Recent Review : Honeymoon for One by Keira Andrews

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41823691-honeymoon-for-one?from_search=true

Blurb

The wedding is off, but the love story is just beginning.

Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.

Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.

Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.

Honeymoon for One is a gay romance by Keira Andrews featuring a May-December age difference, a slow burn of newfound friends to lovers, first-time m/m sex, and of course a happy ending.

Review

When I read the blurb I thought – ugh – I really don’t like jilted stories or rebound stories or holiday romances… but I love Keira Andrews and so I had to give it a go. Well, as always, she does not disappoint!

The emphasis on this is not the rebound but the realization of feelings that Clay has been hiding from himself for years. Sure, he’s a little older, they’re from different CONTINENTS and he’s on the rebound – but of course – it’s all gonna work out in the end! (LOL)

These guys do find a way to make it work that seems plausible – but really – in the end – it’s their journey that is so ooey gooey delectable. They talk, they aren’t afraid to emote and they have some pretty steamy smexy times!

Luckily the family thing isn’t an issue and beyond all the major hurdles we already know about, the author didn’t throw in more to be OTT.

This was a really lovely story that I recommend to fans of the author, fans of Australia, fans of May/December romance and fans of OFY/GFY romance.

5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Honeymoon For One by Keira Andrews

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41823691-honeymoon-for-one?from_search=true

Blurb

The wedding is off, but the love story is just beginning.

Betrayed the night before his wedding by the supposed boy of his dreams, Ethan Robinson escapes the devastating fallout by going on his honeymoon alone to the other side of the world. Hard of hearing and still struggling with the repercussions of being late-deafened, traveling by himself leaves him feeling painfully isolated with his raw, broken heart.

Clay Kelly never expected to be starting life over in his forties. He got hitched young, but now his wife has divorced him and remarried, his kids are grown, and he’s left his rural Outback town. In a new career driving a tour bus on Australia’s East Coast, Clay reckons he’s happy enough. He enjoys his cricket, a few beers, and a quiet life. If he’s a bit lonely, it’s not the end of the world.

Clay befriends Ethan, hoping he can cheer up the sad-eyed young man, and a crush on an unattainable straight guy is exactly the safe distraction Ethan needs. Yet as the days pass and their connection grows, long-repressed desires surface in Clay, and they are shocked to discover romance sparking. Clay is the sexy, rugged man of Ethan’s dreams, and as the clock counts down on their time together, neither wants this honeymoon to end.

Review

From the moment we are first introduced to Ethan as he is heading home on a New York train on the eve of his wedding, I was pulled in by his vulnerability. Hard of hearing and trying to cope in the noisy city environment, showed me in the first few pages here was a man that had faced personal heartbreaks and was doing his best to overcome them. But when he arrives home everything blows up in his face, the wedding is cancelled and he decideds to take the honeymoon trip alone.

As someone who grew up in the 80’s, on a screen diet of Neighbours and Crocodile Dundee (its still my husbands all time favourite film) Clay Kelly hit every one of my teenage nostalgia buttons. His Aussie slang made me laugh out loud more than once as did his love of cricket (which personally I find only second to golf in the boring sports stakes) and I thoroughly enjoyed reading the emotional, self-realization journey he took.

This book is a sweet, slow burn romance of two characters who take the time to get to know each other rather than insta-love, insta-sex of some stories. We, the reader also get time to understand how the characters think and how their life experiences have defined them into the men they are now. Both these men are truly likable and had me rooting for them (snigger) right from the start.

This book has in my mind all the elements that a good story should, allowing me to both laugh and cry over the tale as it unfolded.

4.5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

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

 


April 16 by Carina Press

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

Blurb

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

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

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

Review

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

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

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

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

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

Highly recommended- esp for the HEA!

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

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Boys Don’t Cry by J.K. Hogan

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Boys-Dont-Cry-J-K-Hogan-ebook/dp/B072BWDD8L/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1498852521&sr=1-1&keywords=boys+don%27t+cry+hogan
Free on KU!

Blurb

Mackenzie Pratt is having the worst luck of his life. His apartment building is being torn down, and since he’s jobless and just weeks away from graduating college, he can’t find anywhere else he can afford to live that isn’t a critter-infested dump. As he’s lamenting the very real possibility of job hunting while couch-surfing, he gets an offer from the coworker of his best friend.

An in-demand mobile app developer and heir to his parents’ fortune, Laurent Beaudry is literally an eccentric billionaire. Even though Mackenzie realizes he’s basically living the plot of a cheesy romance novel, he takes the proffered room in Laurent’s Baltimore mansion. He finds his new housemate to be grumpy, brooding, and, at times, incredibly kind and endearing.

Raised by his brother after their father’s death, Mackenzie spent his formative years plowing headlong through school, focusing on little else beyond earning his teaching certification. He’s never taken the time to explore love and relationships, much less sexuality, so when he finds himself being courted by another man, he has no idea what to do. And when he realizes he might actually return those feelings, his life takes a whole new direction.

Review

This was a very unique story and while I’m not sure that I “loved” it – I was glad I’d read it and I found it fascinating.

From what I’ve read this is like a novelized magna/anime story and I read that it’s got a classical theme from that genre.

It’s a bit odd because our MC declares his permanent declaration of love pretty much right from the start. Laurent is definitely eccentric and has that loveable dorkiness to him that appeals to the geek-lover in me. Mackenzie is also clueless in that he’s never really thought about himself in a sexual manner so Laurent’s advances take him by surprise.

There were some times when I felt like Laurent definitely pushed the limits of acceptable “no means no” when I really mean “yes” and I didn’t always like how the introduction of sex was handled – but in the end I thought the abundance of feels and I love yous balanced this out.

If you’re like me and not super familiar with magna/anime I’d read this and see what you think!

I really enjoyed this!

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased For Review

#REV (Gearshark Book 2) Audiobook Written by: Cambria Hebert Narrated by: Luke Itzvic , Guy Locke

audiobookreview

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Rev-Audiobook/B01I5JK0ZC/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1486079878&sr=1-1

Blurb

A line has been drawn – Indie versus Pro.
Here at GearShark, we’re straddling that line to bring you exclusive coverage of what some have dubbed the war of racing. Every war starts with a spark and ends in revolution. Drew Forrester was the spark, but his second-in-command, Trent Mask, is the revolution. What does it take to stand brave in the face of opposition? Resolve of steel…. Stubborn will…. And a heart that refuses to give up.
Contains mature themes.

Review

So much drama! Well – okay – there’s a lot going on with these guys. They’ve just decided they’re in love. Drew is starting up his own indie racing division. Trent is dealing with graduating and his fraternity politics. And, at the end of book one, Trent got gay bashed and old Drew they had to break up!

This story picks up literally right from that point.

On the one hand, there is a lot of hang wringing and internal angsting. But…if you remember this is a New Adult story – the angst makes sense and feels totally appropriate.
I love that the couple doesn’t actually give up on one another at all. They stick together and make a plan and decide – when the time is right – to seek revenge and to come out all in one fell swoop.

I loved how tender and romantic these guys were with one another, while still feeling like “guys”. There were a few internal monologues that felt a bit OTT and inauthentic – but for the most part – this felt really true to the age and descriptions of these guys. They’re alpha males and not inclined to flowers and romance.

There’s a part where they are playing football that felt like the perfect juxtaposition of guys being guys but also a few hearts and flowers as Drew “defended” Trent from his attackers.
The smexy times were off the charts hot and the feels were plentiful.

I loved the dual narration – again – Drew’s voice is to DIE for – and I really thought that helped to cement the characters in my mind and really made this feel more like a movie and mutli-dimensional.

If you loved book one, this is a VERY satisfying book two and you’ll want to read it for sure. I enjoyed it and found it to be touching, sweet and hot (if a little too much drama and angst for my tastes – but consistent with the age group.)

4.25 (rounded to 4.5) of 5 stars for the audio and book

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Copy Purchased For Review

Bear, Otter and The Kid (BOTK Book 1) Audiobook by TJ Klune Narrated by Sean Crisden

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bear-otter-and-the-kid-by-tj-klune-3212-b

 

Blurb

Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living. With a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that – until Otter comes home.

Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world … something or someone. 

 

Review

This is a re-read/re-listen for me, as I originally read and listened to it in 2014. When I first read it, I was absolutely blown away by the humor, the angst, the feels and the quality of the representation Sean Crisden brought to the characters. In a world where not all narrators are the same, and some really don’t do much to ADD to a reading experience, I still hold Sean as one of the ones that shoot for excellence and shape the characters for the readers/listeners.

I’ve read/listened to this a few times, though never all the way from start to finish as I did this time – it’s too long for that! It’s 350 pages and that can take some serious commitment when you’re listening as that’s over 12 hours.

There are people who will always be “new” to the genre and stumbling across this title in their forays, but I’d say most of us who’ve been reading this genre have read (and loved) this or at least know of the series/author, etcetera – so, I’m not going to go into any sort of plot summaries – there are lots of reviews out there that cover that.

As I was listening to this again, I wanted to remember how it FELT to experience this story. I think TJ does an amazing job of getting into Bear’s head. One of the first things that I thought about this is how I FELT Bear’s tension/anxiety/stress. This book was published in 2011 (so probably written way before that) and it’s amazing how much has changed in those five/six years as far as gay acceptance in our world. Sure, there are still lots of hurdles to overcome, but we’ve made some big strides. In reading Bear’s anxiety about being “like Otter” – aka gay – I think TJ captures beautifully that original questioning of one’s sexuality and in Bear’s case, probably not even really having a proper label for his specific situation. (Maybe he’d be Demiromantic? I don’t know that it matters…)

In any case, Bear’s sexual identity is really just one piece of this story. He’s also dealing with his ex-girlfriend, his best friend and his brother – most importantly – his brother and how his role in their lives is how he defines himself. (In book two I think we see this even more – but that’s for later. J ) Back to how it made me feel – well I kept wanting to feel calm! Bear is so tightly wound that I kept wanting him to find some solace with Otter, with Creed, with Anna. Something so his monkey-brain would settle down and just BE.

I also really appreciated Anna and her role in this with this re-listen. She definitely got the short end of the stick in that her boyfriend who loves her really didn’t trust her enough to confide in her and that really had to hurt.

There are some other things I noticed this time around that made me eager to complete the series again – how Ty says “I’m going to still like girls” and how together Ty was in comparison to Bear and when does that change? I know he still has anxiety but – at least here- he seemed more together than Bear at times.

The love between Bear and Otter felt really poetic and if I have a complaint is that, even with 350 pages, I still don’t know that we got a lot of their relationship building.

For me, this is where TJ’s writing style really shines. He mixes in the angsty with the humor so well here. The smexy times aren’t so much hot as they are heart-felt and that’s well-suited to the book itself.

4.25 of 5 stars

Audio

As I said at the beginning, Sean does an amazing job with this. I LOVE his Otter and his Creed and think he does a great Anna, Ty and Bear as well. But mmmm Otter’s voice is Delish!

There is no doubt that listening to this is the way to enjoy this. Sean is wonderful and he makes the 12 hours fly by!

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You Book 3) by Renae Kaye

release day review 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-straight-boyfriend-by-renae-kaye-7798-b

o-the-straight-boyfriendBlurb

Aaron Hall has never been able to remain faithful to a single woman, and for most of his life, he’s dated two women at once. Recently his girlfriend tracked him down and knocked on his door—and his live-in girlfriend answered. Now he has no girlfriend and a mortgage he can’t pay by himself.

Vinnie Rosello needs to change his life—get a better job, stop drinking all his money away, find himself a serious boyfriend… and move out of his parents’ house. Aaron needs help with his expenses, so they become housemates.

Even though Aaron harbors some misconceptions about gay men and Vinnie misses his large Italian family, both men find comfort in their friendship. It’s a good arrangement until everything between them changes

Vinnie falls in love with Aaron, and Aaron is shocked to realize he feels the same. There’s only one problem—he’s still straight. He’ll have to overcome his fear of labels in order to love the man who’s captured his heart. 

Review

(Spoilers included because I can’t talk about this without giving away some key points. Sorry 🙁   )

 

 

 

Before I start, I’d recommend reading several reviews before deciding one way or another about this because there are a lot of different ways this story can be taken.

Renae Kaye is a gifted writer and her MCs are really three-dimensional as are her secondary characters. This is the third book in the series that started with Loving Jay, where Liam essentially “turned gay” to be with Jay. Their friends Kee and Tate are in this as well, though not as much (from Don’t Twunk with my Heart). Aaron is best friends with Liam and he’s as straight as can be. He’s adapted to having more gay men in his life, but he’s never considered being gay (and all the way to the end of the story, denies that he’s remotely gay himself.)

Vinnie is a “gold star gay”, meaning he’s never even been with a woman at all, and he is also a bit femme, so he’s been “out” all his life because of his mannerisms.

I’m not sure if this book is really well-timed or very, very poorly timed. Lately, there’s been a lot of talk about “bi-erasure” and this book both adds to the argument for and against that issue.

As I see it, there are several things of importance to discuss about this book – hot topics – if you will.

First, I believe that the author was trying to show that labeling someone gay, straight, bisexual, etcetera, does not help in every situation. She uses Liam as an example of a person who falls in love with a man but who, in general, does not find men sexually attractive, but that he is labeled “gay” because he’s in a permanent relationship with a man – though that’s not very accurate in describing his sexuality. I can see that being “straight” but falling in love with a man and seemingly not feeling attraction toward other men might make this difficult, but if we are trying to pin down a label – then at least consider bi-sexual or demi-sexual or something other than straight has to apply because straight people don’t fall for members of the same sex. I think that in an effort to show how inaccurate labels can be, the fact that Aaron, far more than Liam, protested WAY too much that he wasn’t gay, especially when he kept saying “that it’s okay to be gay, but I’m not”. You kinda have to pick. If labels aren’t important, then why keep harping on it, and if they are important, then take some time and think about ALL the choices and pick one that fits.

Second, in the pursuit of Aaron, Vinnie did several things that made me really uncomfortable. I kept saying to myself, if Aaron was a woman, would Vinnie’s actions be seen as “cute and charming and romantic” or “skeezy and manipulative and kinda rapey”. Aaron kept protesting he wasn’t gay and wasn’t interested in pursuing a romantic/sexual relationship and Vinnie kept putting him in situations that pushed Aaron into sexual/romantic positions. I’m sure Aaron could have stopped things at any point in time, but Vinnie wasn’t giving Aaron’s words the respect they should hold. No means no, male or female.

Third, Aaron’s issue with monogamy/cheating. I think this got conflated with his concerns about being gay when it really should have been it’s own separate issue. Who he loves has no bearing on his ability to commit. Somehow it got wrapped up in the issue that he loved a man and so therefore things had to be different. No. If he’d decided to date a woman he’d have had to eventually figure this out. What made him stray? I still don’t know. Maybe he hadn’t found the right PERSON – man or woman – and therefore kept trying to find him/her. Having found someone to love in Vinnie and deciding to be faithful to him should NOT hinge on the fact that he is or isn’t gay, bi, demi, straight, etc. The MCs needed to really take this out of the “am I gay” equation and simply address it for what it was: cheating is cheating no matter who you date (if the parties involved agree to be monogamous). This bothered me the most because it seemed to suggest that he might be more willing to cheat simply because he was with a guy and he might “crave a woman” and wouldn’t that be horrible. Well, if he was with another woman he might “crave” a different woman – and in fact he had, many times, done this – so being with a guy is NO DIFFERENT. And, hell, who knows?, he might “crave” a guy at some point. Just because he hadn’t felt attraction to a man before doesn’t mean he might not in the future. Before Vinnie he hadn’t felt attraction to a man, but he definitely desires Vinnie so why is it so impossible to think that he might find ANOTHER man attractive in the future? I just didn’t understand this “hurdle”.

Fourth, Vinnie’s poly family. Boy. On one hand I wanted to applaud them for taking a stand and doing something “abnormal” because it felt good and up until the point where Vinnie’s mom gives him her “I’m so proud of you speech” – I felt like that’s what it was. But after listening to her describe what happened, I kinda felt like she ended up railroaded into it because her family disowned her when her sister – who got pregnant by her husband and he couldn’t decide between the two sisters – and her husband decided to make the three of them a family basically because it was the best thing for the husband and she didn’t want to lose him. I didn’t see what she got from it other than NOT losing the husband. It sounded like she’d rather he didn’t have the relationship with the sister so… that wasn’t a great relationship to model things from.

Fifth, Vinnie – up until the end – was way too willing to be Aaron’s secret. That bugged me. He was even considering having an open relationship when that is NOT what he wanted. Aaron continued to say things to him that made me really wonder just what was going on between them – he didn’t really find gay porn hot, he didn’t really want to do anal but since Vinnie did he’d do it for him, he wasn’t sure he wanted to admit he was with Vinnie in a romantic relationship – and still Vinnie was all okay with this.

I didn’t get that Vinnie’s self-esteem was so low that he’d just let Aaron keep saying things that demeaned him and continue to motivate him towards deepening the relationship. It just didn’t jive.

Finally, and this is just a personal pet peeve, but why the discussion about Vinnie’s dick size? What was that even about? It’s like Aaron thought, well – since Vinnie’s dick is smaller than mine it’s ok to have feelings for him? It was strange, at best, and borderline offensive.

I guess, for me, though there were a few moments where Aaron was sweet to Vinnie and by the end he’d somewhat worked out some of his issues, so much of the story left me cringing and wishing Vinnie had better taste in men, that I can’t really say I liked this story. It confused me and made me scratch my head and sometimes I laughed, but for the most part it just seemed to lack a clear direction. I don’t know exactly what point was trying to be made regarding sexual identity and as far as the romance goes, it didn’t feel super healthy nor was it terribly romantic. The smexy times kinda made me uncomfortable because Aaron’s involvement constantly felt a bit forced.

I’m not going to give this a rating because I’m just too conflicted about the story to pick a number – it definitely got me thinking and there were some cute parts but there was just so many other things that didn’t work for me.

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

Counting Fence Posts by Kelly Jensen

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/counting-fence-posts-by-kelly-jensen-7304-b

counting-fence-postsBlurb

 

There are over two hundred thousand fence posts between Syracuse and Boston. Henry Auttenberg likes numbers—it’s his job—but he isn’t going to count them all, even if the view outside the rental car is less confounding than the driver, his attractive but oh so obnoxious colleague, Marcus Winnamore. It’s Christmas Eve, and Henry would much rather be home with his family. When the blizzard that grounded their flight forces them off the road, however, he’s stuck with Marc until the storm passes—or a plow digs them out.

As the temperature outside plummets, the atmosphere inside the car slowly heats up. Henry learns the true reason for Marc’s chilly distance—he’s not exactly straight… maybe… and he’s been fantasizing about Henry’s mouth, among other things. Confession laid out, Marc is all for sharing body heat… and more. Henry isn’t interested in being an experiment, but as the night and cold deepen, he could be convinced to balance certain risk against uncertain reward.

Review

Henry works for a financial firm where Marc is the revered “big man on campus”. Everyone loves Marc and Henry is no different. They both went to BU, but that’s where the similarities end.

Henry always ends up tongue tied around the charismatic Marc and feels inferior to his obvious charms. When they end up stuck in a car together over the holidays, he realizes there’s more to Marc than he thought. And most importantly, so does Marc.

**

This was a short story I was sad to see end. Just when our MCs find one another the story’s over! L

The simmering sexual tension was well played, the dialog witting and engaging and the slow realization of Marc’s sexuality was well done.

I really enjoyed this and hope to see more of these guys in the future!

(PS I love that the “rescuer” is Betty!)

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

Fierce & Fabulous (Sassy Boyz #1) by Elizabeth Varlet

release day review

29951622Blurb
Fans of Heidi Cullinan will devour this scorching new male/male series by Elizabeth Varlet. Behind the Sassy Boyz’s seductive smiles and sinful dance moves are desires that will leave readers breathless.

Fitch Donovan never thought a lap dance could change his life, but from the moment the gorgeous dancer’s lips touch his, his world comes screeching to a halt. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t shake the desire that rocks him to his core. He’s longed for this passion all his life—he just never dreamed he’d find it with another man.

Sharing a soul-shaking kiss with a straight boy is the kind of drama Ansel Becke just doesn’t need. Spotlights aren’t made for two and Ansel prefers to keep things on a one-night-only basis. So when Fitch shows up asking for an encore, Ansel knows he should send his gorgeous ass packing.

Though Ansel tries to pretend that what’s between him and Fitch is far from fabulous, there’s something about the big, burly contractor that makes Ansel’s world sparkle in a way no amount of glitter ever could. And Fitch will do whatever it takes to convince Ansel that when the thing you need most in the world falls right into your lap, you’d be a fool to let it go.

Review

The blurb really gives a good idea of the basic storyline, so I won’t go into more detail here other than to say this: Ansel is more than just a dancer – he is a very complex character with some pretty big “imperfections” and his “broken” needs Fitch and vice versa.

**

This is a new author for me (and a new series) and WOWOWOW! talk about impressed! I was really blown out of my seat by this.

I saw a great review for this on GR and had it already in my lineup from NetGalley but it’s not coming out for MONTHS. I try to keep my review lists in order – simply to not get behind in my reading – but every once in a while a book comes along and I just have to read it NOW! This is one of those.

I just loved how the very straight Fitch is portrayed and how the change to his psyche is portrayed. It felt very real and organic and though I think the author could have developed him better as identifying something like demi-sexual I applaud the fact that Fitch never claims to be gay. He simply falls in love with Ansel. That’s it. He just loves Ansel.

The other think I adored was how Ansel just comes out and tells it like it is.

Fitch:“But you wear heels and makeup. What’s the difference?”
Ansel:“I don’t tuck, most queens do. They often wear fake breasts too. Drag is for show. A performance. We don’t try to pass ourselves off as women. We dress like this every day. We just like pretty things.”
“So you’re trans?” Fitch scratched his jaw before popping another onion ring in his mouth.
“It depends on what you mean by trans. Transgender, I am not. I don’t identify as female. I enjoy everything male about myself. But technically I guess you could call me a transvestite. We prefer androgynous more than anything, a little bit of both and neither at the same time. Completely ambiguous. But personally I don’t like labels. I’m just Ansel fucking Becke and screw anyone who has a problem with it. I like heels. And I love makeup because it’s fun to play with color. It’s like painting.”

I just thought it was a tremendously awesome way to think about gender fluidity and how brave Ansel is for embracing all that society would make him feel “less than” for. It was awesome. And on the same hand – it was this that he had to struggle with so fiercely every single day – just to be himself.

The love between these guys – though it seemed kinda “insta” – isn’t. They build on it slowly and surely with lots hurdles along the way. Most importantly, Ansel’s drinking. I thought his alcoholism – though it seemed a bit too easily tackled – was at least addressed in a way that made sense and felt like it was on the right track.

The smexy times with these guys was SMOKIN’ and the feels were there, too.

This had all the things I love in a romance: real, unique characters, hot smexy times, deep and believable emotion and the time to see the relationship develop while not drawing out the angst unnecessarily.

I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for more in the series.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

Rock Solid Audiobook by Riley Hart Narrated by Joe Arden

 

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51ckww+yhuL._AA300_Blurb

Trevor Dixon has made too many mistakes to count. Sober for 13 months, he’s determined to do the right thing: rebuild his relationship with his family and help his brother get Rock Solid Construction off the ground. Failing them again isn’t an option. Too bad the first estimate Trevor goes on alone is for an uptight doctor with a superiority complex.
A hand injury took away the only important thing in Dr. Simon Malone’s life – performing heart surgery. He doesn’t do well with people and has no family, but being a damn good surgeon? He always had that. Now he doesn’t know who he is. The last thing he wants to deal with is the young construction worker who blows his shot at remodeling Simon’s home.
Trevor and Simon form an unlikely friendship. The more time they spend together, the more Trevor starts wondering if maybe Simon’s not as straight – or uptight – as he thought…and maybe Trevor’s new attraction to Simon runs both ways.
There are too many reasons they shouldn’t be together: They have little in common, their age difference, Trevor needing to focus on his sobriety…yet there’s something about each other that they just can’t shake. They don’t feel so lost when they’re together. But with their footing so unsteady, forming a relationship that’s rock solid seems impossible. There’s blow after blow, and the last one just might be powerful enough to crack their foundation for good.

Review

Trevor is a recovering addict working for his twin brother, Blake, doing construction when he meets Simon. Simon is a cardiac surgeon who recently lost his ability to perform surgery due to a break-in and subsequent injury.

The two form a friendship based on running at first, then watching sports and finally they find they just enjoy being around the other. Two lost souls leaning on the other.

Trevor knows he’s gay and is immediately attracted to the “straight” Simon and is shocked when the actually bi-sexual Simon kisses him.

Though their relationship isn’t easy – neither man is free from his past – they take steps to making it work until one secret from the past haunts them to the point that being together looks impossible.

**

This was a tremendously great book, made even more so by the audio. The subject matter is fairly dark, similar to Riley’s Broken Pieces stories. Both men are very well developed and three-dimensional.

The mystery/hurdle/twist that throws the couple in to separation again is (maybe) a bit predictable but no more impactful.

Audio

Joe Arden is a great new narrator (to me) and his voice is very easy to listen to. He doesn’t do a lot to make the voices different but it was easy to tell who is speaking. I thoroughly enjoyed his narration.

For both the book and the narration 5 of 5 stars, highly recommended in either form.

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Rock-Solid-Audiobook/B01FGC1B3G/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1465748277&sr=1-1