Time to Laugh: Beauty and the Bookworm by Nick Pagent

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22052456-beauty-and-the-bookworm?from_search=true

Blurb

Mason Leery is a bookworm and he thinks he might just be able to get through life simply by reading about it instead of living it.

Until he meets Shane Beaumont. Shane is the opposite of Mason in every way, he’s beautiful, athletic, and lives his life to the fullest.

Sparks fly when the polar opposites come together, but it will be up to the bookworm to shut down his e-reader and go after the beauty if he wants to love someone outside the pages of a book.

 

 

Review

The author set this story up for laughs. Mason the stereotypical gay librarian, Twyla the flashy, slutty best friend, Gran a lesbian, motorcycle riding, foul mouthed grandmother and Shane the hunky, athletic, twin, boyfriend. And he does this all with Mason telling the story in a snarky, “can you just see this?” voice.

The first time Mason and Shane meet, you can’t help but laughing out loud! And the laughs just move on from there. Being from Portland myself I can see many of the locations highlighted and picture both the location and the events that happen.

The ending gives you a feel good feeling after a long string of laugh out loud moments.

3.5 of 5 stars

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Purchased for Review

 

 

Laugh Cry Repeat by John Inman

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/laugh-cry-repeat-by-john-inman-9122-b

Blurb

Wyeth Becker is a quiet man. Staid, serious, calm. A librarian. When he meets preschool teacher Deeze Long, he discovers joy for the first time in his life. With joy comes laughter, excitement, and a new way to look at the world through the eyes of the kindest, most loving man he has ever met.

When tragedy strikes and Deeze loses his joy, it is Wyeth who helps him find it again. It is Wyeth, the man who never truly understood happiness, who pays that gift back. Giving all he can of himself to the man who changed his life. Restoring in Deeze what he now so desperately needs.

But the road of their relationship doesn’t end there. The joys and sorrows of life are never-ending. As they set out to weather the highs and lows together, Wyeth and Deeze hang on to the one thing that makes all the tears and laughter worthwhile.

Love.

For only through love can life be truly savored at all.

Review

The first half of the book is a mixture of opposites attract and humour. Wyeth is reserved and has his set routines. Deeze on the other hand is much more quirky and free spirited. I enjoyed the unusual way they met and Deeze’s way of wooing a reluctant Wyeth. He takes not accepting no to a whole new level. Deeze knows it’s because Wyeth is hesitant rather than not interested. I do think Wyeth’s dog Chaucer is cute. Most of the time I didn’t quite get the humour of it, apart from when Chaucer the dog and Napoleon the cat met.

The push and pull of them reacting to each other keeps the momentum going. When they do get together there is such beautiful tenderness it was lovely to read. Wyeth’s self confidence grows along with their relationship. He is able to quell the fears he originally had about being with someone and not being dumped. As the relationship develops the humour lessens and the story becomes sweet and sensual. The tragedy happens at a high point in their relationship and tests it. After the happiness and joy of the previous part the tragedy did make me well up. It was so unexpected. Now Wyeth needed to help Deeze overcome his fears.

 

This story captivated me. I wanted to know what happens next, would Deeze win Wyeth (I kept wanting to call him Wyatt!) around? Would Chaucer and Napoleon ever get on? And then the sweet romance was lovely to read. Finally how would they cope after the tragedy? All these things kept me turning the page and improved my opinion of the book. Initially I couldn’t see what would hold my interest for another hundred or so pages. It was the very clever switch in tempo as the relationship reached the next level that kept it fresh for me. The ending made me smile. A perfect finish and happy ever after.

 

4 of stars out of 5
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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook Month: Bonfires Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated By Nick J Russo

I think it’s appropriate to start out our Audiobook Month with two of my favs!  Amy Lane is one of my all time favorite authors and her audiobooks rank among the books I can listen to over and over and over.  Some of my favorite are: Clear Water, Bolt Hole and Beneath the Stain.  Narrating two of those is Nick J Russo – he ranks as one of my top three favorite narrators and it’s Amy’s works that help him hold that position.  So, with no further ado…. let’s start off our month of great listens with Bonfire!

 

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bonfires-by-amy-lane-8682-b

Blurb

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)
I’m going to divide this review into two parts because it was amazingly emotional and really brought so many thoughts and feelings to the surface for me and I think it will for others as well.

The first part will be the review for people who don’t want any spoilers or any discussion about politics – because I know that can really set people off. The second part will be a bit more personal with some very biased opinions and a bit of spoiler action that you all can totally skip ☺

As you all know, I am a huge Amy fan. I’ve read nearly everything the woman has written and I not only admire her writing but think she’s pretty awesome as a person. From knowing a bit about her backstory, I can tell she wrote this book with her own experiences in mind. Larx is a high school principal – reluctantly – and a single parent. He was married before, but after exposing his bi-sexuality his wife left him and the kids. He’s moved from the city (other bad stuff happened there) to a small town to start over. Now, seven years later, he’s still single and thinking it will stay that way til his kids are graduated.

Aaron is the small town deputy, slated for Sherriff in the upcoming years. His wife died in a car accident and though he’s always considered himself bi-sexual he’s never acted on it and really never thought to do anything about it until his kids graduated. When he sees Larx – the man he’s known for years- running down the highway without a shirt a light switches on in his head and suddenly all those plans he had, change.

**
Part of what I absolutely love about this book is that the characters are closer to 50 than 40 and they feel so very REAL. They aren’t in perfect shape – Aaron struggles with his diet – they aren’t sleeping with everything that they see – neither has had any sort of significant anything for years – and they’re parents and their jobs first – not slaves to their lust! They live real lives and have real concerns and yet… Amy manages to find the romance in their lives and bring it out for all to see. It’s magnificent!

In addition to being real people, they have real kids. Neither of them was/is a perfect parent and their kids aren’t perfect either – well – Kirby and Christi might be but…. ☺ …. The kids fight, do dumb things and make mistakes. But – they aren’t evil incarnate either.

I did not see the ending coming… I mean I kinda did… but not exactly. Amy played the mystery out perfectly with just enough hints that you could see how we got there by the end, but it wasn’t hitting me in the face the entire time making me wonder how the MCs couldn’t see the obvious answer.

The good news/ bad news is the “bad guy” in the story is unfortunately very real and very possible. Maybe there were some exaggerations for impact sake, but, unfortunately the people like this exist and that’s up for discussion later.

As for the romance. Ahhhhhhh. Man, I loved these two guys together – so much! If I had any complaints at all it was that we didn’t get to see them together outside of a tense situation for very long. I wanted to see these two settled down and living life – quietly! – for a bit – just because they worked so hard for it (and so did I)!

We also get a bit of a secondary romance (or two!) and I really hope those characters get their own book in the future!

I can’t recommend this enough. It was sweet, exciting, romantic, touching, and also really, really relevant and thought provoking. For fans of the author this is a must, and for any parents, people from small towns, people with brains, or people with hearts – this is a must read!

**
Following, in the spoiler section, is stuff more political and opinionated and it might give away some parts of the story – so skip this or read it after you’ve read the book if you don’t want to be “spoiled”.

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Audio

Well, you know I love Am[/spoiler]y and you know I love Nick so together – Oh Yeah!

Nick is just amazingly well suited to Amy’s language. I love how his voice gives life to her characters. I absolutely fell in LOVE with Aaron’s voice and thought Larx’s voice suited him as well. Nick does the younger voices well, including the females. While it was different than I’d imagined, I loved his choice for Yoshi, too.

All in all a great way to enjoy this and a perfect choice!

6 of 5 stars
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Copy Generously Provided by Publisher for Honest Review

 

 

Behind Closed Doors by Diana McKinley

29633258Blurb

Throughout high school, Benjamin Alcott had a single goal in mind – to escape a home environment that was anything but loving and supportive. With determination and perseverance, Ben has risen to the top of his class, both academically and athletically. And with careful planning, he has secured scholarships which ensure he has a real chance to see through his goal of becoming a doctor. But beyond that dream, Benjamin also wants a place where he can live freely and openly as the young gay man he is without shame, persecution, or fear.

Cord Robinson also has a dream which he has held close to his heart for years, while he patiently waited for Benjamin to grow up and leave home – for Ben to be his. Cord has already gone through the steps of coming to terms with his sexuality and then coming out to his family and friends. And now that college is over for him and his best friend Branden, who is also Benjamin’s brother, Cord is ready to let Ben know that he is interested in a real future with the beautiful young man.

But as Ben prepares for his graduation, the violence at home reaches a breaking point and he flees. When Cord realizes what has been going on behind the Alcott’s doors, it’s a race against time for him to find Ben and then open his heart to the one other man he wants to build a life and solid foundation with as Benjamin prepares to finally spread his wings and fly.

CONTENT WARNING: Explicit Sex, References to Childhood Physical Abuse (No Sexual Abuse)

Review

This story takes off from the night Benjamin gets beat up by his father for the worst and last time. He runs to his neighbors for protection and there he begins to build his new chosen family.

Cord is the best friend of Ben’s brother – he’s 4 years older and has been pining for Ben for years. Ben has also been crushing on Cord but doesn’t think there’s anything there between them. Ben’s brother is a straight guy so Ben assumes Cord is as well.

Ben’s brother has been avoiding going home and Ben for years because of his father, but he’s ended up hurting Ben in the process.

The bulk of the story is moving Ben up to New Hampshire for College where he has an athletic and academic scholarships and a desire to research cancer.

**

This reads like the most elaborate Cinderella story ever. The poor abused Ben finds a new family who drops everything – literally – to move with him out of state to be his support structure. Ben’s brother sees the light and moves with them as well. Cord, newly graduated and – by the way – super rich – not only moves them all but buys them a new – huge! – house so they can all live there and gives the brother a job!

Not only is Ben super smart but he’s also an Olympic candidate for running – but has been underdeveloped thanks to dear old dad.

So… on the one hand this is a story full of preposterous actions – BUT – man it was fun! Everything was totally over the top and super sappy and sweet and I just loved it!

It’s very, very long and most of it could be edited out (what I strongly recommend is a good editor!) but it’s full of tender moments and triumphs for the under dog and loads and loads of feels.

4 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Amazon link

http://www.amazon.com/Behind-Closed-Doors-Diana-McKinley-ebook/dp/B01DIGH438/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1460743810&sr=8-1&keywords=diana+mckinley

Talker (Book 1) by Amy Lane

TalkerLGBlurb

Tate “Talker” Walker has spent most of his life hiding his scars under a bright punk facade, and until he sat next to Brian Cooper on a bus, it worked. But Brian has spent his whole life being the invisible man, and he’s used to looking below the surface. What he sees in Talker is a fragile and lovable human being.Brian is outwardly straight, but Talker is desperate for love, and when Talker’s behavior leads to some painful consequences, Brian is forced to come out of his closet-in dramatic fashion. He’ll do anything to make sure Talker sees that he’s the Prince Charming Talker has always needed.

 

Review

Brian is a homeschool college student who has a hard time relating to people. He meets Tate “Talker” on the track bus and they instantly become friends.

Over time, Brian begins to realize that his lack luster relationships with girls probably stem from the fact that he’s gay and in love with his best friend, Talker. But by now Talker only sees Brian as his “friend” and since Talker has shared his intimate secrets Brian doesn’t know how to get Talker to see him as that boyfriend he’s been searching for.

Talker - Amy Lane**

This is part one in a series and sets up the complicated relationship between Talker and Brian. We learn the painful back story that is Talker’s distant and recent past. Brian has growing to do as well and it’s his own coming of age story.

The relationship between them is immediately deep so watching them transition from friends to lovers felt really natural even though the painful parts of Talker’s life make it hard to read at times.

I loved this series so much and highly recommend it.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Dreamspinner Presents

http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=1979