Release Day review: Bigger Love (Big Love #2) by Rick R. Reed

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bigger-love-by-rick-r-reed-9967-b

Blurb

Truman Reid is Summitville High’s most out-and-proud senior. He can’t wait to take his fierce, uncompromising self away from his small Ohio River hometown, where he’s suffered more than his share of bullying. He’s looking forward to bright lights and a big city. Maybe he’ll be the first gender-fluid star to ever win an Academy Award. But all that changes on the first day of school when he locks eyes with the most gorgeous hunk he’s ever seen. Mike Stewart, big, dark-haired, and with the most amazing blue eyes, is new to town. He’s quiet, manly, and has the sexy air of a lost soul. It’s almost love at first sight for Truman. He thinks that love could deepen when Mike becomes part of the stage crew for Harvey, the senior class play Truman’s directing. But is Mike even gay? And how will it work when Truman’s mother is falling for Mike’s dad? Plus Truman, never the norm, makes a daring and controversial choice for the production that has the whole town up in arms. See how it all plays out on a stage of love, laughter, tears, and sticking up for one’s essential self.

Review

So I really liked Big Love and fell in love with Truman in that story. I was psyched to see his story fleshed out! But….

First, most of the story – like 67% or more is really about Truman and other people including a pregnancy scare that takes up way too many pages for not a lot of return (that we see in this book).

Second, though I love Truman, I wanted to see his romance not read about him and though I loved seeing him triumph I wanted more with Mike… except Mike was 100% an asshole and I didn’t like him – ever.

Third, so since I didn’t get to really meet him and what I saw was crappy – I didn’t get invested in these guys as a couple AT ALL and I really felt like I didn’t want them together so when the ILYs jump out I didn’t buy them.

Fourth, there is a VERY creepy scene involving Mike and a citizen that is super gross – and when we find out who he is I was like???? How is that guy thinking he’s being a secretive closeted gay boy when he goes around in a vintage mustang that everyone identifies as his??? It didn’t make any sense and was very uncomfortable.

So… while I applaud Truman and still love him – this story was not up to his personal wonderfulness and I can’t really recommend it.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recently Released: Push (Music in Motion #1) by B.L. Morticia

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/push-by-blmorticia-9916-b

Blurb

Music In Motion: Book One

Malakei Oakley, aka rapper M. Prophet, is at the top of his game—but deep in the closet. Handsome, wealthy, and successful as the head of 315East Entertainment, Malakei should be on cloud nine. Despite his awards and a Midas touch that has every musician clamoring to work with him, something is missing.

Seth “Reaper” Davies is ready for stardom. His band High Stakes plays to small, packed houses all over Birmingham and London but has yet to get their big break. But Seth isn’t giving up on his dream—no matter what it takes.

A viral video prompts a message from a person he doesn’t expect—the talented M. Prophet. Their musical styles are worlds apart, and Seth has no desire to change his style to sell records. But his curiosity—and his attraction to Malakei—wins out.

Malakei can’t get Seth out of his mind. He also can’t come out without ruining his reputation. No matter how much he wants the sexy singer, his only option is to push Seth away. But he’s about to find out Seth isn’t one to give up on what he wants—and he might be just what Malakei needs.

Review

Ok – there’s a lot about this I want to say – and I want to be as fair as possible.

1) I thought there were parts that were very compelling – the bias against LGBTQ in hip hop, the reluctance to lose face, the authenticity of the lives led by both MCs and their people
2) I didn’t buy the language used by either MC – it felt too over the top and didn’t feel at all what actual people would say – either to themselves or their families/friends
3) I never liked Seth. Malakei was a sweetie and Seth seemed like an asshole over and over so I never got invested in their relationship.
4) The making out with the ex thing never sat well with me and I didn’t think it needed to be on page
5) I didn’t understand why Seth would have a secret crush on someone everyone thinks is straight and whom he doesn’t really even like musically
In the end – though there was a lot about this that had potential I never bought in and as a result I can say I just didn’t like and can’t really recommend it.

2.5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent release: Traded Out by Samantha Wayland

Good reads link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41555624-traded-out

Blurb

Olle Svensson came to Canada to play hockey, but now he’s wondering if twenty-five is too late to start university back home in Sweden. Things started out well, but then his friend Jamie gets caught with a guy in a men’s room stall at a random bar. Olle knows he should have stood by Jamie, in the bar and the locker room, but he’d been caught off-guard. He’d thought…well, it doesn’t matter anymore what he was thinking.

Jamie Gallagher is in hell. He’d been sure none of his teammates went to that bar, but now he’s been outed against his will and doesn’t have a single ally on the team. He’s giving serious thought to giving up on hockey until the Moncton Ice Cats come to the rescue. Jamie never thought he’d be so happy to be traded.

The only down side is that Olle is coming with him.

A Free Read through Insta-Freebee from August 28th to September 4th together with other authors ->
https://claims.instafreebie.com/gg/FC…

Review

I love this series and this author (and hockey)! This is a rather long story for a freebie and is wonderful!

It’s got a fair amount of hockey in it but is definitely relationship focused. We’ve got a clueless Jamie and an adorable Swede who quietly loves and protects Jamie until he finally clues in!

There is a bit of smexy times a lot of laughs and a nice glimpse of some of our previously loved and adored MCs.

Highly recommended for fans of the series/author but is absolutely fine as a standalone!

5 of 5 stars

Audiobook: Changing Lines (Harrisburg Railers #1) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey narrated by Sean Crisden

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Changing-Lines-Audiobook/B07FTQFYWN?qid=1532653346&sr=sr_1_7&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_7&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=4ASJP8BBWXR5XYHCEDXT&

Blurb

Can Tennant show Jared that age is just a number, and that love is all that matters?

The Rowe Brothers are famous hockey hotshots, but as the youngest of the trio, Tennant has always had to play against his brothers’ reputations. To get out of their shadows, and against their advice, he accepts a trade to the Harrisburg Railers, where he runs into Jared Madsen. Mads is an old family friend and his brother’s one-time teammate. Mads is Tennant’s new coach. And Mads is the sexiest thing he’s ever laid eyes on.

Jared Madsen’s hockey career was cut short by a fault in his heart, but coaching keeps him close to the game. When Ten is traded to the team, his carefully organized world is thrown into chaos. Nine years his junior and his best friend’s brother, he knows Ten is strictly off-limits, but as soon as he sees Ten’s moves, on and off the ice, he knows that his heart could get him into trouble again.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

This drew my attention since I’m currently jonsing for some hockey! I was also curious about these two authors as a writing duo. I’ve not really been a Vocey fan, and some of RJ Scott’s latest works haven’t really impressed me – but I love her earlier books.

I think – overall – that they’re a good team. I think the new subgenre is good for Scott and gives a new direction – away from ranching and crime fighting – for her considerable writing talents.

The premise of this story and it’s start are very promising. May/December, Coach/player, family friend, closeted professional athlete, single father… you name it – lots of sexual tension and the need to keep things on the DL. I think, however, that the end result of all these reasons to keep things quiet were too many for our MCs to overcome in a short story.

There were just so many hurdles and not enough time for them to be really overcome in a way that made sense.

I appreciated that they didn’t just jump into bed, but the “slow” was too slow and Jared came across way too “father figure” and not enough “lover”. He was bossy and I never felt his emotions other than lust.

Ten seemed- sometimes – ridiculously immature and I thought his family was both ridiculous ( his oldest brother) and wonderful (his sweet mother). I wasn’t sure why he was there, but the Russian goalie – Stan – was my favorite and I hope we get to see more of him!

The book kept my interest and I’ll definitely pick up more in this series, but this wasn’t my favorite hockey book of all time.

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Sean Crisden is such a joy! He always provides a reliably wonderful listening experience and his voice is so damn sexy that I know he’ll make the most of the steamy scenes in any romance! He does a great job voicing the different “characters” and I can’t wait for Stan’s book – he does such a nice Russian accent!

 

Highly recommended!

(On a side note – I’m REALLY missing hockey right now and it was awesome listening to this story – hockey by an author who clearly loves/knows the sport!)

5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

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Audiobook: City Boy: Hot (Off The Ice Book 1) by AE Wasp Narrated by Michael Pauley

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/City-Boy-Audiobook/B07BGCD4BG?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=SV27NV3YZGNJNC2STE4B&

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
(Book reviewed here previously)

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!

Audio

Woot! I was so glad to see this in audio format! Michael Pauley is great and does a fantastic job giving these guys voices. I sincerely hope he does the entire series! I can’t wait for more from this “world”!

5 of 5 stars

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Time to go Dark: Acrobat Audiobook by Mary Calmes Narrated by Sean Crisden

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/acrobat-by-mary-calmes-1725-b

 

Blurb:

Forty-five-year-old English professor Nathan Qells is very good at making people feel important. What he’s not very good at is sticking around afterward. He’s a nice guy; he just doesn’t feel things the way other people do. So even after all the time he’s spent taking care of Michael, the kid across the hall, he doesn’t realize that Michael’s mob muscle uncle and guardian, Andreo Fiore, has slowly been falling in love with him.

Dreo has bigger problems than getting Nate to see him as a potential partner. He’s raising his nephew, trying to leave his unsavory job, and starting his own business, a process made infinitely more difficult when a series of hits takes out some key underworld players. Still, Dreo is determined to build a life he can be proud of—a life with Nate as a cornerstone. A life that is starting to look like exactly what Nate has been looking for. Unfortunately for Dreo—and for Nate—the last hits were just part of a major reorganization, and Dreo’s obvious love for Nate has made him a target too.

Review:

Acrobat is not technically (according to Goodreads) part of the Matter of Time series, but it has characters that will show up in the series, so I included it there. Nathan Qells dates Duncan Stiel in Acrobat who later marries Aaron Sutter in Parting Shot and Aaron Sutter dated Jory in Matter of Time. We also meet Dr. Sean Cooper in Acrobat, who along with Duncan Stiel show up in All Kinds of Tied Down. (Later – we see Dreo playing a MAJOR role in the issues that our guys deal with in the Marshall’s series as well as the Vault series – so it’s definitely important…Six Degrees of Mary ; ) .)

I absolutely loved this book. We get some amazing characters and a sticky-sweet romance with big heart, a fantastic family story to go along with it and some exciting action and adventure.
First there is Nathan Qells. He is the Mary character that can do no wrong. He got his high school BFF pregnant, married her, had an amazing son, and now divorced, they are still BFFs. He teaches at a university where all the hot young things want him, but he doesn’t even know it! Though he is always involved in a relationship he is never really involved in the relationship. Until Andreo.

Andreo Fiore. Mmmm. Delicious. He is a sweet, sexy mobster – going straight (legit is maybe a better word ) so that he can have a full life and family. He’s our “maybe not quite a good guy” who is turning into the good guy.  Dreo is the guardian for his dead sister’s son, Michael, and it is through Michael that Nathan and Dreo connect.

Between the family and the love there is the mob. Mobsters don’t like gay men apparently and it causes some pretty big problems. Like a stab to the gut problems. But, in the end, true love wins and happy is ever after.

Audio:

Just two words on the audio version of Acrobat – BUY IT! It’s great. Sean Crisden does an amazing job with the narration, giving Dreo such a sultry voice and making Nate all the more “cute and clueless but wonderful”.

Overall: both the book and the audiobook were Amazing! 5 stars

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Audiobook: The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair Narrated by Greg Boudreax

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/The-Quarterback-Audiobook/B07C7MYH7X

Blurb

Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him.

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happy ever after for both of them.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

Well, ‘tis the season for sports minded romance! This is one of three or four GFY or supposedly straight guys finding their gay side that I’ve read in the last month. Honestly, they’ve all been really good, so I haven’t minded one bit!

What I liked about this was that Trevor speaks up for himself and isn’t willing to be shut up in a closet. Trevor is also pretty unique and funny and as a character, was a lot of fun.

Matt is pretty typical, as far as jock characters go – though I found his willingness to try things at the happy ending massage place pretty funny.

There is quite a bit of exploratory/virgin sex , some pretty unrealistic team mates and some super awesome family members. The dialog was witty and fun and there wasn’t a lot of football to get in the way of the romance – which I appreciated!

I really enjoyed this and recommend it to fans of GFY/OFY jock/nerd romances.

4.5 of 5 stars

 

Audio

This might be the first time I’ve ever said this… but while Greg did his usual great job, I’m not sure he added as much to this as I was expecting.  I didn’t see a big difference between Matt and Trevor and I figured there’d be at least something what with all the potential for accents based on location, heritage, etc.

I thought he did great with some of the other guys on the team but I was looking for something a bit different for the two MCs.

It was still wonderful and amazing and a great way to enjoy this story.

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Time to Laugh: Shiny! Audiobook by Amy Lane Narrated by Tyler Stevens

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/shiny-by-amy-lane-5174-b

Blurb:
Will Lafferty and Kenny Scalia are both having sort of a day. Will gets fired for letting fifth graders read Harry Potter, and Kenny finds his boyfriend and his sex toys in bed with a complete stranger. When Will knocks over Kenny’s trash can—and strews Kenny’s personal business all over the street—it feels like the perfect craptastic climax to the sewage of suckage that has rained down on them both.

But ever-friendly, ever-kind Will asks snarky Kenny out for a beer—God knows they both need one—and two amazing things occur: Kenny discovers talking to Will might be the best form of intercourse ever, and Will discovers he’s gay.

Their unlikely friendship seems like the perfect platonic match until Will reveals how very much more he’s been feeling for Kenny almost since the beginning. But Kenny’s worried. Will’s new-found sexuality is bright and glittery and shiny, but what happens when that wears off? Is Will’s infatuation with Kenny strong enough to stay real?

Review:

You can’t have a month devoted to “funny” and not include Amy Lane.  I find her books to be some of the most consistently “clever” and thus funny and witty.

This is known as Amy Lane “Lite”.  Instead of her very angsty material, this is one of the sweet and happy books she gives us now and then. 

The story is a mix of Will exploring his sexuality and the developing friendship and work relationship Will and Kenny have and then later their coming together as friends turned lovers. There are some doubts – is Will just with Kenny because he’s his first or is it real? Where will Will work? What about Kenny’s being on the rebound? However… For those of us who love a sappy ending – the ending of Shiny will knock your socks off!
The secondary characters in Shiny are also great – Aunt Cara- the lesbian bride, Will’s mom – trapped in the 1960s, Kenny’s ex – the big, dumb cheater and Kenny’s ultra liberal family – trying so hard not to judge Will.

In the audio format Tyler Stevens does a really nice job. He does swishy voices fantastically and I adore his female voices as well.  I think he is a true “performer” rather than “reader” and as such we get a lovely performance to enjoy.  

This is one of those times where the narration adds to the story and makes it even better. I highly recommend this audiobook.

4.5 of 5 stars
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Tags (whatever you can think of to describe the book in basic labels): teacher, GFY, virgin, weddings, comics, religion, cheating exes, friends to lovers

Release Day Review: Storm by HJ Welch

release day review

Good Reads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39671696-storm#other_review

Blurb
*I can’t do this without you*

Chase Williamson was never meant to be a dad. Like it or not, though, he’s now the sole guardian of five-year-old Lyla and terrified of messing it up. He needs help, but who wants to rescue a high school dropout? Certainly not the gorgeous newcomer in town, even if he is an ex-Marine.

Hunter Duke is looking forward to a small-town life to drive away his demons. Maybe meet a nice girl? Adopting a puppy begins to fill the hole in his heart, but it’s an unlikely friendship with Chase and his daughter that really starts to make Hidden Creek feel like home.

When social services threaten to take Lyla away, Hunter knows he’ll do anything to prove that this town is wrong about Chase. Could it be that this is the family he was searching for all along?

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This book contains a three-legged puppy with attitude, a long-awaited comeuppance, and enough kisses to mend any broken heart

Review
I like the way HJ Welch’s stories make you feel good about life and that no matter how bad things seem there is hope. Chase has been belittled all his life by his Father and expects it from everyone he meets. His lack of self confidence meant he never spent much time with his daughter Lyla. Until that unfortunate day Lyla’s mother died and he has to become a real dad. Hunter is looking for a new start and Hidden Creek is just the place to do it. Both of them need support from someone special in their lives and they find each other a just the right time. This is a wonderful feel good book and I loved it.
Storm is part of a group of books written by different authors all centred around the town of Hidden Creek. Each book can be read as a stand-alone but the characters pop up in the different books. I’m quite intrigued and will be following them.

5 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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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