Categories
4.5 stars Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Demi Established Couple Exploration Football Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mechanic/Car/Racing Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat Virgin

#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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Categories
4 stars Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Exploration Football Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mechanic/Car/Racing Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Unrequited Love Virgin

#Junkie: Gearshark Book 1 by Cambria Hebert Narrated by Luke Itzvic and Guy Locke

audiobookreview

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Junkie-Audiobook/B01GOZ5R70/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1482991808&sr=1-1

Blurb

Drew Forrester is a total adrenaline junkie. His high of choice? Cars. The faster, the better. He’s been making waves in Maryland’s underground racing circuit since he crossed the state line, and after speaking with him, we know he’s not hitting the brakes anytime soon.
So what exactly does it take to burn rubber and make a name for yourself in a world where the only rule is that there are no rules? You gotta be hungry. You gotta have balls. And you can never back down.
Contains mature themes.

Review

I’ve had this on my kindle FOREVER it seems. I loved the premise and it’s gotten some good reviews and the whole double GFY is totally my thing. But… it’s long and it’s NA with a large dose of college melodrama thrown in and the romance is slow burn and and and…

What I loved: the dual narration was excellent! I especially loved Guy Locke (who I think voiced Drew’s parts) in this dual POV narrative. I loved the dual POV. We really get to know just what each guy is thinking and that’s wonderful. I loved all the car facts at the beginning of each chapter. Some are interesting some are really funny but they were a nice touch. I loved the secondary characters and the way the entire “family” felt really fleshed out. (This is a spin off from a NA M/F series so the people who’ve read the entire series will see people they recognize. I haven’t read it, but I still felt connected to the characters.) The smexy times are appropriate for an NA novel. They’re in there, but they aren’t the main focus and the “new to being gay” guys don’t just dive in, they are appropriately cautious about expanding their physicality.

What didn’t work for me: The writing. It felt a little too “dramatic”. Too many descriptions were similes and each “moment” was drawn out and there was very little action to keep my attention. Lots of internal dialogs and navel gazing and not much “doing”. (spoiler) It takes up to 62% for our MCs to even kiss! I was desperate by the time they finally connect! (end spoiler) This ends on a “cliff hanger” as there is a Part 2 where in our MCs get their HEAs. So, I was psyched I hadn’t read this and been waiting for the next installment or I’d have been pretty frustrated.
Who I think will like this: If you like cars and racing, or football and fraternities, New Adult romances, double GFY/OFY (I think both these guys are gay and in denial, but they call themselves bi in this book), slow burn romances and stories with a lot of “pondering”.
I really enjoyed listening to this, though I think the fact that I was listening to it made me “like” the book less, simply because if I’d been reading I’d have skimmed a bunch and that’s harder to do with an audio book. The narrators voices are great! They do the kids and female characters very well and I liked the way they handled the emotion and the dialog. The sound quality was excellent as well.

Overall, this was good – but not great – as an NA book and fun as an audiobook.

4 of 5 stars
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(The audible is pretty affordable if you borrow the book on KU for free.)

Categories
4 stars Angst Level Audiobook Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Exploration Football Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Morgan New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Purchased Virgin young adult

Biochemistry (Chemistry, Book 2) Audiobook by Andrew Grey Narrated by Nick J Russo

retro read

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/biochemistry-by-andrew-grey-257-b

 

Blurb

When his college biochemistry class turns out to be much more difficult than star quarterback Freddie Samuelson imagined, his lab partner, Kurt Maxwell, agrees to help. They’re very different: a rich kid athlete and a hardworking openly gay scholarship student. But Kurt slips past Freddie’s defenses, and little by little-despite Freddie ignoring his own sexuality in the past – Freddie realizes he wants to get to know Kurt, especially when Kurt helps him through more challenges than their science class. But it isn’t long before rumors begin to fly, and the obstacles Freddie will face may block him from both the future he planned on and the future he didn’t know he wanted.

 

Review

In book one, we met Josh and Brendan, a coach and a professor/genius who fall in love. Josh is here as the coach of Freddie, the star quarterback, and acts as a counselor for Freddie as he navigates his decision to come out.

Kurt is out and proud in his new college but he’s already been the victim of bullying so he’s a bit gun shy of jocks, especially closeted jocks. So when Freddie tries to strike up more than just a tutoring relationship – it’s understandable that Kurt is a bit reluctant to take a risk.

Freddie, on the other hand, is captivated by Kurt and thinks he might be the reason it’d be worth facing his family and friends with his new “truth”.

**

I loved book one so much! Brendan and Josh were really sweet and adorable and I was hoping for something like that here.

Instead we get Freddie who has trouble in school, has trouble making decisions and has self-esteem issues when it comes to his family. I’m not sure what he sees in Kurt or vice versa and it was hard rooting for them as a couple.

Kurt is a bit of a bossy bosserton who waffles and gives in pretty easily in the face of only a very minor bit of pushing on Freddie’s part. Besides his physical appeal I didn’t see what he saw in Freddie nor did Freddie give any good reasons for Kurt to trust him.

Freddie’s actions didn’t feel authentic and I wasn’t really feeling any chemistry between him and Kurt so this wasn’t a romance that let me believe they’d still be together in the long run.

3 of 5 stars

 

Audio

Nick J Russo is a great narrator and really seemed to hit Freddie’s football persona on the head! I LOVED Freddie’s roommate – the drawl Nick gives him is pretty funny and it actually added a bit of much needed color to this somewhat drab romance.

I definitely enjoyed listening to this more than reading it as Nick was able to draw me in to the characters with his well-done narration.

4.5 of 5 stars

Overall 3.75 of 5 stars

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Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Christmas Contemporary Established Couple Football Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock Gym/physical trainer Heat Index High School Holiday Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Purchased Teacher

A Christmas Memory 3: Home Sweet Home (Memories #3) by Max Vos

 

Blurb

Adam has always loved Christmas and this year is no different. While shocked at the things happening in his life, he can’t believe all his dreams are coming true. When celebrating the holidays, Adam believes go big! He proves to J.J. that Christmas really is the most important time of the year. 

J.J. is finally dealing with his past as he prepares for all the changes that are happening: amazing changes. At last he has his Home Sweet Home and the best family anyone could ever ask for. 

 

Review

(The series of reviews for the earlier books are here:  https://openskyebookreviews.com/?s=max+vos)

For fans of this series, this will bring a HUGE smile to your face!

First, I don’t think this is a stand-alone. Max Vos doesn’t even try to play catch up, he expects you’ve been with these guys for the whole ride. And that’s fine with me!

Second, our boys are still in love and their family is growing! Woot!  The sweet way that JJ moves through his emotions is really touching, and, as always, Adam is there to help.  (I seriously LOVE Adam’s family!)

I think this is a wonderful, sweet, sometimes raunchy Holiday series that I’ve enjoyed tremendously and think anyone with a sense of humor will, too.

Highly Recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Christmas-Memory-Home-Sweet-Memories-ebook/dp/B01MSP05IG/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1482611551&sr=8-1&keywords=a+christmas+memory+max+vos

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Football Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/comfort m/m May/December May/December Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series

Offside (Eastshore Tigers Book 4) by Alison Hendricks

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They’re both looking for a fresh start, but can they ever truly leave their pasts behind them?

Lance Harper knows how much the limelight can burn. A rising star who found all his NFL dreams coming true right out of high school, Lance crashed hard, pulled down by a string of bad decisions. Now, hiding from the media circus in Eastshore, Lance wants nothing more than to be left alone. But that all changes when a chance encounter brings him to the Tigers’ practice field.

Beau Woodridge figured out early on that being forgettable gets you nowhere. With a little bit of liquid courage and a willing audience, Beau’s managed to climb to the top of Eastshore’s social circles, but the field is another story. After an awful season, Beau’s NFL dreams seem barely in reach, and the lack of an offensive coach has left him directionless. But when a meeting with Lance leads the pro star straight to the Tigers payroll, Beau suddenly finds his path forward.

Desperate to escape his troubled home life, Beau convinces Lance to mentor him. What starts as hero-worship quickly grows into a strong attraction–one Beau is shocked to discover isn’t as one-sided as he thought. And when the spark between them finally ignites, coach and player are pulled into a secret romance.

But it’s only a matter of time before Lance’s celebrity status forces their relationship into the spotlight. The sudden attention may be more than either can handle, and if they want to stay together, they’ll have to take on the prying eyes of the whole world–and the demons that still lurk in their pasts.

Offside is a steamy, standalone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger.

Review

I think this is my second favorite book in this series. I still love book one the best, but Lance and Beau are a close second!

I really appreciated the dilemma and struggle Lance was going through and how slow he and Beau seemed to take their relationship. I also liked the fact that when Beau hit rock bottom, there was no “magic” to save him, just hard work and therapy.

I think the idea that this one University in Florida continues to face this drama season after season is a bit unrealistic, especially without really acknowledging the drama, but it’s fiction!

The smexy times are hot, but pretty sparse and again, this is a book for football fans as there is A LOT of football in the story.

For fans of the author, OFY stories, Football romances and sort of May/December romances – this is for you!

4 of 5 stars

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Amazon Link

 

http://gamingplr.us2.list-manage.com/track/click?u=38035574dfe16853c3ccf508c&id=5038c21474&e=4c47471a68

Categories
3 stars Angst Level Author Provided Bi-Sexual Book class difference College/University coming of age Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Exploration Football Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Mid level angst Mild/low level heat New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series

Roughing the Passer (Eastshore Tigers Book 3) by Alison Hendricks

32766466Blurb

They couldn’t be more different, and yet they might just be exactly what each other needs. 

Garrett Barnes is no stranger to overcoming the odds. Forced to walk away from a Division I scholarship to take care of his family, Garrett was sure he’d never play football again. When an offer comes in from the ESC Mavericks–a school near his hometown–it seems like a dream come true. There’s only one catch: he’s expected to single-handedly save the worst team in the state. 

Diego Ruiz has known his whole life that the deck is stacked against him. The harder he tries to fight it, the more it hurts when it knocks him back down. With a lifetime of disappointment to back him up, he’s stopped trying for anything more than mediocrity, both on and off the football field. If not for a promise he’d made years ago, he’d probably just be some nobody in a nowhere job. 

So when Coach Ladner brings in some D1 “hero” to save the team, Diego is determined to show him exactly where hard work and perseverance get you–absolutely nowhere. Despite his best efforts, Garrett’s unwavering optimism starts to get under Diego’s skin. Caught on the verge of giving in, he relies on the one thing that’s never failed him: his ability to get curious straight boys into bed. 

As the friction between them gives way to passion, the stakes of their former rivalry increase tenfold. With both men’s hearts–and a state title–on the line, there’s no time for playing games. But when Diego’s past comes back to remind him that everything eventually goes to hell, Garrett will have to convince him that some things are worth fighting for. 

Roughing the Passer is a steamy, standalone gay romance novel with a HEA ending and no cliffhanger.

Review

 

In a nutshell, we have a despondent and somewhat bratty Diego who plays football mostly half-heartedly on a losing team. He’s angered when the down on his luck “Golden Boy” Garrett is brought in to help the team win.

Garrett has always identified as straight and Diego is a bossy, out and proud, bottom boy who delights in making straight boys curious.

**

In an effort to show a dramatic change, Diego is shown as a really, really whiny guy with a very bad attitude. By comparison Garrett is “too good”. There just isn’t anything he does wrong. He’s good to his bratty sister, his under-performing father, and he gives up his “dreams” to help his family.

The chemistry between Diego and Garrett is bewildering. I’m not sure how Garrett went from straight one second to bi-curious to out and proud in like a month. I also never quite understood what was going on with Garrett’s dad or why Garrett had to make the choices he did. Now that he’s part of this new team – what are his future plans and where does football fit into them?

Diego at least has an end game in mind (by the end of the book) and his story arc made the most sense between the two MCs. However, his about face from giant jerk to nice guy was pretty unbelievable as well.

Surprisingly, this isn’t a book full of first time gay sex, but lots of time inside Diego’s head – which is a pretty unhappy place or inside Garrett’s head – almost as equally unhappy. They don’t spend a lot of time building their relationship and their time together is referred to in passing rather than being shown to us.

While I liked that these guys seemed to help one another in the end, I didn’t really understand their relationship dynamics, I thought the family’s response to his new “sexuality” was completely unrealistic and in fact thought that Garrett’s own response to his new feelings was unrealistic.

After having really enjoyed book one and then being disappointed by book two and now this – which I think I might like even less than book two – I think that I may be done with this series.

I don’t like football enough to make the rest of the romance palatable enough. I think if you have low expectations for reality and you really enjoy the dynamics of football these still might be fun for you – they aren’t horrible – but they just don’t do it for me.

3 of 5 stars

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Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Roughing-Passer-Alison-Hendricks-ebook/dp/B01M29A4WE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1478456688&sr=8-1&keywords=roughing+the+passer

 

 

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Boss/employee Contemporary Dreamspinner Enemies to Lovers Football Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Homophobia Little to no angst m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

The Playmaker by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-playmaker-by-andrew-grey-7787-b

 

o-the-playmakerBlurb

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

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.

3.75 of 5 stars

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Categories
2 stars Author Provided Book College/University Contemporary Football Friends to lovers GFY/OFY Homophobia m/m Mid level angst Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat

Trick Play (Eastshore Tigers #3) by Alison Hendricks

release day review

32033492Blurb

They’ll do whatever it takes to save their team. But can two best friends survive a fake relationship?

Luke Trent is desperate to bring his team back together. If the Tigers can’t get over their slump, he’ll never make it to the pros. With the LGBT-inclusive ‘Rainbow Tigers’ mania dying down, it’ll take a crazy scheme to restore their former glory, and Luke has the perfect one in mind: Dating his best friend.

Brandon Tucker has secretly been in love with Luke for years. He knows he’s going to get hurt if he agrees to a pretend relationship with his very straight friend, but he can’t help it. This is as close as he’ll ever get to the real thing.

The strength of their friendship makes their lie an easy sell, and things are looking up for the Tigers. But when Luke kisses him in front of the whole team, Brandon can’t help but wonder if the only man he’s ever wanted might actually want him back.

With the fire of their fake romance beginning to burn true, a teammate’s devastating betrayal forces them to make a difficult choice: Sacrifice their relationship to save their career, or give up everything else for the chance at a once-in-a-lifetime love.

Review

Books one and two reviewed here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/?s=hendricks. This series started off with a bang! I really, really loved book one and found the characters to be real and their slow burn romance was so, so sweet!

In book two, things dropped a little for me, and I found myself missing the MCs from book one. But it was still a good story and I enjoyed it, if it was a bit bland.

Unfortunately, book three just didn’t work for me. I found the premise to be a bit offensive in fact. When Brandon, who is gay and in love with Luke, agrees to be in a fake relationship with Luke so the football team can be the rainbow tigers again I was like “WHAT?????!!!!!” Luke’s ex girlfriend was the only one with any sense. She said this is a terrible idea that can really hurt people and she was RIGHT!
I was offended that Luke and Brandon would see manipulating people into supporting a team on “false” pretenses was an okay thing to do. I was SO GLAD when the hammer came down and hard on these guys because – really? Really?? I don’t like GIFs but I might need one here!

via GIPHY

 

As for their love story. Sure, I was happy to see Luke fall into Brandon’s arms and it was sweet. But I felt a bit – sad – for them both. Luke gave up something huge and by the end of the story he doesn’t have a replacement for it.

So – though I want to say I recommend this. I really can’t. I love the author. Love the series. But this book failed me in several different ways.

2 of 5 stars

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Amazon link

https://www.amazon.com/Trick-Play-Eastshore-Tigers-Book-ebook/dp/B01LX77RJJ/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1473953814&sr=1-1&keywords=trick+play+alison#nav-subnav

Categories
5 stars Angst Level Audiobook Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Football Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Humor m/m Mid level angst Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Sports Virgin

Driven Snow Audio (Pennymaker Tales book2) by Tara Lain Narrated by Kale Williams

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/driven-snow-by-tara-lain-7312-b

UntitledBlurb

Young Snowden “Snow” Reynaldi is brilliant, beautiful, and alone. Though he’s shy, weird, and tolerated by the NorCal University students because he’s a renowned whiz at chess and helps put the school on the map, that doesn’t keep him from dreaming of the object of his desires: Riley Prince, championship quarterback.

When Riley needs a physics tutor, Snow jumps at the chance, and their relationship heats up—but Riley has to come out of the jock closet to get anywhere. Meanwhile, Snow’s one true friend and mentor, Professor Kingsley, marries a woman who secretly wants the chess tournament glory and money for herself. Soon after, the professor collapses and Snow finds himself underwater—literally. In a car!

Seven frat brothers from Grimm College rescue Snow just in time for his life to get even worse, and Snow discovers the one relationship he always wanted slipping away. With evil looming at every turn, Snow must survive if only to prove he’s the fairest of them all and regain the trust of his handsome prince.

Review
(Abridged)
Snow is our geeky, shy, chess playing virgin. He ends up tutoring the closeted
Riley, a football star, in physics.

Both Riley and Snow have been crushing on the other and now they’ve an excuse to meet/hang out.

There’s other drama involving Snow’s chess coach and his new wife….that puts a wrinkle in things and a smear campaign surfaces.

When push comes to shove, will Riley trust Snow or the smear campaign that paints him as a prostitute? Will Riley believe Snow when he says the coach’s new wife is evil? Or will Riley go back to his easy life in the closet?

**

Riley – Riley Prince is his full name – is Snow’s Prince, too. He’s practically perfect in every way.

There is a bit of tongue in cheek in this story and a lot of laughter. Snow is hysterical! His inner monologues are too funny and his nerdisms are perfect!

Riley is simply charming and with one notable exception, pure perfection for shy Snow.

The smexy times are pretty dang hot and the feels are wonderful.

If you put aside your “this is real?” doubts, and just take it for what it is – a fun, fantastical tale with a nod toward the old story – you will fully enjoy it! It’s a New Adult title, so steamy, but not over the top.

Tara Lain is a fantastic writer and this was a fun new look at the old fairy tale.

I loved it and highly recommend it.

4.5 of 5 stars

(I think this is my favorite in the series!)

Audio

Kale Williams does a terrific job with this. He gives the villains appropriately snively type voices and handles the passion and emotions well. Highly recommended as a way to enjoy this story.

5 of 5 stars

Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

tags: fairy tale, prince, snow white, evil witch, poison, chess, football, college, fraternity, homophobia, gay virgin, virgin, nerd, jock, closeted, OFY, HEA

Categories
4 stars Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book College/University coming of age Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Exploration Football Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Sports

False Start (An Eastshore Tigers Novel) by Alison Hendricks

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The heat between them is impossible to ignore. But can they ever be anything but rivals?

Dante Mills has one more year to prove he can hack it in the NFL. If he can’t score attention from the scouts this season, he’ll never be able to give his hard-working mom the life she deserves. The last thing he needs is more competition, but that’s exactly what he gets when blond-haired, blue-eyed behemoth Mitchell Erickson walks into the locker room.

Mitchell Erickson has one year to prove he belongs on a football field. He’s spent his whole life struggling to find acceptance in his family, and now his father’s finally giving him the chance to follow his passion… for one season. If he doesn’t bring the Tigers to victory, it’s back to upholding the Erickson legacy in a suit and tie. But how can he possibly succeed when someone as talented as Dante stands between him and a starting position?

As if the tension between them wasn’t high enough, Mitch is insanely attracted to the very straight linebacker. As the season ramps up and both men fight for their place on the team, a heated locker room encounter leaves Dante questioning everything he thought he knew about himself.

When Dante and Mitch work together, they’re unstoppable. But can two men destined to be rivals ever be anything more?

False Start is a steamy, standalone gay romance novel with a HEA and no cliffhanger.

Review

Dante, who is Jason’s friend from book one, is in his last year at Eastshore and he NEEDS this year to go well for him on the football field. His mom has struggled for years to make ends meet and he needs to be drafted into the NFL so that he can give her all she needs, wants and deserves.

Mitch comes from a long line of lawyer who go you Yale and do the family proud. He’s never felt that he fit in and he only finds satisfaction in playing football. His father has given him one year to “prove himself” in football and even though he’s a freshman, Mitch is determined to be vital to the team and prove to his dad that this is where he belongs.

Mitch is gay and open if not out and proud. He’s immediately attracted to Dante, though he knows it’s ridiculous as Dante has to be straight. When the two realize they are fighting for the same position on the team, things between them go from strained and awkward to openly hostile. But… they’re on the same team and being a team player means supporting everyone – or else.

In time, the two realize they make better team players than enemies and a truce of sorts develops. The simmering attraction between Mitch and Dante becomes more than that as Dante begins to explore a new aspect of his sexuality.

But… the dividing line between them isn’t their sexuality or race or their competition on the football field – it’s money – pure and simple. Dante knows he can never fit into Mitch’s world and at every turn this is proven true. In the end – even if they try to make a go of it – can it last? There’s at least three years between them and a potential job that would take Dante on the road for months at a time. It seems like it’s really not worth it…or is it?

**

I loved book one in this series and was so excited to see book two come around! I find Alison Hendricks to have an easy and engaging writing style and her love of football is clear but not so overwhelming as to give us non-fans a headache.

The GFY/OFY trope is one of my favorites and I was really looking forward to seeing how Dante adapted to his own sexuality given his friendship with the newly out and proud Jason as his best friend.

Well…
First I think that I have to separate my expectations for this based on book one from my assessment of it on it’s own merits.

As a book by itself, I think it was pretty good. The writing is nice, the MCs were well developed, the major plot points made sense and the romance was fairly sweet.
Where things begin to get weak for me: I didn’t enjoy Dante’s exploration as much as I wanted because it was fairly rushed and though I appreciated that he didn’t really dwell on it a lot – it is a big thing and a stark contrast to his past belief about himself – and I don’t think it was given enough weight in the story.

Another area that felt neglected was the future. Without giving away the ending – Dante has to make some big decisions about his future and that of his family – the end result while pleasing is absolutely rushed and there is absolutely no discussion of it until the dust is settled and I felt left out in the cold. It felt a bit deus ex machina and I didn’t think it flowed well with the rest of the story.

I liked that the major obstacle for these guys was class/perception and two alpha personalities clashing – but I don’t think their resolution (on page) was very satisfying. I wanted a bigger MOMENT when the two make sacrifices and speeches of devotion to one another.

All in all this felt a bit bland to me and here is where I have to speak to the previous book. Because the first book was SO GOOD, I can’t help but compare the two and side by side this lacks the luster and brilliance of book one. The MCs aren’t as well developed, their romance is a bit too rushed and not nearly as “deep”, and the final portion – though happy – wasn’t nearly as shiny and joyous as I’d hoped for.

All in all, both in comparison to book one and on it’s own merits, this was just a bit disappointing – still very enjoyable – but not as wonderful as I’d hoped.

3.75 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

(Free on Kindle Unlimited!)
Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/False-Start-Eastshore-Tigers-Book-ebook/dp/B01G6H3LCY/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1464380242&sr=1-1&keywords=false+start+alison