Categories
Angst Level Audiobook College/University coming of age Contemporary Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat

Smitten (SSU Book 2) Audiobook by Maris Black Narrated by Chris Patton

 

Smitten AudioBlurb

Dan Fisher is a fun-loving slacker from SSU with a passion for partying and dancing. When rich girl Avery Wakefield offers him a brand-new designer wardrobe in exchange for posing as her boyfriend, he reluctantly agrees. He hates lying, but it’s hard to turn down nice clothes and a chance to live in a historic mansion in Savannah for two weeks. What he doesn’t count on is falling hard for her mysterious, straight brother.

Julian Wakefield is as tortured as he is handsome. He keeps a secret close to his heart and everyone else at a distance. But now his sister’s new boyfriend is stirring up feelings he’s always been able to deny. Like an angel and the devil all rolled into one, he tempts him to take chances he never would have taken before. Too bad Dan belongs to his sister, whom he would never dream of betraying.

But…put two hot boys with an irresistible attraction in the same house for long enough, something is bound to happen.

Review

So we start at SSU with Dan, a friend of the wrestlers we met in book 1, but we quickly leave the state and head to North Carolina where Dan acts as the straight boyfriend to snooty Avery Wakefield for her cotillion. While there Dan meets her “straight” brother Julian and the two find themselves embroiled in a hot romance that was a bit expected when the dust settles.

It seems a simple enough plot and it was, but there is a hell of a lot of other stuff thrown in to make this simple story more (unnecessarily?) complex.

First, Julian is hiding his sexuality but it doesn’t take much for him to abandon that secret because of his obvious infatuation of Dan.

Second, there is a plot line involving a gay friend who ends up committing suicide and that impacts the group for a minute or two –but I’m not sure it was necessary or really handled all that well.

Third, Julian has a problem with alcohol and his new relationship forces him to come to grips with this in a way that was handled very poorly by Julian and mostly unbelievably by Dan.

Finally, there’s a Big Misunderstanding when Julian disappears that made me absolutely crazy in it’s ridiculousness. Avery wasn’t even freaked when her brother just disappears giving his lover his car and an expensive bracelet. Hello? Someone close to them just killed themselves, shouldn’t that act as a wake-up-call that the closeted Julian might be in danger?

So though I appreciated the attempt at making this story a bit more deep and complex than the previous two stories I have to say it didn’t work for me. I’m still a huge fan of Maris Black and am excited to move on to book 3, but this one left me feeling a little confused and unhappy.

Audio

Chris Patton rocks this narration! His southern accents are to die for and I loved listening to his interpretation of this story. It’s definitely worth a listen especially if you’ve been a fan of the series and of this narrator.

With that all being said, I give this 3 of 5 stars for the narration and the mostly good if somewhat hard to swallow story-line.

 

(Copy Purchased for Review)

Maris Black Presents

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Smitten-Audiobook/B00YT8A8KG

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Contemporary Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Humor m/m Medical Mild level angst Military Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Purchased Scorching/high heat

Closet Confession by Kindle Alexander

closet confessionsBlurb

This stand alone version includes Bonus Scenes adding an additional ten thousand words to this novella. Closet Confession was previously released in the Night Shift Anthology.

Dr. Derek Babineaux is intelligent, dedicated, and one of the best ER physicians in the fast-paced world of critical care at Tulane Medical in New Orleans. Always on top of his game, he’s thrown off balance when the newest medical staff member finally unleashes his hidden desires.

Justin Delacroix’s job at the inner city’s busiest hospital might be just what he needs to ease back into civilian life after a long stint in the military. High-performing shifts make working as a trauma nurse at TMC the perfect way to utilize his skills and quick reaction times. There’s only one problem, his attraction for one sexy ER doctor is off the charts, but he has his reasons for not returning Dr. Baby’s night shift advances. Or maybe he doesn’t.

Review

First, let me warn you that since this was first presented as a short story in an anthology the first part takes place later in the lives of our MCs and there’s a flash-back that explains their back-story in the middle, followed by a new part added of their future.

So it’s a bit confusing but stick with it – it’s totally worth it!

Derek and Justin work at the same hospital and have the hots for one another. Justin does’t want to come out of the closet and also feels he isn’t good enough for the good Doctor.

Derek is tired of hiding his relationship but doesn’t want to push too hard.

In the end, both men realize they need to be brave to get what they truly want from life or else losing everything.

**

This is a super sweet, very hot, sometimes funny novella that will leave you with a smile on your face.

I loved the nurses and Dr. Baby’s aunt – so funny!

The smexy times are hot and the emotion is touching.

4.5 of 5 stars

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(Copy purchased for review)

Kindle Alexander Presents

http://www.amazon.com/Closet-Confession-Kindle-Alexander-ebook/dp/B014RVEJ4U/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1442112677&sr=1-1&keywords=kindle+alexander
(Free on Kindle Unlimited!)

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Author Provided Contemporary Cop/Crime Fantasy Gay Hidden Lovers m/m Magic Mild level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Paranormal Part of a Series Purchased Scorching/high heat

Widdershins (Whyborne & Griffin Book 1) Audiobook by Jordan L Hawk Narrated by Julian G Simmons

widdershinsBlurb

Some things should stay buried.
Repressed scholar Percival Endicott Whyborne has two skills: reading dead languages and hiding in his office at the Ladysmith Museum. After the tragic death of the friend he secretly loved, he’s ruthlessly suppressed any desire for another man.
So when handsome ex-Pinkerton Griffin Flaherty approaches him to translate a mysterious book, Whyborne wants to finish the job and get rid of the detective as quickly as possible. Griffin left the Pinkertons following the death of his partner, hoping to start a new life. But the powerful cult that murdered Glenn has taken root in Widdershins, and only the spells in the book can stop them. Spells the intellectual Whyborne doesn’t believe are real.
As the investigation draws the two men closer, Griffin’s rakish charm threatens to shatter Whyborne’s iron control. When the cult resurrects an evil sorcerer who commands terrifying monsters, can Whyborne overcome his fear and learn to trust? Will Griffin let go of his past and risk falling in love? Or will Griffin’s secrets cost Whyborne both his heart and his life?
Review

Percival Whyborne “Ival” is the master of 13 plus languages, he’s a shy, retiring, gay, virgin who is asked to translate some important documents for Griffin, an ex Pinkerton agent on the case of a murder.

The story unfolds with bits of the paranormal being involved in the case: curses, the occult, monsters and more. The mystery is absolutely the biggest part of this story, but it is closely entwined with the blossoming romance between Griffin and Ival.

In the end, the mystery wraps up and we have a HEA for our heroes, but the series continues undoubtedly putting our lovers into hot water, once again.

**

So, I read this to challenge myself and because it has gotten so many rave reviews. I will tell you this: it is an amazing story, rich with characters, world building, romance and even some horror/monster elements. There is no doubt that Jordan L Hawk is a master writer and story creator.

As for me… it wasn’t really my cup of tea. I got distracted by the language. Griffin calls Whyborne “my dear” all the time and it caught me out of the story each time. I am not one who cares for mysteries much and the mystery definitely occupies a lot of the story.

I didn’t mind the historical aspect – per se- but it’s not my favorite setting and so I kept being distracted by the “truths” of that time period and wondering just how this would all really play out… which is silly because it’s clearly fantasy… but that’s just how my brain works.

I liked the audiobook version though the narrator wouldn’t be my favorite. He doesn’t do a lot to make each voice unique though he tries hard to infuse some emotion and “acting” in with the story telling and certainly doesn’t detract from the overall experience.

I guess, for me, I won’t be reading more (or listening) to this series, not because of the characters – they were amazing and the love story they shared was really touching and sweet and at times very, very hot! – but because the historical parts and the mystery parts are just not my preference.

I have to give it excellent marks for writing and creativity and overall entertainment 4 of 5 stars.

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(Copy purchased for review)

Jordan L Hawk Presents
http://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Widdershins-Audiobook/B00CYRDVS0/ref=a_search_c4_1_1_srTtl_s?qid=1441568963&sr=1-1

Categories
Angst Level Audiobook College/University Contemporary Exploration Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Hidden Lovers Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Purchased Sports Wrestling young adult

Pinned Audiobook (SSU Book one) by Maris Black Narrated by Chris Patton

pinnedBlurb

On his first day of college, all Jeremy Miller can think about is getting away from his hellish home life, making the wrestling team, and finally getting a real boyfriend. He’s sick to death of being used by closeted football players who are too afraid to admit they like guys. What he doesn’t count on is losing his mind over the gorgeous, golden-eyed wrestling captain who needs to keep their attraction a secret at all costs.
After earning a full-ride wrestling scholarship and getting accepted into an elite sports medicine program, Beck thinks he’s got it made. Now he’s a favorite for the national championship in his weight class. Life has never been sweeter or more predictable. Never mind that he’s gay and wishing he didn’t have to hide it. There will be plenty of time for a social life after graduation. Until then he doesn’t need anything to get in the way of his big plans, and that includes the adorable little wrestler who’s got him all tied up in knots.

Review

This is a complex YA/NA story about two wrestlers finding love in a sport that is fairly homophobic, but in this case their coach is dangerously homophobic.

There is a lot of sex in this – so I think for groupings New Adult is more appropriate, but the angst and drama and sometimes over-the-topness sometimes felt more Young Adult.

Beck’s is gay but closeted, doesn’t want to lose his wrestling scholarship. Jeremy is the new guy, super attracted and attractive to Becks, but having to fight against the fear of outing.

The first part of the book is their push-pull of attraction, the second part is dealing with the aftermath.

The second part is where (for me) it got a bit too dramatic at times, though I appreciated the overall statements that get made and the end result. (I won’t say but it involves the Coach in a very bad way and Jeremy makes some decisions that are really hard to witness.)

At the end we get a very satisfying HEA and our MCs manage to bring the bad guy to justice! (I loved the whole Batman/Robin switcheroo underwear thing – very clever!)

Audio

Well I just love Chris Patton so I loved the hell out of this narration. He’s so easy to listen to and I think this hits his “age level” spot on. Kind of young, but mature enough for some hot man on man action. ☺

4.5 of 5 stars

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(Copy purchased for review)

Maris Black Presents

http://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Pinned-Audiobook/B00YSSPEUQ

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Author Provided Book Contemporary Gay Heat Index Hidden Lovers Hurt/Abuse m/m Mild level angst New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Rent Boy Scorching/high heat

Like a Lover (Helping Hands Book 2) by Jay Northcote

*Helping Hand is the first in the series. This story is a spin-off and both books can be read as standalones.

loverBlurb

Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debt. Focused on his goals, he pays his way by working as an escort. He enjoys the no-strings sex because he doesn’t have time for a relationship. Falling in love definitely isn’t part of the deal—especially not with a client.

When Rupert meets Josh in a bar, he’s smitten on sight. He’s never paid for sex, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should’ve known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him he has an inheritance to fund his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT support wouldn’t cover the cost.

With each encounter the lines get blurred, creating something that feels more like a relationship than a business transaction. But they come from different worlds, and to go from client-and-escort to lovers seems impossible. If they want a future together, Josh and Rupert have a lot to overcome.

Excerpt:

“I like your lip ring,” Rupert said. His gaze dropped lower to Josh’s collarbones. “What are your tattoos of?”
“Swallows.” Rupert would just be able to see the wing tips that showed in this low-necked T-shirt. “Two of them.”
“Have you got any other tattoos?”
Josh gave a slow, teasing smile. “Maybe. Do you want me to show you?”
Rupert met his eyes again. There was a flicker of uncertainty before he answered. “Yes. I’d like that.”
Josh turned over the possibilities in his mind. It had been a long time since he’d had sex for anything other than for money. He usually saw clients at least three nights a week. They scratched the itch for him, and he didn’t have the time or inclination to hook up with other guys. He hadn’t dated since he’d started working as an escort. Josh didn’t like lying about his job, but most guys didn’t want to date escorts.
It would be easy to pick Rupert up tonight, though, and have no-strings sex with him for fun rather than cash. But Josh’s rent was due.
“Me too. But it’ll cost you,” he finally said.
Rupert frowned, obvious confusion crossing his features as he tried to make sense of Josh’s words. “What? I don’t—”
“You’re hot, and I wish I could do this without asking you for money. But a client let me down this evening. I have a hotel room booked and paid for next door, and I need someone to cover the cost for me.” The lie came smoothly. “I can’t afford to have sex for free tonight.”
Rupert’s mouth dropped open. Shock was evident on his face, but there was something else that was harder to read. His cheeks flooded pink again and his eyes went dark. “You’re….” His voice came out husky, and he cleared his throat. “You’re a….”
“A sex worker. An escort, to be precise. Hooker, rent boy, you get the gist. I’m an expensive one too. But my clients think I’m worth the money.” Josh waited, tension making a muscle tick in his jaw as he forced himself to stay still and hold Rupert’s gaze. On the occasions he’d tried picking up clients face-to-face, their reactions had varied. Interest, anger, excitement, disgust… he’d seen them all. He steeled himself, ready for rejection.
Rupert licked his lips. “How much?” he finally asked.

Review

In Helping Hands we met Josh as the roommate of Jez and Mac. He’s known in the house as a “player”, but in reality, he’s a rent boy. So each night out he works hard for the money in order to go to university. His parents are out of the picture and he doesn’t want student loans.

Rupert is a shy IT guy who normally has a hard time meeting people. When he’s stood up at the same bar as Josh one night, the two strike up a conversation. When Josh makes it clear that he’d love to spend more time with Rupert, but it’ll cost him, something takes over Rupert and he finds some new-born confidence.

The sex is phenomenal and both parties are left a bit shaken. They quickly make plans to be together again, and again, and again. Though there is always an exchange of money, it begins to feel wrong as their emotions get involved.

Finally, on a long “working” weekend where Josh poses as Rupert’s boyfriend, the lines get so blurry as to be non-existent between “client” and “lover”.

**

This book was another wonderful example of Jay Northcote’s ability to give us a very sweet romance, no matter the circumstances. Yes, there were times when I wished she’d delved a bit deeper into the emotional impact Josh’s job had on both parties, but I appreciated that from early on Josh admitted to fantasizing about Rupert while with his other “clients”.

I think that – if you can believe it- there was more sex in this story than needed to be. I wanted to have more of an emotional connection between these guys than I saw on page. Yes, they did do some other, non-sex related things with each other, but I didn’t get to see enough of it to really buy into their HEA.

Rupert is a super sweet MC and though Josh isn’t a bad guy, I didn’t ever see him as being quite “worth” of Rupert… he just needed to spend more time with the guy as himself, not as his escort.

That being said… I enjoyed reading this and the writing was excellent – as always – and I will certainly look forward to any more books in this series.

3.5 of 5 stars

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(Copy provided by author for review)

To buy:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B014O4TCMY

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B014O4TCMY

Author Bio:

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with her husband, two children, and two cats.
She comes from a family of writers, but she always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. She spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content. One day, she decided to try and write a short story–just to see if she could–and found it rather addictive. She hasn’t stopped writing since.

www.jaynorthcote.com

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Book Contemporary Gay Hidden Lovers m/m Mid level angst Mild/low level heat Music/Rock Star NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Riptide Publishing

Running With Scissors By LA Witt

running with scissorsBlurb

Eighteen months ago, drummer Jude Colburn made the biggest mistake of his life when he walked away from his band just as they were on the brink of success. Now, he’s got a second chance. The band’s bassist just quit, and Jude plays bass almost as well as he plays drums. The other band members aren’t thrilled, but they are desperate.

Running with Scissors needs him, but there’s one condition: no hooking up with bandmates. That’s what ruined things eighteen months ago, after all. Jude’s on board, but no one warned him about the drummer who replaced him. A.J. Palmer is shy and unassuming . . . until he hits the stage. He gets Jude’s attention from the first beat, and suddenly that “no hookups” rule isn’t so easy to follow.

Keeping secrets on a tour bus isn’t easy either, and it’s only a matter of time before the band catches on. When everything hits the fan, Jude has to choose: a second chance at the career he’s always regretted leaving, or a shot at the man of his dreams?

Review

So I will admit that I mostly skimmed this book.

I LOVE the idea. LOVE the author. LOVE the cover. But I didn’t love the outcome.

Jude left his band high and dry and when he returns he’s told absolutely no hook-ups will be tolerated with other band members. So of course… he and AJ find themselves having to hide their developing love for each other and that causes lots of strife and on again/off again angst. Turns out Jude had a “thing” with another band member and there are unresolved feelings between the two to this day.

I didn’t really like Jude all that much and kinda felt AJ was a bit wishy-washy. So their “passion” was just as uneventful for me. In fact, I thought the most passionate thing in the book was the violent reaction to the hook-up the other band members had rather than the love between our two MCs. (The women in particular were pretty screechy.)

I was kinda hoping for this “super shy on the tour bus” guy to become this totally “hot and madly passionate” guy with his beau but it was kinda luke-warm instead. Usually LA Witt is full of hawt and sexy love scenes sometimes a little on the kinky side, but this was pretty white bread.

I think, had I not had high expectations because of my fandom for the author I wouldn’t have felt as let down, because it is still a “good” book, just not as great as I’d come to expect. (As you can tell from my previous review of Static – I am a big fan of this author.)

So, with that… I give it a fair 3 of 5 stars.

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Title provided thanks to NetGalley

Riptide Publishing Presents
http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/running-with-scissors

Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Author Provided Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary Gay GFY/OFY Hidden Lovers m/m Mild level angst Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Scorching/high heat

Bent Arrow by Posy Roberts (Review)

bent arrowBlurb

Sometimes curves in the road take you right where you belong.

Luther Almond’s life working the Bakken oil field is perfect—short-lived jobs, temporary housing, and easy hookups. That’s one reason he won’t move home when he inherits the lake house. When Erik Heat bends over to fix Luther’s pipes, his tattoos hint he might be up for more than working on the drain. The last thing Luther expects is to want more from this guy than one night.

Every time they’re together, Luther is more grounded and Erik more confident. When the lake house demands attention, Luther asks for Erik’s help. There he imagines a more permanent life, one where he stops running. But he wants Erik by his side. Can he find the courage—and the words—to ask?

Review

Luther ran away from his small town living when he realized that being gay and living in rural North Dakota weren’t really compatible.

He’s led a nomadic life, following the jobs and the money until time and opportunity have led him back to his home state and the oil fields. While there he meets Erik, a quiet plumber, also from rural North Dakota.

The tattoo of an arrow leads Luther to ask pointed questions and Erik’s blush lets him know that an approach of the sexy kind might be appreciated.

The two start off slow. Luther works 70-100 hours a week and Erik’s need for keeping things quiet is mirrored by Luther’s own life in the closet. But… as time marches on… Luther finds that he misses Erik when he can’t be around him – and not just because it’s the best sex he’s ever had.

Another ripple on the water is the fact that Luther’s grandmother has left him a house in his home town – a place Luther isn’t ready to settle into. It’s full of problems and Erik is more than willing to spend time up there with Luther fixing things.

When Luther gets let go suddenly, he has to face some hard truths. He might be ready to finally settle down, he definitely doesn’t want to lose Erik, but is he ready to tell the world his secrets?

**

This is a pretty short novella, but it is amazingly sweet and full of details. Through texting and a few meetings Erik and Luther grow ever closer and though we don’t have a lot of on page interaction, Posy Roberts handles the passing of time effortlessly.  Her writing is crisp, clean and lovely.

It never felt rushed and the love really did seem to grow and blossom organically, over time.

I loved where the story led us and enjoyed these two guys as MCs. They were stoic and simple but sweet and romantic. And… let’s face it… the smexy times were hot, too!

I highly recommend this story to fans of quiet, stoic men with poetic hearts and lovers of stories with happy endings.

(And YOWZA isn’t the cover awesome!)

5 of 5 stars

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(Copy provider by the publisher for review)

Labyrinth bound press presents:

http://www.amazon.com/Bent-Arrow-Posy-Roberts-ebook/dp/B0140AA17W/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1440802142&sr=8-7&keywords=posy+roberts

Available September 3 from Amazon