The Hideaway by Rosalind Abel

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36469492-the-hideaway?from_search=true

Blurb

Lavender Shores’s resident tattoo artist, Connor Clark, looks the part—six foot six, musclebound, and covered in ink—and most definitely doesn’t blend in. Grafted into the Bryant family as a teenager to escape his abusive father, the Bryants saved his life, but Connor has never truly felt a part of the founding family royalty. And if his heart’s desire were revealed, it would betray everything the Bryants have done for him.

Micah Bryant was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He’s always had everything he ever wanted—save the one he desires most. Even moving to New York City for a few years didn’t dampen his passion. Not that Micah had expected it to. He’s known his destiny since he was nine years old, the moment it had walked through his door.

After years of longing, years of secrets and stolen moments of passion and love, Connor weakens enough to allow the town to see how he feels, and let the Bryants know his love for Micah is anything but brotherly. But no sooner had the decision been made than Connor’s biological family returns and shatters it all. Still, Micah holds on to the belief that their romance was written in the stars, but maybe he’d been wrong all those years…

Review

This book really gets into a taboo subject for most. Foster brothers who develop a romantic interest in each other. And it’s not like they just flaunt what they want. They have fought their attraction for many, many years. They have tried to get involved with other men, and even separation. Still whenever they are back around each other the heat they feel is explosive!

Connor feels like he is betraying the Bryant family. They took him in, fought for him and made him a member of their founding family. When he finally gets to the stage where he can no longer deny his desire for Micah, Connor discovers he has a nephew who seems to be going through everything Connor did at his age. Suddenly declaring his love for Micah gets moved to the back burner.

Micah on the other hand is ready to go ballistic. He knows his family will accept him, and he knows that him and Connor being together in front of Moses will shake things up, but it won’t be irreparable.

This is a great read, with ideas that make you think, hot sex that make you steam and a happy ending that will make you smile!

5 of 5 stars

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Deal Maker by Lily Morton

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36801370-deal-maker?from_search=true

Blurb

Sometimes your mouth makes deals that your heart can’t honour.

Jude is a highly successful model, but a very reluctant one. His life is full of casual hook-ups with pretty men in glamorous locations, but it’s still empty. However, circumstances decreed a long time ago that this was his path, so he’s resolutely stayed on it and accepted his fate with good grace. He made a deal with himself and his hook-ups. Get in, get out and no ties with anyone.

However, an accident at home one night leads to him making a new deal and accepting the offer of help from an unlikely source. It leads to an unexpected summer of falling in love with a larger than life man and his child.

But by the end of the summer his reasons for not staying are still valid. Will he turn away? Can he?

Asa is a talented actor who has spent time away from the scene to look after his son. But now he’s back, and the last thing he needs are complications from the gorgeous man who is staying with him. Scarred from too many betrayals, he has no intention of forming a lasting tie with anyone. However, he can’t resist the beautiful man with secrets, and to his horror he develops feelings.

But a deal’s a deal and they said it was just for the summer. What can Asa do with a man who has forever in his eyes and goodbye on his lips?

Review

This book had me smiling, chuckling or ‘aww’ing throughout! There are some sober moments, but even those have a thread of humour.
The story starts with Jude, Dean and a neighbour’s bathtub – Dean is funny, but a few cells short of a working brain! Jude needs a place to stay, so Dean, his current hookup offers up his half-brother, Asa’s, place to stay. There is just one small detail Dean forgot to mention: Asa is not aware of the offer ….
We meet Billy, (Asa’s son), who won’t let Jude into the house without the password -that scene had me chuckling. Then Asa and Jude meet. They start off okay, but eventually end up on the wrong foot, with hilarious consequences!

The writing is very good, engaging and entertaining. I particularly love Billy – out of the mouth of babes (he has some gems) and Amos, who is brilliant as the voice of doom, (he reminds me of Alan Rickman).
There is so much to say about this book; it’s fun, heartwarming, touching, but I won’t be able to do it justice. All I can say is that I highly recommend this story.

I loved it.

5 stars out of 5

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Rebel (415 Ink #1) by Rhys Ford

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/rebel-by-rhys-ford-9200-b

Blurb: The hardest thing a rebel can do isn’t standing up for something—it’s standing up for himself.

Life takes delight in stabbing Gus Scott in the back when he least expects it. After Gus spends years running from his past, present, and the dismal future every social worker predicted for him, karma delivers the one thing Gus could never—would never—turn his back on: a son from a one-night stand he’d had after a devastating breakup a few years ago.
Returning to San Francisco and to 415 Ink, his family’s tattoo shop, gave him the perfect shelter to battle his personal demons and get himself together… until the firefighter who’d broken him walked back into Gus’s life.

For Rey Montenegro, tattoo artist Gus Scott was an elusive brass ring, a glittering prize he hadn’t the strength or flexibility to hold on to. Severing his relationship with the mercurial tattoo artist hurt, but Gus hadn’t wanted the kind of domestic life Rey craved, leaving Rey with an aching chasm in his soul.
When Gus’s life and world starts to unravel, Rey helps him pick up the pieces, and Gus wonders if that forever Rey wants is more than just a dream.

Review: I am a big Rhys Ford fan; she has a way with words and she can make a murder scene seem like a work of art. However, I initially struggled with this book because it started off somewhat dark. As the brothers are introduced in the story, one gets a sense of the horrible childhood they all suffered through. This is a story about forging a brotherhood, giving/taking second chances and making a family, no matter how one is (or not) related.
After 3 years, Gus has returned to his brothers, after finding out that he is the father of a 3 year old boy. There are flashbacks to events happened to Gus as a child, while with his mum and in foster care; not for the faint of heart. The horrid childhood Gus suffered through is partly the reason that he couldn’t commit to his then boyfriend, Rey. As Gus and Rey dance around their strained relationship, (realising they never stopped loving each other), they have to navigate past histories, custody hearings for the child, a vengeful child protective service officer and family, to get their HEA.
I thoroughly enjoyed their journey.

It took me 2 tries to read this. I had been expecting something along the lines of the Dirty series – tongue-in-cheek humour, a bit of drama, some hurt/comfort. Instead, I got a story that took me apart emotionally, but put me back together in a cocoon of family, warmth and love. As an added bonus, there are little gems in the form of references to characters from other books, (hers and others).
Now to patiently wait for the next brother’s story.

4.5 stars out of 5

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Holidays: A Holiday Crush (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by CJane Elliott

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

San Francisco lawyer Brad Halberstam is in a rut. At forty-one, he’s successful but alone. Even his holidays are predictable—he spends every Christmas golfing in Napa with his ex-boyfriend. Then attractive but oh-so-young filmmaker Michael Blair invites him out. Brad joins Michael and his housemates in their holiday celebrations and learns that life can be joyful. He hesitates to saddle Michael with a much-older boyfriend but as their attraction ignites, Brad’s tempted to let Michael sweep him into a bright new future.

Michael lives in a group house in Berkeley. He loves making life into a celebration, especially during the holidays. Michael longs for a partner, and he hopes serious but sweet Brad Halberstam is the one. Michael’s infatuation grows over caroling and cookies, but his housemate reminds him that Michael always latches on to someone during the holidays, so he won’t be alone. After a misunderstanding, Michael loses heart, no longer sure if his relationship with Brad is real or just another Christmas crush.

Review

This definitely stands out as one of my favorites in this bunch! I loved it!!! It was sweet, sentimental, and really hit all the right notes – even though it was short.

The (very mild) political statement is well-received and I appreciated how little angst was spent on Brad’s career change.

All in all highly recommended – if only it were a full length story!

5 of 5 stars

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Holidays: Homemade from the Heart (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Bru Baker

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

Craft store owner Grant has always been a sucker for a pretty face, and that goes double for a pretty face with an adorable sidekick. When seven-year-old Aubrey has her heart set on taking Grant’s already-full holiday craft series, he caves and gives up his one day off a week so she (and her hot guardian, Josh) can take private lessons. Their flirting ramps up week after week, and even though Josh isn’t with Aubrey’s mother, Grant can’t be sure the man isn’t straight. Maybe he’s just being friendly. And Josh, who most definitely is not straight, is afraid of being the creepy guy hitting on the teacher.

Frustrated by their stubbornness and cluelessness, Aubrey takes matters into her own hands. She decides the best gift to give Josh is something homemade and from the heart—a boyfriend they’ll both love.

Review

Fun, funny, sweet, low heat, sweet and “crafty” kid – what’s not to love?!

Ok, I would have liked a little heat but… it was really sweet and I LOVED the crafts – gonna have to do some of those myself! (I maybe thought the kid might not be able to do all those crafts so easily but HEY it’s fiction right?)

I really wanted to see these guys after the big confession of feelings but it’s a short story so … maybe we can see them again in some future story – with the roommate?

In any case, this was really fun and highly recommended!

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Holidays: The Puzzle Box (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by C.C. Bridges

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb
Elementary school art teacher Cole Peters is expecting a lonely Christmas this year while his longtime boyfriend, James Carducci, is on deployment with the Army. However, a box from James contains puzzles that lead Cole on a scavenger hunt through the greatest moments of their relationship. Together with his best friend Liz, Cole works his way through each clue.

The final puzzle could lead Cole to a gift beyond his wildest expectations.

 

Review
This is such a lovely concept for a short story. A series of puzzles that stir memories of moments spent together. Especially since Cole and James can’t be together at Christmas. There is one line in the story that sums it up perfectly for me “I feel like I’m on a tour of the greatest hits of Cole and James’s relationship.”
I finished reading with a contented sigh. Perfect feel good Christmas story. Excellently written giving me the feeling that I had been following their developing relationship for a lot more than just thirty pages. I absolutely recommend this one.

5 of stars out of 5

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Holidays: Pining for Perfect (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Ki Brightly

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/2017-advent-calendar-daily-delivery-package-stocking-stuffers-9042-b

Blurb

Stokely leads a solitary life, trying to do all the right things. He has a solid, respectable job, a properly decorated, respectable apartment, and goes to work every single day, no matter what. But it’s Christmas, and he hates Christmas, especially since his one guilty pleasure, listening to Asher Banks on the radio, is ruined with upbeat, holiday garbage.

Asher is the polar opposite—he loves Christmas to a fault and schedules himself into the ground with fundraisers to help the local community. When Asher and Stokely meet during one of the holiday spectacles Asher has thrown together, sparks fly, but neither one of them has ever had a real Christmas—or a real home. Will they be able to make one with each other?

Review:

A slow burn romance done well in fewer than 70 pages. The men bond over being foster kids. Stokley is the more stoic of the 2 men, so it was interesting seeing Asher wear him down with his cheery attitude. I liked how the story flowed, especially as Stokely warmed up, but his warmth and love was reserved for Asher only. Stokely still doesn’t like Christmas … ☺

3.5 stars out of 5

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Holidays: Snow Balls By Tara Lain

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/snow-balls-by-tara-lain-9124-b

Blurb
A Balls to the Wall Romance
JJ LaRousse looks like a quarterback but acts like a queen. He’s trying to be proud of who he is—until a robbery at the famous Laguna Winter Fantasy brings JJ face-to-face with tough cop Ryan Star. JJ hears Ryan likes manly men, so he drops his voice an octave, colors his pink hair, and tries to pass as a football fan.
Ryan Star may be tough, but he keeps his sexuality to himself at work. He learned in New York that being a gay cop can be deadly. His attraction to JJ threatens his secret, but he’s finding it hard to back away from a guy who’s so totally his type. Then, during a ski trip and a confrontation with JJ’s biggest nemesis, all the façades come crashing down. In the aftermath, can Ryan love JJ for who he really is? More importantly, can JJ?

Review

I’d forgotten how much I enjoyed this! This is a really nice look at how we perceive ourselves and societal expectations without being heavy or preachy.

Poor JJ suffers the fate of his insides not matching his outsides and when he tries to “fake it” he learns – again – you have to be true to yourself.

In typical Tara Lain style this was sexy and fun and a really nice holiday read to boot!

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Never byTara Lain

release day review

Dreamspinner presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/never-by-tara-lain-8971-b

Blurb
Pennymaker Tales: Book 4

Wendell “Wen” Darling lives in a world of shoulds and musts. Left to care for his brother and sister by his dull drudge of a father and wacko irresponsible mother, he suppresses his creativity, slaving in an ad agency seventy hours a week, letting his no-talent supervisor take the credit.

Then his bosses blow the campaign for their biggest client and Wen gets a chance to shine—but only if he can find the artist who painted a wild, glorious wall of graffiti in the subway. Hiding behind a pillar at 2:00 a.m., Wen comes face-to-face with the scarlet-haired, elven-faced embodiment of his divergent opposite—Peter Panachek, the flighty, live-for-today painter, singer, and leader of the rock group the Lost Boys. Everything Wen takes seriously, Peter laughs off, but opposites attract, even if their kisses always lead to battles. Peter’s devil-may-care persona hides a world of secrets, self-protection, and hidden fears, until the day a drug dealer, Vadon Hooker, threatens everything Wen holds dear. Guided by the mysterious Mr. Pennymaker, Peter has to choose between facing responsibility or burrowing even deeper into Neverland

Review
I so very much enjoy Tara Lain’s reimagined fairy tale series with Mr Pennymaker, the fairy godfather, appearing in each one. I think this take on Peter Pan is my favourite so far. I loved Peter’s vibrancy. He is carefree, an artist and the lead singer of the Lost Boys. Peter lives for the moment. Wendell on the other hand was thrust into responsibility at a young age caring for his sister and young brother. He has to keep his job. Tara Lain does an excellent job of bringing you into their lives and caring about them all. I could feel how tired and stressed Wen is and how spirited and alive Peter is. Together they provided a balance for each other. The only problem being their past. Both of them let past experiences cloud the chance of happiness. This is one of the best opposites attract stories I have read. They want each other but are convinced it’ll never work until a certain Mr Pennymaker helps them see the error in their thinking. The character for Hook is extremely clever and so appropriate for today. All the other characters are included, Tink, the lost boys (each with their own personalities and part to play in the story) smee and a small reference to the crocodile. Such an enjoyable book and one of the best reimagined fairytales I’ve read. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

5 stars out of 5

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Shattered Pieces (Heathens Ink #4) by K.M. Neuhold

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Shattered-Pieces-Heathens-Ink-Book-ebook/dp/B076M878V2/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1509640235&sr=8-3&keywords=neuhold

Free on KU!

Blurb

“I was sure my heart had withered away years ago, but then you smiled at me, and I felt it beat again.” ~Gage
Years ago, I fell in love with my best friend’s little brother. Then, he took his own life, leaving me shattered and unable to piece my heart back together. I’ve been a zombie for nine long years. Until a crazy, gorgeous man walked into Heathens Ink and injected color back into my world of gray. No matter how hard I try to resist Beck, he just won’t give up on me. I would need steel willpower to withstand his gorgeous long legs in those high heels and his drawer full of lacy lingerie. But is this just a kinky hook up or does it have the possibility for more?

“We’re both broken, but our jagged edges fit together well” ~ Beck
When you’re half of a whole you never contemplate what life would be like without your matching piece. Since my twin sister, Brianna, died last year, nothing I do seems to quiet my soul. I know there has to be some way for me to feel happy and whole again. And, when I look into the pained eyes of the tattoo artist at Heathens Ink, I feel like I have a purpose. I can’t explain it, but I feel like I have to find a way to put him back together.

**Shattered Pieces is the fourth book in the Heathens Ink series, each book in the series CAN be read as a standalone.

Review

I’m giving this 4.5 stars because Beck is AWESOME. He is a rock star and totally won me over and stole the show.

I was OVER Gage after about the 25% mark – I don’t like “pining” in general – but I thought he was taking it too far. (I did love his Dream Therapy Sessions and thought that was a great way for us to meet Johnny.)

Though Beck probably deserves a medal, he was the best thing for Gage and I loved watching him coax Gage out of his sad-shell.

I think this is my second favorite in the series and highly recommended! (Can totally be read on it’s own!)

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