Categories
6 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Author Provided Book Gay Gay High but not hopeless Karen m/m Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat

Audiobook: The Garden (Lavender Shores book 2) by Rosalind Abel (Author), Kirt Graves (Narrator)

audiobookreview

Audible link:

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Garden-Audiobook/B07818317C?qid=1537258121&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=9ZY4F78NEJRAWW7GD50X&

 

Blurb

Beautiful Gilbert Bryant designs jewelry for the rich and famous, and he made his escape from his gossipy little hometown of Lavender Shores. However, with so many friends and family, he keeps getting pulled back. When he attends his best friend’s engagement party, Gilbert can’t help but sample one of the new men in town. It’s just some innocent—or not so innocent—fun. Nothing that will even cross his mind once he gets back to his everyday life.
Walden Thompson dreamed about living in Lavender Shores since he visited as a child. He finally gets his chance, and he embraces the opportunity to start over, to become someone new. He leaves both hurts and dangerous habits in the past, where they belong. When Gilbert crosses his path, Walden gives in to his baser instincts. He can indulge in the carnal pleasures this once and still be okay.
Their few hours together haunt Gilbert, the two-hundred-mile buffer from home no longer shutting out the past or the sexy man he left behind. Walden is just beginning to recover from the smoldering encounter with Gilbert when they are thrust together once more. This time, neither of them can walk away, no matter how hard they try. But when their pasts crash into each other as surely as the magnetism that pulls them together, walking away may be the only option.

Review

Overall: Very emotional hurt/comfort story that gives you all the feels. Even more so thanks to the wonderful narration, which really adds an extra layer of intensity to an already deeply moving romance story. Blissfully satisfying HEA.

Story:
Local manwhore meets & corrupts innocent new teacher. That’s how Gilbert, and the local busybodies, first perceive what happens between him and the cute teacher with the adorable red glasses. But of course, there’s so much more to this story…

I loved that Walden saw through Gilbert’s carefree, love ‘em and leave ‘em attitude to the wounded bird hiding beneath all that. The Gilbert we meet in the first chapter, desperate to keep his vulnerable heart safe, seems miles removed from the man that falls in love with Walden. Gilbert really is the perfect human embodiment of Walden’s secret garden, a hidden, closed-off wilderness just waiting for a loving hand to help him blossom once more. I absolutely loved that analogy.

I also adored all the references to beloved children’s classics like The Secret Garden and Anne of Green Gables, Disney even. It made me like Walden even more. He can no more stop himself from falling in love with his Gilbert, then Anne with an e could keep herself from loving hers.
There’s no bickering, however, between Gilbert and Walden, like there is between the happy couple in the Anne of Green Gables series. Walden and Gilbert are careful with the other’s emotions from pretty early on, and whatever hurt they feel is more due to their own painful histories and an understandable hesitance to risk heartbreak again.
They are so great together, providing the comfort and acceptance that each man so desperately needs, even when they are trying to hold back. So scared of being hurt again.

Walden has suffered a horrible betrayal, and still carries a lot of shame with him for how he dealt with his pain in the aftermath. Him opening up to Gilbert about his past made for a deeply touching scene. My heart ached for him.

We know from early on that Gilbert has been in therapy for years, so we know something awful is hiding in his past to leave such scars. But oh… when that revelation finally comes… I wanted to punch something. I hated that he took on all the responsibility for “his” wrongdoing , when in fact it was he who’d been wronged, not to mention betrayed by a person who should have looked out for him.

I felt relieved and almost giddy when they finally felt free to truly choose each other, and to choose happiness together. Not a moment too soon and very much deserved.
What an amazing couple, sigh. Talk about a book-hangover.

Narration:
Kirt Graves did an outstanding job at narrating this story, making me feel as if I stepped right into the lovely world of Lavender Shores. He has a wonderfully pleasant voice and I loved how he brought alive the characters. I think he did absolutely amazing in giving a voice to Walden and Gilbert.
Luckily no over-acting, but bringing just the right amount of emotion and tension to each scene.

Number of stars out of 5: 5

Reviewer Name: Karen M.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Bi-Sexual Gay Gay Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat Standalone Virgin

Retro Read: Hiding in Plain Sight Audiobook by Cassandra Carr Narrated by Jason Hilton

Good reads link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26799230-hiding-in-plain-sight

Blurb:
Vladimir Gusev exists in a living hell. A year ago in the Olympics the professional hockey player was forced to use a homophobic slur during a game, and guilt is eating him from the inside out. Not only is Vladimir not a homophobe, but in the aftermath of the Olympics, he was finally able to admit his true nature to himself. Yet he’s been taught homosexuality is a sin, so he tries to push away his feelings, but to no avail.
Joe Bufford is an out gay man and an ex-Delta Force member who was medically discharged after an injury to his hand leaves him no longer able to perform his duties. His job as a mechanic at the airport is hardly a long-term career choice, but Joe has no idea where he can utilize the skills he learned in the Army.
Vladimir and Joe meet, and Joe instantly recognizes Vladimir as a terrified closet case. Before he knows it, Joe is offering to help Vladimir figure out what he is and what he wants. As time goes on, Joe begins to hope more and more that the answers to those questions lie with him.

Review:
This is book two in the Safe Harbor Series and it is so good it even surpasses book one!
First, we see the homophobe from Book one is actually gay and hiding it because of the Russian Mob and threats to his family. Second, we see someone experience being gay for the first time in his life. Everything. Third, Joe is amazing. He is kind, sweet, sensitive and really grounded. But… he’s ex-Delta force so he can kick ass, too! He’s the absolute perfect guy to tackle a giant hockey player and take on his closeted issues.
Vlad has a lot keeping him in the closet. He has to wrestle his own issues with being gay and feeling less “manly” and those are interwoven with fear about his family and their reaction in Russia, and he worries about his job security as a hockey player and his reputation in the media (since the Olympics branded him a homophobe he’s been ridiculed).
Joe is reluctant, at first, to be the guy that introduces Vlad to gay sex for fear of being abandoned for the closet (he just got out of the military and is grateful to be out and proud) or being abandoned for the next guy once Vlad decides to stretch his new gay wings. But he can’t resist Vlad’s honest and sincere desire to learn more about being gay and he’s super attracted to him, as well.
Finally, the couple agrees to a trial arrangement, with the caveat of no strings and nobody can know. Both men are fooling themselves if they think they aren’t invested, and it becomes clear that neither thinks of the other as merely a “fuck buddy”.
Politics moves Vlad into confessing his sexuality and Joe does it proudly by his side, with the help of Jason and Patrick from book one. A very HEA is had by all.
**
The narration for this book is both way better and way worse than book one. On the one hand, there are several glaring mistakes where it is clear the narrator messed up and nobody went back to edit out his mis-starts and throat clearings. However, those almost fit in. The guy’s voice is just so natural in the role it feels like he’s telling the story to you personally and those things happen in normal conversation. I wasn’t bothered by them, I just chuckled when I noticed a mistake.
On the other hand, the narrator does a fairly awesome Russian accent that makes the smexy scenes to die for! Ooo la la. Did I enjoy Vlad telling “Joey” in a thick Russian accent “I want to fuck you!” Wow! Scorching hot! (I loved that Vlad calls Joe “Joey” and nobody else is allowed to call him that… super cute!)
So – despite some technical errors and a few strange plot twists and turns I really, really loved this book and this narration and give them both a 5 of 5 stars. You are seriously missing out if you don’t give this one a try. (They are both stand alone books and don’t necessarily need to be read in order, though reading them booth adds a bit to the enjoyment.)
Overall Impression:
5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Categories
2.5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Book Dreamspinner Gay Gay High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Shifter

Coming Soon! Lone Wolf by Anna Martin


Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/lone-wolf-by-anna-martin-9890-b

October 9!

Blurb

Jackson Lewis isn’t a typical werewolf. He isolates himself in a small town outside Spokane and dedicates himself to making his business—Lone Wolf Brewery—a success. If it leaves him little time for romance, he’s okay with that. His soul mate could be out there somewhere, but he isn’t actively looking.

So he’s in for quite the shock when he literally bumps into his soul mate—Leo Gallagher, an adorable, nerdy, vibrant music therapist who’s Jackson’s polar opposite.

But he’s human. And a man.

Jackson is straight—or at least he’s always assumed so. Though he can’t deny his attraction to Leo, it’s a lot for both of them to deal with.

While Jackson and Leo figure out what their future might hold, they face prejudice from both the human and werewolf communities—including a group of fanatics willing to kill to show humans and werewolves don’t belong together.

Review

Man. Where to start?

First, I think it’s pretty clear that I am a huge fan of shifter romance and that I’ll pretty much read anything in that vain. I have a huge tolerance for believing the unbelievable and for letting my imagination get carried away with me. I also don’t mind insta-love and I adore fated mates stories.

In addition, I’m not a huge Anna Martin fan but I’ve definitely admired her work in the past and thought – based on the blurb – that this would be a slam dunk.

However… it wasn’t.

It revolves around a straight guy – Jackson has never and will never like guys. He only grudgingly admits that Leo is his mate and fights it tooth and nail.

Most of the book is these guys living apart and hating life at their respective fates.

There are at least 2 or 3 different side stories: the anti werewolf people, the anti humans with werewolves people, Leo’s roommate who gets beat up and who also hates Jackson but who is a werewolf himself… There’s a lot going on and none of it really materializes as a cogent storyline and as a reader I was either scratching my head about where the plot was taking me, rubbing my neck due to whiplash as the story spun around to another topic, or yawning because the two MCs were fighting – again! The steam between these guys was practically non existent and that was the only thing they had going for their relationship.

Leo is a doormat. He is hard to like even though he has so many elements of likeability. He’s a music therapist and that is so interesting but we get one or two moments of that taking place and effecting his life and then he’s back to being ignored by Jackson. When Jackson calls he goes even when everyone – even his roomy the wolf – says stay away! Jackson never convinces me he deserves Leo… but the Leo kinda brings it on himself by not demanding good treatment either. So…

Jackson brews beer and is reclusive and that apparently excuses him from being kind, decent, supportive, interesting, reliable, or not a douche. In other words – he’s a jerk from page one and he really doesn’t redeem himself. He hates being mated to a human. Hates being mated to a guy. Hates everything! He pushes Leo away then pulls him back then pushes him away then needs him when he’s down then pushes him away… you get the idea…He ends up buying an apartment/condo/business thing in the end and then telling Leo – oh – it’s ok if you want to move in too. (This is after they’ve already hooked up and are in the process of cementing their bond – I’d tell him to stick it and find my own damn house!)

While I know I have a bias against werewolf stories where the general population knows about them, I have read many that are compelling. And this just wasn’t.

While I appreciated that Jackson shifted – once – I despise shifter stories where the wolf part of their being is merely a characteristic and not integral to their being – and that’s the case here.

I really wanted to love this. But I can’t.

I give it 2.5 stars … but maybe that’s being generous? I’m just so surprised that this is from the same author who wowed me with Tattoos and Teacups https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15719569-tattoos-teacups or Signs https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/24991214-signs which I loved…


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
5 stars Action/Adventure adult - 18+ Alternate World Book Enemies to Lovers Friends to lovers Gay Gay Ghost Historical Homophobia m/m Mild level angst Monthly Theme Mystery Neta Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Paranormal Part of a Series Psychic Purchased Regency Scorching/high heat Time to get scared

Time to get scared: Restless Spirits by Jordan L. Hawk (Spirits book 1)

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23569031-restless-spirits?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
Henry Strauss knows all about being the victim of a charismatic fraud, having lost his family fortune to a man claiming to be in touch with his deceased father.
He is determined control the spirit world through the application of science with his Electro-Séance. He just needs a haunting to prove it actually works. When a wealthy man offers a contest between Henry’s new scientific methods and the old, unreliable spiritualism, it seems like his wish has come true, not to mention the money prize offered.

Henry and his niece Joe travel to Reyhome Castle, were gruesome murders took place and a vicious ghost hunts the premises. He is confident he can outmatch every quack medium he meets, including the alluring Vincent Night, the opponent in this match of exorcism prowess. Vincent is smooth, handsome and exotic, and very appealing indeed. But, Henry swore never to let his heart near a medium again, and there is his and Joe’s future to consider. He can’t lose, no matter how much Vincent’s empathy and friendliness seem genuine.

However, Reyhome Castle, which looked like an easy case of hunting, turns out to be anything but, with secrets upon secrets and a deadly force out to claim their very souls. Henry must trust the one thing he swore he never will, and work together with Vincent if they ever wish to leave Reyhome Castle alive.

Review
If you enjoyed her Hexworld books or Widdershins, you will LOVE this one!!!

This book was my first M/M, almost two years ago, and it also introduced me to Jordan L. Hawk who has become one of my favorite authors. Jordan has a fantastic writing style and is one of the best world builders I have read to date. All three of her 19th century book series are fantastically written and have an ingenious way of being both realistic and raw while still having supernatural and magical elements. I love the level of research and feel of scientific accuracy this book has, the exorcism feels logical and feasible, and to be able to write it in such a way is a true gift indeed. The other thing I love about Jordan’s writing are her inclusive, diverse characters. There are characters from every color, ethnicity, gender and gender identity in her stories and she fits each character and story to the time period with such accuracy it’s astounding. She writes real people with genuine struggles in and other-worldly setting, not an easy feat, yet she makes it seem so.
This book is a mystery both scary and intriguing, the plot twisting and unexpected.
I love the struggle between Vincent and Henry, both striving for the same goal but from opposing sides. The “hate-turned-to-lust-turned-to-friendship” between them is wonderful, with just the right amount of snark and fluster. They each bring something to the table and if they can only work together they might survive this hunted mansion. Lizzy and Joe, the wonderful and funny partners and co-workers are each a formidable female character and show a strength and wisdom much greater than their sometimes dens male counterparts. This is the start of a wonderful series that puts a twist on Ghost Busters and combines science and spirit to save the day.

Number of stars out of 5
5



Copy Purchased for Review

.

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Author Provided Billionaire Book class difference Contemporary Finding Family Gay Gay Holiday Holiday Romance Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mary D May/December Mid level angst Misunderstanding Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Stalker/Abusive Ex Thanksgiving young adult

Audiobook: Joshua’s Rainbow by Victoria Sue narrated by Darcy Stark

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Joshuas-Rainbow-Audiobook/B07GVMKHF5?qid=1537472886&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=P9FDQWVVZTG2G5AXYXK5&

Blurb

Rainbow Key – an idyllic island retreat off the west coast of Florida. Think wedding destination, white sandy beaches, lurve… except at the moment Joshua is struggling to pay the electricity bill, they’ve no paying customers, and even if they did they can’t afford the repairs from the devastating hurricane that struck three years ago – and to top it off they have to take in Daniel, a grumpy businessman who has been ordered by his doctor to take some time off before he has a heart attack from too much stress.

Funnily enough, Daniel owns a very expensive hotel chain that has been trying to buy the island for the past two years. Not that Joshua knows that yet, and boy are sparks gonna fly when he thinks he’s been set up.

Of course, sparks of a different kind are also soon flying between them.
Then there’s Matt who just got let out of prison, Charlie who ran away from home, and Ben, a famous model until a devastating house fire destroyed his face.
Welcome to Rainbow Key – held together by love, family, and sticky tape

Review

This is a gentle feel good book, perfect for when you want a little boost. Who doesn’t love the idea of beautiful beaches, an island to escape to and falling in love. This is the first book in a series and focuses on Joshua but also introduces two other intriguing characters, Charlie, Ben and Matt. All of them have sought a new start at Rainbow key. Daniel however goes there to rest and recover from a busy schedule. He never expected to meet the love of his life. I loved that neither Joshua or Daniel were looking for love and it swept both of them up. There are bumps along the way, but that’s what makes it so interesting. Each of them have secrets they just don’t want to get out, which of course they do.
I haven’t listened to a book narrated by Darcy Stark before but I will lookout for them. He has a good style and is able to bring out the personality of each character. They all have their own distinct voices and I was impressed with the voices he gave the female characters.

5 of stars out of 5 for the story
4 of stars out of 5 for the narration

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Categories
2.5 stars 4 stars adult - 18+ Aerielle Dreamspinner Gay Gay Karen Little to no angst m/m/m Mild/low level heat Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Sports Standalone surfing

Release Day: Three Bears By A. Nybo

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/three-bears-by-a-nybo-9881-b

Blurb

At Three Bears surf break, the attraction between a group of friends is anything but “Luke warm….”
Dan goes to stay with his best friend Josh in Margaret River, the surfing capital of Western Australia, to sort out his sexual confusion. But his best friend is the source of that confusion. Having never been attracted to a man other than Josh, Dan fears risking their friendship just to discover men aren’t his thing.
Within the first few days, Dan meets Luke, a local barista who offers him surf lessons. Dan soon finds himself emotionally coveting not one, but two men. When they go to Three Bears, his hidden desires begin to emerge. As the ambiguity of Dan’s mixed signals clears, it becomes apparent both of his surfing companions want him—badly.
It is only when Luke and Josh hook up that they formulate “Operation Three Bears,” an adventurous plan that might lead to a satisfying outcome for all of them.

World of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the globe.

Review by Aerielle

Three Bears is a surf spot with 3 different grades of waves, a Papa, a Mama and a Baby, so don’t let the title full you into thinking its about three burly, hairy guys. This is a story about three men coming together in a beautiful story about self-discovery and self-acceptance.

Dan meets Luke at a coffee shop and strikes up a conversation which leads to Luke offering to teach Dan how to surf. Dan is in town visiting his best friend Josh. Dan has always felt an attraction towards Josh and wants to spend this time to try and sort out his feelings. After hearing Dan talk about Luke, Josh eventually goes to the coffee shop to meet him too. This leads up to all three going to Three Bears to surf. All three guys feel an attraction towards each other, but no one voices this. Luke becomes aware of Dan’s attraction towards Josh and Josh sees Dan checking out Luke. Luke and Josh eventually start a relationship and try to figure out how to include Dan. When all three finally come together the chemistry is off the charts!!

My only real issue with this book was the authors writing style. I have never read anything by A. Nybo before. I found that some scenes tended to end too abruptly. I do enjoy MMM as long as it is done right. This book was borderline for me, with Josh and Luke plotting ways to get Dan to join them but in the end they both had real strong feelings for him and they felt incomplete without him. Three Bears is apart of Dreamspinner Press’s World of Love series but it is a standalone novella.

4 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Review by Karen

This is a quick and at times amusing read, but I didn’t really feel very invested in this throuple’s road to bliss. 

It just didn’t click for me. The author takes the time to set the stage, so to speak, introducing the three MC’s to the reader and each other, but as far as the actual relationship between the three men is concerned, everything feels very rushed to me.

Once they’re on the same page, they all jump into the physical side of things very quickly, especially considering Dan is still in the closet for nearly half the book. This bothered me, I’m more of a slow-burn kind of girl. I’m also not a fan of fade-outs, so that ruined the more sensual scenes for me. 
A missed opportunity to explore the connection between the three men some more and raise the emotional stakes. 

The connection between the MC’s feels lacking in intensity for me and I just don’t see where or how they actually fell in love with each other. Josh and Dan have a shared history and years of friendship between them to build on, but Luke is a recent addition and they don’t really know him all that well. 

In an mmm romance good communication and a solid emotional connection between all the MC’s is crucial, and I just didn’t feel like that was the case here.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5

 

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Review by Truus

Short sweet read. It’s all about three guys with their friendship and love.
Dan is confused about his sexuality… to figure out all his feelings he goes to his best friend Josh… even though his feelings for Josh are the reason why he is confused.
On his way to Josh he meets Luke… Luke will teach Dan how to surf.
Dan is more confused because now he is attracted to two guys.

He doesn’t know those same guys have strong feelings for Dan.

I found it an amusing read, not strong developed but that didn’t bother me. It was a sexy entertaining read, it had a lot of tension… it was funny, light and fresh. All three had nice friendly caring personalities. A threesome can be tricky in a story, the dynamic can be awkward but in this short one it was convincing and they fit perfect.

Number of stars 3,5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Book Dreamspinner Gay Gay Little to no angst m/m Mary D Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Standalone

Audiobook: His Leading Man by Ashlyn Kane Narrator: Kenneth Obi

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/his-leading-man-by-ashlyn-kane-9598-

Blurb

He wrote a comedy. Fate directed a romance.

Drew Beaumont is bored of the same old roles: action hero, supervillain, romantic lead. He’s not going to let a fresh gay buddy comedy languish just because they can’t find him the right costar. No, Drew bats his eyelashes and convinces everyone that the movie’s writer should play Drew’s not-so-straight man.

Aspiring writer Steve Sopol has never had a screenplay optioned. Now one of Hollywood’s hottest properties wants to be in a movie Steve hasn’t finished writing—and he wants Steve as his costar. Turns out the chemistry between them is undeniable—on and offscreen.

Drew swore off dating in the biz, but Steve is the whole package: sharp, funny, humble, and cute. For Steve, though, giving in to the movie magic means the end of the privacy he cherishes. Will the credits roll before their ride into the sunset

Review
This is a sweet and fluffy feel good story. Perfect light listening when you want the romance without any angst. The majority of the story takes place on a film set where friends become lovers. Naturally our two leading men gradually become more than co-workers. Drew came across as a bit of a diva. I’m sure that Ashlyn Kane totally intended him to, but he has a lot of redeeming qualities as well. I loved the way they ended working together. It was one of those possible disastrous scenarios which comes good. I found the whole film set setting quite interesting. The whole premise for the film they are making is a great story in its own right. Wonderful secondary characters, Drew’s agent and Steve’s mother, and the Director.
As always Kenneth Obi provides great narration. He gives distinct voices to all the characters I was never in any doubt which character was speaking. The only thing was I didn’t feel the connection between Drew and Steve. I’m not sure if that was the writing or the depth of character. Nevertheless it is an enjoyable audiobook. It’s light enough to fill an afternoon or accompany you when you are on a journey.

4 of stars out of 5 for both story and narration.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Aerielle Audiobook Dreamspinner Gay Gay Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Standalone

Audiobook: At Your Service by Ariel Tachna Narrated by Jeff Gelder

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/at-your-service-by-ariel-tachna-3471-b

Blurb
When Anthony Mercer walked into Au cœur du terroir, he was looking for good food and a pleasant evening spent with a friend. He never expected to meet–and sleep with–Paul Delescluse, a waiter at the restaurant. After spending a magical week together in Paris, Anthony must return to his life in North Carolina, while Paul remains in France.
Despite the distance and the lack of promises between them–Paul wants sex, not a relationship–Paul and Anthony forge a solid friendship. Then Anthony’s job takes him back to Paris, this time to stay. Paul is thrilled to have him back, but Anthony has a harder choice: be another of Paul’s conquests or fight for the relationship he knows they could have, if only Paul would believe it.

Review
I have been a big fan of Ariel Tachna since I read her Langs Down series, but I wasn’t sure if I would like this one since I am not a big fan of long-distance love affairs. I ended up enjoying this one for the most part.

Anthony is an American in Paris for a week for work and ends up having a week-long affair with sexy French waiter Paul. He keeps reiterating that this affair will end once he leaves and goes back home which is fine with Paul who has been scorned by love in the past. When the last night rolls around Paul, especially seems reluctant for their time to end, which was surprising to me since he comes off as a bit of a man ho, but that gets addressed later in the story. They part ways but continue to communicate first via email then later through Skype. Both men go on with their lives while encouraging each other to see other people.

Paul gets jealous when Anthony starts seeing another man and ends up having many one-night stands. Anthony ends up getting an opportunity to start up a branch of his work in Paris and Paul invites him to stay with him until he finds a new place to live. They both tell their loved ones that their friendship is more important than jumping back into bed with each other. They have one slip up, but both agree that they should remain platonic friends. Paul really struggles with his feelings for Anthony until he finally bears all and tells him that he wants to try a relationship with Anthony. Anthony, who is afraid of getting hurt again agrees to think about it if Paul can provide that he is really ready for a monogamous relationship.

Paul is determined to prove that he’s trustworthy but eventually Anthony’s rules start to run him ragged and neither men really see it until Paul’s brother brings it to light. Paul uses sex as a way to combat loneliness and Anthony tries to find ways for him to cope when he can’t be there. Eventually they get their acts together and some really good scenes happen from there. The story ends rather abruptly. I really wish that there was an epilogue showing how the guys are doing 6 month or so down the line.

Narration:
I have listened to quite a few books that Jeff Gelder has narrated and while he isn’t a favorite of mine his does an adequate job. My issue with him is he doesn’t tend to change the tone of his voice much to inflect certain emotions. During certain sexy scenes it almost sounds like a character is laughing. I do have to say that I loved his voice for Paul. Super sexy French accent!

4 stars for story and 3.5 stars for narration

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
6 stars Author Provided Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Friends to lovers Gay Gay High but not hopeless Hurt/comfort Karen m/m Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Single Parent Widower

Recent Release: The Wilderness (Lavender Shores book 8) by Rosalind Abel

Good Reads Link:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41500273-the-wilderness?from_search=true

Blurb
Will Epstein had it all—playboy good looks, wealth and prestige, and a gorgeous fiancé to costar with him on a reality television show. But that was years ago, before he was abandoned at the altar on national television. In the aftermath, Will’s world crumbled, leaving him humiliated and lost.
Andre Rivera married his first love and lived a dream life until tragedy stepped in. His wife’s sudden death left him devastated and struggling to build a life for his young daughter. Being a pilot offers Andre a sense of freedom from Lavender Shores, but he feels trapped and unable to move forward.
A shared sense of loss fosters a surprising friendship between Will and Andre, giving them both the salvation they need. But when feelings cross the lines of friendship and secrets are revealed, Will and Andre have to confront their own fears.
Amid the gold of a Lavender Shores autumn, Will and Andre must grasp their chance at love… before it slips away.

Review
I always love stories where both the MC’s are a bit older and have already lived and loved… and lost, before finding each other. The emotions seem more deeply felt somehow. This book took that to a whole new level.

Will and Andre have both known way too much sadness in their lives. Seeing them finally find love and happiness (again) was wonderful, but not easy. I might have shed a few tears along the way.

These two men were not meant to be friends, and they certainly weren’t meant to be lovers.
After a disastrous first meeting, they become fast friends, finding comfort and acceptance with each other. I love the strength of their friendship and how it slowly turns into far more, though only Will has caught on about that at first. Andre is blind to his true feelings quite a bit longer, because he still struggles with the guilt of moving on after his wife’s death.

Will outwardly has it all, but he’s so unsure of his own worth, constantly searching for approval from others. I love how he was able to work through all that after all, and became his own man.
Andre is a great father, and it’s always clear that he and his daughter, Katniss, are a package deal.
The author makes it a point to show that Will gets this and loves Katniss as well, which I find very important. And super endearing!

As always the subtle literary references and the beautiful descriptions and imagery used by this author make this book, like all the others in the Lavender Shores series, an absolute joy to read.

Number of stars: 6 of 5 stars!

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Bi-Sexual Bullying Dreamspinner Established Couple Football Gay Gay High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series PTSD young adult

Audiobook: Crocus by Amy Lane narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Blurb
Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High school principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sheriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart

Review
(Previously reviewed by Mary on site.)
In my opinion you really do need to read or listen to book 1, Bonfires, before starting Crocus. Bonfires is the story of how Aaron and Larx meet and fall in love with all the complications of joining two families. It ends when Larx’s eldest daughter Olivia comes home from college and tells them she is pregnant. This book takes off from that point. We learn that not only is she pregnant she also has Depression. Amy Lane handles this very difficult subject very well. There is no miraculous recovery just because it suited the storyline. We go through Olivia’s struggles to move out of the dark place she is in and Larx’s struggles as a parent to help her. At the same time his rock, Aaron is injured whilst on duty, one of his students is suffering from domestic abuse and is missing in a snowstorm. In amongst this two brothers need his support. There is so much to keep you on edge desperate to know more and wanting everything to work out. I love the dose of reality and practically Amy Lane has in these stories. By the way the book ended I am certain there will be a third book, can’t wait.

From Morgan: I absolutely agree with Mary. Even though the HEA for our guys happens in book 1, we don’t really see them interacting a whole lot together because – in typical Amy fashion – they are BOMBARDED with drama. Though the drama is still in heavy doses in book 2 – our guys handle it TOGETHER and that makes all the difference.

I was glad to see Amy confront the depression issues head on and not shy away from the less than perfect side of pregnancy, etc.

Highly recommended and can’t wait for book 3!

Audio

I just love Nick J Russo. I can’t say that enough. He makes every listening experience a joy and I always know I can depend on him to provide a quality character choice and interpretation. I love how he manages to give Aaron the laid back and stolid voice while in the next breath giving us the hyper and sometimes frenetic Larx.

Well done and highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars for both


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review