solves” this mystical dilemma is both terrifying and wonderful. (Have no fear there is a very HEA in store for our guys!)

Ben is a beautiful character and I’m so glad he got his happy ending. Jason needed someone like him, pure, beautiful soul, sweet and hopeful to bring him back to himself. It was a joy to read about them finding one another and happiness.

I highly recommend this story to fans of the belief that love conquers all, that there are Christmas miracles, to sweet and sappy romance and to believers in magic.

5 of 5 stars

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Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Exploration Fan Art Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse Karrie Jax m/m Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Purchased Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat

Shock & Awe (A Sidewinder Story) Audiobook by Abigail Roux Narrated by Brock Thompson

shock aweBlurb

After barely surviving a shootout in New Orleans, Sidewinder medic Kelly Abbott has to suffer through a month of recovery before he can return home to Colorado. He’s not surprised when fellow Sidewinder Nick O’Flaherty stays with him in New Orleans. Nor is he surprised when Nick travels home with him to help him get back on his feet – after all, years on the same Marine Force Recon team bonded the men in ways that only bleeding for a brother can. He’s very surprised, though, when Nick humors his moment of curiosity and kisses him.
Nick knows all of Kelly’s quirks and caprices, so the kiss was a low-risk move on his part…or so he thought. But what should’ve been a simple moment unleashes a flood of confusing emotions and urges that neither man is prepared to address. Now, Kelly and Nick must figure out what they mean to each other – friends and brothers in arms or something even deeper – before the past can come back to ruin their tenuous future.

Review

This is a spin-off of the beloved Cut & Run series by Abigail Roux. We’ve met these guys before, but this story features only them and not Ty and Zane.

This takes place after Touch and Geaux (in the series).

Nick is gay and Kelly identifies as straight. The two have been friends for a long time and while spending this time together helping Kelly recover they discover that there’s a lot more to their relationship than friendship.

With surprising ease, Nick and Kelly embark on Kelly’s first gay sexual experience and immediately jump into a deep and loving relationship.

Though this is a short book, there’s a lot of very, very hot and somewhat kinky sex and some pretty significant feels, too.

Even with the sequel, I wish we’d been able to spend more time with these guys in the beginning stages of their relationship. They are absolutely sweet and so sexy together it would’ve been nice to see their relationship unfurling in a longer novel.

I loved seeing all the gang and teared-up seeing Ty and Zane’s moment at the airport.

This was a wonderful spin off that I’m psyched to see and though this isn’t exactly a stand-alone, I think you’d get most of the picture if you’d never read the Cut & Run series, you just wouldn’t appreciate all the nuances.

Irish Special Desktop

Audio

Brock Thompson ROCKED this. I was so leery. Sean Crisden did the Cut & Run series and he sort of epitomized the audio for me. Brock did a lovely, lovely growly voice for Kelly and plain speaking Nick. His pacing is excellent, he did a great job differentiating the voices and expressing the emotions.

I highly recommend this book, series and audiobook.

6 of 5 stars

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Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Shock-Awe-Audiobook/B016E9JCVS/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1448046309&sr=1-1

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Cop/Crime Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat second chance at love

Rain Shadow (A Bluewater Bay Story) by LA Witt

rain shadowBlurb

Jeremy Rose came to Bluewater Bay to work as Anna Maxwell’s bodyguard, not to escape his increasingly bitter relationship with his estranged kids. He just wants to focus on his job and be alone for a while. He’s done with love, especially now that three years after his long overdue divorce, he’s got a front-row seat to the rapid deterioration between Anna and her girlfriend. Cynical doesn’t even begin to describe him.

Then Anna and Leigh’s attempts to reconcile put him in the crosshairs of marriage counselor Scott Fletcher. Scott’s exactly what Jeremy needs right now: gorgeous, hot, horny, single, and 100% uninterested in a relationship. The problem is, too much no-strings-attached sex—and too much time in each other’s company—inevitably builds emotional connection.

Except Jeremy refuses to seek counseling for his broken family, and Scott refuses to get seriously involved with men who work dangerous jobs. They both need to realize they can only hide for so long from the pain they came here to escape. They must face their pasts before they lose their shot at a happy future.

Review

Jeremy was in a marriage for almost 2 decades before he finally admitted to his family that he was gay. Since then, though the divorce has been more or less amicable, he struggles with the relationship with his kids. He’s moved to Bluewater Bay “to give everyone some distance” – in other words – he ran away from his problems.

Scott dated a cop 20 years ago who died, now he doesn’t date cops and isn’t really that interested in a relationship at all since all he does – day in, day out – is see bad relationships. When he sees Jeremy on a sight seeing trip and the two spark an interest, neither wants anything more than sex. Perfect, right?

**

I’m having a hard time reviewing this because I feel pulled in two opposite directions.

On the one hand, LA Witt is a great writer and she pulled me in to this story. I was invested in Jeremy and Scott’s relationship, Jeremy’s family struggles and even the secondary character’s relationship difficulties. I loved the Rain Shadow metaphor and her descriptions of the area were lovely.  I also LOVE older MCs and both of these guys are over 40 and still HOT!

On the other hand, I never really got a great feel for Scott and what motivated him. This was told from Jeremy’s POV and I think hearing from Scott’s POV would have helped me feel more connected to him.

I also got really, really depressed by Jeremy’s life. Man! His kids’ struggles seemed hopeless. His life seemed so depressing. All those years “wasted” and now he’s still not happy. Yes – being with Scott is like a breath of fresh air, but it’s still a bit tainted with them having to start things right off the bat with heavy discussions and some concessions.

I guess it’s pretty “real” and that’s commendable, but it didn’t leave a bright, shiny feel in my heart.

For me, reading is an escape, and I definitely don’t want to read about fictional peoples’ pedestrian struggles when I have my own pedestrian struggles to deal with.

So… my overall opinion is that this is a well-written, somewhat realistic story about two guys and their struggles to find happiness in a less-than-perfect scenario. (The sex scenes, which are NUMEROUS, were very hot, and I won’t say unnecessary because they did form the basis of their relationship but…there was a lot of sex in this.)

So, I guess I’d rate it a 3 – smack in the middle. For fans of the series, I’d say it’s nice to see the gang again, but this can definitely be a standalone.

3-stars-small

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Copy Provided by NetGalley For an Honest Review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/rain-shadow

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Christmas Contemporary Exploration Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Holiday m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Riptide Publishing second chance at love

Rebound Remedy by Christine D’Abo

rebound remedyBlurb

 

The last thing Cole expects to get for the holidays is dumped. But there he is, in the airport on his way to Banff for a romantic getaway, helplessly watching as his boyfriend’s ex declares undying love, proposes—and is accepted. With a few weeks to go until Christmas, Cole’s mood dives from jolly to jaded. But instead of sitting at home alone and feeling sorry for himself, he goes to his favorite bar, McGregor’s, for a pint and some company.

The moment Owen McGregor sets eyes on Cole, he knows there’s something wrong. So he takes it upon himself to ensure that Cole has a happy holiday: twelve outings for the twelve days before Christmas. Even if he can’t quite think up twelve activities that don’t involve getting the forlorn hunk into his bed.

With each outing they take together, Cole realizes that the love he thought he’d shared with his ex was less than perfect. And that Owen might prove to be more than just his rebound remedy.

———————–

Twenty percent of the proceeds from this title will be donated to the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) National Help Center.

Founded in 1996, the GLBT National Help Center is a non-profit organization that provides vital peer-support, community connections and resource information to people with questions regarding sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Utilizing a diverse group of GLBT volunteers, they operate two national hotlines, the GLBT National Hotline and the GLBT National Youth Talkline, as well as private, volunteer one-to-one online chat, that help both youth and adults with coming-out issues, safer-sex information, school bullying, family concerns, relationship problems and a lot more.

To learn more about this charity or to donate directly, please visit their website: http://www.glbthotline.org/ 

 

Review

Owen is a bartender who notices how sweet Cole is night after night. When Cole gets dumped right before Christmas, Owen offers to help cheer him up with some outings – one a day – in the 12 days before Christmas.

Over these outings these two guys embark on what could be a lovely romance – if they’d ever talk to each other about it!

There is a lot of sexual tension and tender moments. Cole has to decide if it’s too soon to have a boyfriend and Owen has to decide if he wants to settle down at all, especially with a man (He’s bi, but mostly been with women.)

In the end we are given a lovey HFN/HEA and a hope for their future together.

**

This was a sweet, wintery, Holiday read. Perfect for the season. Low angst, high sexual tension, sweet ending.

There wasn’t anything dramatic or exciting but a nice, mostly believable forward movement of two men falling in love.

I recommend this to fans of the season and low angst reads and cute bartenders!

(Don’t forget the proceeds go to LGBT charity!)

3.75 of 5 stars

4-stars-small

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Copy provided by NetGalley for an Honest Review

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/rebound-remedy