Friends to Lovers: Campus Visit by Stella Huerto

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/15778273-campus-visit?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Damian Garza and Alex Murphy became best friends in their closed-minded small town, remained inseparable through Alex’s coming out, and have stayed close while studying at different colleges. They’re close enough that Damian dares a shocking e-mail confession: he’s bisexual and wants to experiment with men. With Alex.

It’s supposed to be a simple friends-with-benefits arrangement, one weekend only. That one weekend turns into two, then three, then a whole season of unexpected passion. But life after graduation can’t be ignored: soon Damian will be obliged to return to his family’s orange orchard, and Alex will fly off to his dream job in Europe. Unless they can admit their feelings to each other and the world, their time as best friends, may be over.

Review
This has been such a fun trip down memory lane for me! This is –again- another really sweet NA book I read years ago and forgot how wonderful it is.

It’s got two high school friends who, while facing college graduation, finally admit that there’s more than friendship between them. Luckily Alex is very confident in his sexuality and gladly opens his arms to Damian’s explorations.

The smexy times are pretty hot and the love between these two is over the top sugary sweet. There is some self-soul-searching and discovering how to stand up for your own beliefs thrown in as well.

If you’re a fan of young love and GFY/OFY this is for you!

4.5 of 5 stars
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Friends to Lovers: Road Trip With Conrad by Candice Blake

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38609213-a-road-trip-with-conrad?from_search=true

Blurb

ELIJAH: You saved me and we quickly became friends…

Needing a change of scene from his life, twenty-five-year-old Elijah Collins dreams of living off the grid and traveling across the country. He leaves everything behind and embarks on the trip of a lifetime in a 1973 Volkswagen Westfalia. But halfway through his journey to Los Angeles, the van breaks down on a rural road in Nebraska. With nobody in sight, Elijah is stranded…until a handsome and strapping alpha gives him a hand.

CONRAD: I’ve been straight my whole life until you came along…

Thirty-five-year-old Conrad Westbrook lives a simple life on a farm where he runs his dad’s honey business. When he finds Elijah on the side of the road, Conrad welcomes the young traveler into his home until the van gets repaired. Wanting to return the favor, Elijah invites Conrad to join him on the road trip. Forced together in the small camper van, while exploring the breathtaking sites of western America, neither men know how to handle their growing attraction towards each other.

Our lives are worlds apart, but can we make it work?

Conrad finds it harder to resist his attraction to another man for the first time. While Elijah, who’s so focused on the destination, doesn’t realize that the man he’s sharing his journey with is all he needs. They started the road trip as nothing more than friends, but unexpectedly become much more. What happens at the end of the road when both men have to head their separate ways and return back to their own lives?

Review

Friends to lovers can always be a rocky road. And it’s on a road trip that these 2 discover what opening that door can lead to.

The story has a great open feel to it. Elijah is half way across the country when he meets Conrad. After the kindness shown, Elijah invites Conrad to join him on the rest of his trip. What starts as an easygoing trip turns hot and heavy quickly. Each stop has the 2 men exploring more of each other till they get to the down and dirty.

The story jumps to an almost insta love genre, but with the story it just leads the 2 MC’s to realize that they are so much better together than apart.

The ending seems a little too easy. Things that seemed like big obstacles were suddenly resolved which lead to Elijah and Conrad being able to be together. All in all a sweet story.

3 of 5 stars

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Purchased for review

 

Friends to lovers: Road Trip With Conrad by Candice Blake

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38609213-a-road-trip-with-conrad?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

ELIJAH: You saved me and we quickly became friends…

Needing a change of scene from his life, twenty-five-year-old Elijah Collins dreams of living off the grid and traveling across the country. He leaves everything behind and embarks on the trip of a lifetime in a 1973 Volkswagen Westfalia. But halfway through his journey to Los Angeles, the van breaks down on a rural road in Nebraska. With nobody in sight, Elijah is stranded…until a handsome and strapping alpha gives him a hand.

CONRAD: I’ve been straight my whole life until you came along…

Thirty-five-year-old Conrad Westbrook lives a simple life on a farm where he runs his dad’s honey business. When he finds Elijah on the side of the road, Conrad welcomes the young traveler into his home until the van gets repaired. Wanting to return the favor, Elijah invites Conrad to join him on the road trip. Forced together in the small camper van, while exploring the breathtaking sites of western America, neither men know how to handle their growing attraction towards each other.

Our lives are worlds apart, but can we make it work?

Conrad finds it harder to resist his attraction to another man for the first time. While Elijah, who’s so focused on the destination, doesn’t realize that the man he’s sharing his journey with is all he needs. They started the road trip as nothing more than friends, but unexpectedly become much more. What happens at the end of the road when both men have to head their separate ways and return back to their own lives?

Review

Friends to lovers can always be a rocky road. And it’s on a road trip that these 2 discover what opening that door can lead to.

The story has a great open feel to it. Elijah is half way across the country when he meets Conrad. After the kindness shown, Elijah invites Conrad to join him on the rest of his trip. What starts as an easygoing trip turns hot and heavy quickly. Each stop has the 2 men exploring more of each other till they get to the down and dirty.

The story jumps to an almost insta love genre, but with the story it just leads the 2 MC’s to realize that they are so much better together than apart.

The ending seems a little too easy. Things that seemed like big obstacles were suddenly resolved which lead to Elijah and Conrad being able to be together. All in all a sweet story.

3 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

Audiobook: Tender Mercies by Eli Easton Narrated by Will Tulin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tender-mercies-by-eli-easton-8981-b

Blurb

A Men of Lancaster County Novel
Eddie Graber’s dream of a sanctuary for rescued farm animals was about to come true when his partner backed out at the last minute. Now Eddie risks losing the twenty-five acre property in Lancaster County—and all the hopes he held for it—before the project even gets off the ground. He needs help, he needs money, but most importantly, he needs to rediscover the belief in a higher purpose that brought him here in the first place.
Samuel Miller worked hard to fit into his Amish community despite his clubfoot. But when his father learns Samuel is gay, he is whipped and shunned. With just a few hundred dollars to his name, Samuel responds to an ad for a farmhand and finds himself employed by a city guy who has strange ideas about animals, no clue how to run his small farm, and a gentle heart.
Samuel isn’t the only lost soul to serendipitously find his way to Meadow Lake Farm. There’s Fred and Ginger, two cows who’d been living in a garage, a gang of sheep, and a little black pig named Benny who might be the key to life, love, money—and even a happily ever after for two castoffs.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)
Tender mercies, by Eli Easton is really wonderful! It is full of all the wonderful characters that Eli is so good at creating and it has a compelling animal conservation story moving it forward. In some ways the animal sanctuary part of the story was hard to read, depending on how you feel about animals and rescue organizations. The ending, however, is a very happy ending, and so totally worth any tears!

I really loved Samuel’s character. He was so sweet, and earnest, and his struggle felt very authentic. I enjoyed learning about his culture and how he adapted to the “new world” offered by Eddie.

The first book was really good, but I think this might even be better! I’m really looking forward to the audiobook I hope they choose a great narrator someone who can capitalize on Samuel’s characteristics – his speech patterns, etc.

Highly recommended!

Audiobook

I thought Will Tulin did an amazing job with this! He’s a new to me narrator and he really captured Samuel’s “voice” as well as the myriad of other characters in this unique setting.

I was NOT disappointed by this choice in narrator and I am looking forward to more from him on other works.

He did a great job with the emotions and timing and was easy to listen to.

Highly recommended!

6 of 5 stars

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Color of You by C.S. Poe

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/color-of-you-by-cs-poe-9173-

Blurb
Bowen Merlin— yes, that’s his real name—accepts a position in the quaint town of Lancaster, New Hampshire as the high school band director. He leaves New York City for the snowy countryside of New England just in time for the holidays. With class, homework, after school activities, and a surprise Christmas concert to plan and rehearse, Bowen is plenty busy. And since he’s never had much luck with romance, factoring in time to find Mr. Right isn’t a priority….

Until he meets the proprietor of Snowy Ridge Apple Orchard, Felix Hansen. Suddenly, true love seems like a possibility for the first time in Bowen’s life. The two are a perfect match and fill the skipped beats of each other’s hearts. But as wonderful as Felix seems, he’s harboring scars that could end their budding relationship when someone in town goes to great lengths to sabotage their careers.

If Bowen is to survive the holidays, he’ll need to lean on old friends and new, convince Felix he’s worth any hardship, and prove they can come out of the catastrophe stronger if they do so together.

Review
Wonderful, just a wonderful story of love friendship and family. I loved Bowen Merlin such a fun quirky character and Felix Hansen lovely deep shy character. In the story Bowen described Felix voice as rich amber and my thoughts immediately went to the way Derrick McClain sounds when he narrates the Snow and Winter series. The excellent descriptions of both characters helped me get a good picture of Bowen and Felix in my head. The chemistry between them was very well developed in the story. They are soulmates, each the perfect half of the partnership building a solid relationship. It’s a Love story that turns into mystery.
I did think it odd that as this story is about family their parents were not mentioned, not even just a passing reference. It didn’t affect my love of the story in any way it just raised a point of curiosity. There is a wonderfully strong cast of secondary characters, Alan, Scarlet and Steven all support both Felix and Bowen. In fact I would love Steven to have his own story. The second part of the story where their new insta love relationship is tested was in some way a surprise, in who was the perpetrator, and in others not, when homophobia was the driving force. What I did find uplifting was the way everyone pulled together to help Bowen and Felix. I wholeheartedly recommend this warming Christmas story.

5 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Holidays: Hope Is the Thing with Feathers (2017 Advent Calendar Daily – Stocking Stuffers) by Brandon Witt

Dreamspinner Presents

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

Blurb

Fifty-six-year-old Samuel Phillips is all alone on his small farm in the Ozarks, with nothing but a menagerie of chickens, pheasants, turkeys, and other birds as company—which is just the way he likes it. In fact, if Samuel had his way, he’d tear down his neighbor’s house so his solitude could be absolute. One day Faloola, his favorite turkey, escapes, forcing Samuel to make the trek next door. When Raymond Webber—sixty-seven—answers the door as naked as the day he was born, Samuel doesn’t know whether he’s more annoyed… or attracted. The two men are opposites in every way—Samuel is serious, while Raymond believes in free love and herbal relaxation. The weeks leading up to Christmas are rocky to say the least, but some holiday spirit might help them get past their differences….

Review

There was a lot about this that I really liked. The MCs were quirky and unique and older – a lot older than your typical romance hero – and they lived out in the country and were solitary souls.

 

However, I was really put off by the opening “meeting” – poor turkey! – and there were several times when I got pretty frustrated at Samuel. I wasn’t convinced of their long term compatibility and that detracted a bit from my enjoyment as well.  I think the whole turkey thing colored my feelings a bit and may have influenced my overall enjoyment.

 

It was very entertaining, but not my favorite story.

 

3 of 5 stars

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Hearts and Hazelnuts by Kris T. Bethke

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hearts-and-hazelnuts-by-kris-t-bethke-9103-

Blurb
Mechanic Jordan Hart is down on his luck, so he gladly accepts a temporary job servicing tractors at a hazelnut farm in Newberg, Oregon. He doesn’t expect to be attracted to his boss, Beckett Shaw. Still working on embracing his bisexuality, he’s reluctant to start anything, but Beckett’s gentle coaxing convinces Jordan to take a risk.

Beckett has vowed not to get involved with anyone until he can restore the Shaw Farms name as a leader in hazelnuts. But there’s no denying his interest in the shy mechanic who shows up at his door. Just as they begin to find a balance, outside forces threaten to tear them apart. Job opportunities force Jordan out of the Portland area he loves so much. But when danger comes too close to Beckett, Jordan must decide if he can follow his heart to the Willamette Valley… and straight back to Beckett.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States

Review
What I like about the States of Love stories is that when they are done well they give me a sense of the beauty of the place. This story did that for me. The descriptions of the beautiful scenery and the pride locals take over their identity. Hazelnuts in this case. I loved the slow burn romance between Jordan and Beckett. Both of them are strong men who need to stand on their own but at the same time can’t resist the pull of attraction between them. The only thing is that I didn’t really get a good sense of the secondary characters, such as Cory who works for Beckett. It is difficult in a novella to give space for all the characters and I’m more than happy with the main characters. Maybe Cody’s time will come in another book later.
I liked the way Jordan and Beckett’s relationship develops. There isn’t insta love but a building of friendship and trust. This is a yummy (must be the hazelnuts on my mind) low angst love story with a little intrigue to move things along. Perfect for an afternoon escape.

4 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tender Mercies by Eli Easton

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tender-mercies-by-eli-easton-8981-b

Blurb

A Men of Lancaster County Novel
Eddie Graber’s dream of a sanctuary for rescued farm animals was about to come true when his partner backed out at the last minute. Now Eddie risks losing the twenty-five acre property in Lancaster County—and all the hopes he held for it—before the project even gets off the ground. He needs help, he needs money, but most importantly, he needs to rediscover the belief in a higher purpose that brought him here in the first place.
Samuel Miller worked hard to fit into his Amish community despite his clubfoot. But when his father learns Samuel is gay, he is whipped and shunned. With just a few hundred dollars to his name, Samuel responds to an ad for a farmhand and finds himself employed by a city guy who has strange ideas about animals, no clue how to run his small farm, and a gentle heart.
Samuel isn’t the only lost soul to serendipitously find his way to Meadow Lake Farm. There’s Fred and Ginger, two cows who’d been living in a garage, a gang of sheep, and a little black pig named Benny who might be the key to life, love, money—and even a happily ever after for two castoffs.

Review

Tender mercies, by Eli Easton is really wonderful! It is full of all the wonderful characters that Eli is so good at creating and it has a compelling animal conservation story moving it forward. In some ways the animal sanctuary part of the story was hard to read, depending on how you feel about animals and rescue organizations. The ending, however, is a very happy ending, and so totally worth any tears!

I really loved Samuel’s character. He was so sweet, and earnest, and his struggle felt very authentic. I enjoyed learning about his culture and how he adapted to the “new world” offered by Eddie.

The first book was really good, but I think this might even be better! I’m really looking forward to the audiobook I hope they choose a great narrator someone who can capitalize on Samuel’s characteristics – his speech patterns, etc.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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City Boy: Hot Off The Ice Book 1 by AE Wasp

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/City-Boy-Hot-Off-Book-ebook/dp/B07339WG93/ref=la_B01FHWWJ90_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1504219480&sr=1-1

Free on KU

Blurb

Follow the money or follow your heart? Either way, you lose.

When a blown tire leads directly to mind-blowing sex with a white knight named Dakota, pro-hockey player Bryce Lowery discovers he is most definitely gay.

Being with Dakota opens up a whole new world. Bryce can’t imagine life without him. But he refuses to be Bryce’s dirty little secret. If he wants to keep Dakota, he’s either going to have to come out publicly or retire and walk away from millions of dollars.

Bryce Lowery feels like the answer to all of Dakota’s prayers. But is Dakota willing to leave the only life he’s ever known only to be thrust into the spotlight as the boyfriend of the first out gay hockey player? Would their relationship even survive it?

He’ll lose Bryce if doesn’t because Bryce will leave eventually. No one would turn down millions of dollars for a nobody with nothing.

City Boy is a first time gay, fish out of water, May/December love story with a happy ending. It features snarky siblings, a dirty-talking farmer, lots of food, and big choices. (No poultry was harmed in the making of this book.)

Review

This was just plain fun! It was sweet, had some emotionally charged moments, great chemistry, somewhat believable situations and – most importantly – Hockey!

Well, a little hockey anyway.

I loved the exploration and the tender sides we get to see of both MCs.

Highly recommended and an author I’ll now be looking for!

5 of 5 stars

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Audiobook Month: Scrap Metal by Harper Fox Narrated by Sean Gormley

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Scrap-Metal-Audiobook/B00SVUYF5M?qid=1500746130&sr=1-3

Blurb

Is there room for love in a heart full of secrets? One year ago, before Fate took a wrecking ball to his life, Nichol was happily working on his doctorate in linguistics. Now he’s hip deep in sheep, mud, and collies. His late brother and mother had been well-suited to life on Seacliff Farm. Nichol? Not so much.

As lambing season progresses in the teeth of an icy north wind, the last straw is the intruder Nichol catches in the barn. He says his name is Cam, and he’s on the run from a Glasgow gang. Something about the young man’s tired resignation touches Nichol deeply, and instead of giving him the business end of a shotgun, he offers Cam a blanket and a place to stay. Somehow, Cam quickly charms his way through Nichol’s defenses and into his heart. Even his grandfather takes to the cheeky city boy, whose hard work and good head for figures help set the farm back on its feet. As the cold Scottish springtime melts into summer, Nichol finds himself falling in love. When tragedy strikes, Cam’s resolutely held secret is finally revealed and Nichol must face the truth. He’s given his heart away, and it’s time to pay the price

Review

I first read Scrap Metal on recommendation from a friend. I’m not sure if I would have picked it up on my own. I got caught up reading it, didn’t want to stop so when I realised it was in audiobook I had to listen and I was not disappointed. Set on the Scottish Isle of Arran the story starts by painting a bleak setting. One full of hardship and grief.

This Romantic Drama is written with such depth that I felt like I was there with Nichol as he fought to find a stray sheep in the poring rain. There are so many evocative scenes in this book made even more vivid by the narration.

The pace was just right for me slow and steadily building the relationship between Nichol and Cameron as well as the mystery of why Cameron was on the Island. It is told from Nichol’s point of view and you get his despair at moving back to his childhood home after the death of his mother and brother and how the mood changes for both Nichol and his grandfather once Cam arrives. The fortune of the farm starts to turn as love blooms. Granda Harry is a wonderful curmudgeonly old character who keeps the old ways and is never wrong. For all the grumbling between Nichol and Harry you can feel the love they have for each other.

The reason I love this book more in audio is the way Harper Fox’s excellent prose is enhanced by the narration. The Scottish accents and the way it is delivered by Sean Gormley makes you feel the wind, rain, sunshine, hope and despair. I never tire of listening to this story.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review