Categories
adult - 18+

Abstract Love by Sara Dobie Bauer

Publisher and link to book (i.e. Goodreads)
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53977278-abstract-love

Blurb
Sam never expected to move back to Cleveland.
Donovan never expected to be attracted to a man.
Well, shit happens.

After high school, Sam Shelby moved to New York. Eight years later, he returns to Cleveland and lands a job at the best ad firm in town. It would be the perfect gig, if his boss weren’t such an ass.

After his wife leaves, Donovan Cooper questions everything. The arrival of a young, arrogant, gifted graphic designer at Donovan’s firm is the last straw.

Tempers flare over office gossip, and following a nasty argument and scathing kiss, Donovan flails away from heterosexuality while Sam struggles to keep his “no relationship” rule intact.

Despite ugly socks, fiery fights, and their best intentions to not fall in love, these bullheaded coworkers can’t deny their chemistry. Donovan seeks happiness while Sam seeks success, but is there room for more?

Review
I had no idea what I was getting into when I chose this book. The blurb intrigued me. I am so very happy I did. This book is going on my read again list. Both Donovan and Sam are such real characters. Each of them are going through their own problems and never expected to be drawn to each other. The push and pull between them was captivating. Donovan realises he is stuck in a rut, so stuck he doesn’t know how to get out until he meets Sam. Sam is fighting old demons. What I like about this book is that neither of them is the answer to each other’s problems but together they make coping with them more bearable. I admit in the beginning I wasn’t certain about the gay for you aspect of the story but it completely works. The secondary characters of Zen and Monica provide humour making the story less heavy.
This book impressed me enough that I’m now going to check out other works by Sara Dobie Bauer, can’t believe I haven’t found her work before.

Number of stars out of 5 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

How to Shield an Assassin (Unholy Trifecta #1) by A.J. Sherwood

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52885231-how-to-shield-an-assassin

Blurb
It’s not stealing if you’re stealing it back….

Ari had a game plan for life. Shoot people. Get money. Hang out with fellow criminal friends. He saw absolutely no reason to change that plan until one dark night in Memphis, when a little girl reached out to him with pocket change and a desperate plea for him to help her.

Adopting an abused little girl off the streets was, needless to say, not part of the plan. Ari had no idea what he was doing with an eight year old. He especially didn’t know how to juggle taking contracts and raising a little girl.

Things get more complicated when the mercenary, Carter Harrison, approaches him with a job. He needs Ari’s expertise to get into the very high-security museum, Knowles, and steal back Monet’s Water Lily Pond. The job isn’t an easy one. He’d need more than the two of them to make it happen. It’s further complicated because Ari’s not sure what to do with his new daughter while working this job.

And for that matter, how’s he supposed to handle the sexy mercenary?

Tags:
Not child safe but child approved, children know best, Remi approves this book, idiots in love, but Remi loves them anyway, criminals make the best uncles, family of choice, Ari acknowledges Remi as the smarter one, Carter admits his own insanity, nothing blows up, Ivan is very disappointed by this, Kyou has PLANS for Remi, licking solves all problems, bedsheets, lifeskills, children should come with warning labels, it’s not stealing if you’re stealing it BACK, right?, the author once again regrets nothing

Review

Gah! This was so cute! I loved the slow burn and the back story on Remi and how adorable these guys are as a team/family.

I am super impressed with this series and I love the OTT plots and the humor.

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars


Categories
adult - 18+

In a Fix (Torus Intercession #2) by Mary Calmes

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55010414-in-a-fix?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=WSxgWYSOoZ&rank=2

Blurb

How can a man unaware of his own worth ever hope to value anyone else…

Croy Esca is a fixer at Torus Intercession, paid to guard, advocate for, and help those in need of the services his boss, Jared Colter, provides. But that doesn’t mean he’s willing to expend the energy to invest himself in the people he’s assigned to help. Professionally, Croy goes in, gets the job done, and doesn’t allow for anything that might resemble interest—which mirrors the way he handles his personal life as well. He’s been described as aloof, apathetic, and incapable of feeling anything approaching empathy despite his boss’s continual mentoring.

Those lessons aren’t easily learned, though, when you’ve been taught that you’re expendable.
When Croy is assigned to act as bodyguard to a billionaire during a long weekend trip to Las Vegas, he expects another in and out job made all the more tedious by the company he’ll be keeping, and his loathing of Sin City. What he ends up with, however, is far more than he bargained for.

FBI Special Agent Dallas Bauer is good at what he does, some might even say he’s consumed by his work, to the point of insomnia and at the cost to anything resembling a full life. Hit it and quit it is Dallas’s grind. Then Croy Esca comes crashing into his life, and it doesn’t take long before he’s struck by how desperate he is to make sure the fixer doesn’t become the one that got away.

When Croy’s assignment evolves into something so much more dangerous and complicated than he could have ever predicted, and his and Dallas’s lives collide, the fixer finds himself in a fix. One Croy is not altogether sure he wants to escape.

Review

So, lately I’ve not enjoyed Mary’s work, but I am always going to read her because some of my all time favorite books are Mary’s and I’m ever hopeful 

This was definitely one of the better ones I’ve read from her in a while.

Sure, it has a lot of Mary hallmarks – pea coats, clueless men who sweet talk all the women in the story, unrealistic crime, lots and lots of details that don’t always make the story better. But – it also has some really adorable main characters – I cannot wait for Locryn’s story! – and it moves along really quickly.

I am actually a big fan of her insta-love – in this case it really worked – and it’s tons better than the stories where the MCs are together forever before figuring it out or -gasp- are together then apart for years! (Yes, I’m talking about Jory and Sam- I can’t let that go.)

I didn’t love book 1 but this doesn’t really have much to do with any of those characters, so you’ll be fine if you only read this.

4 of 5 stars

Categories
adult - 18+

How to Hack a Hacker (Unholy Trifecta #3) by A.J. Sherwood

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54673491-how-to-hack-a-hacker?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=udGAgU19Rm&rank=3

Blurb

Kyou has a routine. A system. He guards Brannigan Genovese, hacks for his family of choice, and drinks far too much caffeine for any living being. He has contingency plans for everything except for the following:

• Brannigan buying up real estate from the Irish Mob
• Kyou’s band of brothers figuring out who Brannigan actually is
• Ivan sneaking into said Irish Mob headquarters for the fun of it
• Feelings for one Brannigan Genovese that undermines his own common sense

Oddly enough, it might be the feelings that get Kyou in the most trouble. Because when Brannigan is in danger, Kyou breaks every rule he has to save the man.

And damn the consequences.

Tags:
It’s not stalking (totally stalking), Brannigan doesn’t envision being on the run from the mob as his meet cute, but he’ll take it, its not stalking if he likes it, Kyou needs all the naps, does it count as a heist if they’re blowing stuff up, Ivan votes yes, band of brothers, pansexual character, Kyou is utterly done, family of choice, emotional growth, Ivan’s actually serious for once, yes the world almost ended, sleep deprived hackers make poor snap decisions, fortunately for Brannigan

Review

This hits all the high notes! Nerd. Grumpy. Hot smexy times after a prolonged bout of flirting. Sweet and funny co-stars. Mystery with a fair amount of totally over the top heroics. Cute kid. Funny banter.

Super fun. I really enjoyed the entire thing -start to finish. I started with the third book but am going back to book 1 because it won me over so solidly.

Highly recommended!


Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: A Guy Walks Into My Bar by Lauren Blakely Narrated by Shane East, Joe Arden and full cast

audiobookreview

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/53486618-a-guy-walks-into-my-bar?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=zt5u4l6nkz&rank=1

Blurb

A sexy, passionate, utterly addictive standalone MM romance from #1 NYT Bestseller Lauren Blakely!

Every bartender should follow one simple rule—don’t go home with the customers.

That’s been easy for me to stick to, until the night a cocky, confident, and sinfully charming hockey star walks into my bar. This sexy athlete is too hard to resist, especially when he makes it clear how much he wants the “sarcastic, witty, hot AF” guy behind the bar—also known as me.

Still, I’m not keen on breaking my own rules since I know where that can lead—no place good.

But when that man makes his case with one bone-searing kiss on the streets of London, I throw resistance out the window.

What could go wrong with a hot, dirty, no-strings-attached fling before he leaves town in five days?

Trouble is, soon our nights together lead to days, to long conversations, to getting to know each other, and to something I never expected—falling ridiculously hard for a man who’s getting on a plane to America when I live a world away.

My life is here. His is there. And no amount of falling or feeling will change that one big problem.

Warning: contains hot hotel sex, loads of dirty talk, PDA all over London, and two sexy, witty, charming alpha heroes…

Review

Yay! I’d enjoyed this author before so when I saw she wrote an m/m AND that it was full cast as an audiobook… YES!

It’s terribly cute. The competitiveness is adorable. The “Brit v American” is minimal but cute when it happens. They each have great supporting cast friends and family. The HEA is super sweet and sappy and wonderful! I worry when M/F authors write their first or only M/M that the sex will be weird, but it was awesome!

Now, for the not as awesome. There was next to no hockey  I was waiting and waiting for Dean to go to a game and have Fitz explain it or at least watch one on tv but… no. Instead, they literally have sex in almost every chapter. I mean, yes, it was hot. Yes, I’m a fan. But, in general, I need some interaction, romance that isn’t based on the sex. I had to skim. Sigh. I know.

Now for the mega awesome! The audio is a full cast which means not only is each character voiced separately but they keep the character – not just flip chapters back and forth – and actual females do female roles etc! LOL. Ok, well, it was still amazing. Like an old time radio show with an ensemble 

Highly recommended!

4 for the story
5 for audio

Overall 4.5



Purchased for Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Common Goal (Game Changers #4) by Rachel Reid

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52739475-common-goal

Blurb

New York Admirals goalie Eric never thought his friends-with-benefits arrangement with much-younger Kyle would leave them both wanting more…

Veteran goaltender Eric Bennett has faced down some of the toughest shooters on the ice, but nothing prepared him for his latest challenge—life after hockey. It’s time to make some big changes, starting with finally dating men for the first time.

Graduate student Kyle Swift moved to New York nursing a broken heart. He’d sworn to find someone his own age to crush on (for once). Until he meets a gorgeous, distinguished silver fox hockey player. Despite their intense physical attraction, Kyle has no intention of getting emotionally involved. He’ll teach Eric a few tricks, have some mutually consensual fun, then walk away.

Eric is more than happy to learn anything Kyle brings to the table. And Kyle never expected their friends-with-benefits arrangement to leave him wanting more. Happily-ever-after might be staring them in the face, but it won’t happen if they’re too stubborn to come clean about their feelings.

Everything they both want is within reach… They just have to be brave enough to grab it.

Review

The bar was set so high. I absolutely loved the second book in this series- Heated Rivalry. It hit on all the points. Unfortunately, the others in this series are just not as good in comparison.

It’s about hockey, and the author – a Habs fan- so there’s that- does a great job of bringing the game to the story, and for that reason I will always want to read her books 

I liked these guys but didn’t love them. I feel like this is a lot about personal preference, but I just didn’t get the chemical attraction between these two like I did in other books in the series. I thought each character was great, well fleshed out and interesting on their own. However, I didn’t like them together much and I was seriously skimming by the middle of the book wishing they’d just friggin’ get together already!

I know some folks love them some UST but I was over it.

So for me, this was a bit of a miss but still not bad.

 

(I was picturing Lundquist as Benny the entire story – hubba hubba!)

3.5 stars



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
Uncategorized

Audiobook: Sixty Five Hours by NR Walker narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16145400-sixty-five-hours?from_search=true

Blurb
Cameron Fletcher and Lucas Hensley are advertising executives who have Sixty Five Hours to pull together the campaign of their careers.

Sixty Five Hours to get along. Sixty Five Hours to not kill each other. Sixty Five Hours to fall in love

Review
This is a wonderful short story about two rivals who have to work together for sixty five hours to make an ad campaign for condoms and lube.

Lucas is out and proud and Cameron is exceedingly jealous of that fact. Lucas manages to pull Cameron out of his shell and in the meantime discover that he really, really likes that guy.

The sexy-times in this story are HOT and I absolutely loved all the sock and feet imagery. I can totally picture the ad campaign and thought it was brilliant! (Especially the health and safety part.)

I was glad to buy this from amazon- though it’s free again!- but I gotta say, that I loved the first cover better. Sorry! But the socks are the story and it was a really cute cover!

So – if you haven’t read this delightful story do yourself a favor and go get it!

Audio

Nick J Russo. You know I love him! He does an amazing job with this. Lucas is absolutely adorable with his Texas drawl and Cameron is starched but sweet. Love. Love. Love!

6 of 5 stars

(I had to buy this on Apple because it isn’t on Audible. That super sucks because I have credits on Audible :(.  PS I don’t like the new cover so I’m not using it- I like the feet/socks!)

Categories
adult - 18+

Where Love Grows by Jay Northcote Narrated by Hamish Long

audiobookreview

https://www.audible.com/pd/Where-Love-Grows-Audiobook/B08FNHCYYJ?qid=1598094909&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=QJM4STCKDHFSPQ5A34ZW

Blurb
When two broken men look to each other for help, an unexpected romance blooms.
Stephen’s home, deep in the heart of the Welsh valleys, suits his reclusive nature. However, as he recovers from illness, he’s struggling to manage alone. As nature reclaims the land he’s poured his heart into cultivating, he becomes increasingly unhappy. His only outlet is his blog, where he documents the decline of the garden that had been his pride and joy.
He was a high-flyer, living and working in London, until addiction sent him into free fall. Now on the road to recovery, he still wants to make some changes, but he’s unsure where to find the purpose and fulfilment he craves.
A mutual acquaintance suggests Luke visits Stephen to help him out for a while, and a seed of hope is planted. From prickly beginnings, shoots of friendship emerge, blossoming into a deeper connection when they act on their mutual attraction.
This was only ever supposed to be a temporary arrangement, and soon Stephen will be able to manage on his own again. But both men need each other in ways they’re afraid to admit. If their love is going to last for more than one season, they’ll need to find the courage to be honest.
Review
Story: I think this might very well be the best book Jay Northcote has written so far. There’s just so much emotion in this story. And the writing… it’s simply incredible. Such a pleasure to listen to, especially the almost poetic, evocative descriptions of nature and some of the MC’s internal musings. A book to be savored and enjoyed, never rushed.
Luke and Stephen get off to a rough start, but I very much enjoyed the slow but sure way their friendship developed. Stephen is a tough nut to crack. His heart, health, pride and self-esteem have suffered countless blows. He’s lost so much: his parents, his health, a job he loved, … and he finds it nearly impossible to believe he can have happiness again. He’s super prickly and antagonistic as a result, but so vulnerable underneath his hard exterior. Luke, on the other hand, is very open about how he feels and tries his hardest to form a connection with Stephen. He’s such a sweetheart and has his own cross to bear, unfortunately. Luke and Stephen both tugged on my heartstrings something fierce.
This book has an almost magical “Secret Garden” feel to it, with a prominent role going to Nature, with all its beauty and promise of growth and resilience. The garden slowly blossoming under Luke’s care wonderfully mirrors the progress both Luke and Stephen make as well.

Narration: Hamish Long is the perfect choice for this audiobook. His honeyed voice and wonderful ability to capture every emotion, however small or subtle, make this into a mesmerizing listen. I love the voices he does for both Stephen and Luke, though Stephen’s slight accent is especially enjoyable to listen to.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 6


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Strays (Urban Soul Book 2) by Garrett Leigh Narrated by Dan Calley

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Strays-Audiobook/B08FCMRNBV?qid=1597893157&sr=1-1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=JCJAE1K33RYJWTKF9K23

Blurb:

Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend Cass asks him to take on a new apprentice – a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerized by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.
Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm – a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.
Fast-forward a month, and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.

Review:

When Lenny’s stalker issues become too much he does not know where to turn and begins to have a meltdown. Lucky for him his boss is there to help and finds him a safe place to stay while everything is sorted out. Lenny finds himself on Nero’s couch and working as his apprentice. As the two work and live together feelings begin to emerge and soon the two are dancing around what could be a relationship if only, they could both leave their demons behind.

Lenny and Nero’s story is an emotional listen. Both men have issues to deal with and must decide if they are going to let the issues rule their lives or try to heal. The men are opposites but there is no denying the attraction that they have. It was interesting to see their relationship take shape. Soon they are more than just coworkers and Lenny longs for more, but can Nero find it in him to take that final step and give what he has never given another? Their story is full of angst and as their relationship grows you get to see the depth of these characters. The two are good for each other and make a good couple. Although some of the story is predictable it is an engaging listen, but the narration was lacking for me. Narrator Dan Calley keeps the narrative flowing but the characters did not seem to have a lot of depth or emotion to them especially Nero who came off a as flat to me during much of the book.

Number of stars out of 3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
Uncategorized

Chumming with a Great White (Beneath Aquatica’s Waves #8) by Charlie Richards

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54897865-chumming-with-a-great-white?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=BqtXLSN7I2&rank=1

Blurb

World of Aquatica: After a mission goes horribly awry, an injured SEAL learns that his road to recovery doesn’t have to be walked alone.

Graham Canton’s life has always revolved around his work as a Navy SEAL. When faulty Intel culminates in a mission going horribly wrong, he loses more than just part of his leg. He loses his identity. While Graham knows he should feel grateful he’s returning home alive—after all, some on his team didn’t—all he can think about is how life as he knows it is over. Then, living with his brother as he recovers, Graham meets Eban O’Gillie, and his life turns upside down all over again.

As a dominant great white shark shifter, Eban enjoys his role as head enforcer for his pod. His life at World of Aquatica, a marine park owned and operated mostly by aquatic shifters, couldn’t be better. He loves helping his alpha and beta aid those under their care and figuring out their problems. Eban’s first look at Graham is through a security camera, and his attraction is instantaneous. When he meets the human, all becomes clear. The injured veteran is his mate.

Can Eban show Graham that his worth is more than his ability as a SEAL while figuring out who’s sending him hate-filled letters?

Review

I know I’ve said something to this effect before, but I think – very, very sadly – that I am probably done with Charlie Richards. I have so loved her work and have read pretty much every thing she has written and I do believe that she has (oh the irony here) jumped the shark.

Every story is just too quick. Repetitive. Uninspired and uninspiring.

I WANT to love them. I keep hoping I will. Each time I finish I swear it’s the last.

Sigh.

I also want to tell Extasy books: Do better. You have so many talented people in the world. Do better with your covers.

The “scar” on this looks like a blurry tattoo.

Sorry. That was more complaint than probably warranted but I’m sad and frustrated.

I can’t know her situation, but I really wish we got fewer stories but ones that had just a tad more depth.

(I really should have known by the title….)

2.75 of 5 stars