Steamy Romance: Str8te Boys by Evangeline Anderson

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6562748-str8te-boys

Blurb

How far would you dare to go to win it all?

Maverick Holms and Duke Warren share almost everything a college soccer team, an apartment and the same extremely competitive nature. Thanks to that never-back-down spirit, they re about to share more than they bargained for.

The game is gay chicken . The rule: get as close as possible without kissing, and the one that pulls away first is the loser. The problem: neither of them likes to lose. It isn t long before the game becomes an excuse to touch and kiss in every possible forbidden way. And after they pose for a gay website to earn extra money, things really heat up.

Suddenly Duke is talking lifetime commitment, and Mav is backpedaling as hard as he can, not sure if he s ready to accept all his best friend is offering him. Or the truth about what he is.”

Review

Ok, ok. So this was one of my favorites… awhile ago. It’s not quite as “timeless” as I’d thought but… it’s still a lot of fun with a surprising amount of feelz. (And tons of hawt sex!) LOL

So these guys play “gay chicken” – which is pretty offensive when I think about it – but – for the sake of the story – is an effective tool to get these two guys – who are apparently realllllly clueless – in compromising situations that push the limit on believability – but are also pretty erotic.

If you close your eyes to the vaguely offensive and slightly ridiculous plot, and focus on the feels and the eventual results, it’s a quick, hot read about 2 frat boys finding love.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Audiobook: The Fireman’s Pole by Sue Brown Narrated by Finn Sterling

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-firemans-pole-by-sue-brown-8862-b

Blurb
The flames of passion rise for the lord of the manor.

It’s springtime in Calminster village, but things are already heating up. Sexy firefighter Dale Maloney is new to the local station. When Dale backs the company fire engine into the village maypole, he attracts the ire—and attention—of Benedict Raleigh, the Baron Calminster.

Soon after meeting Dale, Ben breaks off his relationship with his girlfriend, and the sparks between Ben and Dale are quickly fanned into flames.

Unfortunately the passion between the two men isn’t the only blaze in the village. An arsonist’s crimes are escalating, and it’s up to Dale and his crew to stop them. Meanwhile, as they investigate, an unscrupulous business partner attempts to coerce Ben into marrying his daughter. The May Day parade is around the corner, but they have plenty of fires to put out before Ben can finally slide down the fireman’s pole

Review
I found this to be a sweet and at times amusing story. I love the Englishness of it and the double entendres, my kind of humour (yep I’m a Brit). I loved the fairy tale aspect of working class boy falling for a member of the aristocracy. Their relationship develops naturally following a couple of incidents that makes Ben notice Dale. In amongst the budding romance is the mystery of an arsonist in the village and the matter of Ben’s girlfriend along with Dale’s ex. Sabrina, sort of Ben’s girlfriend. She is wonderfully strong and devious character. There is a lot going on in this story and it is the skill of Sue Brown’s writing that it all feels natural and suited to the flow, never to much or contrived.

The narrator, Finn Sterling has a pleasant reading voice, husky and deepens for the voice of Ben (Lord Calminster) however Dale’s voice is a little too high in tone for me it sounded squeaky at times. Not at all what I was expecting for a romantic hunky Fireman’s voice. I think there was a sort of south London accent but I couldn’t be sure. Also I found the female voices are a bit grating. They all sounded wobbly. The majority of the time the narration was fine. Just small personal irritations.

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

3.5 of 5 overall

3.5-stars-small


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Summer Lessons (Winter Ball #2) Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/summer-lessons-by-amy-lane-8450-b

Blurb

Mason Hayes’s love life has a long history of losers who don’t see that Mason’s heart is as deep and tender as his mouth is awkward. He wants kindness, he wants love—and he wants someone who thinks sex is as fantastic as he does. When Terry Jefferson first asks him out, Mason thinks it’s a fluke: Mason is too old, too boring, and too blurty to interest someone as young and hot as his friend’s soccer teammate.

The truth is much more painful: Mason and Terry are perfectly compatible, and they totally get each other, but Terry is still living with his toxic, suffocating parent and Mason doesn’t want to be a sugar daddy. Watching Terry struggle to find himself is a long lesson in patience, but Mason needs to trust that the end result will be worth it, because finally, he’s found a man worth sharing his heart with.

Review
(Book Previously Reviewed Here)

So, you remember Mason as the executive who kept flirting with Skip and then later played golf with him. He’s a great guy who’s a bit socially awkward and hasn’t had much luck with men. His latest ex tossed him over for his boss and that, coupled with his brother, Dane’s, troubles instigated his move to Sacramento from San Francisco. He’s got a wonderfully supportive family and a job he excels at, but he’s lonely.

Terry is another guy on the soccer team that plays with Skip. He can’t be “gay” because his mother would never allow it and he still lives with her. He’s working a fairly low-paying job and doesn’t love it, but he doesn’t know how to do anything differently. His mother has pretty much convinced him he’s worthless and beholden to her for his very existence.

There is absolutely NO WAY these two should ever hook-up, much less have any chance at something long term. But somehow – they just click.

**

Just like Winter Ball showed us two blue collar guys trying to make the best of their lives and to rise above mediocrity by claiming something for their very own, Summer Lessons looks at two “simple” guys who aren’t necessarily struggling against impossible odds, but who are really just unhappy with their current lot in life and who find “magic” in loving one another. That’s the simple beauty of this story.

Because it’s Amy, it can’t be simple. Oh, no it can’t! First we have an age gap, an economic gap and an education gap. Then, we have Terry’s mother and to a certain extent Mason’s brother to contend with. (Dane is hopefully getting his own story next!) It’s not enough to bridge those gaps and cross those hurdles. Oh, no it isn’t! Amy adds in another little “twist” that just about kills you along about the 70% mark in the story. (No spoilers – just be warned – Amy gets her angst in there, don’t let down your guard!)

Of course I found myself riveted, totally unable to put this story down. My heart literally bled for Mason. I wanted him to be happy so, so badly. I loved that he loved Terry and that the two of them seemed to “get” one another so well, but I do wish I’d been able to see a bit more of just WHY a bit more. Mason is reported to be pretty fascinated by sex and has supposedly messed up some things in his life with this fascination, so it makes sense that he and Terry (especially at first) really bond on a sexual level. They do – later- hang out a bit – and to a certain extent I could see some of the fascination. But….

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

In any case, I really loved seeing these guys find each other and found Mason to be about as loveable as a big, floppy puppy. He was all heart and just so open and honest and such a breath of fresh air. He was delightful! Terry, while probably sweet, didn’t wow me nearly as much and I wasn’t ever quite sure he deserved our Mason.

The other thing that really kept this story moving along was Dane and Carpenter’s relationship. Oooo, la la! That’s gonna be a heart string ripper and I can’t wait!

For fans of the author and especially Winter Ball this will delight. It’s definitely okay as a stand-alone, and I think anyone looking for “real men” falling in love will absolutely adore this!

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

I just love Nick J Russo – I say that every time – but I do! I grew to love his version of Mason- I was worried about this – but it definitely seemed to fit. He portrayed Terry about as I’d imagined as well. I’m really looking forward to Dane and Carpenter’s story – I hope Nick does their audiobook, too!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

Winter Ball Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/winter-ball-by-amy-lane-8374-b

Blurb

Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work—and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins.

One brisk night in late October, a postpractice convo in Richie’s car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected—nor want to forget. Soon Skip and Richie are living for the weekends and their winter league soccer games—and the games they enjoy off the field. Through broken noses, holiday decorating, and the killer flu, they learn more about each other than they ever dreamed possible. Every new discovery takes them further beyond the boundaries of the soccer field and into the infinite possibilities of the best relationship of Skipper’s life.

Skipper can’t dream of a better family than Richie—but Richie’s got real family entanglements he can’t shake off. Skipper needs to convince Richie to stay with him beyond winter ball so the relationship they started on the field might become their happy future in real life!

Review
(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

Amy Lane LITE! I love it when Amy writes about two guys “just figurin’ shit out!”. Yes, Amy is the queen of Angst. Yes, I love those books too. But – wow – I just love her “lite” stories because I can read them and laugh and love and not need to “recover”!

Skipper and Richie are buds. They’ve been playing soccer together for years and neither has thought of each other as anything more than friends before that… well… not officially. They’re both straight and have absolutely no experience with guys other than as friends so the idea of being sexually attracted to each other is new on a lot of levels.

One day, when the two are in a car and trying to get a pesky uniform shirt off… things change. Suddenly these guys are now kissing and groping and touching and…. No holds barred. From zero to sixty. They both feel the pull and neither fights it.

Both Skipper and Richie are worried what the rest of the team will say about them as a couple. Neither has a great support structure and the soccer team has really morphed into their extended family. What if they guys reject them?

Richie also has trouble at home. His dad, step-mom and step-brothers aren’t exactly warm and welcoming. What will they do if Richie turns out to be queer?

When push comes to shove and Skipper ends up really sick, Richie has to choose which family he wants to support – the one he was given or the one he chose.

**

I have to say this book has the most sex I think I’ve ever seen in an Amy Lane book. And it’s HOT. These boys are on fire! Not to say that it’s gratuitous. It isn’t. I think the way they explore their relationship is a very physical thing and so the sex naturally follows.

The secondary characters are amazing – gotta love the rest of the team and Skipper’s work buddies- Carpenter and Mason. I hope we get to see them in future books!

There was nothing about this that wasn’t just FUN! I loved watching these boys discover love and each other and the meaning of true friends and family. It was just like a great big hug from start to finish (with some way HOT sex in between)!

I highly recommend this and can’t wait for the audio!

Audio

Woot! I was so happy to see this! Nick J Russo is on a short list of my favorite narrators and he was PERFECT for this! I think his Richie was spot on and I loved how he portrayed Skipper as well. Nick is good with all the smexy times and the emotion but he’s also really good with the humor, too. I had one tiny issue and that was how he pronounced the dog version of skipper’s name – a schipperke is pronounced skipper key – like Skipper Keith – and he kinda flubbed that a lot. I wasn’t super in love with the voice he gave Mason, but I’m hoping when Mason’s story comes along I’ll warm up to it ☺ This was wonderful and just what I’d hoped for this fantastic story! I’ve already listened to this twice!

6 of 5 stars for both audio and story

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Summer Lessons (Winter Ball #2) by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/summer-lessons-by-amy-lane-7810-b

32447377Blurb

Mason Hayes’s love life has a long history of losers who don’t see that Mason’s heart is as deep and tender as his mouth is awkward. He wants kindness, he wants love—and he wants someone who thinks sex is as fantastic as he does. When Terry Jefferson first asks him out, Mason thinks it’s a fluke: Mason is too old, too boring, and too blurty to interest someone as young and hot as his friend’s soccer teammate.

The truth is much more painful: Mason and Terry are perfectly compatible, and they totally get each other, but Terry is still living with his toxic, suffocating parent and Mason doesn’t want to be a sugar daddy. Watching Terry struggle to find himself is a long lesson in patience, but Mason needs to trust that the end result will be worth it, because finally, he’s found a man worth sharing his heart with.

Review

(Small spoilers near the end – I’ll warn you before they come!)

So, you remember Mason as the executive who kept flirting with Skip and then later played golf with him. He’s a great guy who’s a bit socially awkward and hasn’t had much luck with men. His latest ex tossed him over for his boss and that, coupled with his brother, Dane’s, troubles instigated his move to Sacramento from San Francisco. He’s got a wonderfully supportive family and a job he excels at, but he’s lonely.

Terry is another guy on the soccer team that plays with Skip. He can’t be “gay” because his mother would never allow it and he still lives with her. He’s working a fairly low-paying job and doesn’t love it, but he doesn’t know how to do anything differently. His mother has pretty much convinced him he’s worthless and beholden to her for his very existence.

There is absolutely NO WAY these two should ever hook-up, much less have any chance at something long term. But somehow – they just click.

**

Just like Winter Ball showed us two blue collar guys trying to make the best of their lives and to rise above mediocrity by claiming something for their very own, Summer Lessons looks at two “simple” guys who aren’t necessarily struggling against impossible odds, but who are really just unhappy with their current lot in life and who find “magic” in loving one another. That’s the simple beauty of this story.

Because it’s Amy, it can’t be simple. Oh, no it can’t! First we have an age gap, an economic gap and an education gap. Then, we have Terry’s mother and to a certain extent Mason’s brother to contend with. (Dane is hopefully getting his own story next!) It’s not enough to bridge those gaps and cross those hurdles. Oh, no it isn’t! Amy adds in another little “twist” that just about kills you along about the 70% mark in the story. (No spoilers – just be warned – Amy gets her angst in there, don’t let down your guard!)

Of course I found myself riveted, totally unable to put this story down. My heart literally bled for Mason. I wanted him to be happy so, so badly. I loved that he loved Terry and that the two of them seemed to “get” one another so well, but I do wish I’d been able to see a bit more of just WHY a bit more. Mason is reported to be pretty fascinated by sex and has supposedly messed up some things in his life with this fascination, so it makes sense that he and Terry (especially at first) really bond on a sexual level. They do – later- hang out a bit – and to a certain extent I could see some of the fascination. But….

 

 

SPOILER ALERT

 

 

 

 

When Mason let’s Terry be free and they “take a break” I really, really wanted Terry to be more sad, more devoted upon return and more “broken” by the break up. It killed me that he even went on dates with other guys. How could he not see how wonderful Mason was??? I could totally understand both of them needing proof that Terry could be independent – but did he have to date???

 

 

 

 

 

 

SPOILER OVER

 

 

In any case, I really loved seeing these guys find each other and found Mason to be about as loveable as a big, floppy puppy. He was all heart and just so open and honest and such a breath of fresh air. He was delightful!   Terry, while probably sweet, didn’t wow me nearly as much and I wasn’t ever quite sure he deserved our Mason.

The other thing that really kept this story moving along was Dane and Carpenter’s relationship. Oooo, la la! That’s gonna be a heart string ripper and I can’t wait!

For fans of the author and especially Winter Ball this will delight. It’s definitely okay as a stand-alone, and I think anyone looking for “real men” falling in love will absolutely adore this!

4.5 of 5 stars

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

release day review 

Dreamspinner Presents

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

o-the-straight-boyfriendBlurb

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

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

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

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

Review

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

 

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Guyliner by j. leigh bailey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/guyliner-by-j-leigh-bailey-7638-b

 

guylinerBlurb

 

 

Seventeen-year-old Connor works his butt off to maintain the golden-boy persona he’s created. He has the grades, the extracurriculars, the athletics, and a part-time job at his dad’s shop… every detail specifically chosen to ensure the college scholarships he needs to get the hell out of the Podunk town where he lives. The last thing he needs is an unexpected attraction to Graham, an eyeliner-wearing soccer phenom from St. Louis, who makes him question his goals and his sexuality. Sure, he’s noticed good-looking boys before—that doesn’t have to mean anything, right?—but he’s got a girlfriend. There’s no room on the agenda for hooking up with Graham, but the heart doesn’t always follow the rules.

As he and Graham grow close, other aspects of Connor’s life fall apart. Family pressure, bad luck, and rumors threaten to derail his carefully laid plans. Suddenly the future he’s fighting for doesn’t seem quite as alluring, especially if he has to deny who he really is to achieve it.

Review

This is a surprisingly sweet and sometimes emotional YA story about two guys in a rural town who find hope and love with each other. It doesn’t pretend to predict the future or even hint that these guys make it past graduation as a couple, and for that I applaud the author while at the same time my romantic soul weeps a bit.

I found the slow burn way that Connor moved into acceptance of his newfound “gayness” to be authentic and I thought Graham’s story was really, really powerful.

I thought the “steam” was appropriate for this audience (virtually no steam) and the drama was kept to a respectable amount (outside of Graham’s story, which was so, very sad.)

I enjoyed the secondary characters and really, really loved Graham. I hope we see these guys in a future work, but I’ve no idea if this is a series or a one-off.

Highly recommended for YA fans, but if you’re looking for something more “adult” keep looking.  I think Connor’s journey took a front seat to the romance, but it was an important story to tell.

4.25 of 5 stars

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Into You by Jay Northcote Review and Excerpt

release day review

 

31310467Blurb

What do you do when the body you wake up in isn’t yours?

Olly and Scott promised to be best friends forever. They grew up on the same street, went to the same school, and did everything together. But one hot summer night, teenage experimentation caused hurt feelings and confusion, and their friendship was destroyed.

Four years later they’re both eighteen years old and in their final term at school. Scott is a football star and Olly’s preparing for a main role in the school play. After a heated argument in the street—witnessed by their mysterious, elderly neighbour—they wake up the next morning stuck in each other’s bodies.

With no idea how to get back to normal, they have to co-operate in order to hide their secret. Spending time together rekindles their friendship, yet feelings run deeper for both of them. With the end of school fast approaching, the clock is ticking. Unless they discover how to change back, they could be stuck in the wrong bodies forever.

Excerpt

The sound of music playing pulled Scott from a thick blanket of sleep into wakefulness. He lay curled on his side; his room was darker than usual, as though someone had come in and closed the blinds while he slept. His bed felt weird, softer than it should be, and it smelled different.

He sat up, blinking in confusion as he looked around. He took in the room, the details unclear in the half-light that crept around the edges of the blind, but it was enough for him to realise where he was.

The posters on the wall were new, but the layout hadn’t changed in four years.

What the fuck?

It wasn’t possible. Logic told Scott there was no way this could be happening. He’d gone to sleep in his own bed—he hadn’t been drunk or high. So why the hell was he waking up in Olly’s room with no recollection of how he got there? And where the hell was Olly? The music that had woken him was coming from a phone on a docking station by the bed. He picked it up and pressed some buttons until it stopped. His brain was fogged with sleep and he couldn’t think clearly.

Scott got out of bed on shaky legs. His hip ached as though it was bruised. Actually, his whole body felt weird. Perhaps he was sick? Maybe this was all some bizarre hallucination?

Pulling the cord to raise the blind, Scott flooded the room with light. He looked down at himself, only….

He closed his eyes and shook his head. When he opened them again, he still didn’t see himself. His body was too thin, his skin too pale, the hair on his legs darker than usual, and he definitely didn’t own any snug purple briefs like the ones he was currently wearing.

Stomach roiling with disbelief and terror, Scott turned to the full-length mirror on the wall and blinked.

Olly’s reflection stared back looking as horrified as Scott felt. Scott raised his hands to his face, and so did Olly in the mirror.

“This isn’t happening,” he said.

The voice was Olly’s too, softer and a little higher-pitched than Scott’s own.

It was the weirdest, most vivid dream Scott had ever had.

He pinched himself hard. “Ouch!”

Why wasn’t he waking up?

 

 

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep!

Olly shot up, heart pounding at the shrill sound. He opened his eyes and blinked in the sunlight.

Ugh. Too bright.

He looked around wildly and closed his eyes again, refusing to believe what he saw. Obviously he wasn’t awake yet because he couldn’t be in Scott’s room. He hadn’t set foot in Scott’s house in years.

Olly cracked his eyes open again but still saw the white walls, the posters of Scott’s football heroes that Olly remembered from years ago, and the freakishly tidy desk that definitely wasn’t his.

The alarm clock by the bed was still making an awful racket, so he found the button to silence it.

“Scott?” he said hesitantly, then coughed.

What the fuck was wrong with his throat? His voice was deep and rough sounding. Oh God, no, please don’t let him be getting a cold. He couldn’t afford to lose his voice with all the play rehearsals coming up.

He pushed the duvet off and swung his legs around to get out of bed. He’d find Scott and work out what the hell was going on. Maybe he had some weird amnesia after his accident yesterday, although he hadn’t hit his head. There had to be some explanation for why he was apparently in Scott’s bed rather than his own.

Then Olly looked down at his legs—and froze.

They were thicker and more muscular than they should be. Olly only dreamed of having legs like that. The hairs on them were light brown instead of dark, the skin more tanned. He looked at his hands, they were all wrong too, thicker and sturdier than they should be. He lifted one to run it through his hair, the way he often did in times of crisis.

“What the fuck?” No long floppy fringe falling in his eyes. Instead he found short-cropped hair and his ear piercings were gone.

Now convinced he was dreaming, because that was the only possible explanation, Olly got up to look in the mirror. Scott’s handsome face stared back at him, the mouth slack with surprise and the blue eyes wide.

Olly shook his head in disbelief. No way could this be happening. No way. This was the stuff of Hollywood movies, not reality. But cold, creeping panic rose in his gut, because apart from the fact that he appeared to be in the wrong body, everything else felt normal. Way too normal for it to be a dream.

“No,” he said loudly, putting his hands up and touching Scott’s nose, Scott’s cheekbones, Scott’s lips. He felt every brush of his fingertips. “Oh, Jesus Christ on a bike, this is not happening. No.”

 

Author Bio:

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.

She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

www.jaynorthcote.com

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Review

Freaky Friday – the book – was one of my FAVORITES as a kid. (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/104711.Freaky_Friday?from_search=true)  So when I saw what this was – a body swap – I was like – Woooo Hooo! And – I gotta tell ya – it was great!

So – it’s definitely a more YA than NA. There is very little smexy times – though each of the boys “enjoying a wank” in the other’s bodies was pretty hysterical and kinda hot! They do experience their own narcissism in admiring their own bodies from afar and Scott in Olly’s body does experiment with kissing another boy to “test things out” – but for the most part this is not about sex.

Instead – this is more about the torrential teenage feelings that these boys have and navigate through. Poor Olly has been in love with Scott for ages and Scott has been dating anything in a skirt… so – yeah – in denial.

I thought it was an elegant way for the boys to experience what drove the other – Olly seeing first hand the homophobia his father fed him or the general “gay slandering” that occurs with Scott’s football buddies. What I didn’t see or appreciate was the reverse – Scott in Olly’s body feeling accepted and/or fearful for his choices. But this was mostly about Scott and his reasons for keeping quiet, so I think it worked.

In any case – this was a fast moving, page turner that kept me going to find out just what would happen and how our two MCs would make it together and back into their own bodies.

I loved the neighbor lady and her cat – the timing of this near Halloween is superb!

I really recommend this to any YA fans, Freaky Friday fans, YA GFY/OFY fans, and for people in the mood for a sweet, low-angst, high feels story.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Amazon link

https://www.amazon.com/Into-You-Jay-Northcote-ebook/dp/B01LK3XK66/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1473356282&sr=8-1&keywords=into+you+jay#nav-subnav

A Good Enough Reason by CM Lievens

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7751

GoodEnoughReason[A]LGBlurb

 

High school seniors Ellis and Dale are as different as day and night, or so Ellis believes. Ellis loves to write, while Dale loves soccer. Ellis has only a handful of friends, and Dale is Mr. Popularity. But when they’re partnered up for an AP English project, Ellis learns different can be good. Really good.

Dale Stephens has it all: friends, a hot girlfriend, mad soccer skills—and a secret. He’s bisexual, but because he’s never been in love with a boy, it’s always been easier to keep that part of himself hidden. Until Ellis changes everything.

As their love grows, Dale realizes it’s Ellis he wants to be with—only he’s not ready for the world to know about them, especially after the way his mom reacts to the news.

But when they are outed by a bully who has made a career out of tormenting Ellis, Dale and Ellis must face down their fears and try to stay together. What will happen when the bully goes too far? Will Ellis come out of it unscathed?

Review

Ellis is teased in school for being gay, but technically has never come “out”. He’s missing his best friend, Matt, who moved away their last year in high school but still has his other best friend, Anna to lean on. Other than that he tries to keep a low profile, works hard on his grades and spends his free time writing stories.

When Ellis is paired with the star of the soccer team, Dale, for an English project he only hopes he’s not a typical jock. When Dale proposes they choose a subject that has a gay focus, at first Ellis thinks Dale IS like the other jocks, but when he convinces him he’s sincere, he finds himself confessing that he is gay to Dale and the two begin a tenuous friendship.

Meanwhile, Mark, the school bully, is ramping up his attacks on Ellis and things are getting dicey. Not wanting to make things worse, Ellis refuses to “snitch” but does allow Dale and his friends to help keep him safe in a pseudo-babysitting gig.

As the two teens work on their project they grow closer, though Dale has a girlfriend he seems in to, he also gives Ellis some confusing flirty vibes. Everything goes well and the two become true friends until one night Dale kisses Ellis.

Now Dale is avoiding Ellis and Ellis just wants his friend back.

**

So, I’m a Catherine Lievens fan. I’ve read all her paranormal series religiously and really like her creativity. This is a big departure for her (for me).

First, this is truly a YA story. It’s got very low steam, appropriate for their age level. It’s also pretty heavy handed in it’s “messages”. Bullying, coming out, bi-sexual acceptance and gay equality.

In the beginning, I was hooked. I really liked the pace of the story, the slow burn that fit the age level and the relative “normalcy” of the story. But as we get on in the book things begin to get weirder for me and it didn’t feel as organic.

I didn’t really think the Mark/bullying thing was handled well and it felt both underplayed and OTT at the same time. I also felt that though we are given a HFN rather than a HEA – I needed more “couple” time with these guys. It’s rather rushed once the two get together – and I don’t mean more smexy time – but more talking about the future and plans.

One thing I could NOT get over was Anna. Anna was supposed to be Ellis’ BFF and she did EVERYTHING wrong. She wasn’t nice, she pushed him uncomfortably, practically outed him at every turn and then abandoned him for her boyfriend at all the crucial moments. I just didn’t like her at all.

I felt Stephanie was a little too accommodating given the situation, but I was glad she wasn’t portrayed as the “evil ex”. I was also glad to see the parents mostly in support for once.

All in all this is probably a good YA book – if that’s what you’re looking for – but I was expecting something a little…more.

In any case, I enjoyed it even if I didn’t love it as much as her paranormal work.

3.75 of 5 stars

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The Right Time (Right and Wrong Series) Audiobook by Lane Hayes Narrated by Michael Ferraiulo

audiobookreview

 

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=7632

 

RightTime[The]AUDLGBlurb

Workaholic Nate Erickson is a successful real estate developer who thrives on long hours and stress. When a Los Angeles project prompts him to relocate to Santa Monica, he welcomes the change of scenery. Nate has always considered romantic entanglements trouble, but his sexy next-door neighbor isn’t easy to ignore. Which makes no sense, because Nate is straight… or so he’s always thought.

Alex Reyes is a retired professional soccer player turned West Hollywood business owner with an insatiable lust for life. He loves his family, friends, and work. But there’s one life challenge left to accomplish: coming out publicly. Respect for traditional Latino values has kept him in the closet, but Alex begins to think he and his new neighbor might help one another combat their fears. As Alex and Nate forge a strong friendship, they soon realize facing their personal demons will take more courage than either man bargained. The reward is immeasurable… if the timing is right.

Review

(Book reviewed here originally http://kimichanexperience.com/the-right-time-right-and-wrong-series-by-lane-hayes/)

Abridged

We met Alex in book one, an ex professional soccer player who now runs his own gym. He’s also a landlord and rents Nate a place as Nate works on his latest real estate deal.

Though he’s divorced from a woman, Nate is no stranger to being involved with men. In fact, it’s his past that colors his present belief that it’s “better” and surely “easier” to be involved with women. He claims his bisexuality but is reluctant to act on any male attraction.   Alex works to convince him to let his other side out.

Interestingly enough, Alex isn’t out himself because he doesn’t want to let his traditional father down.

They tentatively agree to a “for right now” sexual relationship that morphs into more as time goes on. But when Alex finds out something disturbing from Nate’s past it looks like things are all over.

**

There were things that really worked for me:

Nate’s eventual willingness to explore his sexuality, giving it his all once his mind was made up.

Seeing the previous MCs again.

The excellent writing

The hot smexy times

The great character development

 

But… there were some things that didn’t work for me as well:

The drama with Nate’s college girlfriend

Not being able to see things from Alex’s POV

Not understanding exactly why Alex was still stuck in the closet

Overall, I liked it – Lane Hayes is a terrific writer after all, but didn’t love it as much as some of her other works.

3.5 of 5 stars

Audio

Michael Ferraiulo is a good narrator. He does a really nice job with the Spanish accents – which really helps to bring this story to life. He does a nice job of giving Nate a voice that seemed to match his personality. I enjoyed listening to this and it definitely increased my enjoyment of this story.

Narration 5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.25 of 5 stars

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