Going Overboard (Anchor Point #5) by L.A. Witt

On February 5! 

Riptide Presents
https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/going-overboard

Blurb

Second-class petty officers Dalton Taylor and Chris Ingram have been best friends since coxswain’s school. Now they’re stationed together in the harbor patrol unit of NAS Adams. They’re content as friends, but secretly, they both ache for more. Neither makes a move, though; while Dalton is out and proud, Chris is closeted—even from his best friend.

Then another coxswain’s negligence nearly drowns Dalton. After a taste of how easily they could lose each other, neither man can keep his feelings hidden anymore, and it turns out love and sex come easy when you’re falling for your best friend.

Things aren’t just heating up between the friends-turned-lovers, though. The Navy is investigating the accident, and the harbor patrol chief isn’t going to let his star coxswain go down for dereliction of duty, even if saving him means throwing Dalton under the bus.

As the threats and gaslighting pile up, Chris and Dalton need each other more than ever—as shipmates, friends, and lovers. But if their chief prevails, the only way they can save their careers is to let each other go.

Review

This is another solid “friends to lovers in the military” from LA Witt. As usual her in depth knowledge of the military is amazing and detailed and really makes the story feel authentic.

I thought the brain injury part of the story was the most compelling piece and Dalton’s struggle to regain his “sea legs” was heartbreaking at times.

I was underwhelmed by the romance – it was nice, full of smexy times and supportive – but I felt it took a backseat to the rest of the obstacles in the story.

If you’ve been a fan of this series you’ll enjoy this as well. It can be read as a standalone and I think the non-romance parts of this carry the story enough for it to be worth the read.

4 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: Going Commando (Heathens Ink #2) by K.M. Neuhold Narrated by Cooper North

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Going-Commando-Audiobook/B077J6B6GK?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=EX3V2EX6F2FT4KDR9Q7E&

Blurb: “I never thought I could want anyone as much as I wanted Nash, then I met you”~Royal
When I was sixteen I was afflicted with a terrible curse…I fell in love with my straight best friend. I never thought I’d move past my feelings for Nash and find someone who could love me in return, until the day a gorgeous marine plopped himself down in my chair and asked me to ink him. I’m falling fast for Zade, but my feelings for Nash are still very real. When life starts getting complicated and Nash speaks the words I never thought I’d hear, the only thing I want is for us to find a way to make this work…together.

“What if I told you, you’d never have to choose?”~Zade
I thought I’d stay in the marines for life, that was the plan. But after a traumatic event I couldn’t make myself re-enlist when my contract was up. Confused and unsure what to do next I called up my best friend for a place to stay. What I didn’t count on was my best friend’s boyfriend practically throwing a sexy tattoo artist at me to keep me busy. Royal is everything I’ve ever wanted and his roommate, Nash, is starting to grow on me, too.

“A few weeks ago I thought I was straight. Now I’m sandwiched between two sweaty men. Can’t say I do anything half-assed.” ~Nash
Of course I’ve noticed that my best friend, Royal is crazy good looking. I have eyes, that doesn’t mean I’m into guys. Although, when I start to notice that his new boyfriend, Zade, is pretty hot too, that makes me start to question things a little. Not to mention the dreams I keep having of the three of us together. I’m willing to try if they are.

**This is NOT a love triangle, just good old fashioned man-on-man-on-man love

**Every book in the Heathens Ink series can be read as a stand-alone, but it’s way more fun to read them in order.

Book Review by Anna:
(Book reviewed here previously)
K.M. Neuhold was a new to me author, but I will be looking at her back catalogue after reading this very enjoyable installment in her Heathens Ink series.

Royal is in love with his best friend since childhood, Nash. Unfortunately Nash is straight, so Royal needs to move on, instead of having threesomes with him and women, just in order to get a chance to suck Nash’s dick.
When he meets Zade the attraction is instantaneous and the two hit it off, both in and out of the bedroom and for the first time in his life, Royal actually sees himself getting serious with someone. And wouldn’t you know it, the first time Royal finds himself in love with someone who can actually return his feelings, is also the time Nash realises he may not be as straight as he thought!
The guys are hot and heavy together and the sex is steamy as all get out **fanning myself**. The transition from two to three is enjoyably smooth and problem free with out any angsting and hardly any outside conflicts about the arrangement either.
Personally I would have preferred the societal biasses against such a set up being explored and more on Zade’s past instead of the Liam side plot, but the author’s choice still made for an enjoyable read. The writing flows nicely and the prose is easily read and very engaging. It’s a lovely little story, with very little angst, which is quite impressive as some very heavy topics are touched upon.

My only other niggle was the character names. All of the Heathen Ink employees and partners have maddeningly similar ‘stereotypical alpha male’ names: Nash, Zade, Gage, Thane, Madden… But that is just me, and I got over it pretty quickly.

All in all I would recommend this book and I will be looking up the first one in the series too and will definitely want to read Adams story when that is released.

Overall Impression: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Book Review by Morgan

I’m going to have to agree with Anna here on almost every point!

I thought the lack of angst was both a blessing and a curse. I think Nash’s “conversion” felt natural and didn’t need a lot of fanfare, however – I think the link between Nash and Zane could have used some fleshing out to be a bit more “believable”.
While I absolutely LOVED the addition of Liam to the story, there was way too much brushed under the carpet in a way that made things look way too easy. With such weighty subjects like youth and transgender and runaways or even bisexual bias and issues of being in a thouple– I felt more time spent on any or all of these as issues would have made for a more complete story. Definitely would have added to my “heart strings” moments.
I also wasn’t as pulled into the “throuple” as a success by the end of the book. Part of me wished that this was either about Nash and Royal or Royal and Zane first…. Then a more involved book that showed them opening up the relationship to the other. It was just a bit too easy and fast to be anything but superficial and while I still enjoyed it – I didn’t “believe” it as much as I could have.
Another thing that bothered me was the total wishy washy way in which Nash’s mother addressed Liam and Nash in her kitchen. One moment she’s preaching about women’s influence and being responsible and then it’s dropped to never be an issue again.
What absolutely MADE this book for me was Royal and his inner dialog – he’s hysterical! One thing he does with regularity is thank God for things like “making beautiful men like Zane. Love Royal. Amen” Or when he sees Nash and Zane kissing “Dear God… Seriously, good job. Love, Royal. Amen.” Royal is a fabulous character and he made this book easily go from a 3 to a 4+ star book.
I was glad to see there are more books on the way and I hope Owen’s story is soon!

Highly recommended to fans of the author and this series, definitely for fans of ménage, this can be read as a standalone easily.

4.25 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

Audio

It’s hard to juggle a ménage when it comes to narration and I think Cooper North does an admirable job keeping everyone separate. His voice is really husky and suits the overall theme of this series and I like listening to it. Though he could do more to add differentiation to all the MANY characters, I think it’s easy enough to know which person is speaking.
I like his pacing and the emotions he infuses into the narration and think this is a great way to enjoy this story!

Recommended!

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars

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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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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review
 

Families: The Guy From Glamour by Skylar M Cates


GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/19373304-the-guy-from-glamour?from_search=true

Blurb

Anthony Carrino loves his big, gregarious Italian-American family, even if his sisters are interfering, and his dad, the local sheriff, knows everything going on in town. He’s happy as a middle school guidance counselor. Despite helping kids and their parents fix their problems, Anthony can’t manage to get his own love life right. If only everyone would stop calling him the “nice” guy.

Dean Pierce doesn’t do relationships. A tough-minded military man, he is dedicated to his job as a Night Stalker, flying Chinook helicopters and not speaking much to anybody. He certainly doesn’t want to deal with a mess of emotions. But when tragedy strikes, Dean finds his hands full with his troubled niece, her irresistible guidance counselor, and a meddlesome family, which includes a rather large puppy.

Review
I love this kind of story where the big silent loner finds family and love. For a guy that doesn’t do relationships he now has to look after his teenage niece Nicki. His panic at being in this situation is palpable. Anthony is there for both of them. Although Anthony has just got out of a bad relationship and is not looking to get into another he is drawn to Dean. I liked the way both of them were conscious of Nicki’s feelings throughout the slow romance. There are a wonderful cast of secondary characters from the members of Anthony’s family who are loud and loving to friends of Anthony and Dean. This is a lovely family/ new single parent story. I especially like it is with a young teenager rather than a small child or a baby.
I don’t think I’ve listened to anything by Matt Baca before. I liked his voice. He gave Dean a nice rumbling sound although Anthony sounded a bit young. Anthony’s twin sisters Gina and Mia were performed quite well. There were times when it felt more like the story was being read to me rather than performed but overall he does a pretty good job.
A nice light family / opposites attract story I enjoyed listening to.

4 stars out of 5

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Family: Family Unit by ZA Maxfield Audiobook Narrated by JP Handler

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Family-Unit-Z-Maxfield-ebook/dp/B007ND7F5A/ref=sr_1_20?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1509835880&sr=1-20&keywords=za+maxfiel

Blurb
A retired marine, Logan is methodical and conservative. Richard is a liberal pacifist who is pathologically afraid of guns. Yet the minute Logan sets eyes on Richard, his heart turns over like an old car engine and it isn’t long before his motor is revved and Richard is in the driver’s seat—even if it seems like each man is driving a different car.

Richard Hunter is parenting his grandson, and the kid—Nick—has had it rough. Richard vows nothing will stop him from creating a loving and stable home. Not even a tempting, red-hot relationship with a very attractive man. However, when Richard looks into Logan’s blue eyes it’s tough to stay focused.

It’s never easy to become a family, what with a temperamental eight-year-old, disapproving outsiders, and outright extortion attempts. But when push comes to shove, both Logan and Richard are committed family men who want to make a loving home for a little boy who needs them

Review
Family Unit is one of my favourite books. I love the romance of opposites attract. Finding that special someone when you least expect it. Especially since this story is about older men finding love again. Throw into the mix Richard being a single parent (single grandparent) and it’s all my wishes for a feel good story coming together. Logan is a retired Marine Colonel. Being in the service has been his life. He lost his previous partner to cancer and is now making a new life for himself in California. Richard on the other hand does not like violence, especially guns. It does take a bit of a bumpy start but when they do, they were hot together. One of the reasons this is a favourite of mine is the way Nick, Richard’s grandson, is portrayed so realistically. He takes time to warm up to Logan, as any kid would do when someone new is brought into the family. Logan understands that Nick has to come first for Richard. Any doubts Richard might have about sharing his life with Logan are dismissed after Logan comes to the rescue. This story leaves me feeling happy.

First impression is that the sound quality isn’t great. It sounds like it was recorded in a tin can but if you can get over that it is a very enjoyable story. JP Handler’s voice suits the mature characters well and he manages a passable Nick. Not one of my top narrator’s but it didn’t put me off enjoying listening to the story.

5 stars out of 5 for the story
2.5 stars out of 5 for the narration/audiobook quality
Overall 3 of 5 stars

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Purchased for Review

 

 

 

 

 

Wheels Up (Out of Uniform #4) by Annabeth Albert

release day review
Carina Press
https://www.carinapress.com/shop/books/9781488030727_wheels-up.html

Blurb

Their love is forbidden, but their hearts aren’t listening to rules and regulations.

Lieutenant Dustin Strauss is a reformed man. No longer a twentysomething hell-raiser, he’s his SEAL team’s new XO-and a man with a secret. Or seven. He’s kept his bisexual identity under wraps for years, along with his kinky side and a fondness for the military-themed semianonymous hookup website Joe4Joe. His latest chat buddy is more than a sexy online distraction-they’re taking their very not-safe-for-work relationship into real time.

Petty Officer Wes Lowe has a smart mouth, a take-charge attitude and an uncanny ability for making things go boom. The life of an enlisted man isn’t always enough to satisfy him, but one wild, no-questions-asked weekend with his online love comes close. When a transfer order comes in, Wes feels ready and centered. He’ll make a good impression on his new SEAL team and keep his growing feelings for Dustin on the down low.

But as they log more time online and some very real emotions surface, Dustin and Wes struggle to pretend they’re just a harmless fling. And when his commander introduces Dustin to his team’s newest member, they’re in for the shock of a lifetime…and a crushing disappointment: their difference in ranks means even a friendship without sexual contact could end their navy careers for good.

With their hearts on the line, Dustin and Wes may not survive their next mission, let alone find a way toward a future together.

Review

I think I’m a sucker for make believe endings. The author clearly tried to make this story “realistic” and it felt that way. But it was way too frustrating for me and I guess I’m just not into that – as far as romances go. It’s one of the reasons I don’t like historicals – there’s so much hiding and lying and …. It’s frustrating.

In this case I got the hot smexy times that I’ve come to expect from this series – as well as a lot of feelz – but the back and forth and the “we can’t be together but I can’t stay away” see-saw ranked this story a bit lower for me than the previous in the series.

I guess I was looking for a more “happy” ending than I got and a bit less of the back and forth…. Maybe a bit more editing? I’m not sure – but this just didn’t hit me right.

I’d recommend this to fans of military romances, closeted lovers, angst and the author.

(LOVE the cover!)

3 of 5 stars

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Spooky Review: Darkest Hour Before The Dawn (THIRDS Book 9) Audiobook By Charlie Cochet Narrated by Mark Westfield

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/darkest-hour-before-dawn-by-charlie-cochet-8963-b

Blurb

Sequel to Thick & Thin
THIRDS: Book Nine

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.
As life-and-death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most… for good this time.

Review
(Book review by Beth here: https://openskyebookreviews.com/darkest-hour-before-dawn-thirds-9-by-charlie-cochet/)

Beth really loved this and I can see why. Charlie is a great writer and – as always – really has a way with combining action, romance and humor.

I’m not a big fan of “reunion” romances – I like that initial spark too much – but I did love that after all this time our guys finally get their chance to be together.

Of course, there is other drama going on – and more danger – as well as some more Dex/Sloane interactions – and a furthering of the overall mystery/arc.

For fans of the series, this is a must, and while I bet you could read this as a standalone, I think you’d miss a lot.

I’m glad the series is wrapping up, however, because we are starting to ease into the land of soap opera (i.e. people coming back from the “dead) and I think we’ve just about done all there needs to be done with this.

Audio

Mark Westfield is the voice for this series, so I can’t really add much to this review that hasn’t already been said.

I thought his English accent was fine and I enjoy his little “extras” that he throws in to keep the narration fresh and engaging.

I still sometimes struggle to appreciate his intonation, as he does seem to end each sentence in the same way, regardless of the emotion being portrayed – but after awhile I don’t notice it.

Overall, I’d give this 4 of 5 stars.

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(Don’t forget – commenters on this month’s “spooky reviews” will be entered to win some Jordan L Hawk swag or $15 from Dreamspinner!)

 

   

 

Cover Up (Skin Deep Inc. #3) by L.A. Witt

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Cover-Up-Skin-Deep-Novel-ebook/dp/B0746MG2G1/ref=sr_1_sc_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1507225119&sr=8-1-spell&keywords=cover+up+la+wiitt

Blurb

After ten years of blissful marriage, Navy Pilot Nate Chandler is divorcing his cheating husband. Single for the first time in years, Nate is numb to all emotion and kisses any chance of another relationship goodbye.
Not only is Nate struggling to get through this divorce, but his body is branded with a permanent reminder of his failed marriage: a matching tattoo with his ex. Searching for a place to cover up his old tattoo, Nate finds himself at the Skin Deep, Inc., where he meets the young and charming cover-up tattoo apprentice, Lucas Brandt.
From just flirty glances to steamy hot encounters, Nate and Lucas dive headfirst into a fling of hookups. But worried that he’ll forever be Nate’s “cover up” rebound relationship, Lucas fears that their love won’t be anything more than just skin deep. What was once just a casual attraction, Lucas now hopes to turn into a real relationship. But will he be able to convince the still tender-hearted Nate to fall in love again?
Third installment of L.A. Witt’s Skin Deep romance series, COVER UP is a story of passion, pleasure, and happily ever after.

Review

In my head I get the guys from this series mixed up with the guys from Anchor Point (https://www.goodreads.com/search?q=anchor+point+la+witt) – LA’s other current military series. In a way, that’s not great, because it’s telling that there isn’t something really strong to set these books apart and make them unique.

As I’ve said with some of the AP books – there is a lot to love about these books. LA knows the military and does a fantastic job of portraying the pros and cons of military life (well, the cons especially). I always learn more about being in the military after reading these books.

LA writes really, really, hot smexy times. As the covers promise, these guys have some seriously hot chemistry and there is lots of it explored in this book.
Unfortunately, this was a book that didn’t grab me. I didn’t feel like we spent enough time out of bed to really feel good about the relationship nor did I feel like we spent enough time fleshing out the MCs as much as we have in other works by this author.

It was good for what it is: a very hot, erotic romance featuring a man in the military and a tattoo artist – but beyond that – I wasn’t overwhelmed.

3.5 of 5 stars
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Rank and File by LA Witt

release day review

Riptide Presents

https://riptidepublishing.com/titles/rank-and-file

Blurb

Senior Chief Will Curtis is as straitlaced as they come. While his fellow Sailors have partied their way through their enlistments, he’s had his eye on the prize—making master chief and retiring after thirty years of service.
Lieutenant Brent Jameson is a Navy brat turned Annapolis grad. He’s lived and breathed the military his whole life, and he knows he’s destined for great things—once he’s done paying his dues at the bottom of the ladder.
When their paths cross, both men know better than to give in to temptation, but that doesn’t stop them. It also doesn’t keep them from coming back for more, even though being discovered would sink their careers. Something has to give—Will can retire, Brent can resign, or they’ll both face court-martial.
But there’s also the option neither wants to acknowledge: jump ship and walk away from each other instead of ending their careers over a fledgling relationship. And they should probably decide before they fall in love.
Except—too late.

Review

I guess it depends on what you’re looking for.

If you want a reliably good, very sexy, well-written, but not terribly “deep” or emotional story about two military men who have some tough decisions to make – this is for you!

If you’re looking for something more unique, with a larger growth spurt for the main chatacters, or a new twist on “the military keeps us apart” scenario, then this isn’t for you.

LA Witt is a great writer and her sex scenes are amazingly hot. She knows the military and her scenarios feel authentic and plausible. I didn’t see a lot of “new” in this book – the entire Anchor Point series is about how the military makes relationships difficult and this is no different.

I enjoyed it and was glad to see two “non-broken” men find their HEAs by the end, but it wasn’t ground-breaking.

(This can be read as a standalone.)

4 of 5 stars

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Back to School Month: Temptation by Design by Andrea Dalling

 

 

Amazon Link

https://www.amazon.com/Temptation-Design-Andrea-Dalling-ebook/dp/B01MXVCHW1/ref=sr_1_5?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1505409187&sr=1-5&keywords=temptation+by+design

Free!

 

Blurb:

Forbidden attraction…
Shakespeare professor Ben Silver teaches in a small college town with few prospects for love. Most gay men he meets are students and off-limits. That’s never been a problem until architecture major Chase takes over set design for the college production of Macbeth. Older than most college juniors, his maturity and leadership skills—not to mention his smoking-hot body—capture Ben’s attention. But a tryst could ruin Ben’s career, and he can’t risk it.

Awakening desire…
Former petty officer Chase Coltrane understands fraternization rules. His years in the Navy taught him to keep his hands to himself, especially where people in authority are concerned. But when Ben ignites Chase’s attraction to men, Chase’s self-control heads out to sea. He wants to explore this newly discovered part of himself, and the sexy, charismatic professor has tied knots around his heart. Will his desperate attempt to win the man he loves destroy their future? Or will it lead them on a path to lasting love?

Review:
I had a love/hate relationship with this book. I loved how the two MC’s fit so well to each other. I loved that they just couldn’t keep away from each other and I loved how accepting and open minded Chase’s parents were.
I hated that it truly seemed like an insta love. I hated that there was really no second guessing by Chase on his sexuality. And I hated that they thought jumping into a marriage would solve their problem.
That said we have a story of a tenured professor and a 29 year old student who seem to get caught up in each other. They have to work closely in a school production and the looks between them get hotter and hotter until they kiss. From there it’s downhill. Fraternization is frowned on severely at this small east coast school. Add in a student who keeps quoting her ethics class and you have 2 guys trying hard not to show their attraction. The story moved along smoothly and evenly, keeping me engrossed until the end

This was a quick read and a HEA for the couple. Overall I enjoyed the story and would consider reading more from the author.

4 of 5 stars

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