Categories
Angst Level Book coming of age Contemporary Enemies to Lovers Gay Halloween Heat Index High School Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Part of a Series Purchased second chance at love

Another Shot by JH Knight (Heartsville Series)

another shotBlurb

The town of Heartsville means something different to everyone who lives there. For Aaron Forester, it’s a gay-friendly buffer between himself and the rest of the world. After being outed in high school and bullied to the point of violence, his family uprooted their lives and relocated to the small hamlet. He’s moved on from all that and now owns a popular café in the bustling shopping district. But after twenty years of happy living, Aaron’s past creeps up on him in the most unexpected way.

Brad Collins only has one regret and he’s carried it with him since he was a teenager. When he moves to Heartsville and gets set up on a blind date with the most adorable, engaging man he’s met in a long time, he couldn’t be happier. But Brad didn’t expect the guy to be the person he outed in high school—whom he’s now falling in love with.

Aaron and Brad hit it off instantly—in and out of the bedroom. But after a long overdue apology and a small serving of resentment, is their fledgling relationship worth another shot?

Review

Aaron goes on a blind date set up by his sister and meets an amazing man, Brad. They click. Right away. They take it slowly. Texts, phone calls, dates… then they get physical. In the morning… Brad’s gone. Just like that. Aaron is devastated.

When Brad finally contacts Aaron he has an awful story to share. The question is: Can Aaron let go of the past? Can he forgive and forget?

**

This was another great book in the Heartsville series. Aaron and his sister have a great relationship (we met both of them in Bookmarked) and when she sets Aaron up, he trusts her judgment. Later, when his world is crashing down, she has terrific advice that helps him to make the right decision. She’s a great character and I hope we see more of her.

I didn’t get much of a vision of Brad, he seems nice enough and Aaron was a sweet-heart, but to me the important part of this story is Aaron’s healing and how he and his sister move through that together.

Aaron and Brad had great chemistry and I was pleased with their HEA, but I wished for more time with them as a couple, and more time getting to know Brad.

I’ve really been enjoying this series and I highly recommend it.

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Amazon link

http://www.amazon.com/Another-Shot-Heartsville-J-H-Knight-ebook/dp/B0164QH4CK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1446218689&sr=8-1&keywords=heartsville

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Baseball Contemporary Dreamspinner Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock Heat Index Hidden Lovers High School m/m Mild level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Scorching/high heat second chance at love Sports

Caught Running Audiobook by Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux Narrated by Jeff Gelder

CaughtRunningAUDmedBlurb

Ten years after graduation, Jake “the jock” Campbell and Brandon “the nerd” Bartlett are teaching at their old high school and still living in separate worlds. When Brandon is thrown into a coaching job on Jake’s baseball team, they find themselves learning more about each other than they’d ever expected. High school is all about image – even for the teachers. Brandon and Jake have to get past their preconceived notions to find the friendship needed to work together. And somewhere along the way, they discover that perceptions can always change for the better.

Review

Brandon and Jake were never friends nor really enemies in high school, simply occupants of totally different social spheres. Ten years later they are both teaching at their old high school and things are looking a lot different than they did back then.

Brandon, who was home schooled for much of his schooling, was never a “team” type of guy. But, he’s still an athlete. When the school needs a coach to help with the winning baseball team, new teacher Brandon is pressed into service.

Jake is very skeptical of Brandon’s “help” in the coaching department, but after seeing the guy run, he re-evaluates. They end up kind of working really well together as coaches, and that slowly blossoms into more.

It’s a slow-burn, but both are aware of the other physically, more than just friends. It takes an act of bravery on Jake’s part to test the waters, but once he does the two barely come up for air!

These are still tough times, and nobody can find out about them… and are they willing to even admit how important they are to each other?

**

I really loved this and it was my first audiobook that I bought in the m/m genre. It’s an easy read. Very low angst, very hot sex, fun dialog, quirky MCs and in general just a light fun book.

Now that I’ve read a ton more in this genre, and have come to expect a bit more from it, I can say that there are things that could be done to improve it – ie make these guys move past the ILYs to the nitty gritty living life in secret as co-workers, dealing with Jake’s pain management, coming to grips with Brandon’s life ambitions… lots of heavy “issues” that got fairly well brushed under the rug at the end of the book and left as things to be dealt with “later”.

I think that, as authors, both Madeleine Urban and Abigail Roux definitely grew and improved as they published more books, but as far as a fun, light books go – this still ranks among the top!

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

Jeff Gelder isn’t my favorite author, and as has been pointed out in other reviews, he makes many mistakes with this narration. In addition, his tone is rather flat or sometimes takes on an up note that doesn’t fit the story.   In any case, it isn’t horrible, but it’s not great, and other narrators could’ve definitely done a better job.

Regardless, I still highly recommend this book and as a way to enjoy this without reading it, this narration will absolutely get the job done.

So for the book and the narration a solid 4 of 5 stars.

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(Copy purchased for review)

 

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Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Basketball College/University coming of age Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Friends to lovers Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers High School Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Sports Virgin

The Locker Room Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Sean Crisden


locker roomBlurb

Xander Karcek has only wanted two things in his life: Christian Edwards and basketball—the man he loves and the game that let him escape a childhood he’d rather forget. His two obsessions have served him well. He and Chris beat the odds and stayed together through high school, college, and right on to the NBA. But life under fame’s microscope isn’t easy, especially when two men are pretending to be frat-buddies so the world doesn’t know they’re the next best thing to married. Their relationship survives the sacrifices they make and the lies they tell to stay together, but when their secret is exposed, the fallout might destroy them when nothing else could. Chris and basketball are the two things holding Xander together. Now the world is asking Xander to make a choice. Is there an option that includes a future with the man he loves?

Review

I feel like this story is so well known and beloved that everyone knows what it’s about and it’s hard to remember a time when I hadn’t read it or had it affect me.

But I know that’s not entirely true, and somewhere there are readers out there who have yet to experience the amazement that is this story.

So…

Xander is poor, pretty much raising himself as a teenager, keeping out of the way from mom’s “boyfriends” who want to steal his money and slap him around. The only thing that gives him any hope in the world are basketball and his “friend” Christian Edwards.

Chris is your typical all-American boy, a great family at home including a little sister, who meets a young boy playing basketball one day and sort of “adopts” him into his life and his family.

When Xander’s mother’s latest man friend forces Xander on to the streets Chris’ and Xander hatch a plan for him to work and go to school and live on his own. This lasts for a little while until exhaustion and hunger make him collapse one day on the courts, driving him to first move to a group home then later the Edwards’ house.

Everything would be perfect but for one thing: Xander and Chris have realized that they are more than friends. They don’t act upon it. A sense of morality keeps them to furtive kisses until they’re 18.

Basketball treats them both well, and sends them to be roommates in college. There, the fact that they’re so good works against them. Instead of living together as roommates as they’d dreamed, their skill lands them in the house of the varsity team, forcing them to keep their love quiet yet again.

When graduation comes they have to make the miraculous occur and get drafted by the same NBA team… they manage it, but at a cost. They can’t be gay and in the NBA. So, they manage an arrangement that … well, let’s just say they end up having to do more than just show up with a woman now and again to look like the straight celebrity athletes they are.

Finally, after years of hiding and the shame from denying their true nature, disaster strikes, eliminating basketball for one of them but opening the door to their future at the same time.

**

This book. GAH! I’ve read and listened to it so many times, and each and every time I am TORN OPEN. It is so gut-wrenching. They love each other so damn much and their pain kills me. Unlike some romances where them finding love is at least one if not the main obstacle, keeping their love quiet is the only focus in the book.

Probably the part of the story that guts me the worst is the part when they’re teenagers and Xander is living by himself and Chris’ mom finds out just how he’s been doing that… GOD I cry like a baby every time.

Then, there’s the nights the boys have to “fake it” to convince the media they are straight. It’s so heartbreaking!

Finally there’s the ending, which ends up being so bittersweet, but that interview they do with Barbara WaWa… bawling!

Amy’s ability to grab your heart and make it bleed is profound and amazing. She has such a way with emotion and finding just the right small thing to focus upon which manages to impart the greatest impact.

These guys are so well written that they feel real celebrities to me – they’ve made appearances in her other books as well as some guest appearances in other author’s works- it’s as if they are truly part of basketball history.

I know Amy has mentioned a book two for these guys and I know I for one would LOVE that. They need more time and we need to see Chris healed and give them their reward for all their years of silence.

Audio

Sean Crisden is just awesome! He is one of my favorite narrators and he does an amazing job here. Xander is just so stolid and stoic and Chris is just the right amount of peppy and growly. This is an absolute joy to listen to.

6 of 5 stars! A true M/M must read.

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(Copy Purchased for Review)

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Categories
Angst Level Audiobook Bi-Sexual College/University Contemporary Dreamspinner Exploration Friends to lovers Gay Geek/Jock GFY/OFY Heat Index High School Homophobia m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat New Adult Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Purchased Sports Virgin Wrestling young adult

Superhero Audiobook by Eli Easton Narrated by Tristan Wright

 

SuperheroAUDMEDBlurb

It’s not easy for a young gay artist like Jordan Carson to grow up in Jefferson, Wisconsin, where all anyone seems to care about in middle school and high school are the sports teams. But Jordan was lucky. He met Owen Nelson in the second grade, and they’ve been BFFs ever since. Owen is a big, beautiful blond and their school’s champion wrestler. No one messes with Owen, or with anyone close to him, and he bucks popular opinion by keeping Jordan as his wingman even after Jordan comes out at school.

Their friendship survives, but Jordan’s worst enemy may be himself: he can’t seem to help the fact that he is head-over-heels in love with a hopeless case—his straight friend, Owen. Owen won’t let anything take Jordan’s friendship away, but he never counted on Jordan running off to find a life of his own. Owen will have to face the nature of their relationship if he’s to win Jordan back.

Review

Owen and Jordy have been friends since forever. Jordy is the arty, small boy to Owen’s large, jock, wrestling counterpart. When Jordy comes out Owen protects him and together they make a comic about a superhero who looks suspiciously like Owen with a counterpart who is suspiciously like Jordy.

Once, in a swimming pool, things between Jordy and Owen crossed the line – but Owen wasn’t ready for something like that, so it gets “tabled”. They remain friends, and in fact the three of them (Jordy, Owen and Emily – Owen’s long standing girl friend) remain tight throughout high school.

Eventually these guys face graduation and moving on to college. It’s at this crossroads that Owen must decide where his loyalties lie. Emily has decided on Smith – no wrestling there!- and her own career path. Owen had thought Jordy and he would be together forever, but when Jordy chooses something different, Owen has to come to grips with the fact that he can do without a lot of things – Jordy isn’t one of them.

**

You know I’m a huge Eli Easton fan (all my previous reviews can be found here:  http://kimichanexperience.com/?s=Eli+Easton or on GoodReads https://www.goodreads.com/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&query=Eli+Easton), so this was right up there among the top titles of favorite books. The best part is that though it is YA, there’s an appropriate amount of hot smexy times, done just like Eli knows how to do ‘em!

The HEA and feels in this book are wonderful, as are the very well developed MCs and secondary characters.

Eli’s writing is always crisp and flowing, smart and engaging. She makes you laugh and say “awwww” every time.

“Say yes, Jordan,” he said, shifting closer.
“No,” I said.
Owen smiled. “Close enough.” And then he kissed me.”

I highly recommend this to any fan of the GFY/friends-to-lovers theme, don’t be dissuaded by the age, it’s just as hot as you’d want it to be!

 

Audio

Tristan Wright is a new narrator to me, but he does an excellent job with the narration. He doesn’t do anything over the top as far as voicing or acting goes, but he’s easy to listen to and does a nice job with the emotions and making the story come to life.

 

5 of 5 stars

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(Copy purchased for review)

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