Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Gay Handyman Heat Index Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort Insta Love m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series PTSD Standalone

Out of The Shadows by KC Wells

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/out-of-the-shadows-by-kc-wells-8704-b

Blurb

Can he step out of the shadows and into love’s light?
Eight years ago, Christian Hernandez moved to Jamaica Plain in southern Boston, took refuge in his apartment, and cut himself off from the outside world. And that’s how he’d like it to stay.
Josh Wendell has heard his coworkers gossip about the occupant of apartment #1. No one sees the mystery man, and Josh loves a mystery. So when he is hired to refurbish the apartment’s kitchen and bathrooms, Josh is eager to discover the truth behind the rumors.
When he comes face-to-face with Christian, Josh understands why Christian hides from prying eyes. As the two men bond, Josh sees past his exterior to the man within, and he likes what he sees. But can Christian find the courage to emerge from the darkness of his lonely existence for the man who has claimed his heart?

Review

I loved, loved, loved, loved this!  It was so much fun!

Both Christian and Josh are fun and interesting characters. Josh cracked me up with his bluntness and Christian won me over with his willingness to trust Josh.

I loved how flirty and fun and willing to laugh at themselves these guys were with one another. Their dialog felt authentic and really helped to make the story more plausible.

While I thought Christian’s transformation from complete recluse to “out on the town guy” was ridiculously easy, I appreciated that so much of his pain was internal and that viewed with adult eyes it might be easy to peel away.

The smexy times were nice, I wish there’d been more of them, but it felt appropriate for this series.

I was so enthralled with this I couldn’t put it down and while I was looking forward to reading it – it still managed to surprise me with how much I enjoyed it!

Highly Recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Beth Jumper Book Construction Worker Contemporary Dreamspinner Gay Handyman Heat Index Insta Love m/m Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Standalone

Something’s Brewing at Joe’s by SJD Peterson

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/somethings-brewing-at-joes-by-sjd-peterson-8629-b

Blurb

The promise of a dream job lures Murphy to Tampa, but he arrives to the rude awakening that the offer is on hold. Now he’s got two choices: slink back to Michigan with his tail between his legs or stay and look for work. Things perk up when he goes into a coffee shop and learns the owner is looking for someone to renovate the apartment above it. He happily takes the job, only later realizing he’s met Joe Sterling, Kaffeinate’s proprietor, before… when they hooked up at a club Murphy’s first night in Tampa.
Murphy and Joe are both proud, passionate, and outspoken. Neither is looking for a relationship, though they can’t deny they go together as well as coffee and doughnuts, in spite of their tempers. But that’s before Joe learns Murphy will be working for the corporation he believes is harming local businesses and the environment—and if Murphy will be supporting it, Joe wants nothing to do with him, dooming any possibility of an unexpected happy ending.

Review

This is a story about choices. Not just who you date, but where you live, who you work for and do you value the company that you work for values and work ethics.

I like that Murphy was pursuing a career dream and was not afraid to leave all that he knows to travel to the opportunity. I love how even though it wasn’t working out as planned he was making the best of it and moving forward! I loved that Kallie was such a strong character! Not afraid to take a chance on hiring Murphy, as well as speaking her mind to Joe. I liked joe but really had a problem with his jumping to conclusions. In many ways even though he had rough spots in his life it still seemed like so much came easy for him and he didn’t understand the sacrifice that Murphy made in accepting a job sight unseen moving to Florida.

SJD Peterson does a great job interweaving all of the said issues into a great story that keeps you turning the page until the end!

4 of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars 5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level BDSM Beth Jumper Book Contemporary Cowboys Dreamspinner Gay Handyman Heat Index High but not hopeless Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mary D Mid level steam/heat Music/Rock Star Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Part of a Series

Off Stage: Beyond the Footlights (Off Stage book 3) 
by Jaime Samms


release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/off-stage-beyond-the-footlights-by-jaime-samms-8563-b

Blurb

Kilmer and Jacko’s relationship has been foundering for a long time. With the end in sight and despairing that he might never find a Dom who suits him, Kilmer heads to a local bar to drown his sorrows—and meets country singer Tanner.

Tanner feels oddly protective of the broken man and eventually convinces Kilmer to hire him to help remodel the small, sad house Kilmer once shared with Jacko. As Tanner and Kilmer get to know each other, Kilmer regains his lost independence and Tanner’s dominant streak rises to the surface. But will it be a help or a hindrance to the trust they’re trying to build?

The answer might lie in the music Kilmer gave up not long after he met Jacko. Music always granted him solace, clarity, and an outlet for his emotions, and with Tanner’s encouragement, he picks up where he left off. Playing together eases them into honest communication, and though a happily ever after will still take patience and work, taking a chance on each other sounds sweeter with every note

Review by Mary

?This is book three of the Off Stage series and in my view can be read as a standalone. I haven’t read the first two books before starting this one. There is enough of the backstory provided that I didn’t feel I was missing anything. Having said that I will go back and read the others because I liked this one so much.

Kilmer and Jacko’s relationship ends at the start of the story and good riddance I say Jacko is self-centred and doesn’t look after Kilmer at all. My heart goes out to Kilmer. He has got away from the bad relationship but there are still echoes of Jacko around and he is adrift. Vance (Kilmer’s friend, boss and former lover) tries to help but it’s not what he needs. Is Tanner who he needs or is it just rebound? A way to claim a freedom he doesn’t really want. Kilmer is lost without a Dom but he can’t cope with the type of controlling relationship he had with Jacko. Tanner helps Kilmer go back to find himself, not a someone’s boy or pet but who he is. The push and pull of the relationship is terrific. Both are carrying baggage and whilst Kilmer’s is the main driver of the story Tanner’s has a big part to play as well. The BDSM is fairly minimal but it isn’t on sexy websites like porn-hd.xxx. There is one scene at the beginning and a few very light scenes but the story is mainly about the nature of the D/S relationships. Where Kilmer and Tanner do get together it is so hot and intimate just like you’d see on the Hottest clips streaming for free at Tubev Sex. Great happy ever after ending not only for Kilmer and Tanner but also Len from the first book and Trevor from the second book. Rounds the series off nicely.

5 of 5 stars!

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Review by Beth

What a great story! Jamie Simms has brought to life both the BDSM lifestyle and the healing from misplaced affections. She has shown us that people do not always do what you think they will and this has given us a great story with many thoughtful and touching scenes.

The start of the story leads us through both the trust and the need for contact that Kilmer has with Jacko. We totally see where Kilmer’s headspace is throughout the scene. We also see that there are definitely problems with the couple and as the story is told come to understand this has been going on for a long time.

The story shows that so much of a BDSM relationship is the mental spaces than it is the physical acts. We also see the interaction of all the key characters on individual scenes (not BDSM) with Kilmer that show him that everything is not just black and white.
I also liked that this story took time to develop and happen. I liked how the time line played out, it showed both the evolution of the different relationships as well the growth and healing that needed to take place before a new relationship could solidify.

Definitely can rate this a 4.5 stars!

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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book class difference College/University Construction Worker Contemporary DA Exploration Gay Handyman Heat Index Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort Insta Love Little to no angst m/m May/December May/December Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat Standalone Teacher

Strong Enough (Family Collection) Audiobook by Cardeno C Narrated by Ezekiel Robison

 

 

 

 

 

Audible Link

http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Strong-Enough-Audiobook/B01CUHRARQ/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl?qid=1494452965&sr=1-1

Blurb

When a casual hookup turns into the potential for love, staid Spencer realizes he wants to build a life with vibrant Emilio.

When twenty-two-year-old Emilio Sanchez sees handsome Spencer Derdinger walking by his construction site, Emilio makes it his goal to seduce the shy professor. Getting Spencer into bed isn’t difficult, but Emilio soon learns that earning the trust of a man deeply hurt will take time and patience. With a prize like brilliant, sweet Spencer on the line, Emilio decides he is strong enough to face the challenge.

Spencer is surprised when he’s approached by the gorgeous construction worker he’s admired from the safety of his office window. Acting spontaneously for the first time in his thirty-eight years, Spencer takes Emilio home. When the casual hookup turns into the potential for love, Spencer realizes that if he wants to build a life with Emilio, he’ll need to be strong enough to slay his personal demons and learn to trust again.

Review

This was a dark horse favorite of mine.  When I first read the e book, I liked this but I never loved it (as much as others by this author).  Later, after hearing the original audiobook by Aaron Pickering, I liked it more but I didn’t Love it.  When Ezekiel Robison re-narrated this – I fell in LOVE!

First, I absolutely love Ezekiel’s narration style and his use of accents.  OMG!  Emilio’s accent is to DIE for and is so adorable and sexy at the same time!

Second, the story itself, while 100% fantasy material, is so over the top sweet that when I find I need a comforting book to listen to – one that will warm up my heart and make me smile – even when I’m really down – this is one I turn to.  It’s just so nice and easy.  No conflict.  A fair amount of sex.  Some humor.  Great secondary characters.  It’s just all around comforting and sweet and really can turn my day around.

This book does have a bit of “tough” in it: erectile dysfunction, rape, bigotry. But it definitely doesn’t overwhelm the story. It only enhances it.   There’s a lot of humor –  I laughed out loud at the “do you have to wear flip-flops to those meetings?” comment and the “blow-job discussion”.

As for the audio, Ezekiel Robison ROCKED Emilio’s accent and the Spanish pronunciations- especially carino – *swoon!   I absolutely loved this narration and highly recommend it as well as the others done by the same narrator. I don’t LOVE Spencer’s voice as much as Emilio’s, but I think it suits him.  

If you’re looking for something to lift your spirits, if you’re a fan of the author or the narrator, if you love nerd/jock pairings – this is the book for you!  You won’t be disappointed.

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased For Review

 

Categories
3.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Anna Anthology BDSM Bi-Sexual Book Christmas coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay Handyman Heat Index Homophobia m/m m/m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat New Year's Eve Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Politics S & M Standalone Thanksgiving

Dreamspinner Year 9, Greatest Hits by: Anna Martin, Kim Fielding, Grace R. Duncan, Sean Michael, Michael Murphy

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/dreamspinner-press-year-nine-greatest-hits-8436-b

Blurb:

Enjoy a selection of the greatest hits of gay romance published by Dreamspinner Press combined into one exclusive volume: by Anna Martin: Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me, a story of a boy who he wanted to marry his best friend at age six, and the journey that finally gets them there; by Sean Michael: The New Boy, a romance between a shy photographer new to the scene and an experienced model and Dom; by Grace R. Duncan: Beautiful boy, about a Dom with a hurtful past and the sub who shows him love again; by Kim Fielding: Rattlesnake, where a drifter on a quest finds hope and a home; and by Michael Murphy: The President’s Husband, in which the first openly gay president and first husband of the United States must deal with the pressures of their demanding new jobs.

Review:
This is a great collection of Dreamspinner titles, which I would warmly recommend. It contains something for everyone and I very much enjoyed reading it. It contains 5 full length novels by different authors.

Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me, Anna Martin – 3.5 stars
Sweet friends to lovers story about Scott and Evan, who grew up together. We see the boys in different stages of their lives from around 8 years old and up to they are approaching 30. The story is told through 5 time jumps, each containing the story of a kiss. Super sweet story, but a bit too slow for my liking. Still recommendable though.

(Previously reviewed here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/five-times-my-best-friend-kissed-me-audiobook-by-anna-martin-narrated-by-jesse-cota/)

The New Boy, Sean Michael – 2 stars
This one wasn’t for me. The plot is basically a porn movie. A photographer has to take some pictures of fetish models, the models arrive and everyone starts having sex. The photographer is hesitant, but end up being coerced to join.
Sean Michael and I, rarely mesh, so it wasn’t a surprise that this one didn’t really work for me. The sex to plot ratio is too high, and although the sex is hot, and I have no issue with porn, neither in written or movie variety, I appreciate a bit more plot in my romance novels. Also, there’s a big difference between being a Dominant and being an arrogant asshat who believes he knows better than everyone, including his submissive, and Tide is the last type, not the first.

(Link to blurb here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27506896-the-new-boy?from_search=true)

Beautiful Boy, Grace R. Duncan – 4 stars
Hot BDSM sex and internal angsting are the two main ingredients in this story about Mal, who lost his sub to a serial killer and thereby lost his confidence as a Dom, and Kyle, the closeted submissive who is never good enough for anyone. The story is steamy and sweet and I would definitely pick up other books by Ms. Duncan based on this one.

(Link to blurb here:  https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/27266145-beautiful-boy)

Rattlesnake, Kim Fielding – 5 stars
Brilliant slow moving, character driven love story about two middle aged scarred men. If you do not fall in love with Jimmy and Shane, your heart is a hell of a lot harder than mine! I loved this story and will warmly recommend it to everyone.

(Previously Reviewed here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/rattlesnake-audiobook-by-kim-fielding-narrated-by-kc-kelly/)

The President’s Husband, Michael Murphy – 3 stars
This started out interesting, but ended up feeling a bit too trite. The characters were to stereotypical “good” or “bad” and there wasn’t enough communication between the two MCs. They had been married for ten years, I expected more from them as a couple. Also I couldn’t really get on board with the idea that a first spouse could actually continue his work just as before. I would have thought it would have been too much of a security risk. The conflict was a bit over the top and the resolution and ending too rushed. I enjoyed the premise of the story and the writing though, and would try something from this author again.

(Previously Reviewed here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/the-presidents-husband-audiobook-by-michael-murphy-narrated-by-randy-fuller/)

Overall Impression: 3.5 out of 5 stars (each story has separate ratings)

3.5-stars-small

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Categories
4.5 stars Actor/Theatre adult - 18+ Asexual Beth Jumper Book Contemporary Friends to lovers Gay Handyman m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Misunderstanding NetGalley New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Part of a Series Riptide Publishing second chance at love Trans

For A Good Time Call (Bluewater Bay #17)by Anne Tenino and EJ Russell – Review by Beth!

release day review

Riptide Presents (tomorrow!)

http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/for-a-good-time-call

Blurb

Thirty-seven-year-old Nate Albano’s second relationship ever ended three years ago, and since he’s grace—gray asexual—he doesn’t anticipate beating the odds to find a third. Still, he’s got his dog, his hobbies, and his job as a special effects technician on Wolf’s Landing, so he can’t complain—much.

Seth Larson, umpteenth generation Bluewater Bay, is the quintessential good-time guy, content with tending bar and being his grandmother’s handyman. The night they meet, Seth’s looking for some recreational sex to escape family drama. But for Nate, romantic attraction comes before sexual attraction, so while Seth thinks they’re hooking up, Nate just wants to talk . . . genealogy?

Dude. Seriously?

So they declare a “just friends” truce. Then Seth asks for Nate’s help investigating a sinister Larson family secret, and their feelings start edging way beyond platonic. But Nate may want more than Seth can give him, and Seth may not be able to leave his good-time image behind. Unless they can find a way to merge carefree with commitment, they could miss out on true love—the best time of all.

Review by Beth!

Let me say I love this series! I’ve read most of them so the references to the secondary characters just fits right in.
Seth, who seems to be just drifting along in life, always up to have an itch scratched is suddenly faced with Nate, an asexual character that is sub classified as a grace. Someone who needs the romance before the sex, to put it simply. So when they meet Seth sees one thing and Nate sees something completely different. And off they go from there.
There are a couple of sub stories included, Nate and his relationships with others close to him. Seth and his relationships with his family. And the town founders history and how it all ties up to Seth’s family. So you have a story that keeps you guessing, has angst, has secrets, has control issues and a HEA. In someways it almost seems like there is too much going on. I think one or two of the subplots could have been left out and still been a great story.

4.5 stars of 5 

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  Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Audiobook Book Construction Worker Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay Handyman Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

David, Renewed (Book 1) Audiobook by Diana Copland Narrator Michael Pauley

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/david-renewed-by-diana-copland-8188-b

Blurb

When interior designer David Snyder buys a beautiful century-old house in eastern Washington, he is reeling with heartbreak and looking for somewhere to put down roots. Unfortunately his new home comes with a laundry list of problems: electrical, plumbing, heating… things David knows nothing about. When his mother offers him the business card of a local handyman, David pictures an overweight, balding man in his fifties. But Jackson Henry couldn’t be further from that stereotype.

Dark-haired, muscular, and handsome, Jackson left a large construction firm in Seattle to take care of his sick mother. However, his hometown still has an active “good old boy” network, and finding employment in construction is almost impossible for an openly gay man. Determined to persevere, Jackson takes odd jobs as a handyman. He’s exactly what David needs—in more ways than one.

David isn’t ready for his attraction to Jackson, not considering the way his last relationship ended. But as the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear that the heart often knows best, and it rewards those willing to listen.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

What a sweet, sexy and sentimental book! I just loved this so much! This is kind of a mutual hurt/comfort story about two guys who’ve had it a bit rough. David’s ex is really an asshole and he (later) really turns out to be more than just a bad break up. Jackson’s family makes his life hard and makes him feel inadequate. Together, with the help of their wonderful mothers, the two find their place in life and love.

I thought the romance was sweet, organic and sensual. The bit with David’s ex was a bit OTT but… it also reminds us that this stuff can happen in real life and it pays to be safe.

The stuff about the houses was interesting too. Having been a homeowner, I could relate to the never ending list of fixes and thought that having a new handyman boyfriend would be any homeowner’s secret fantasy!

I loved David’s mom and that David was unapologetic about it and that Jackson appreciated it too. The solution that they find at the end is perfect and we get a lovely sense of the coming couples (I’m talking about you Gil!) in future books.

If you want a fairly low angst, high romance story – this is for you!

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

Michael Pauley is an excellent narrator. He has a great sense of timing and emotion and knows how to give the right emphasis on words and phrases to really draw a listener in. I liked the voices he selected for David and Jackson and felt the females and other secondary characters were excellent as well.

This is a great way to enjoy this great story.

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4.75 (rounded to 5) of 5 stars

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Categories
3.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level artists Audiobook Book coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Fade to black/No Steam Gay GFY/OFY Handyman Heat Index Homophobia Little to no angst m/m Morgan Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Opposites attract Part of a Series Virgin

Behr Facts (A Foothills Pride Story) Audiobook by Pat Henshaw narrated by David Ross

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/behr-facts-by-pat-henshaw-8141-b

Blurb

Big, burly CEO Abe Behr is dismayed to discover someone—possibly a family member—is stealing from Behr Construction, which primarily employs Behr relatives. Abe takes the unprecedented step of hiring an outsider, likeable CPA Jeff Mason, to go over the books and help find the culprit. They are drawn to each other as they talk to workers, including Abe’s two younger brothers and their shifty cousin.

Since he has sacrificed romance all his life to build the business, Abe’s surprised by his feelings for the handsome Jeff. He’s even more shocked when they are confronted by bigotry in the Sierra Nevada foothills community, which is being inundated by gays moving from the San Francisco area. As he and Jeff get closer, Abe must come to grips with coming out to a family and community that aren’t very tolerant. Fortunately, being the head Behr helps him find his footing and grab onto love when it bites him.

Review

(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

Abe Behr is the oldest of the three Behrs that run the construction company in town. Since his father’s death, Abe has been fighting his cousin and the economy to keep things in the black. Abe keeps things simple. He sticks to family ties and follows the old traditions of hard work paying off. He’s kept the company running all this time but lately there have been supplies and money missing. He’s on the verge of losing the company unless he asks for help. He enlists Jeff Mason, an accountant to help him figure things out.

Jeff has come to Abe highly recommended, even though Jeff belongs to a family the Behrs have “fought with” for decades.

Though it doesn’t always feel right, Jeff and Abe eventually figure out just where the money is going. They also manage to help one young man find his career path and come out, avoid a battle between the gays and the bigots in town and find themselves in love.

**

This is the third book in the series. If you’ve read books one and two, you know some of the players – they come back to visit. Abe considers himself asexual – but we find out that may not really be the truth. The delivery in this story is unique and from Abe’s simplistic view point. It’s another “fade to black” as far as sex goes and Abe and Jeff only get together in the very end.

On the one hand I really like Abe and Jeff as a couple. Abe is simple and plain and down to earth. It’s wonderful watching his metamorphosis and really, my only complaint is that the book ends too soon. I really wish we’d gotten to see more of Abe and Jeff as a couple.

This is really more about Abe’s self discovery and only a bit about their romance. It’s a lovely “coming of age” story in that Abe and his brother and friend really do find themselves at last.

So… as a story I’d give it a 4 of 5 as a romance a 3.

If you’ve enjoyed the other books in the series you’ll enjoy this and if you haven’t read the others you won’t be lost. Abe’s story is cute and unique and very appealing.

Audio

David Ross has a voice that is very easy to listen to and the sound quality is expert. He reads this book nicely, but, he doesn’t add much to the story.

I’d have liked to have some emotion, some voice differentiation, a bit more inflection added to give this somewhat “quiet” story a little something more entertaining.

He didn’t detract from the story but he didn’t add anything either.

3 of 5 stars

Overall 3 of 5 stars

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Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Book Contemporary DA Dreamspinner Gay GFY/OFY Handyman Heat Index Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort Insta Love m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Porn star second chance at love

Tartan Candy Audiobook By KC Burn Narrated by David Ross

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tartan-candy-by-kc-burn-7783-b
o-tartan-candyBlurb

Finlay McIntyre (aka Raven) is a successful adult film star with a penchant for kilts, until an accident cuts short his stardom and leaves him with zero sexual desire, lowered self-esteem, and no job. He knew his porn career wouldn’t last forever, but he wasn’t prepared for retirement at twenty-eight. While trying to figure out the rest of his life, Raven agrees to attend a high school reunion. That’s when a malfunctioning AC unit in his hotel room changes everything.

Caleb Sanderson, an entrepreneur with his own HVAC business, has no idea what to expect when he steps into Raven’s hotel room to fix his AC unit. They’re attracted to each other, but Caleb, closeted, can’t afford a gay relationship, not with his mom pressuring him to produce grandchildren. If he wants to keep Raven—who no closet could hold—he’ll need to tell his family the truth. But Raven has a few secrets of his own. He refuses to reveal his porn past to Caleb, a past that might be the final obstacle to Caleb and Raven having any kind of relationship.

Review
(Book Reviewed Here Previously)

Raven is an ex-porn star who never regretted his profession. He gets injured in a way that leaves horrible scarring and the result is an end to his career and a huge dent in his self-esteem. He takes jobs as an escort – minus the sex – to make ends meet and that’s where he meets Caleb.

Caleb is in the closet, an HVAC expert and hot. He fixes Raven’s AC one night and the two strike up a slow burn attraction/relationship.

The chemistry between them is heated, but Caleb’s reluctance to come out and Raven’s personal fears keep them apart for a bit.

Eventually they give in to temptation and they find that there’s more to their attraction than lust and they begin to build a relationship. But… they’re both hiding things and when those things come out it may be the end of their budding relationship.

**

There were parts of this that I just loved: the slow burn, the chemistry between the two, the very real feel to Raven’s emotions and his own ability to recognize his own vanity/needs as far as the spotlight goes, Caleb’s desire to be a “good son” and the Romance Convention connection.

Things that I didn’t like as much: I didn’t quite understand Caleb’s need to be in the closet in the first place, nor did I understand exactly why Raven hid his career for so long, and I thought the ending was abrupt – both in the climactic fight and subsequent forgiveness.

All in all, it was a captivating read with characters I really enjoyed, steamy sex, interesting secondary characters and a sweet love story.

Highly recommended 4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

David Ross is a new to me narrator.  The easiest way I can describe his narration style is : vanilla.  He added not much flair or accents to differentiate the rich and diverse cast of characters (this is set in Florida and Jaime is a main secondary character and he’s given a hint of an accent while neither Caleb nor Raven have much of one at all), though it was always easy to tell who was speaking.  He was not exactly flat in his narration style, but he didn’t have that extra polish that we see in some of the best narrators.  He was perfectly easy to listen to and never bothered me, so that definitely counts in his favor.  All in all I’d place him slightly a bit above acceptable into “good” territory.  I wouldn’t seek him out in particular but I’d absolutely listen to him again.

3.5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

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Categories
4.5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay Handyman Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Part of a Series Purchased

David, Renewed (Book 1) by Diana Copland

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/david-renewed-by-diana-copland-7541-b

31573244Blurb

When interior designer David Snyder buys a beautiful century-old house in eastern Washington, he is reeling with heartbreak and looking for somewhere to put down roots. Unfortunately his new home comes with a laundry list of problems: electrical, plumbing, heating… things David knows nothing about. When his mother offers him the business card of a local handyman, David pictures an overweight, balding man in his fifties. But Jackson Henry couldn’t be further from that stereotype.
Dark-haired, muscular, and handsome, Jackson left a large construction firm in Seattle to take care of his sick mother. However, his hometown still has an active “good old boy” network, and finding employment in construction is almost impossible for an openly gay man. Determined to persevere, Jackson takes odd jobs as a handyman. He’s exactly what David needs—in more ways than one.

David isn’t ready for his attraction to Jackson, not considering the way his last relationship ended. But as the two men get to know each other, it becomes clear that the heart often knows best, and it rewards those willing to listen.

Review

What a sweet, sexy and sentimental book! I just loved this so much! This is kind of a mutual hurt/comfort story about two guys who’ve had it a bit rough. David’s ex is really an asshole and he (later) really turns out to be more than just a bad break up. Jackson’s family makes his life hard and makes him feel inadequate. Together, with the help of their wonderful mothers, the two find their place in life and love.

I thought the romance was sweet, organic and sensual. The bit with David’s ex was a bit OTT but… it also reminds us that this stuff can happen in real life and it pays to be safe.

The stuff about the houses was interesting too. Having been a homeowner, I could relate to the never ending list of fixes and thought that having a new handyman boyfriend would be any homeowner’s secret fantasy!

I loved David’s mom and that David was unapologetic about it and that Jackson appreciated it too. The solution that they find at the end is perfect and we get a lovely sense of the coming couples (I’m talking about you Gil!) in future books.

If you want a fairly low angst, high romance story – this is for you!

 

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review