Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Back To School Book Bullying College/University coming of age Contemporary Exploration Football Gay Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild level angst Monthly Theme Morgan NetGalley New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat Sports Virgin

Back to School Month: The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair


Riptide Presents

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-quarterback

Blurb

Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him.

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happy ever after for both of them.

Review

Well, ‘tis the season for sports minded romance! This is one of three or four GFY or supposedly straight guys finding their gay side that I’ve read in the last month. Honestly, they’ve all been really good, so I haven’t minded one bit!

What I liked about this was that Trevor speaks up for himself and isn’t willing to be shut up in a closet. Trevor is also pretty unique and funny and as a character, was a lot of fun.

Matt is pretty typical, as far as jock characters go – though I found his willingness to try things at the happy ending massage place pretty funny.

There is quite a bit of exploratory/virgin sex , some pretty unrealistic team mates and some super awesome family members. The dialog was witty and fun and there wasn’t a lot of football to get in the way of the romance – which I appreciated!

I really enjoyed this and recommend it to fans of GFY/OFY jock/nerd romances.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Back To School Book College/University Contemporary Dreamspinner Football Gay Gay Geek/Jock Geek/nerd/techie/gamer Heat Index High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mary D Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Sports Standalone Virgin young adult

Back to School Month: My Roommate’s a Jock Well Crap Audiobook by Wade Kelly Narrated by Jason Lovett

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/my-roommates-a-jock-well-crap-by-wade-kelly-5407-b

 

Blurb

 
It’s easy to become cynical when life never goes your way.

Cole Reid has been a social recluse since he was fifteen, when he was outed by his high school baseball team. Since then, his obsessive-compulsive behavior and sarcastic nature have driven away most of the population, and everyone else hates him because he’s gay. As he sees it, he’s bound to repulse any prospective friends, let alone boyfriends, so why bother?

By the time Cole enters college, he’s become an anal-retentive loner—but it’s not a problem until his roommate graduates and the housing department assigns Ellis Montgomery to move in with Cole. Ellis is messy, gorgeous, straight, and worst of all, a jock!

During a school year filled with frat buddies, camping expeditions, and meddling parents, Cole and Ellis develop a friendship that turns Cole’s glass-half-empty outlook on its head. There must be more to Ellis than a fun-loving jock—and maybe Cole’s reawakening libido has rekindled his hope for more than camaraderie.

Review

From the title I went into this story thinking it was going to be a comedy and whilst there are a few amusing parts it is mainly a romance. Cole was equally endearing and frustrating. I understand the reasoning behind his neuroses he seems like a hard person to live with. Not that a Ellis is a saint but he seems to understand how comfort and reassure Cole, drawing him back out into college life. Ellis’s friends Rob and Russell are great characters. They provide the foil for jokes and a 3rd person view speculating on whether there is anything going on between Cole and Ellis. I liked the way they were manoeuvred in to being roommates by Stan, very devious. In regards to Cole and Ellis’s relationship I liked how all the doubts and insecurities were portrayed. Both of them had their own issues to come to terms with including Cole realising he had built up a prejudice against jocks. Ellis had the harder time though, he had to come to terms with being gay and loosing his virginity. It was good that Cole wasn’t stereotypical timid Nerd and Ellis the big confident jock. I liked seeing their frailties, made feel a more realistic situation. The only part I didn’t like was when the story switched to Cole’s mother’s view point. I didn’t really see the reasoning behind it.

Jason Lovett is a good narrator, perfect sound for young adults. He reads the story rather than perform it and that suited me fine. I didn’t have any trouble distinguishing between the characters because their personalities were so distinct and he puts a lot of expression into the narration.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased For Review

 

 

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Boss/employee class difference Closeted co-workers to lovers Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Football Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Humor m/m Mid level angst Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Sports Sports Standalone Thanksgiving

Illegal Contact (The Barons #1) by Santino Hassell

release day review

Amazon Link
https://www.amazon.com/Illegal-Contact-Barons-Santino-Hassell-ebook/dp/B06W2P5N55/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1502056167&sr=1-1&keywords=illegal+contact+santino

Blurb

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel.

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

Review

This was soooo much fun! I was a bit leery of this, I have to admit. Sometimes Santino Hassell’s writing is a bit dark and melancholy and I’m not always in the mood for that. I’m also really not a football fan, but I am a huge “geek/jock” fan and “opposites attract” fan so I figured I’d give it a go.  (I love that Noah absolutely HATES football at first!)

I’m very glad I did!

This was super funny at times, but also really tender. There’s a fair amount of very hot sex once we get past the sexual tension stage.

The football was kept to a minimum (in my opinion) yet was clearly part of the story in a meaningful way.

I loved that our guys TALKED to each other. There wasn’t any “big misunderstanding” beyond the figuring out who is interested stage and I appreciated that when the end “conflict” arose, it was done with eyes open and a decision mutually made.

The fairly predictable ending is still very heartwarming and though we aren’t given much to go by, the HEA felt pretty solid. I’m really hoping we’ll see their story “finalize” more in the coming books and I also hope Simon’s story is next!

Highly recommended for fans of sweet and sexy romance, football fans, geek fans, and those who like some laughs and dirty talk with their romance.

5 of 5 stars

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Categories
3 stars Actor/Theatre adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Construction Worker Contemporary Dreamspinner Established Couple Football Friends to lovers Gay Heat Index Homophobia m/m Mild level angst Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) pining Reconcilliation second chance at love Single Parent Sports Standalone Unrequited Love

You Never Know by Mary Calmes

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/you-never-know-by-mary-calmes-8692-b

Blurb

Hagen Wylie has it all figured out. He’s going to live in his hometown, be everybody’s friend, explore new relationships, and rebuild his life after the horrors of war. No muss, no fuss is the plan. He’s well on his way—until he finds out his first love has come home too. Hagen says it’s no big deal, but a chance encounter with Mitch Thayer’s two cute sons puts him directly in the path of the only guy he’s never gotten out of his head.

Mitch returned for three reasons: to raise his sons where he grew up, to move his furniture business and encourage it to thrive, and to win Hagen back. Years away made it perfectly clear the young man he loved in high school is the only one for him. The problem? He left town and they have not talked since.

If Hagen’s going to trust him again, Mitch needs to show him how he’s grown up and isn’t going to let go. They could have a new chance at love… but Hagen is insistent he’s not reviving a relationship with Mitch. Then again, you never know.

Review

Well, hell. You all know I’m a giant Mary Calmes fan and it pains me deeply to say – this book wasn’t for me. It can happen, I know, and I’m sure others will still love this to pieces because it’s Mary and she is fabulous after all, but this wasn’t one of my favorites.

Mary’s books are strongly character driven (for the most part) and as such you really have to love the characters to love the story. She’s done an excellent job of creating two unique characters and I really feel like I have a pretty good grasp of Hagen and where he’s at. I didn’t feel like I understood or knew Mitch as well, and that is part of my problem.

Hagen and his involvement with Ash gets a lot of page time and this relationship and how Hagen handles it didn’t sit well with me. I was kind of rooting for them to be the couple that “makes it” more than Mitch and Hagen. Ash seems infinitely redeemable and I felt like I knew him better than I knew Mitch so I was rooting for him 😉

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Mitch hurt so many people and didn’t do nearly enough groveling to earn his way back into Hagen’s life – IMHO.

I worried for Mitch’s kids and wanted to know more about their mother and what was going on there. It made my heart hurt to think of them uprooted every 6 months.

The fact that Ash and Hagen have more on page times of intimacy (if not the full act) also felt wrong. I needed more time with Hagen and Mitch working things out to really pull for them as a couple.

So… all in all – this just didn’t fit my tastes in romance. It’s a blip and I’m sure others will love this – but it wasn’t my cup of tea.

(The cover is amazing though!!!)

2.75 (rounded to 3) of 5 stars

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Categories
6 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anna Audiobook Audiobook Month Book class difference College/University coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Football Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Holiday Homophobia m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Standalone Thanksgiving Virgin

Audiobook Month: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane Narrated by Nick J Russo

Audible Link
https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Christmas-Kitsch-Audiobook/B01929UVY4?qid=1498407147&sr=1-1

Blurb:

Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Review:

Before I read this book I had avoided Amy Lane, or at least most of her back list for years, due to the fact that she is known as the queen of angst. So I was hesitant picking up this book both because of that, but also because of the fact that the characters are very young. I do not normally read YA for two reasons:
1) I like my sex on page and plentiful (yes, yes, I know I am an old man-on-man loving pervert!) 2) I need a HEA like a junkie needs a fix, and HEA between such young characters are completely unbelievable to me!

In spite of this, I decided to pick it up anyway, because I love a good christmas story and some of the proceeds went to charity. And boy was I ever happy I did!

Because since then, this book has become a favorite re-read and when the audio came out I purchased that too and have re-listened so many times it’s almost embarrassing to admit!
This story is wonderful! It is emotional, but not too angsty, it is sweet and cuddly and tugs at the heartstrings. It made me laugh and get teary-eyed. It isn’t perfect no, but since I re-read and re-listen continually, there is no way around throwing all the stars in the world after this book.

Rusty is a jock in his senior year in high school, he is a privileged white boy, from a high end neighbourhood with well-to-do parents and a prosperous future to look forward to, including Berkley pre-law after graduation. Although he could fit into every stereotype of dumb jock, he is sweet, polite, wholesome and slightly naïve. He is not the smartest of people, but he tries so hard and he has the biggest heart.

When Oliver enters his class in senior year, he is smitten instantly. Fascinated with the exotic Oliver. Oliver is everything Rusty is not. He is small, brown, from a working class Hispanic background, very secure in who he is – out and proud – and so very smart, that Rusty can hardly keep up.

The two start an unlikely friendship which slowly melts into more, without Rusty being aware of this fact. After graduation Berkley looms, a future Rusty knows he is not ready for, not smart enough for and really not something he wants. But college is a privilege, as he has realized after meeting Oliver, and he knows there is no way around it. So off to Berkley he must go, leaving Oliver behind.

The summer leading up to college holds several revelations for Rusty. One being the months he spends working construction for Olivers father. He finds something he enjoys, loves even, and something he is good at! The other being that on the eve of him leaving, Oliver kisses him.

Both of these revelations needs time to settle in Rusty before he can realize who he is and who he wants to be. But they are his defining moments, even if he doesn’t realize it himself at the time.

There is a host of side characters in this book: Oliver’s big loving latino family, Rusty’s conservative upper class parents, his rebellious younger sister, the housekeeper, Rusty’s college roommate Rex, college professors and guidance counselors, Rusty’s ex-girlfriend and high school friends. And all of them, in some way, shape or form end up being instrumental to pushing Rusty into the place he is meant to be.

This is more of a coming of age story than it is a Christmas story, but it does revolve around Oliver and Rusty’s first Christmas together, so in a way the holiday tag is earned, but it is not a story I would only re-read at Christmas time by any means.

Oliver and Rusty are wonderful together, they both have issues and insecurities and push each other at times, but behind it all there is love and a sense of heart and home. This sense of home was so strong that I actually believed in the happy ending between these very young boys, even before the epilogue gave me a glimpse into the future.

I will warmly recommend this story to anyone wanting a warm and emotional feel good story. But beware that you will feel the urge to hug your e-reader close after finishing.
Overall Impression: 6 out of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars 4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary DA Exploration Football Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort Little to no angst m/m Mary D May/December May/December Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Older MCs Part of a Series Purchased second chance at love Virgin Widower

Author Spotlight: Cardeno C Jesse’s Diner Audibook (Hope Book 2) Narrated by Paul Morey

Audible link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Jesses-Diner-Audiobook/B019N5MKA0/ref=a_series_c2_2_saTtl?ie=UTF8&pf_rd_r=0GDQ1QYTSECW46A2RCXE&pf_rd_m=A2ZO8JX97D5MN9&pf_rd_t=101&pf_rd_i=series-detail&pf_rd_p=1374482202&pf_rd_s=center-2

Blurb

Two men with a shared history and a mutual attraction must be honest with themselves and each other so both their dreams come true.

Quiet, unassuming Tanner Sellers spends his time running a diner in Hope, Arizona. Not particularly social, twenty-two-year-old Tanner keeps to himself and enjoys his simple life, but he longs for someone to call his own. In his most secret fantasy, that someone is sexy Steve Faus. But Steve is his friend’s father and mentor’s widower and therefore off-limits.

Despite some challenges, thirty-nine-year-old Steve Faus has had a good life. He’s extremely successful at work, has a great relationship with his college-age son, and lives in a wonderful town. Eighteen months after losing his partner, the one thing Steve lacks is someone to share his life. If Steve is honest with himself, that someone is the young man he has known and cared about for years. Steve and Tanner want one another, all they need is a little push in the right direction to make both their dreams come true.

 

Review by Mary

 

Cardeno C always gives us the perfect comfort reads and listening to the audiobook is being wrapped in a warm blanket. Paul Morey has such a mellow soothing voice.

This is a lovely heart warming story about love, acceptance and moving on. Jessie is a pivotal character even though he passed away 18 months ago. Jessie left his Diner to Tanner. Steve was Jessie’s partner. Mike is Jessie and Steve’s son and Tanner’s best friend. There is no angst just love and learning to take the next step after losing Jessie.

Mike is away at college and asks Tanner to check on his Dad Steve. Tanner is so sweet and innocent he doesn’t realise when Steve starts flirting with him. Steve is very gentle with Tanner and when they get together it is steamy.

Paul Morey’s narration is excellent. He captures Steve’s maturity, Tanner’s honesty so well. I loved Steve’s accent. Mike, the carefree college boy, is portrayed realistically without going too far.

 

This is a lovely short relaxing book to listen to.

 

3.5 of 5 stars

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Review by Morgan

Though this isn’t a short story, it reads like one, so I want to be careful not to give away too many secrets, because there are a few surprises in this.

You might think this is a simple story of May/December love, or a second chance at love romance, or a jock meets nerd (Steve was a football player and Tanner is very reserved and slight physically). But… it’s none of those and all of those and more! There’s a deeper layer to this story. There are things in Steve’s past that have shaped who he is and his relationship with Jesse is more complex than you’d guess.

Cardeno always does a great job of writing these “clueless” guys and then showing them the light.   I didn’t get as good a read on Steve, but he’s definitely the more social and outgoing of the pair. I liked watching him “show” Tanner about love and relationships, Steve was sweet, sexy and funny, too.

There were parts of this story that didn’t work for me as well. I wanted more about Steve’s past and his relationship with Jesse. It felt incomplete somehow.  I get that he and Jesse’s relationship was very different from his and Tanner’s, but I wanted to know a bit more about it and maybe get a bit more closure.

I also think that the “heavy” issue needed a bit more discussion. I think it’s a pretty big deal and it felt a little too casual for me in this instance.

I really wanted the “reveal” about Steve asking Tanner out on an official date to be more of an “a-ha!” moment. It lacked that POW! – where Tanner realizes he’s going to FINALLY get his dream man. 

That being said, it’s still a Cardeno C book, so it was still wonderful. I loved the premise and the characters and felt happy at the end for both of them, but I just wanted a little bit… more, I guess.

I think fans of the author and the series will love it and it can absolutely be read as a stand-alone.

4 of 5 stars

Audiobook

Paul Morey is a fantastic narrator. He gives Steve this lovely Southern accent and Tanner a nice “clueless” tonality that really works for this story.

Mike is given this dumb-guy voice and he made me giggle. I think that listening to this was a wonderful way to experience this story and it added to my enjoyment immensely.

Audio 5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book Boss/employee Contemporary Exploration Football Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Medical Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Misunderstanding Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Sports Virgin

The Game Change Audiobook by Kay Simone Narrated by Greg Tremblay

audiobookreview

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/The-Game-Changer-Audiobook/B06XNSN897

Blurb

A straight quarterback. A gay physical therapist. Love is out of bounds…Right?
Malcolm Rodgers loses everything in one week.
The quarterback is benched with an injury the same week his fiancée breaks off their engagement. Lost, hurting, and stuck on the sidelines, Malcolm must spend his days in physical therapy with the one person who refuses to let him get back in the game: cocky Vance Coberly.
Vance is out and proud in the macho world of pro football. As the top physical therapist in his field, flirting with football players is strictly out of bounds.
But the rules of play all change when Vance meets Malcolm.
Malcolm can’t deny what he feels for Vance – but Vance won’t be someone’s one-time fling. Can a Hail Mary gesture save the deepest love Malcolm has ever felt?
Fantasy football takes on a whole new meaning in this 100,000 word steamy out-for-you football romance, complete with lots of heat and a happily ever after ending.

Review
This is the first book I’ve read by this author – I’ve attempted others but haven’t made it all the way to the end. I’m not sure that I’d have finished this if I hadn’t been listening to the amazing Greg Tremblay – but I was glad I did.

The first half of the book is wonderful. I was LOVING it!

Malcolm is a bit of an enigma, and such a great person. Good, kind, a little naïve. Wonderful. Vance is just a bit more worldly, more jaded, more snarky – but still – nice and kind.

I love the slow burn between them, the silly drinking games and the patient wait for sex.
Even though this is a fairly low steam book, the connection is there and I really felt their chemistry.

However, after the first half of the book – things go sideways. The relationship moves from gentle exploration and love and passion to a Big Misunderstanding and hiding and anger and stubbornness. It was amazingly frustrating and I didn’t understand how two people whose number one commitment is “Honesty” could go on so long with this “issue” between them.

In any case, they muddle through that issue and we get a lovely HEA. (If you read the e book and are willing to sign up for her newsletter the author will send you a “bonus chapter” that adds some steam to this low steam story. Alas, not in audio format.)

As always, Greg made this story for me, and he was the main reason I picked up the audio. I love how he brings a story to life and I thought he gave full characters to even secondary or minor characters. His narration really made me stick it out and I give his narration 5 of 5 stars.
As for the story, I’d give 4.5 stars for Part 1 and 2.5 stars to part 2 – average of 3 of 5 stars.

For both narration and story – 4 of 5 stars – I’d still recommend it – but be warned ☺

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Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Boss/employee Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Football Gay GFY/OFY Gym/physical trainer Heat Index Hidden Lovers High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Sports

Fair Catch (Players of LA #2) by Leigh Carman

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fair-catch-by-leigh-carman-8296-b

Blurb

Two men.

One night of passion.

They never expected to see each other again.

They were wrong.

Tobias Bennett is a quiet and unassuming man who teaches yoga and enjoys parkour. Though he is proud to be gay, an abusive relationship with a domineering man has left Tobias wary of romance, and he keeps to himself in his tidy Los Angeles apartment.

Pro football player Sullivan Archer is Tobias’s complete opposite: loud, brash, fond of the spotlight… and deep in the closet. When a hamstring injury sends Van to Tobias as part of his therapy, neither of them is expecting to come face-to-face with his one-night stand. Now they’re stuck together throughout Van’s healing process, and the close proximity will force them to deal with some hard truths. For Tobias, it’s realizing his hookup is a celebrity. For Van, it means accepting that he likes Tobias more than he wanted. They’ll both have to acknowledge that if they choose to pursue a relationship, their lives will change in big ways.

*The Players of LA Series are standalones, but characters from each book to appear in subsequent novels. It is recommended to read in order to maximize the reading experience*

Review

(Book 1 reviewed here:  https://openskyebookreviews.com/match-point-by-leigh-carman/)

There were parts of this story that I really liked. I loved the Parkour, the Yoga, and for awhile I was thinking that Archer would be learning a new “sport” or vice versa and our MCs would have some interesting conversations and activities surrounding that. But… those things were almost just teasers, and they really didn’t have much to do with the main story.

The main story was about being in the closet and being victimized by an awful ex.

I really felt that Toby was way too trusting and accepted Archer and his closet far too easily considering how poorly he was treated by Austin, the ex. If your whole life was spent in hiding by a malicious ex, I think the LAST thing you’d do is sign up to be someone’s secret. It is different abuse, but being constantly denied by someone professing to love you is abuse of it’s own.

The relationship path was so full of angst, that by the time we’d had not one or two but three or four “kiss and make up” scenes, I was getting pretty over it and none of it made me think highly of either MC.

There were just too many threads in this story that didn’t get enough attention and some gaping holes that left me feeling like the story wasn’t as complete as it could have been. I’d have loved a few less “reunion scenes” and some more time developing any of the many interests Toby had or finding out more about Archer – his past, his family, anything.

Toby was a genius, yoga guy, victim, parkour enthusiast and had a (very nosy) best friend/neighbor. His interactions with his ex were hideous and he continued to do things that involved him and just plain didn’t make sense. I didn’t really connect all that well with him.

As far as the relationship between Toby and Archer – besides sex and make up sex – I didn’t see them interact or bond in any meaningful way. Both of them ran hot then cold and it was incredibly frustrating.

While I loved the whole “coming out to the world” as a concept, it felt sort of anti-climactic by that point. The violence with the ex overshadowed anything and was immensely unsatisfying as far as resolutions go.

I really enjoyed book 1 and will definitely look into book 2 – especially if it ends up being with Leo and Viktor and HOCKEY! – but this didn’t work so well for me.

As always, I recommend looking at other reviews – other people enjoyed this a lot – so I do think it has an audience. It just wasn’t for me.

The writing was fine and it had a lot of potential, so I’m going to give it a 2.75 (rounded to 3) of 5 stars for effort and leave it at that.

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Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book Boss/employee Contemporary Dreamspinner Football Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia m/m Mild level angst Mild/low level heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract

The Playmaker Audiobook by Andrew Grey narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-playmaker-by-andrew-grey-8229-b
Blurb

Professional football player Hunter Davis is learning that saying he’s gay is very different from actively being in a relationship with another man—especially in the eyes of his teammates and fans. So when Hunter needs a personal assistant to keep him organized, he asks for a woman in order to prevent tongues from wagging.

Montgomery Willis badly needs to find work before he loses everything. There’s just one position at the agency where he applies, but the problem is, he’s not a woman. And he knows nothing about football. Still, Hunter gives him a chance, but only because Monty’s desperate.

Monty soon proves his worth by saving Hunter’s bacon on an important promotional shoot, and Hunter realizes he might have someone special working for him—in more ways than one. Monty’s feelings come to the surface during an outing in the park when Hunter decides to teach Monty a bit about the game, and pictures surface of them in some questionable positions. Hunter is reminded that knowing he’s gay and seeing evidence in the papers are two very different for the other players, and he might have to choose between two loves: football and Monty.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously.)

This is a story for people looking for a nice getaway. It’s light, low on angst, has a few hot smexy times, and is lovely in the way that Andrew Grey books always are.

I loved that Monty is the one in charge of everything and everybody! He has all the answers and everyone underestimates him – but only once! The team is so supportive of him and helps even Hunter to do the right thing in regards to their relationship. He added some nice humor to this story.

Hunter is a bit less likable but he meshes well with Monty. Sometimes their relationship arc is a bit predictable, but that can be comforting at times, too. I didn’t understand fully why Hunter and Monty broke up near the end, but I was glad it was a relatively short break.

Recommended.

4 of 5 stars

Audio

John Solo does a really nice job with this. He attempts to give all the various secondary characters unique voices and I really appreciated how he did the female voices as well. He has an easy voice to listen to and the sound quality was excellent. This was a light hearted book and his tone really represented that.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

4.5-stars-small

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Categories
Angst Level Audiobook Author Provided Book College/University coming of age DA Football Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult no rating Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Virgin

Tied Together Audiobook by ZB Heller Narrated by Derrick McClain

audiobookreview

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Tied-Together-Audiobook/B01N7T8Y3V/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1486180131&sr=1-1

Blurb

Ryan Keller has it all: a great supportive family, friends, and no limit to his self-confidence. Coming out of the closet was not as traumatic as he would have thought. Navigating through life isn’t easy for any man, let alone a gay one. Rest assured that Ryan has it handled.
Brandon Ford comes from the wrong side of the tracks. With a dark past, he doesn’t have much going for him, no money, no friends, definitely no charisma, and his family makes people on Jerry Springer look like total winners. Life can’t be worse – until it becomes unbearable.
When Ryan helps Brandon out of a bad situation, chemistry sparks between them. Only Brandon has one problem: he’s hiding in the closet with no way of finding his way out.
After years apart, Ryan runs into Brandon. This spells emotional turmoil for both Ryan and Brandon. Will years of resentment and bad feelings pull them apart or force them to work on their relationship so they can end up Tied Together?

Man, I wish I’d read the reviews for this before I started listening to this audiobook!!!!

I really like Derrick McClain and his narrations, so when this came up for review I was psyched! It looked sweet and funny and who doesn’t like a friends to lovers story?

I was LOVING this for the first 55% of the book. We start off with a smart-mouthed and super confident Ryan who ends up saving the very nerdy Brandon in high school and the two become BFFs. Sure, Ryan secretly wishes Brandon was gay, and sure, Brandon is secretly gay, but these guys are young.

Off they go to college and in the way of all new adults everywhere, Brandon finally sees the light and admits he’s gay and he and Ryan begin a relationship that is physical as well as emotional.

Like I said – the first half of the story is just this – high school and college. The two finding each other as friends then more.

But wait! At the 55 % mark (spoiler) Ryan gives Brandon a RIDICULOUSLY HURTFUL ultimatum where he demands that the newly admitting to being gay Brandon OUT himself or the two can’t be together. So, in a fit of insecurity, Brandon does, but not before Ryan decides he’s been stood up and CHEATS on Brandon. ONE NIGHT! OMG. Poor Brandon gets beat up and then… 12 years pass! (end spoiler) some seriously messed up stuff happens that makes me almost stop listening. I was SO PISSED!

However, I wanted to see what happened. Well. I wish I’d just stopped.

Our MCs do make it to a HEA but it’s lack luster at best and totally disappointing given how badly Ryan treated Brandon and the vast amount of time.

I cannot recommend this – sorry to say. It made me crazy.

I still love Derrick McClain and think he did a solid job with his narration – as always.

If I have to give this a rating I’d give it 4.5 of 5 for the narration and 1 of 5 for the story.

 

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Copy Generously Provided by Author for Honest Review