Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Anna Book Gay Historical m/m Mid level angst NetGalley Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series

Fascinated (The Wicked Woodleys) by Jess Michaels 


Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Fascinated-Wicked-Woodleys-Jess-Michaels-ebook/dp/B01NBTOJZQ/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1492010242&sr=8-1&keywords=fascinated+jess+michaels

Blurb

A sexy M/M historical romance in the Wicked Woodleys universe from USA Today bestselling author Jess Michaels 

It’s been over a decade since Aaron Condit’s lover, Viscount Noah Seagate died. While he has had temporary diversions, he hasn’t had a real relationship since. But now he’s been invited to the home of his best friend, Leticia Blackwood and he’ll be faced with deep temptation in the form of her brother, Griffin Merrick. 

Griffin has seen Aaron at certain clubs for a long time and he cannot deny that he wants the handsome solicitor. But secrets from far in the past and a desire not to hurt someone they both love stand between them. Time spent alone leads to a passionate affair, but only time will tell if they can overcome all that keeps them apart. And if they’re willing to risk losing everything in order to find love. 

 

Review

This is a pretty standard historical romance: a house party, illicit meetings, parlour games that turns into touches and kisses etc. There is no subplot other than the two men’s own conflicted feelings and their shared connection to Letty, their hostess, Griffin’s sister and the widow of Aron’s deceased lover.

This is the 6th book in The Wicked Woodleys series by Jess Michaels. I have read this author before – though not this series. The blurb promises the book can be read as a stand alone and it does work that way, although I still felt I was lacking something… Not so much information, as build up of this relationship. I just didn’t feel the chemistry and tension between the two men, even if I was told they had been circling each other for years…

The story was easily read, sweet, a little bit angsty and enjoyable enough. Not so enjoyable though that I will return to read the books before it in the series and I predict it will be very easily forgotten too. However, I would read this author’s work again, for days when you need something light and easy for a quick read.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

(originally posted here: https://goannago.wordpress.com)

Categories
2 stars Actor/Theatre adult - 18+ Angst Level Anna Book Contemporary Gay m/m Mid level angst NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract

Dating Ryan Alback by J.E. Birk

Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/dating-ryan-alback

Blurb

Ryan Alback has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a successful acting career, a dog who adores him, great family and friends, and a life outside the closet. The only thing missing is a boyfriend — but Ryan’s been burned by Hollywood relationships before, and he’s not eager to try one again.

Jason Santos has almost everything he’s ever wanted: a fulfilling career teaching middle school, a house in a city he loves, and parents who support him in every way. Too bad he can’t seem to forget the ex-boyfriend who rejected his marriage proposal.

When a talk show host launches a dating contest to find Ryan a boyfriend and Jason accidentally wins, neither of them expect anything to come from it. Yet somewhere between a disastrous massage and a mud sinkhole, they both start to wonder if this date could be more than just a public relations stunt. But before they can move into the future, they’ll both have to learn to let go of the past.

Review

This premise and the cover of this story pulled me in, so cute and fun. And to be fair, the story was cute. But that was all it was, unfortunately.
Ryan Alback is a TV-star, who is insanely paranoid about his private life remaining private, yet he is coerced into being set up for a blind date by by his manager. Jason Santos is a middle school teacher, still pining after his ex and annoyed at his friends meddling in his love life. The two end up on a blind date together, but both are loaded down with the issues of their pasts.
This felt so much like an after school special. Just a little too preachy and awkward to get me invested in the story and the characters. The characters had no chemistry, so I never really felt that they were right for one another. The plot was cute, but the conflicts felt contrived and a bit out there, to be honest.
All in all I was left a bit dissatisfied. The premise was great, but the story itself lacked a bit and the ending wasn’t really that satisfying either. It was cute and fluffy and easily read, but completely forgettable the second you close the book.

2 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley For Honest Review
* (originally posted here: https://goannago.wordpress.com)

Categories
1.5 stars Angst Level Anna Audiobook Billionaire Book class difference Contemporary Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Length m/m Mid level angst New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series second chance at love

The Worst Best Man Audiobook by M.J. O’Shea narrated by Dorian Bane

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-worst-best-man-by-mj-oshea-8404-b

Blurb

It was her special day… but his worst nightmare.

A rekindled romance wasn’t part of the plan.

Despite his American background, August O’Leary is the most sought-after wedding planner in London. Naturally, Libby and Edward come to him for a wedding the city will never forget. But Edward is an international businessman, so the details are left to Libby and her best friend—who happens to be the love of August’s life and the one who broke his heart eight years ago: Christopher Burke.

How’s August supposed to pull off the event of the year with Christopher distracting him and old feelings crashing the party uninvited?

Christopher has let money and status dictate his life, but no more. His failure to stand up to others’ expectations cost him his future with August—one he hoped would include marriage. Now he has to face August’s hurt and anger and prove he’s still the best man to make August happy.

Review
I was raised on Harlequin romances. I have read hundreds and hundreds of them in my teenage years. And I love the concept of the Dreamspun series, where authors pay homage to the tropes of Harlequin romances in days gone by. And with that being said, I have to say that this leaves me in a slight dilemma.

Because this book certainly lives up to the trope it is aiming for: I couldn’t have you then, left you for your own good, but I have never stopped loving you, and I will have you now, come hell or high water… there might be a slightly shorter actual description of the trope, but I reckon you get the idea.
So, really, it does what it says on the tin, right? So how come I was disappointed and ended up only giving it two stars? Good question!

The main reason for that would be the lack of connection between the characters. I just never felt it. Not for one single moment did I believe that these two were ‘star crossed lovers, destined to be together’, that they were one another’s THE ONE. There was really nothing between them, except hurt feelings and awkwardness. And furthermore I really didn’t like either of them, especially not Christopher!

Added to that, their backstory didn’t ring true. Apparently August and Christopher were almost set to marry eight years ago, complete with promise ring and all, and yet, August had never met a single one of Christopher’s friends, never visited his home, never met his parents – said parents didn’t even know his name! I found that completely implausible. Frankly, had I been August I would have dumped him way before they broke up back then, no matter what he said, he obviously wasn’t committed at all.

However, if you swallow the unbelievable back story, the courting part of the book was rather sweet, if slightly too slow, but the conflict that arose was just so incredibly stupid! And again, Christopher was obviously not committed, regardless of what excuses he tried to use: “I was protecting you from them” – bah! Move on August, the man is a spineless liar.
At this point I was so over Christopher, that the conclusion left me with a bad taste. Christopher’s actions at the end were not romantic to me, they were borderline stalker-ish. If your ex moves to another continent to get away from you, following him there and interrupting him, whilst he is kissing someone else, and yelling: “Keep your hands off my boyfriend!” – is NOT romantic! It’s creepy and obsessive!

However, I have enjoyed other books by this author, so I will just write this one down as a glitch and not worry more about it. If you enjoy a slow burn, no steam, easily read little snack of a book this might still be for you, even if it wasn’t for me.

This was an audiobook, and I do wish I had read it, instead of listening to it, because the prose flowed easily enough and the writing seemed fine, when listening to it. Unfortunately the choice of narrator was not a good one. There wasn’t anything wrong with the narration as such, and I would give Dorian Bane another try, if the book he was narrating was set somewhere in the US. But his British accent was horrible, his northern accent was some kind of weird Dick Van Dyke imitation and his pronunciation on some words were so off that they pulled me completely out of the story several times. I did however learn to disregard the accents during the course of the book, if only because the characters actions annoyed me even more.

1.5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Anna Book coming of age Contemporary Friends to lovers Gay High but not hopeless m/m NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

True Colors by Anyta Sunday Review by Anna!

Amazon Link
https://www.amazon.com/True-Colors-Love-Anyta-Sunday-ebook/dp/B06VT9N9HN/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1491505469&sr=1-1&keywords=true+colors+sunday

Blurb

Oskar used to be Marco’s best friend. His everything. His sunshine yellow.

But that was before. Before Marco stopped being a hot jock. Before he learned to live with scars and pain. And before Oskar tore their friendship apart.

Now the boy next door has returned home, determined to rekindle his friendship with Marco, and Marco’s more afraid than ever. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of being humiliated.

Afraid of falling in love.

Can Oskar find a way through Marco’s fear, back into his heart?

True Colors is an enemies to lovers, boy next door, first time, slow burn M/M romance with a generous helping of UST. This no-cliffhanger, HEA book can be read as a standalone

Review
(originally posted here: https://goannago.wordpress.com)
This is a love story, no doubt about that, there is a romance in there, but it is mainly a story about friendship and forgiveness.
Marco and Oskar have been best friends through all of their childhood, weathering happiness and sorrow, including Marco’s mother dying in a horrific car accident which leaves Marco scarred for life, until 16 year old Oskar betrays his best friend out of fear, right when Marco needed him most to stand up for him.
The boys have been out of touch for four years when our story begins and Oskar returns from Mannheim to Berlin to continue his university degree there. Marco, now twenty, is not ready to let go of his hurt and anger towards Marco or to be truthful to him or his family about who he really is.
This is a slowburn romance and a slowburn getting back to being friends kind of story. The secondary characters, Marco’s Opa and Papa, as well as Oskar’s sister Zoe and Marco’s friend Elena are lovely and it was a very enjoyable read all in all.
I never did really connect to Oskar though, I felt Marco’s pain and humiliation and Marco must be a better person than me, because I couldn’t completely let Oskar’s betrayal go, at least I needed more time.
All in all though, this is a very sweet and quite angsty slow burn romance, which I encourage you to give a try, it is not my favourite by this author though, but I can warmly recommend Anyta Sunday’s work nonetheless.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

Categories
4 stars Anna Author Provided Book Friends to lovers Gay High but not hopeless m/m Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Virgin young adult

When It All Falls Down byTanya Chris Reviewed by Anna!

Amazon Link
https://www.amazon.com/When-Falls-Down-Tanya-Chris-ebook/dp/B01MTFFOG9/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1491771547&sr=8-1&keywords=when+it+all+falls+down+chris

Free on KU!

Blurb
Maybe Charlie should have waited until he graduated high school before coming out, because since that revelation there’s been a growing distance between him and his friends. Charlie’s tough, though. He doesn’t mind eating lunch alone or watching his former gang interact with their new best buddy. What he does mind is seeing Drew Lavoitt suffer the same fate. 

Drew didn’t come out. As far as he, or anyone else knows, he’s straight. What Drew did is accidentally hit and kill a little girl. Now the boy who was voted Most Popular, and who Charlie has maybe had a crush on since eighth grade, faces financial ruin, expulsion, and the fear that if he’s not everything, he’s not enough. 

Popularity, wealth, acclaim—these things are easily lost. In each other’s arms, Drew and Charlie find something that can’t be taken from them. Together the two build a foundation on which they can re-create their lives.

Review
I am not a big reader of YA or High School romances, mainly because I need the happy ever after, like a junkie need a fix, and I cannot believe in a happy ever after when the characters are that young. However, this was so much more than a High School romance, this was a coming of age story filled with heartache and tragedy, but also hope and friendship, and so I will warmly recommend it.

Tanya Chris is a new author to me, but I will be looking up her other books, as this was very well written and engaging from the start. The story flowed nicely and the characters were sympathetic and likeable. 

The only reason this book does not get 5 stars is the fact that I felt that the teenagers acted a tad too mature most of the time, everyone were just a little bit too nice and understanding and embracing of one another – a tad too after school special, really. And while I do understand why the author made those choices (without the sympathetic side cast, this could have turned into angst fest 2017) it just felt a tad too idealistic to ring true.

 4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Author For Honest Review

 

Categories
5 stars Anna Author Provided Book coming of age Friends to lovers Heat Index m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Trans

Starting from Scratch (Housemates #5) by Jay Northcote

release day review
Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Starting-Scratch-Housemates-Book-5-ebook/dp/B06Y3YVY82/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1492008773&sr=8-2&keywords=starting+from+scratch

Free on KU!
Blurb:
Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

Review
I received a free ARC of this book from the author, for my reading pleasure. This has in no way affected my review.
I love the Housemates series. Fun, lighthearted, hot and thoughtful NA series, and they just keep getting better, book by book. This story is Ben and Sid’s story. We met both of them briefly in book 4, but you do not need to read any of the others in the series to enjoy this book – although why would cheat yourself out of that treat?
I read romance for the sake of romance. I am not too concerned with the gender pairing or how many participants are in the romance, as long as it is a good story with a happy ending, I’ll read it!
However, I have been following Jay’s own personal journey, and have a person in my own circle who is also transitioning, so transgender characters in romances do hold a bit of special interest to me. This is by far the best romance with a transgender MC, I have read so far! So much more focus on the mental issues of transitioning, and not just the physical ones.
Ben has a great supportive network in his family, thank god, and when he finds the courage to come out to his friends, he luckily finds nothing but support there as well.
We get to see things from Sid’s point of view too, which I thought was great. Because yes, you would have thoughts and questions in your mind, if the person you were interested in turned out to be transgender, it’s human nature.
Due to its subject matter – and maybe the importance of the subject to the author – this is not as lighthearted a read as many of the others in the series, but it is still a great NA story, with a super sweet and steamy love story between its pages. Warmly recommended.

 

5 out of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review

(originally posted here: https://goannago.wordpress.com)