Friends to Lovers: Step by Step Audiobook by KC Wells narrated by Connor Goff

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Step-by-Step-Audiobook/B074Z3JZCH?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_8&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=797B0C8X1J0PC9WTH9W3&

Blurb:

Jamie’s life is one big financial mess, and it really isn’t his fault. However, the last thing he expected to find in the library was a Good Samaritan. He might have been suspicious of Guy’s motives at first, but it soon becomes apparent that his savior is a good man who has been lucky in life and is looking to pay it forward. Guy being gay is not a problem. Jamie’s not interested…or so he thinks.

Guy is happy to help Jamie, and the two men get along fine. But when Jamie’s curiosity leads him from one thing to another, Guy finds himself looking at the young man with new eyes. What started out as a hand up is now something completely different….

Review: The book has been reviewed previously
https://openskyebookreviews.com/step-by-step-by-k-c-wells/

I enjoyed the story and the narration.
Conner Goff is a new narrator to me. He has a ‘comfortable’ voice, cadence. His narration was well paced, and the characterisations of the older Guy and younger Jamie, nuanced. The narration is not dramatic, (the story is mostly drama free), just even keeled. It was right for the story – warm, fluid, and fun.
Overall, I liked the story a bit more – because Conner added warmth to a sweet, May/December romance.

3.75 stars out of 5

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

Release Day Review: The Little Library by Kim Fielding

release day review

Riptide Presents

http://www.riptidepublishing.com/titles/the-little-library

Blurb

Elliott Thompson was once a historian with a promising academic future, but his involvement in a scandal meant a lost job, public shame, and a ruined love life. He took shelter in his rural California hometown, where he teaches online classes, hoards books, and despairs of his future.

Simon Odisho has lost a job as well—to a bullet that sidelined his career in law enforcement. While his shattered knee recovers, he rethinks his job prospects and searches for the courage to come out to his close-knit but conservative extended family.

In an attempt to manage his overflowing book collection, Elliott builds a miniature neighborhood library in his front yard. The project puts him in touch with his neighbors—for better and worse—and introduces him to handsome, charming Simon. While romance blooms quickly between them, Elliott’s not willing to live in the closet, and his best career prospects might take him far away. His books have plenty to tell him about history, but they give him no clues about a future with Simon.

Review

Kim Fielding is a terrific writer, you can trust that any of her stories are always going to be an amazing journey with well-developed characters and a well-planned plot.   This is a very gentle love story about two men who’ve had some struggles in their romantic pasts but are still willing to try.

I love the imagery of the little town bonding over books and the idea of book sharing as a community. (I wish things like that would happen!) While e-books are fantastic that is one major down side to the technology – fewer paper books to share. L

There wasn’t anything earth shaking in this, but the love between these guys and their personal growth was sweet and easily captivating.

This is the perfect book for people in the mood for something light, sweet and easy.

Highly recommended!

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Friends to Lovers: Faith & Fidelity (Faith, Love & Devotion #1) by Tere Michaels

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/4801582-faith-fidelity

Blurb

New York City Vice Detective Evan Cerelli has lost his wife, the only person he ever loved and slept with. He’s trying to get on with his life, build a life for his children. Former Homicide Detective Matt Haight is a ladies’ man, all sex/no commitment. He’s depressed, having a midlife crisis, and not sure where his life is headed.

The two find friendship in the bottom of a shared bottle. When the friendship turns to love, it shakes two straight men to the core and flips their lives inside out. Kids, families, careers that are not gay-friendly — can all the love in the world overcome the obstacles to faith and fidelity?

 

Review

This is one of my all time favorite friends to lovers books because it’s two “straight” guys who really just fall for one another, regardless their sex. They need one another and besides the obvious sexual tension, they really make a deep, emotional and lasting connection.

It’s one of the most tender love stories I’ve read.

Of course, book one is really the tip of the ice berg but it’s a great start!

My only complaint is that the audio for this series is so bad. I’d have loved to listened to this over and over, but I really can’t recommend the audio at all.

Oh well. It’s a wonderful book to read!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Friends to Lovers: Brokenhearted: Hope Cove Audiobook by Cate Ashwood; narrated by John Orr

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Brokenhearted-Audiobook/B00JUZSSDW?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_5&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=KC4S5EYY9VZR0TN45AYX&

Blurb:

Oliver Parrish has been alone in the world since he was born. So when Sheriff Owen “Mack” Macklin shows up on his doorstep to deliver the news that Oliver’s sister has died, he’s beyond surprised. Still, Oliver returns with Mack to Hope Cove, Maine, hoping to get to know the sister he never knew he had. As he tries to snap these new elements into his solitary life, he’s not sure how they might fit.
His life is shaken up further as he falls in love with the irresistible town of Hope Cove, and with Mack, its equally irresistible sheriff. But when he receives devastating news about his sister’s cause of death, Oliver doesn’t know whether to stay and fight for love and a good life, or cut his losses and run.

Review: When I started to read the book, I couldn’t get into it (personal things going on), it seemed interesting, so I decided to get the audiobook. I’m so glad I did!
The story is good – Oliver travels to meet the sister he never knew he had, only to find out that Maggie has died. He meets Mack, Maggie’s best friend, who helps him get to know what her life was like in the town. Oliver stays on to take over Maggie’s bakery, gets to know and fall in love with Mack. There are some ups and downs – Mack is not really out, Oliver finds out some devastating news and doesn’t handle it well.
John Orr was a pleasure to listen to – he really brought the characters to life, including the supporting characters (especially Hayden). His tone was even, with good, distinct characterisations. An enjoyable listen; I’m looking forward to listening to the other 2 books.

4 stars out of 5

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook: Trust with a Chaser (Rainbow Cove #1) by Annabeth Albert Narrated by Marc Bachmann and Iggy Toma

audiobookreview
Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Trust-with-a-Chaser-Audiobook/B079G7D76Q

Blurb

One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

Trust with a Chaser is a 75,000 word stand-alone gay romance with a May/December theme, a hot law-enforcement hero, opposites attract, plenty of sexy times, and one hard-fought, guaranteed happy ending with no cliffhangers.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

First, do not be fooled by the cover – this is a GREAT book and the cover makes it seem way cheesier than it is. (Addendum – the new cover is so much better!!!!)

Second, if you’ve read anything by the author before, you know she’s amazing at giving us really flawless writing and superb characters. Normally I have no patience for the slow burn but it was expertly done here.

We get a lovely slow reveal of how poor, lonely Nash secretly wishes for rebellion in the form of “bad boy” Mason – who isn’t bad at all- and underneath all the grumpy lies the heart of true romantic! (See specifically one adorable picnic and fishing trip!)

There is very little angst and a bunch of really sweet build up to a super romantic finish with some hot, yet tender sex thrown in for good measure.

I couldn’t put this down and it literally made my week!

Highly Recommended!
(PS I loved the accuracy of the Portlandisms!)

5 of 5 stars

 

Audio

So. Amazing! First, I love duo narrations and I thought these two did a terrific job of being just enough different to make the individual characters really pop, but similar enough that it wasn’t jarring when the narrators switched up. I’d forgotten how wonderful Iggy Toma was and how good he is at making a listener feel really involved in a story. He’s really good with pacing and emotion and I loved the voice he chose for Nash – so growly and delicious!

Marc Bachman is no slouch either and does a terrific job with Mason as well! Together these two were really a great duo and I highly recommend this as a terrific way to experience this amazing story!

5 of 5 stars

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Friends to Lovers: My Summer of Wes (Wes & Mal #1) by Missy Welsh

GoodReads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/8646908-my-summer-of-wes

Blurb

I didn’t know. How could I? All through high school, I was beaten up and teased for being gay. But I wasn’t gay. Or didn’t think I was. Now Wes, the guy across the street who’s taken me under his wing and been the best friend I’ve ever had, won’t stop invading my dreams, hell, my every waking thought. Am I gay? Because I’m thinking I’d like to kiss him. Actually, I’m thinking there’s a lot more I’d like to do with his mouth and the rest of that tall, confident, muscular body. Ah, man… I’m so gay!

But what if he doesn’t feel the same way about me? And, Jesus, what about my parents? And those bastards from school are still around. And I’m supposed to go to college this fall… Shit, I need to sit down. I can’t breathe and I’m about to shake apart. Then Wes puts his hand on the back of my neck, gives me one of those encouraging squeezes and his bright smile, and everything’s okay again. Yeah, I’m hooked. Oh, boy…

Review

This was such a sweet book! It’s been years since I read it and I’d forgotten how dang cute it is – and sexy!

Mal is still trying to figure out who he is when a new neighbor moves in. They start as friends but it’s soon that they realize they want more from one another. Together they explore their first love and for Mal, first sex.

At times it’s a bit sappy, but in an adorable way. The smexy times feel appropriate and not just for sex sake.

If you like new adult, coming of age stories, give this a try!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

Friends to Lovers: The Blueprint by SE Harmon


release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-blueprint-by-se-harmon-9446-b

Blurb

Kelly Cannon is satisfied with his life. He has friends, a wonderful family, and a great job. But his love life has reached a new level of pitiful. Why? Well, his heart decided to break all the rules. Don’t fall in love with a straight guy. And definitely don’t fall in love with your best friend.
NFL standout Britton “Blue” Montgomery has pressure coming at him from all sides. From his father, who’s only interested in Blue’s football career. From his coaches, who just want him to play without getting injured again. From the fans. From his agent. And from his mother, who has popped up on the radar after leaving his family years before. And now his relationship with Kelly is on shaky ground, and that frightens Blue more than anything.
When Kelly admits he’s in love with Blue, bonds are tested, and Blue has to decide what’s really important. He doesn’t want to lose the number-one person in his life, but the cost to keep Kelly close might be more than he’s willing to pay.
It’s a good thing his nickname is the Blueprint—it’s time to draft a new set of plans.

Review
I was really attracted to this because “Friends to lovers” and especially, first time with a man romances are some of my favorite things. I’m not a big football fan, and luckily the football didn’t overwhelm the story.

I thought the original ideas were great – long time friends finally explore some sexual feelings for one another – but the execution never felt good. Blue is mostly an ass and I never felt a strong connection between these guys – despite their being friends for years and years.

The sexual component was sometimes really hot and somehow felt flat, too. I just never bought in to Blue’s change of heart and though I could tell he liked the sex – I didn’t feel the emotional connection.

I think fans of the author, fans of football romances, and fans of gfy/ofy will probably find this at least entertaining. The writing was good, it was the romance that wasn’t great.

3 of 5 stars
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Friends to Lovers: Frat House Troupers (Brandt and Donnelly #1] Audiobook by Xavier Mayne Narrated by Peter B. Brooke

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Frat-House-Troopers-Audiobook/B00IGHJSTS?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=8RH2W0EKMKM09CP8HBWK&

Blurb
State trooper Brandt’s new assignment to infiltrate a sex-cam operation puts him in a very uncomfortable position, especially since he’ll have to perform naked on camera for his audition. Fortunately his partner and best friend, Donnelly, has his back—whether that means helping Brandt shop gay boutiques for sexy underwear or offering Jäger and encouragement while he researches porn.

Despite his mortification, Brandt gives the audition his best “shot”—and becomes an overnight sensation. But to meet the man behind the operation, he’ll have to give a repeat performance, this time live on webcam opposite the highest bidder. Donnelly makes sure to win that auction for his partner’s sake, but their plan has a flaw: faking it is not an option.

In the aftermath, Brandt is a humiliated mess trying desperately to come to terms with what he’s had to do for the job and his own mixed feelings. But Donnelly has been on a journey of discovery of his own. Suddenly everything the two men thought they knew about themselves and each other gets turned inside out. Meanwhile, they still have a case to solve… but it may not be the case they thought it was

Review
This is the kind of book that asks you to suspend reality and accept this is a work of fiction. Once I was in the right mindset I quite enjoyed it. There is a ridiculousness about it that just made it amusing. The whole reason for the case and the need for Brandt to go undercover were so spurious. It did however set up the amusing scenes in the boutiques. The live webcam as the way for getting Donnelly to ‘announce’ his attraction to Brant. As well as friends to lovers it’s also a Gay for you relationship. I can see why everything happens it just feels surreal, especially when everyone, with a couple of exceptions, seems to be straight! Would I read the next story, I’m not sure. I think it’s the narration by Peter B. Brooke that makes this book fo me. He puts a lot of feelings and excellent characterisation into it. I got a real feel for Donnelly, his family and Brandt, not to mention the wonderful assistants in the boutique.

3 of stars out of 5

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Purchased by reviewer

 

 

 

 

Release Day Review: When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/when-everything-is-blue-by-laura-lascarso-9420-b

Blurb
When they were kids, Chris Mitcham rescued Theo from the neighborhood bullies and taught him how to “be cool.” Now, years later, Theo’s developed feelings for his best friend that arise at the most inopportune times. Theo hates lying to Chris, but in coming out, he might lose the one person who understands him best, a risk he’s not willing to take.
When a relationship with another young man goes south, Theo is forced to confront his own sexuality along with his growing attraction to Chris and his stunted, tenuous relationship with his father. Will Chris abandon Theo when he learns the truth, or will he stand by him in this tumultuous season of self-discovery?

In this quirky coming-of-age romance, Theo’s path to manhood is fraught with awkward firsts and a few haters, but also the unexpected comfort of a friend turned lover

Review
Usually I don’t go for YA stories but I am so glad I chose this one. This book is a beautiful story of young love. The struggle of best friends becoming lovers at its best and I didn’t want it to end. The story is told from Theo’s point of view. We see how difficult he finds it navigating the path through adolescence. Chris is always there for him but Theo tells himself that he can’t keep relying on that and is certain Chris is straight. I absolutely loved the depth of feeling the author portrayed in this book. It brought a sense of realism and I felt like I was watching a snapshot of both their lives. I thought this was excellent writing since we never got the story from Chris’s POV but I felt I knew what it was from the dialogue and Theo’s comments. The other characters in the story all added strength in their own way. Theo’s twin sister as the opposite of him and provides a good contrast. His hardworking loving and supportive mother and indifferent absent father. And lastly we have the catalyst Dave who victimised Theo. Theo and Chris get their happy for now ending, they have a journey ahead of them and I hope we will get a chance to check in on them in a few years. It feels like they could have a lot of interesting stories to tell before they get their happy ever after (fingers crossed)
On the strength of this book I will definitely look for more by Laura Lascarso

4.5 of stars out of 5

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Release Day Review: Pretty in Pink (Housemates #6) by Jay Northcote

release day review

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/38205048-pretty-in-pink?from_search=true

Blurb

Ryan isn’t looking for a relationship with a guy—and Johnny isn’t looking for a relationship at all.

Ryan’s always been attracted to tall, leggy blondes—normally of the female variety. When Johnny catches his eye at a party, Ryan’s interest is piqued even though he’s never been with a guy before. The attraction is mutual, and the amazing night that follows opens Ryan’s eyes to his bisexuality.

Experience has taught Johnny that love hurts. Staying single is safer, and there’s no need for complicated relationships when hooking up is easy. When he moves in next door to Ryan, they’re both interested in picking up where they left off, and it seems like an ideal arrangement: convenient, mutually satisfying, and with no strings attached.

Despite their best intentions to keep things casual, they develop an emotional connection alongside the physical one. Both begin to want more from the relationship but are afraid to admit it. If they’re going to work things out, they need to start being honest—first with themselves, and then with each other.

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

Review
I really like this series! It’s absolutely not necessary to read the others in the series to be engaged here.

This is a case where both guys really have to be open with one another – and while I usually don’t like “misunderstanding” story lines – this wasn’t too bad. It doesn’t take much for our guys to realize all that hot smexy times could lead to something long term.

One thing I didn’t love was the ending. I’d have loved to see these guys a little further down the road…. Or at least a little more committed to one another. Overall this was a fun addition to the Housemates Series and I’d recommend it for the chemistry alone!

3.75 of 5 stars

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