Back To School Month: Rim Shot by Skylar M Cates

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rim-shot-by-skylar-m-cates-8880-b

Blurb

Can college roommates go from friends to lovers?

Kyle: I’m confident that with hard work, my position as point guard can carry me from rural Indiana to the NBA. I also know I’m attracted to guys, but admitting it might disappoint my father, who is all I have in this world. I have big dreams, so I’ll stay in the closet. As long as my life remains scandal-free, I have a shot.

Micah: My large family can’t spare the money to help with my education, but that won’t stop me from studying medicine. I needed to get out of the house I was sharing with my ex before I went insane. Luckily, I heard about a guy looking for a roommate. Living with a straight jock won’t be easy, but it’s a chance I’m willing to take.

Review

I thought this was really sweet. There is a lot of “learning sex” in this book but it’s done well and with the feels that should accompany it. I thought it felt pretty organic and authentic and wasn’t too much of a stretch to believe.

I really bonded with these guys and enjoyed watching their story emerge.

All in all this was sweet and enjoyable and I highly recommend it to fans of college/GFY/OFY stories.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Cask Strength (Agents Irish and Whiskey Book 2) by Layla Reyne

release day review

Carina Press Presents

http://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488024399_cask-strength.html

Blurb

 Professionally, the FBI team of Aidan “Irish” Talley and Jameson “Whiskey” Walker is as good as it gets, closing cases faster than any team at the Bureau. Personally, it’s a different story. Aidan’s feelings for Jamie scare the hell out of him: he won’t risk losing another love no matter how heart-tripping the intimacy between them. And loss is a grim reality with the terrorist Renaud still on their trail, leaving a pile of bodies in his wake.
Going undercover on a new case gets them out of town and off the killer’s radar. They’re assigned to investigate an identity theft ring involving a college basketball team in Jamie’s home state, where Jamie’s past makes him perfect for the role of coach. But returning to the courts brings more than old memories. As secrets and shocking betrayals abound, none may be more dangerous than the one Jamie’s been keeping: a secret about the death of Aidan’s husband that could blow his partner’s world apart and destroy forever the fragile bonds of trust and love building between them.
Review

Cask Strength is a continuation of Single Malt and the heat and excitement ratchets up! Like the previous book, the story was engages one from the start. Both Jamie and Aidan are still navigating their personal relationship – their working relationship is just fine, (except for the secret Jamie is keeping from Aidan).
There are situations that occur along the way- Aidan ‘dating’ other people in order to keep Jamie at arm’s length, Jamie trying to keep his cool in the face of this and both still trying to get a lead on the investigation involving the terrorist (Renaud). The latter taking another deadly turn.
Now both agents have a target on their back, so they’re sent undercover to work on a case that is close to Jamie’s heart – basketball.
The story is well written, interesting. Again, I had to suspend by belief at some of the things that happened, (but this is fiction, so anything goes). All in all it is a really good follow up and I’m looking forward to the next installment.
This book is not a standalone and it ends on a slight cliffhanger, but if you’ve come this far, you’re in it to the end ☺

4 of 5 stars

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Single Malt (Agents Irish and Whiskey #1) by Layla Reyne

release day review

Carina Press Presents

http://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488024382_single-malt.html

Blurb

The heart’s a resilient beast

Eight months after the car crash that changed everything, FBI agent Aidan Talley is back at work. New department, new case and a new partner. Smart, athletic and handsome, Jameson Walker is twelve years his junior. Even if Aidan was ready to move on—and he’s not—Jamie is off-limits.

Jamie’s lusted after Aidan for three years, and the chance to work with San Francisco’s top agent directly is too good to pass up. Aidan is prickly—to put it mildly—but a growing cyber threat soon proves Jamie’s skills invaluable.

Jamie’s talents paint a target on his back, and Aidan is determined to protect him. But with hack after hack threatening a high-security biocontainment facility, time is running out to thwart a deadly terrorist attack. They’ll have to filter out distractions, on the case and in their partnership, to identify the real enemy, solve the case and save thousands of lives, including their own.

Review

WOW! This is a new author to me and (obviously) a new series – it looks like both are amazing!

A warning: This is a 3 book series and book one ends on very shaky legs (relationship-wise) and the “case” is definitely not solved – so if you’re the type (like me!) who hates to wait for the “answers” – you might want to wait til all 3 books are out because this is a very gripping story and you might be frustrated.  (The preliminary reviews I’ve seen of book 2 look just as daunting/unsatisfying – need book 3 fast!)

Things that make this book delicious: FBI agents, super smart men, jocks, May/December, Irish brogue, mysterious pasts, mysterious deaths, computer crimes, slow burn romance. (Three books in the series, mean the relationship doesn’t really start til near the end of this book.)

Things that make this book hard: Pining. Aidan loved his husband and he’s dead and it’s so sad and hard to see him miss him so badly. Lots of people: there is a LOT going on in this story and a lot of names – everyone’s got a secret – so you have to stay on your toes – you can’t know who’s really telling the truth. Tense action. There’s still danger and though we know the (eventual) outcome – it doesn’t make it less hard to read about.

I think, if you were/are a fan of Abigail Roux’s Cut and Run series – I think you’ll like this. (So far – book 3 isn’t out yet). It has a lot of that same emotional impact – the slow burn – the “I want you but I don’t want to want you” vibe and all that FBI action with plot twists and turns. (And a Southern accent!)

While I definitely wish I’d waited til all 3 were out – I’m glad I have book two available and I can definitely recommend what I’ve read so far!

(Kudos to the names and character development – very clever and well thought out.)

4.5 of 5 stars (can’t be perfect because I don’t know how it ends!)

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

The Locker Room Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Sean Crisden


locker roomBlurb

Xander Karcek has only wanted two things in his life: Christian Edwards and basketball—the man he loves and the game that let him escape a childhood he’d rather forget. His two obsessions have served him well. He and Chris beat the odds and stayed together through high school, college, and right on to the NBA. But life under fame’s microscope isn’t easy, especially when two men are pretending to be frat-buddies so the world doesn’t know they’re the next best thing to married. Their relationship survives the sacrifices they make and the lies they tell to stay together, but when their secret is exposed, the fallout might destroy them when nothing else could. Chris and basketball are the two things holding Xander together. Now the world is asking Xander to make a choice. Is there an option that includes a future with the man he loves?

Review

I feel like this story is so well known and beloved that everyone knows what it’s about and it’s hard to remember a time when I hadn’t read it or had it affect me.

But I know that’s not entirely true, and somewhere there are readers out there who have yet to experience the amazement that is this story.

So…

Xander is poor, pretty much raising himself as a teenager, keeping out of the way from mom’s “boyfriends” who want to steal his money and slap him around. The only thing that gives him any hope in the world are basketball and his “friend” Christian Edwards.

Chris is your typical all-American boy, a great family at home including a little sister, who meets a young boy playing basketball one day and sort of “adopts” him into his life and his family.

When Xander’s mother’s latest man friend forces Xander on to the streets Chris’ and Xander hatch a plan for him to work and go to school and live on his own. This lasts for a little while until exhaustion and hunger make him collapse one day on the courts, driving him to first move to a group home then later the Edwards’ house.

Everything would be perfect but for one thing: Xander and Chris have realized that they are more than friends. They don’t act upon it. A sense of morality keeps them to furtive kisses until they’re 18.

Basketball treats them both well, and sends them to be roommates in college. There, the fact that they’re so good works against them. Instead of living together as roommates as they’d dreamed, their skill lands them in the house of the varsity team, forcing them to keep their love quiet yet again.

When graduation comes they have to make the miraculous occur and get drafted by the same NBA team… they manage it, but at a cost. They can’t be gay and in the NBA. So, they manage an arrangement that … well, let’s just say they end up having to do more than just show up with a woman now and again to look like the straight celebrity athletes they are.

Finally, after years of hiding and the shame from denying their true nature, disaster strikes, eliminating basketball for one of them but opening the door to their future at the same time.

**

This book. GAH! I’ve read and listened to it so many times, and each and every time I am TORN OPEN. It is so gut-wrenching. They love each other so damn much and their pain kills me. Unlike some romances where them finding love is at least one if not the main obstacle, keeping their love quiet is the only focus in the book.

Probably the part of the story that guts me the worst is the part when they’re teenagers and Xander is living by himself and Chris’ mom finds out just how he’s been doing that… GOD I cry like a baby every time.

Then, there’s the nights the boys have to “fake it” to convince the media they are straight. It’s so heartbreaking!

Finally there’s the ending, which ends up being so bittersweet, but that interview they do with Barbara WaWa… bawling!

Amy’s ability to grab your heart and make it bleed is profound and amazing. She has such a way with emotion and finding just the right small thing to focus upon which manages to impart the greatest impact.

These guys are so well written that they feel real celebrities to me – they’ve made appearances in her other books as well as some guest appearances in other author’s works- it’s as if they are truly part of basketball history.

I know Amy has mentioned a book two for these guys and I know I for one would LOVE that. They need more time and we need to see Chris healed and give them their reward for all their years of silence.

Audio

Sean Crisden is just awesome! He is one of my favorite narrators and he does an amazing job here. Xander is just so stolid and stoic and Chris is just the right amount of peppy and growly. This is an absolute joy to listen to.

6 of 5 stars! A true M/M must read.

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(Copy Purchased for Review)

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=3121