Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook DA Dreamspinner Exploration Gay Gay High but not hopeless Homophobia m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Older MCs Virgin

Audiobook: Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton narrated by Colin Darcy

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/family-man-by-heidi-cullinan-and-marie-sexton-8839-b

Blurb: Sometimes family chooses you.

At forty, Vincent “Vinnie” Fierro is still afraid to admit he might be gay—even to himself. It’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, it’s getting harder to ignore what he really wants.

Vinnie attempts some self-exploration in Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek, Trey agrees to let Vinnie court him and see if he truly belongs on this side of the fence—though Trey intends to keep his virginity intact.

It seems like a solid plan, but nothing is simple when family is involved. When Vinnie’s family finds out about their relationship, the situation is sticky enough, but when Trey’s mother goes critical, Vinnie and Trey must decide whose happiness is most important—their families’ or their own.

Review:

(Review of book on site previously by Anna)

I love this book. Have re-read several times. I don’t know if it resonates with me especially, if, like Vinnie, I too was late to the party of realizing who I really am or if it just such a great story by such talented writers that it would resonate with anyone.

At almost 40, with 3 ex-wives, a huge catholic Italian family and countless jobs behind him, plumber Vinnie Fierro suddenly realises that he might be gay. This assumption is not as outlandish as that sentence may look, there are reasons, believe me…
Testing the theory by going to a gay bar leads to a meeting with a local from his neighborhood, Trey Giles, a 25 year old college student, with so much on his plate that he has no time for dating and no desire to sleep around, until he finds ‘someone special’. With sex off the table, the two are free to explore being in a relationship and being intimate with out any pressure from either side.

There a truckload of angsty issues, this book could easily have veered off into very heavy territory, but despite the Vinnies fear of coming out and being abandoned by his family, and poor Trey’s mess of a life with two jobs, college and looking after an aging grandmother and a raging alcoholic for a mother, it somehow manages to stay pretty light and feel good.

I have re-read it several times, still love it and I’ll be the first in line when it’s released in audiobook format. I only have very minor niggles about it and one of them is the request for Hank’s story from the authors. There must be a story to tell there!
4.5 of 5 stars

Review by Morgan
I agree with Anna so much! This was a wonderful book and I’d read it several time and have found something new to appreciate with each new read.

This time, as a listen, I got the joy of the new narrator – he’s AWESOME – as well as the appreciation that the slowing down and listening to a story really brings.

I think, what this time ‘round has shown me, is that this book really works as a coming of age book that happens to have a lot of romance in it. Both of our MCs are really growing in this story and their coming together helps with that growth, but isn’t necessarily the main or only cause of that growth.

I loved how Colin Darcy portrayed Vinnie – he felt spot on to me! It was wonderful! He also really shone in his ability to handle the emotional saga between Trey and his mom. He had me in tears! Really well done and highly recommeneded!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Bi-Sexual Book Contemporary DA Dancer Demi Exploration Gay GFY/OFY Heat Index Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse Insta Love m/m Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Scorching/high heat Trans

Fierce & Fabulous (Sassy Boyz #1) by Elizabeth Varlet

release day review

29951622Blurb
Fans of Heidi Cullinan will devour this scorching new male/male series by Elizabeth Varlet. Behind the Sassy Boyz’s seductive smiles and sinful dance moves are desires that will leave readers breathless.

Fitch Donovan never thought a lap dance could change his life, but from the moment the gorgeous dancer’s lips touch his, his world comes screeching to a halt. No matter how hard he tries, he can’t shake the desire that rocks him to his core. He’s longed for this passion all his life—he just never dreamed he’d find it with another man.

Sharing a soul-shaking kiss with a straight boy is the kind of drama Ansel Becke just doesn’t need. Spotlights aren’t made for two and Ansel prefers to keep things on a one-night-only basis. So when Fitch shows up asking for an encore, Ansel knows he should send his gorgeous ass packing.

Though Ansel tries to pretend that what’s between him and Fitch is far from fabulous, there’s something about the big, burly contractor that makes Ansel’s world sparkle in a way no amount of glitter ever could. And Fitch will do whatever it takes to convince Ansel that when the thing you need most in the world falls right into your lap, you’d be a fool to let it go.

Review

The blurb really gives a good idea of the basic storyline, so I won’t go into more detail here other than to say this: Ansel is more than just a dancer – he is a very complex character with some pretty big “imperfections” and his “broken” needs Fitch and vice versa.

**

This is a new author for me (and a new series) and WOWOWOW! talk about impressed! I was really blown out of my seat by this.

I saw a great review for this on GR and had it already in my lineup from NetGalley but it’s not coming out for MONTHS. I try to keep my review lists in order – simply to not get behind in my reading – but every once in a while a book comes along and I just have to read it NOW! This is one of those.

I just loved how the very straight Fitch is portrayed and how the change to his psyche is portrayed. It felt very real and organic and though I think the author could have developed him better as identifying something like demi-sexual I applaud the fact that Fitch never claims to be gay. He simply falls in love with Ansel. That’s it. He just loves Ansel.

The other think I adored was how Ansel just comes out and tells it like it is.

Fitch:“But you wear heels and makeup. What’s the difference?”
Ansel:“I don’t tuck, most queens do. They often wear fake breasts too. Drag is for show. A performance. We don’t try to pass ourselves off as women. We dress like this every day. We just like pretty things.”
“So you’re trans?” Fitch scratched his jaw before popping another onion ring in his mouth.
“It depends on what you mean by trans. Transgender, I am not. I don’t identify as female. I enjoy everything male about myself. But technically I guess you could call me a transvestite. We prefer androgynous more than anything, a little bit of both and neither at the same time. Completely ambiguous. But personally I don’t like labels. I’m just Ansel fucking Becke and screw anyone who has a problem with it. I like heels. And I love makeup because it’s fun to play with color. It’s like painting.”

I just thought it was a tremendously awesome way to think about gender fluidity and how brave Ansel is for embracing all that society would make him feel “less than” for. It was awesome. And on the same hand – it was this that he had to struggle with so fiercely every single day – just to be himself.

The love between these guys – though it seemed kinda “insta” – isn’t. They build on it slowly and surely with lots hurdles along the way. Most importantly, Ansel’s drinking. I thought his alcoholism – though it seemed a bit too easily tackled – was at least addressed in a way that made sense and felt like it was on the right track.

The smexy times with these guys was SMOKIN’ and the feels were there, too.

This had all the things I love in a romance: real, unique characters, hot smexy times, deep and believable emotion and the time to see the relationship develop while not drawing out the angst unnecessarily.

I highly recommend this book and can’t wait for more in the series.

5 of 5 stars

5-stars-small

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Copy Generously Provided by NetGalley for Honest Review

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