Categories
adult - 18+ Angst Level Book College/University Contemporary Gay Homophobia Humor m/m Mid level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Review Copies Scorching/high heat

In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish

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DANIEL MULLIGAN is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates look down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Northern Michigan, but, a city boy through and through, when Daniel arrives in Holiday, Michigan, it’s clear that this small town is one more place he just won’t fit in.

REX VALE clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his large, muscular body until it can handle anything, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people. Though he loves the quiet and solitude of his little cabin in the woods, Rex can’t help but want someone to share it with.

When Daniel arrives in Holiday, they are smitten with each other, but though the sex is intense and explosive, Rex fears that Daniel will be one more in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in could be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls that have been keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia where a secret is revealed that changes the way he understands everything.


Review 

This story was such a wonderful surprise. I have to admit I was completely sold on this book based on the cover. Have you seen the two delectable men on that cover? Phew! I knew I had to read it!

Daniel is a great character. He’s tough, smart, ambitious and funny. All of those wonderful tattoos he has is a bonus! Daniel grew up in Philadelphia with his father and two brothers. They have a family run auto mechanic shop. Daniel has never really felt like he fit in with his brothers. He was always the smart kid into music and school and his brothers take more after their dad and work with him running the shop. His family doesn’t understand him being gay and they don’t really understand his love for English and school. He put himself through years of college with little to no support from his family.

Daniel moves to a small town in Michigan after getting a job at a local college. It’s a very small town where everyone knows everyone and Daniel is a complete city boy. Big adjustment.

Rex is a strong but quiet type of guy. Sort of like a gentle giant. He’s got muscles on top of muscles and he makes his own furniture to earn a living. He’s very good with his hands and really enjoys cooking. He’s a bit of a loner which is due to some tragic events that happened in his past. He has trouble meeting and talking with people. He has a cabin in the woods and he mostly keeps to himself.

I really loved everything about this story.

It’s told in Daniel’s POV which I absolutely loved because you get to know him so well. All of his quirks, his sense of humor, how he thinks and all his insecurities he feels about himself as a person. As someone being capable of loving another.

After finishing the story I would have loved even more if the story was told from Daniel and Rex’s point of view because Rex is just such a big teddy bear and I would have loved being in his head as much as Daniel’s. But I felt all in all that the author did a great job in showing the reader how Rex felt about his “issues”.

I enjoyed falling in love with Rex and Daniel as they slowly fell in love with each other. I absolutely loved Ginger and I really enjoyed the closeness that her and Daniel have. Daniel has a really crappy family who never made him feel as if he mattered. He never felt that his family is proud of all his achievements and his brother Colin is just awful to him. It’s no wonder that Daniel has certain insecurities. I love that he’s a scrapper and a fighter. I love his taste in music and his love of teaching and writing. I think what I liked the most was that every sex scene was written in a way that each scene was brand new…if that makes sense…like it wasn’t the same old same old…each intimate moment was written so erotically with Rex being very tactile and Daniel responding so whole heartedly.

So many things made me laugh out loud…the verbal dialogue between Ginger and Daniel…the fact that an espresso was named after Daniel. There are some really great secondary characters like Leo who is a young guy Daniel meets at a record shop and Rex’s friend Will who only wants to protect Rex from being hurt.

I hope the author gives us a book about Leo and Will. There were some sparks flying with those two. And of course Ginger who is Daniel’s bestest friend and go to person. Daniel’s brother Colin is a complete douche throughout the whole story, but I can see him being redeemed once we learn what his deal is.

The words are so descriptive and I was always “in” the story…I was there while they picked their Christmas tree… I was in their bedroom every time too!! Everything about Rex pushed my buttons…His body for one…I had a lovely time visualizing all those muscles…the fact the he cooks and makes things with his hands…His relationship with his mom…the fact that he moved around all the time and was extremely shy…and poor Jamie…that made my heart break for Rex…He is just such a great guy who wants to take care of Daniel… I want Rex!!

There is a HFN. There are a few things left in the air but not in a bad way. Will Daniel take the job at Temple? Will Colin ever tell Daniel what his deal is? Is there a romance in the cards for Leo and Will? I really enjoyed the realness of the book…and this will most definitely be a re-read for me. (An audio version of this book would be absolutely fantastic…I would love to hear Daniel’s inner thoughts on audio! )

Five stars!!

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Copy Purchased for Review

To Buy

http://www.amazon.com/Middle-Somewhere-Roan-Parrish/dp/1634762126/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1439962802&sr=8-1&keywords=roan+parrish

Categories
Contemporary Friends to lovers GFY/OFY Heat Index Humor m/m Mid level steam/heat NetGalley New Adult Review Copies

Reckless Hope (Letting Go #2) by j. leigh bailey

reckless hopeBlurb

What’s life without a little risk?

Or a lot of risk, if you’re Sebastian Carlisle. He’ll never live up to the legacy of his dead brother, so why try? Being the wild child in a family of stuck-up rich snobs suits him just fine.

Until he meets Micah Burke, and everything changes.

Micah’s got too much going on for a relationship. Even if he could trust Sebastian, a distraction—a sexy, reckless distraction with a death wish—would only derail his carefully scheduled life. If it were just Micah, maybe that would be fine, but his mother and sister depend on him, and he can’t let them down. Or at least that’s what he tells himself.

A hot moment leads to a hot night leads to a connection neither of them are ready for. And when a crisis hits Micah’s family hard, Sebastian will have to shed his bad-boy image and decide whether he can be the man Micah needs—and Micah needs to decide whether he’ll let him.

Review

Micah is the epitome of the son who carries the world on his shoulders. He supports his paralyzed mother, cares for his teen-aged sister, works two jobs – one in a nursing home, and attends college part-time. He’s busy. He’s got no time for silliness.

Sebastian has the world at his feet. He’s reckless, carefree, and loves getting into trouble. At first Micah is a sexy challenge, then he’s his touchstone.

When push comes to shove Micah needs a responsible partner, not someone to drag him into trouble, the question is, can Seb be who Micah needs and will Micah ever let anyone in to help?

**

Oh man! This book tugs at your heart strings! Micah’s story is so touching and sweet. He’s such a good guy and needs so much for someone to love him and help him.

Seb is deeper than you think and actually the perfect foil for Micah’s steadfastness.

Together they are a perfect couple and I loved how slowly but surely their romance developed.

Though they are both young, they’ve lived through so much trauma that their “always and forever” feels real and authentic.

The writing is excellent and the story wonderful. I can’t wait for book three in January!

5 of 5 stars

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To buy

Carina Press
http://ebooks.carinapress.com/B9422DDB-905A-48AC-9DAB-139FAFA19E40/10/134/en/ContentDetails.htm?ID=37482223-4303-4D86-95AC-04497D36C1F3

 

(Copy generously provided by NetGalley)

Categories
Angst Level College/University Contemporary Gay Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Humor Hurt/Abuse m/m NetGalley New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Trans

Lonely Hearts (Love Lessons Book 3) by Heidi Cullinan

lonelyheartsBlurb

With the quiet help of his wealthy family, Sebastian “Baz” Acker has successfully kept his painful past at bay. But as the end of college draws near, his friends—his buffer zone—are preparing to move on, while his own life is at a crippling standstill.With loneliness bearing down on him, Baz hooks up—then opens up—with Elijah Prince, the guy Baz took a bullet for last year. The aftershocks of their one-night stand leave giant cracks in Baz’s carefully constructed armor. For the first time, the prospect isn’t terrifying.

Accustomed to escaping his demons by withdrawing into his imagination, Elijah isn’t used to having a happy herd of friends. He’s even less comfortable as the object of a notorious playboy’s affections. Yet all signs seem to indicate this time happiness might be within his grasp. When Baz’s mother runs for a highly sought-after public office, the media hounds drag Baz’s and Elijah’s pasts into the light. In the blinding glare, Baz and Elijah face the ultimate test: discovering if they’re stronger together…or apart.

Warning: Contains sex in a Tesla, sex in a cupboard, sex under a piano, kinky role play, and a cappella RuPaul songs. Just a couple of boys groping, battling, then finally loving their way to becoming me.

Review

This is book three in a series, and while technically it can be read on it’s own, it is definitely much better read – in order – as part of the series.

We met Elijah in book 2. He was the son of the crazed religious zealots who was a rent boy, homeless on the streets of the city for awhile, and then Aaron’s roommate. His folks got crazy when they found out he’d only “faked” being converted back from being gay and was, in fact, still gay – and attempted to shoot him! Baz, who we’ve also met before, got in the way of the bullet and sustained an injury but survived to add another scar to his repertoire.

Baz is the poor rich boy whose parents are the “Illinois equivalent to the Kennedy’s”. He was bashed as a teenager and is now crippled sometimes with chronic pain and eye difficulties.

Baz and Elijah had actually met before all the shooting when Baz had rescued Elijah from a trick gone bad and sent Elijah back to the evil parents.

Ok – now here we are today at Walter and Kelly’s wedding (woot!). Elijah is depressed. Baz is depressed. Elijah has a super crush on Baz and Baz is always “worried” about Elijah’s well-being.

They hook up. (Mild form of saying they have super-hot-monkey-sex in Baz’s new Tesla!) From there on the two are mostly on again/ off again lovers then boyfriends.

But… there’s a lot of drama. Elijah has so much guilt surrounding his “Poor Elijah” fund that he takes on a sucky food service job to allay the guilt (though he doesn’t need the cash.)

Baz is feeling unsettled because all his friends are “growing up” without him and graduating and now he needs to decide what he wants to do with his life.

Plus the media is in a frenzy because Baz’s mother and uncle are making moves in the political arena that put Baz and his life in the spotlight.

Elijah’s still in the news from being the victim of his crazed parents but he’s also now dating Baz and that isn’t good for the campaign – what with his background and such.

And… there’s Lewis/Lejla the almost trans friend Elijah makes while doing dishes.

So… lots of stuff and a little bit of the music scene too.

Eventually, they get it all sorted (of course they do!) and find their own version of the Disney Princess Happy Ending – and we get to see Laurie and Ed again! (Woo Hoo!)

**

Wow – I get it now. Even in summarizing this story I have to include many, many, many words!

This is a long story – 355 pages as compared to the 270 of book 2, but not as many as the 379 of book 1. There is a lot – a lot– of detail and a lot of drama.

But… there are a lot – a lot – of feels, too.

I really love Heidi Cullinan’s characters. They are rich, flawed – very flawed sometimes – real, emotive, charismatic, sometimes cantankerous yet charming, and very well developed. Even if you hadn’t read about them before, you know by the end of the book that you have a solid sense of each of these MCs as well as their cadre of friends.

She also has a way of taking these guys through some really awful stuff and making it seem manageable in a way that is realistic. No quick fixes or band-aids, but hard work and sacrifice. (For the most part – see the end for what I mean.)

In this book, we also have some seriously HOT sex, too. These boys can be DIRTY and it shows! But – somehow – it’s also very loving and revealing and tender at the same time.

I absolutely adored Lewis/Lejla and I hope s/he might be featured more in future works. Her story was so honest and heart-felt and really high-lighted some of the difficulties in actually becoming trans that get sort of swept away with the whole emotional process.

Of course it was so great to see our friends Walter and Kelly, Aaron and Giles again – moving on with life and being cute with each other. And the extra-special I about smiled my face off – Laurie and Ed from Dance With Me! Squeeee! I love that book and I LOVE those guys! I was stoked when Ed kinda put the eye on Baz but then said he had enough man waiting on him at home! Whoo-ee. Love those two!

I had just a few issues with this book.

First – the length. I really and truly felt it could have been shortened without losing any of the specialness. It felt – at times – like we were accounting for every minute of every day and every emotion either boy felt. A lot of the “agonizing in my head” stuff both Elijah and Baz did really could have been summarized because by the end I kind of felt bashed on the head with it. And I’m not sure that I needed to know every feature of the Tesla to appreciate that it was fancy and expensive. And I didn’t need to know every decoration on every table at the wedding. And I didn’t need to know about every movie made by Miyazaki.

Second- the ending. I’m going to sound hypocritical here but stay with me a moment when I say that the ending was too rushed. We spent agonizingly long pages outlining Baz’s pain and lack of direction and tons of time hearing Elijah’s self-deprecating and clearly depressed inner workings and in the span of only a handful of pages those two major problems are seemingly solved by bumping into the right guy at the right time and agreeing to eat more healthy and limit the cigarettes and alcohol.
Of course I’m being glib, but it felt that way. Especially Elijah’s part of the equation. I just didn’t buy that he would full scale decide he had everything to live for, reject drugs as a method of self-medicating, and embrace this new, organic, yoga-filled life when he’d been the poster child for self-destruction not 20 pages ago.
I think, realistically, long-term, intense therapy, AND some significant life-style changes over a long period might grant him some relief…

I mean, I really appreciated the sensitivity that Heidi shows around chronic pain (both with Ed and Laurie and now Baz and Elijah) and how a person’s definition of “sexual intercourse” can be different based on fulfilling different needs. So, maybe a bit more attention to the importance of in-depth psychotherapy for someone whose parents SHOT at you is warranted.

However – by large margins my complaints are pretty minimal in the face of how much I did appreciate where this book goes and the overall feeling of happiness that we end up with for these two very, very lost boys.

I highly recommend it to fans of the series and for those who might want to read it on it’s own I say Go For It! It’s really good, Heidi is a phenomenal writer and despite being a bit wordy, the ride is absolutely worth the time it takes.

4.5 of 5 stars

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This copy was generously provided by the Publisher through NetGalley

To buy

Samhain Presents
http://www.heidicullinan.com/Lonely-Hearts