Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level BDSM Bi-Sexual Book Boss/employee Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Exploration Gay Heat Index Hockey Hopelessly Crying m/m May/December May/December New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Purchased S & M Scorching/high heat

Let the Wrong Light In by Avon Gale

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=6885

LetTheWrongLightInLGBlurb

Avery Hextall, a junior architect at a prestigious firm, is thrilled when his design is chosen for a new performing-arts center—even if it means working closely with his insufferably uptight project manager, Malin Lacroix. When a chance encounter in the boss’s office proves that Lacroix is anything but cold, Avery is determined to learn more about the real man beneath the aloof veneer.

Despite their growing attraction and their increasingly kinky encounters, the enigmatic Malin remains as emotionally distant as ever. Worse, Avery’s friends are convinced Malin thinks of Avery as a dirty secret and nothing more—a secret that might destroy both of their careers.

But the real secret is a single moment in time that haunts Malin and keeps him from committing to the life he wants with Avery. In order to move on, Avery must help Malin come to terms with the tragedy in his past before they can work on building a future together.

Review

Avery is a young, hyper, strange and funny architect who has recently graduated and is working under the very proper and uptight Malin. Avery is convinced Malin has something against him personally when none of his “obviously” wonderful designs are chosen. So… he goes in to give the boss a piece of his mind. What ends up happening is … well… he starts to fall for the boss. Even though he hates him. Sort of.

Malin is a recently divorced man who sort of hates the world and himself in it. He has a tragic past that clouds his future and no good way to deal with it. When the crazy bastard Avery barges his way into his life he doesn’t know what the fuck to make of it. But… he finds himself entranced. Avery brightens his world. Avery makes him crazy but he also kind of likes him. Sort of.

Avery has a thing for pain and Malin has a thing for giving pain. So that works.

They both like architecture and design and are very socially awkward. So that works.

But Malin’s never been gay. But Avery is bi so… that works?

In the end Malin and Avery will have to traverse a lot of ground. Some of it very rocky and emotional. But both are so good for the other, except when they’re not… in the end we get a very HEA.

**

My first thought as I was reading this was “This is her first book?????”  This is WAY TOO GOOD to be her first book! Now… I don’t know if she’s hiding others somewhere else, or maybe she wrote het romance or something, but these books of hers (this and Breakaway) are absolutely amazing! They are witty and well thought out and the timing is excellent. Her characters are so flawed and yet sparkling and crisp.

I’m not into the sex stuff they were … I don’t get it… but I didn’t need to. I saw that they were into it and since it worked for them, it worked for me. That’s a sign of a good author. She made the kinky stuff work for me because I saw that it did what it needed to for our MCs and that was enough.

I loved the windows and light analogy and the metaphors with the building designs. Wonderful!

I’m torn because I don’t know if I love Avery or Malin more. My heart bleeds for Malin – he’s so broken and needy. But Avery was such a bratty brat. Well, luckily I don’t have to choose. They’re both wonderful and so is this book. It’s funny and sweet and you’ll be happy you read it.

Buy it.

That is all.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook BDSM Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Fated Mates Gay Heat Index Homophobia m/m/m Mid level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Shifter

Trouble Comes In Threes Audiobook by MA Church Narrated by Ronald Ray Strickland (Review)

threes audioBlurb

A snowstorm in the South – on New Year’s Eve – is a perfect recipe for a catastrophe. After two soul-crushing bad breaks, Kirk’s waiting for disaster number three to strike when, naturally, two stray cats arrive on his doorstep during the storm and decide to make themselves at home. Tenderhearted Kirk lets them stay, even though there’s something decidedly odd about his overly friendly felines.

Out of the punishing weather and full of tuna, Dolf and Tal are happy to be snug in Kirk’s house. But then their human goes outside for firewood and suffers a nasty fall that leaves him unconscious. Now the two cats have no choice but to reveal themselves.

Kirk wakes up to find the two kitties are actually Dolf and Tal. They’re cat shifters – and his destined mates. Being part of a feline threesome is enough for Kirk to grapple with, but soon he learns they come from a clowder that doesn’t believe humans and shifters should mix. Kirk knew those two cats would be trouble. Little does he know the real trouble lies ahead.

Review

(Previously reviewed book here: http://kimichanexperience.com/trouble-comes-threes-ma-church/)

Summary

Kirk is having a bad… life so far. Suddenly, 2 cats show up on his door, Snowball and Tiger (aka Tal and Dolf).

Dolf and Tal are already mates when they scent Kirk. They both know he is their (uncommon but not impossible) third mate.

Though it doesn’t take long, Kirk has to be convinced of the whole mating, shifting, moving part of his new life. The clowder is less than welcoming and this puts a rift in their relationship. To add to that, someone is targeting Kirk and physically attacking him as well.

**

I loved this book! It was exciting and a unique but still traditional take on shifter romances. The threesome really worked for me. I thought that each truly added to the relationship and though Dolf and Tal were there together first, Kirk really added a needed dynamic that kept them closely bound.

Audio

Hmmmmmm.

Well, I like Ronald Ray Strickland’s voice. It’s very smooth and easy to listen to. He tries hard to infuse emotion into his reading and he does a little bit of character voice differentiating.  He does a really nice job with the dialog, but the part of the story that wasn’t dialog came across flat and monotone.  Sometimes he felt a bit stilted, but… sometimes he was smooth as honey.

According to Audibles this is only his second narration, so I’m hoping that in time he’ll improve this technique. I also think he was matched poorly for this story, so that’s something he can’t control, either.

I think, overall, that though this didn’t add to my experience it didn’t detract, either. I loved the book and if you can’t read it, listening to this is a nice way to experience it, if not the most perfect way.

So… I stick with 4.5 of 5 stars as my rating – I still recommend it highly and if you can’t read it, don’t be afraid to listen to this very capable narration.

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Review

 

 

Categories
Angst Level Audiobook BDSM Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Exploration Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat

Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons 3) Audiobook by Heidi Cullinan Narrated by Iggy Toma

lonely hearts audioBlurb

With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill.With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.

Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp. When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.

Warning: Contains sex in a Tesla, sex in a cupboard, sex under a piano, kinky role play, and a cappella RuPaul songs. Just a couple of boys groping, battling, then finally loving their way to becoming me.

Review
(Previously on this site)

This is book three in a series, and while technically it can be read on it’s own, it is definitely much better read – in order – as part of the series.

We met Elijah in book 2. He was the son of the crazed religious zealots who was a rent boy, homeless on the streets of the city for awhile, and then Aaron’s roommate. His folks got crazy when they found out he’d only “faked” being converted back from being gay and was, in fact, still gay – and attempted to shoot him! Baz, who we’ve also met before, got in the way of the bullet and sustained an injury but survived to add another scar to his repertoire.

Baz is the poor rich boy whose parents are the “Illinois equivalent to the Kennedy’s”. He was bashed as a teenager and is now crippled sometimes with chronic pain and eye difficulties.

Baz and Elijah had actually met before all the shooting when Baz had rescued Elijah from a trick gone bad and sent Elijah back to the evil parents.

Ok – now here we are today at Walter and Kelly’s wedding (woot!). Elijah is depressed. Baz is depressed. Elijah has a super crush on Baz and Baz is always “worried” about Elijah’s well-being.

They hook up. (Mild form of saying they have super-hot-monkey-sex in Baz’s new Tesla!) From there on the two are mostly on again/ off again lovers then boyfriends.

But… there’s a lot of drama. Elijah has so much guilt surrounding his “Poor Elijah” fund that he takes on a sucky food service job to allay the guilt (though he doesn’t need the cash.)

Baz is feeling unsettled because all his friends are “growing up” without him and graduating and now he needs to decide what he wants to do with his life.

Plus the media is in a frenzy because Baz’s mother and uncle are making moves in the political arena that put Baz and his life in the spotlight.

Elijah’s still in the news from being the victim of his crazed parents but he’s also now dating Baz and that isn’t good for the campaign – what with his background and such.

And… there’s Lewis/Lejla the almost trans friend Elijah makes while doing dishes.

So… lots of stuff and a little bit of the music scene too.

Eventually, they get it all sorted (of course they do!) and find their own version of the Disney Princess Happy Ending – and we get to see Laurie and Ed again! (Woo Hoo!)

**

Wow – I get it now. Even in summarizing this story I have to include many, many, many words!

This is a long story – 355 pages as compared to the 270 of book 2, but not as many as the 379 of book 1. There is a lot – A LOT – of detail and a lot of drama.

But… there are a lot – A LOT- of feels, too.

I really love Heidi Cullinan’s characters. They are rich, flawed – very flawed sometimes – real, emotive, charismatic, sometimes cantankerous yet charming, and very well developed. Even if you hadn’t read about them before, you know by the end of the book that you have a solid sense of each of these MCs as well as their cadre of friends.

She also has a way of taking these guys through some really awful stuff and making it seem manageable in a way that is realistic. No quick fixes or band-aids, but hard work and sacrifice. (For the most part – see the end for what I mean.)

In this book, we also have some seriously HOT sex, too. These boys can be DIRTY and it shows! But – somehow – it’s also very loving and revealing and tender at the same time.

I absolutely adored Lewis/Lejla and I hope s/he might be featured more in future works. Her story was so honest and heart-felt and really high-lighted some of the difficulties in actually becoming trans that get sort of swept away with the whole emotional process.

Of course it was so great to see our friends Walter and Kelly, Aaron and Giles again – moving on with life and being cute with each other. And the extra-special I about smiled my face off – Laurie and Ed from Dance With Me! Squeeee! I love that book and I LOVE those guys! I was stoked when Ed kinda put the eye on Baz but then said he had enough man waiting on him at home! Whoo-ee. Love those two!

I had just a few issues with this book.

First – the length. I really and truly felt it could have been shortened without losing any of the specialness. It felt – at times – like we were accounting for every minute of every day and every emotion either boy felt. A lot of the “agonizing in my head” stuff both Elijah and Baz did really could have been summarized because by the end I kind of felt bashed on the head with it. And I’m not sure that I needed to know every feature of the Tesla to appreciate that it was fancy and expensive. And I didn’t need to know every decoration on every table at the wedding. And I didn’t need to know about every movie made by Miyazaki.

Second- the ending. I’m going to sound hypocritical here but stay with me a moment when I say that the ending was too rushed. We spent agonizingly long pages outlining Baz’s pain and lack of direction and tons of time hearing Elijah’s self-deprecating and clearly depressed inner workings and in the span of only a handful of pages those two MAJOR problems are seemingly solved by bumping into the right guy at the right time and agreeing to eat more healthy and limit the cigarettes and alcohol.
Of course I’m being glib, but it FELT that way. Especially Elijah’s part of the equation. I just didn’t buy that he would full scale decide he had everything to live for, reject drugs as a method of self-medicating, and embrace this new, organic, yoga-filled life when he’d been the poster child for self-destruction not 20 pages ago.
I think, realistically, long-term, INTENSE therapy, AND some significant life-style changes over a long period MIGHT grant him some relief…

I mean, I really appreciated the sensitivity that Heidi shows around chronic pain (both with Ed and Laurie and now Baz and Elijah) and how a person’s definition of “sexual intercourse” can be different based on fulfilling different needs. So, maybe a bit more attention to the importance of in-depth psychotherapy for someone whose parents SHOT at you is warranted.

However – by large margins my complaints are pretty minimal in the face of how much I did appreciate where this book goes and the overall feeling of happiness that we end up with for these two very, very lost boys.

I highly recommend it to fans of the series and for those who might want to read it on it’s own I say Go For It! It’s really good, Heidi is a phenomenal writer and despite being a bit wordy, the ride is absolutely worth the time it takes.

Audio

I love Iggy Toma as a narrator. He always does a great job with the emotion and the drama. He differentiates the characters though he doesn’t do a lot with each voice.

I think it’s a great way to enjoy this and adds to the overall enjoyment.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audible Link
http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Lonely-Hearts-Audiobook/B014PTRR98/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1447550952&sr=1-2

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level BDSM Christmas coming of age Contemporary Exploration Gay Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Humor Hurt/Abuse m/m May/December May/December Mid level steam/heat NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Samhain Publishing

Winter Wonderland (Minnesota Christmas Book 3) by Heidi Cullinan

Winter WonderlandBlurb

Finding Mr. Right can be a snow lot of fun.

Paul Jansen was the only one of his friends who wanted a relationship. Naturally, he’s the last single man standing. No gay man within a fifty-mile radius wants more than casual sex.
No one, that is, except too-young, too-twinky Kyle Parks, who sends him suggestive texts and leaves X-rated snow sculptures on his front porch.

Kyle is tired of being the town’s resident Peter Pan. He’s twenty-five, not ten, and despite his effeminate appearance, he’s nothing but the boss in bed. He’s loved Paul since forever, and this Christmas, since they’re both working on the Winter Wonderland festival, he might finally get his chance for a holiday romance.

But Paul comes with baggage. His ultra-conservative family wants him paired up with a woman, not a man with Logan’s rainbow connection. When their anti-LGBT crusade spills beyond managing Paul’s love life and threatens the holiday festival, Kyle and Paul must fight foreveryone’s happily ever after, including their own.

Warning: Contains erotic snow art, toppy twinks, and super-sweet holiday moments. Best savored with a mug of hot chocolate with a dash of spice.

Review

This is the third in the series, and Paul is our last of the “Three Bears” to find love. Ever since he first decided to leave Arthur and commit to finding his own, true love, he’s been dating a bunch of mis-fits. Just guys who, for whatever reason, don’t fit with Paul.

Kyle has grown up worshiping/crushing on Paul. He’s 25 to Paul’s 36, and everyone but him believes he’s too young for Paul. The town sees him as sort of this sexless but gay Peter Pan, full of light, goodness and gaiety, but he’s tired of that. He wants to be seen for more than his family, his good works, or his looks. And he wants Paul. Full stop.

When Paul realizes that his secret admirer is Kyle, his initial reaction is the same as the town’s. No. Way. Too young. Not his type. Forget it. But after one brief and intense moment where Paul is forced to see the real Kyle he realizes that Kyle just might be the perfect man for him. And he is.

There are, of course, obstacles in the way beyond the age thing. Fundamentally, Paul is still fighting who he is. In a way, both men are. They are both “out” but without serious boyfriends it’s like that’s just a “thing” not who they are. When they begin to really date it changes things, especially for Paul’s (evil) family.

Secondarily there is another library fundraiser to be managed, this year a “Winter Wonderland” that has a scope far beyond one simple event.

Kyle has to decide if Paul is “the one” or just “convenient” and Paul has to decide who gets to choose his life partner, him or everyone else.

**

This is my second favorite in the series and though second, it’s a close second. It’s wonderful! Kyle, Paul and Kyle’s family are truly special characters and it was so much fun to see them interact. “Valley High!”

My heart bled for Paul at the hands of his family. I wanted to punch them in the face, as Kyle says, for how callously they disregarded him. My only complaint was that we never did get an actual confrontation between Paul and his family.

The smexy times in this book, similar to the others, were numerically few on page, but very intense and special. It was so great to have a slight character be all toppy for once and to break that stereotype.

It was wonderful seeing Gabriel, Frankie and the other two bears again. Corinna is hysterical again and so amazing to help settle her “other son” Paul.

Though I’m never a fan of Christmas ooey gooey-ness, I am a total fan of this Christmas series. Though the holiday is central, it’s absolute truest message – LOVE – is honored and therefore didn’t bother me in the slightest.

I highly recommend this book, series and author.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Provided by NetGalley for an honest review

Available November 10th

Samhain Publishing Presents

http://www.heidicullinan.com/WinterWonderland

Categories
Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Baseball BDSM Book Contemporary Cop/Crime Fan Art Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse Karrie Jax m/m Medical Military Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat second chance at love

Commander’s Spitfire (Rescue For Hire book 5) Audiobook by Bellann Summer Narrated by Darcy Stark

commander's spitfireBlurb

Welcome to the world of Rescue for Hire. Meet the team members who make up a company that forms a family of heroes. For a year, computer expert Tony Grayson was another man’s dirty little secret. After months of pain from a huge betrayal, he can finally breathe again and sees a glimmer of a future. A rescue goes wrong bringing the boss’ brother Shane Miller – who’s big, dominating, and possessive – into Tony’s life. As far as Shane is concerned, the gorgeous Italian is his. Now he just has to lead the team for his brother, fix all the family drama, and put the pieces of Tony’s heart back together. Things finally get smoothed out, only to have his ex call, wanting Tony back. Tony’s decision could change lives and careers.
Can the foundation Shane has laid for their relationship be strong enough to keep Tony? The dynamics between a hard-edged bad boy and a hot-tempered, vulnerable yet gorgeous computer nerd heat up the sheets.

Review

To sum up the first four books :(each can be read/listened to as a stand alone, but the characters in the preceding books make entrances in the following books) Cade Miller (brother to Shane) has a company he created called Rescue For Hire. It’s dedicated to saving people in natural disasters and finding lost people, etc. Each member of the team is highly skilled in one particular area and together there is nothing they can’t do. (Like the A Team!) In each of the previous books, one team member – very alpha male – finds his life partner. They always know immediately that the man they’ve met is their “forever guy” at first meeting and the bulk of the book is their conquest of said man. They also have some rescues to perform and at least once a book, one of the partners ends up in mortal danger.

Shane is an ex military man who has come to help Cade with his company now that he’s become more of a family guy and wants less field time. Shane meets Tony – already a member – whose had his heart smashed by a closeted pro-baseball player (and brother to another team member’s partner).

Tony doesn’t want to get involved again so soon after breaking up with his ball player – so he resists – but it’s futile.

**

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These books are delicious fun! The men are unapologetically Alpha, and it totally works. Tony – who is no slouch himself- loves to be dominated and controlled and feels safe when someone takes over. He just has to let go first.

In the Audio format you get the bonus of having Darcy Stark for a narrator. He does each voice differently – giving each character a greater depth and giving the listener another perception and way to experience the character. In this case the man who steals the show is Shane. Oooo La La. Shane’s voice is panty-melting! It is deep and sensuous and controlling and masterful and…. Okay – you get the idea. Tony has a vague Italian heritage accent – punk-assed and spunky. Together – totally steamy!

I’m not so much into the spanking thing myself- but Shane makes it hot!

I highly recommend this series (in book or audio format) for fans of unapologetic Alpha males who control each and every situation but have a warm and gooey center for their life partner.

It’s a wonderful series and I recommend reading them/ listening to them in order to get the most from the series.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased For Review

Audible Link
http://www.audible.com/pd/Erotica-Sexuality/Bears-Pup-Audiobook/B00SBQI1NS/ref=a_search_c4_1_3_srTtl?qid=1446133067&sr=1-3

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level BDSM Book Christmas Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Exploration Gay Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying m/m Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Samhain Publishing Scorching/high heat

Sleigh Ride (Minnesota Christmas Book 2) by Heidi Cullinan

sleigh rideBlurb

The way to a man’s heart is on a sleigh.

Arthur Anderson doesn’t want anything to do with love and romance, and he certainly doesn’t want to play Santa in his mother’s library fundraising scheme. He knows full well what she really wants is to hook him up with the town’s lanky, prissy librarian.

It’s clear Gabriel Higgins doesn’t want him, either—as a Santa, as a boyfriend, as anyone at all. But when Arthur’s efforts to wiggle out of the fundraiser lead to getting to know the man behind the storytime idol, he can’t help but be charmed. The least he can do is be neighborly and help Gabriel find a few local friends.

As their fiery arguments strike hotter sparks, two men who insist they don’t date wind up doing an awful lot of dating. And it looks like the sleigh they both tried not to board could send them jingling all the way to happily ever after.

Warning: Contains a feisty librarian, a boorish bear, small town politics, deer sausage, and a boy who wants a doll.

Review

We met Arthur in book one. He was Paul’s f*ck buddy, he likes his sex rough, he’s a ginger, “pocket bear”, rough around the edges, not looking for a “partner” but he doesn’t like to be alone either.

Gabriel is the new librarian. He’s tall, geeky, awkward and in no way interested in Arthur.

Arthur’s mother works with Gabe at the library and schemes to get these guys working together in the hopes that sparks might fly between them, romantically. It’s a preposterous notion – they couldn’t be more different – but somehow… they connect – and how!

It is far from smooth sailing between them. Gabe has so many issues, including trust, and he needs special handling. Arthur is like a bull in a china shop when emotions are involved so it seems pretty hopeless.

They rally around the library fund-raiser and Arthur’s nephew and find that – if they’re both really brave – they might just have what it takes to make things between them work.

**

This book resonated with me on so many levels. It was amazing. I absolutely laughed then cried then swooned… it truly affected me very strongly.

I think Gabe’s character was the most compelling – for me. He feels such shame about his desires. He wants so badly to be the champion for the under-dog and when it comes to others he can be so fierce, but when it comes to defending himself and his wants and needs, he crumples.

My most favorite part of this book revolves around “William’s Doll” a story for children wherein a boy wants a doll and his folks won’t let him have it. Oh. My. God. I bawled! The way Gabriel handled it was absolutely amazing. I would have loved to have such a strong advocate in my library growing up. He was so brave. Bringing “big city” ideas to the sticks and letting people see that caring and nurturing are not exclusively feminine traits. (Or if they are, then we all have both types of characters in us.)

I also loved his vision of what a library should be. Being a library lover, I found his “new and improved” vision to be astounding. To look at the library as more than a stacking place for books and see it as a place for disseminating information of all types… amazing!

Another really touching scene was when Arthur and Gabe connected over graphic novels. Again, another “hidden” prejudice that gets “outed”. The love of literature can really extend past our traditional definitions.

And the smexy times. Though I connected the least with the things Arthur and Gabe liked to share in bed, I really appreciated Arthur’s no-nonsense approach to it. “Sex is sex”. If it feels good to both partners – do it. No need to perseverate on it and feel badly about it. So down to earth and such good advice.

“Next time I’m gonna lick you.” Arthur flashed his tongue over the nipple tip as he roughly palmed Gabriel’s dick, tugging his own out of his pants and thrusting them together, heated, velvet flesh. “For an hour. Make you crazy. Make you beg, honey. Let you say no to me, then I’ll makeyou say yes.” He humped, sliding their cocks together, sucking on Gabriel’s chest. “Because you don’t want me to stop, do you, baby? Say it. Hump me and say it.”

Finally – the ending. It has to rank – for me- up in the top ten most romantic endings I’ve ever read. It was absolutely wonderful and ooey and gooey and tear-jerking and perfect!

Gabriel bit his lip and closed his eyes, but the tears spilled out. He could feel everyone around him, feel them waiting, hoping, worrying.

Loving him. Just the way he was.

I think each book in this series can be read on it’s own, but I think it’s best read in order. This is (by far) my favorite in the series and I can’t recommend it, the series or the author enough.

6 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Samhain Publishing Presents

http://www.heidicullinan.com/sleigh-ride

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level BDSM Book Christmas Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Gay Heat Index Holiday Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Samhain Publishing

Let it Snow (Minnesota Christmas Book 1) by Heidi Cullinan

Let it snowBlurb

The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota northwoods cabin is getting pretty hot.

Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.

Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the northwinds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.

Warning: Contains power outages, excessive snowfall, and incredibly sexy bears.

Review
Frankie gets caught in a snowstorm in Logan (very small town), Minnesota. He’s a very femme stylist and he feels a little too “big” for small-town Logan and worries about being bullied/hurt in such a small town environment.

Marcus is a lawyer who recently moved back to his small town to help his ailing mother. He’s not sure where he belongs and he feels pulled in multiple directions.

It’s a sort of “Goldilocks and the Three (gay) Bears” story… Frankie being the Goldilocks and each of the bears getting their own stories in turn.

Though the two fight their attraction to one another it soon becomes clear that while Paul and Arthur are doing their “thing” Marcus and Frankie really want to do “their own thing”.

Eventually Frankie has to decide (as does Marcus) where his priorities, trust and hope lie. Will he tough it out in the sticks or give up on Marcus for the “safety” of the city.

**

I have to admit I didn’t like this story nearly as much the first time I read it. Maybe I was in a bad mood (likely – I don’t like Christmas at all), maybe I didn’t appreciate the characters for who they would become (I know a lot more about the secondary characters and why they get so much page time now), I didn’t feel as connected to the MCs as I wanted (which now that I’ve seen them in three stories I really feel a strong connection.). Whatever the case – I really liked it on the second pass.

It’s not my favorite of the series (book two holds that honor) but it’s still a wonderfully sweet story about stereotypes and being true to yourself and true courage and standing up for what you most want in life.

I thought it was lovely how Heidi tied it up at the end by showing Frankie that fear can be found anywhere – something I missed on the first read. I really appreciate how Heidi can talk about a lot of “heavy” topics without feeling heavy handed about it.

The steam in this series is both low and high. There are numerically fewer steamy scenes in these than I expect from her, but the intensity of those scenes is very high.

To sum up, I really loved this series – So Much!- and I loved all the MCs, and this book on its own is wonderfully sweet, but as part of the series it really helps to set up the background for the other MCs which really helps you to understand them all the more. It’s definitely worth a read on its own merits but I also recommend it as a lead in to the other two books.

4 of 5 stars

4-stars-small

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Copy Purchased for Review

Samhain Publishing Presents

http://www.heidicullinan.com/books/let-it-snow

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook BDSM coming of age Contemporary Exploration Fade to black/No Steam Gay Heat Index Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m/m May/December May/December Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased

The Foster Family Audiobook by Jamie Samms Narrated by Greg Tremblay

 

foster familyBlurb

Growing up in foster care has left Kerry Grey with little self-esteem or hope for his future. A college dropout, Kerry scrapes by on a part-time job at a garden nursery. His friendship with his boss and working with the plants are the only high points in Kerry’s life. He’s been dating the man who bullied him at school, but when his boyfriend abandons him at a party, Kerry wanders down the beach to drown his sorrows in a bottle of scotch.

Malcolm Holmes and Charlie Stone have been together for 15 years. Despite Charlie’s willingness to accept Malcolm’s unspoken domination in bed, something is missing from their relationship. Early one morning, they rescue a passed-out Kerry from being washed away by the tide, and Charlie immediately senses a kindred spirit in the lost younger man. When Kerry’s roommate kicks him out, Malcolm and Charlie invite him into their home. As Charlie and Kerry bond over Charlie’s garden, Malcolm sees Kerry may be just who they have been looking for to complete their lives. All they have to do is show Kerry, and each other, that Kerry’s submissive tendencies will fit their dynamic.

But someone is sabotaging Kerry at every turn. As he struggles to discover the culprit, he fears for the safety of his new friends. If Malcolm and Charlie cannot help, their lifelong search for their perfect third may not end with the happily ever after they imagined.

Review

I think the gist of the story is pretty well laid out in the blurb.

**

Let me start by saying that I took a long time to finish this book and write a review because I feel pretty conflicted about it.

I really wanted to like the triad, I don’t generally have a “problem” with them as a concept, but in this case the relationship felt really unequal. I never felt that Kerry was a full partner in this relationship.

I also really don’t like BDSM – esp the Dom/sub thing and I struggle to keep that bias free from clouding the story. I totally understand that for some this dynamic works – but it goes against my personal “equality” issues so – again – this partnership just felt out of balance.

Kerry’s coming of age story was really well done and I almost think that if it had been the main thrust of the story it would have had been a better story overall.

I can’t fault the writing and I think the characters were really well developed – people not so hung up on equality will probably really like this story – it’s very touching.

Audiobook

I love Greg Tremblay and he just does amazing things for this or any story he reads. He is so good at adding emotion to a story that you feel made part of it. His narration is why I even took this story on – otherwise I would have let it lie, based on the description.

For the book and the narration as a sum total I give it 3.5 hearts

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(Copy purchased for review)

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Foster-Family-Audiobook/B00PX86ZP8/ref=a_search_c4_1_2_srTtl?qid=1441569101&sr=1-2