Time to Comfort: Belonging (Firsts and Forever #8) By Alexa Land

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25368856-belonging?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Can two damaged men build a future together from the shattered pieces of their lives?

Gianni Dombruso’s life was altered forever at the age of four, when his parents were murdered and he and his brothers went to live with their grandmother, the irrepressible Nana Dombruso. Now almost thirty, Gianni has spent his life bouncing from relationship to relationship, seeking but never finding the security and stability he so desperately craves.

Alexzander Tillane was one of the biggest pop stars in the world when he walked away from it all in the middle of a concert in 2002. Almost destroyed by the pressure of fame, Zan retreated to a life of quiet solitude in an effort to heal. But the cure backfired, leaving him with more issues than answers.

Zan knows he can’t give Gianni the stability he’s looking for, not with all his problems. He can’t even imagine why the beautiful younger man would want to get involved with someone so damaged, but the heat between them can’t be ignored. Giving in to it could be a huge mistake. Or maybe both men might end up right where they belong.

Approximately 98,000 words. Please note: contains explicit language and graphic sex. For ADULTS ONLY.

Review

First off this book is a part of a series, and while it can be read as a standalone, there are a lot of secondary characters that appear in previous books. I highly recommend reading the entire series for most enjoyment.

Zan is a former famous musician who walked away from everything when life became too much. He lives in complete isolation with only his son for company. Unfortunately, his son Christian is sick and unable to care for Zan any longer. Christian asks his good friend Gianni to fill in for him while he recovers. Gianni is a complicated character. He comes off as a very put together young man but in reality, he is a vulnerable, sensitive man who has poor self-esteem and is ok with being mistreated by past lovers because he feels like he deserves it. Zan has his own issues as well. He suffers from mental illness, which is now keeping him a prisoner in his own home and preventing him from living. When both men finally meet they are attracted to each other but neither one of them has any experience with healthy relationships and seem to be waiting for the other to make the first move. Gianni ends up thinking Zan hates him and his feeling of self-worth diminishes even further. He ends up leaving Zan in the care of one of his brothers and decided to go to New York to be with another man who treats him horribly. This is the push Zan needs to make the move. He ends up following Gianni to the airport and one of the hottest kisses happens here. Now Gianni is in an unfamiliar situation of becoming the caretaker in the relationship. With Zan’s mental issues, Gianni must become more aware of his moods in order to prevent Zan from sliding into darkness.

Belonging is a very much a fluffy enemy to lover sort of romance. There is very little angst and the romance between Zan and Gianni is sizzling. The character development in this book is amazing and you can’t help but falling in love with all of them. This is a beautiful story of two broken men overcoming their insecurities in order to be with each other. This is book is full of crazy, zany characters and it will have you laughing out loud.

5 Stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Comfort: Love Me Louder by Christina Lee

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40663475-love-me-louder?from_search=true

Blurb
Noah Dixon is damaged goods. After an accident leaves him physically scarred and emotionally vulnerable, dating isn’t in the cards, so he throws himself head-first into his retail job. When he’s obligated to attend his best friend’s engagement party on Fire Island, it dawns on him he’s about to spend yet another weekend feeling totally invisible and alone among a swarm of gorgeous men.

That’s when the idea of an escort comes in.

After Will Crossen was forced to put his theater major on hold in favor of two jobs to tackle his ailing mother’s hospital bills, he tells himself becoming an escort isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just another form of acting, right? He doesn’t expect his newest customer to be the cheery, overconfident sales associate he avoids like the plague at his day job. Talk about awkward.

But what happens on Fire Island stays on Fire Island…especially when a smoldering attraction sparks into flames. Will doesn’t feel so alone anymore, and for the first time, Noah realizes someone is seeing him behind all the scars. But between their jobs, Will’s massive familial responsibilities, and Noah’s vulnerabilities, they don’t stand a chance unless they find a way to let love speak louder than their demons.

Review
I enjoyed this story immensely!!

It had everything I want in a romance: emotional depth and a real connection between the MC’s, great chemistry and a lovely slow-burn hurt/comfort theme.
Throw in the excitement and angst that comes with falling for a fake boyfriend and I knew I was in for an allnighter because no way was I putting this book down!

Noah feels inadequate and has a very low self-image, especially with regards to his appearance. Initially, this skews his view on the world, read Will, and he has a difficult time accepting that Will might be genuinely attracted to him.

Will takes care of his mother and works two jobs to make ends meet, giving up his dream of a career in the theatre. I love his sense of responsibility and family.

Noah and Will dance around each other and their true feelings for quite some time, afraid to give too much away and get hurt, hesitant to believe that what they share between them could be real.

I love how the fake boyfriend trope was written here, with the closed-off colleague turning out to be an escort! The author didn’t take the easy way out by turning the route of insta-lust, but slowly let the feelings build, raising the emotional stakes bit by bit.

We get to reconnect with some of my all-time favorite characters as well, which was a delightful surprise!
Tate & Sebastian are such an adorable couple and I loved that Tate’s alter ego, Frieda Love, was the one to give Noah and Will that final little nudge to help them confess their true feelings to one another!

As is the case in all her books, Christina Lee surrounds her MC’s with engaging, three-dimensional secondary characters, be they family, friends or co-workers, drawing us into the wonderful fictional world she created. If only there was a portal the reader could step through to make their acquaintance!

I loved the title of this book so much!! Its message is incredibly apt and feels so true to these two amazing characters.
The extraordinary Frieda Love sums it up marvelously:

“Sometimes people need you to love them a little louder!”

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Review copy provided by Author

 

 

Time to Get Scared: A Hymn In The Silence by Kelley York and Rowan Altwood

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40517607-a-hymn-in-the-silence

Blurb
Since graduating from Whisperwood School for Boys, William has found a sense of normalcy in his life with James. He has a steady (albeit secret) relationship, a home, and a job—even if it doesn’t pay the greatest. Nevermind that he lacks James’ reckless bravery when it comes to dealing with spirits; he does his best and it hasn’t killed him thus far.

When a new client calls on their expertise in solving a grisly multiple homicide, William resists. They’re spirit hunters, not detectives. But the money is too much to pass up when they don’t know when their next meal will be, and soon they’re arriving at Evenbury Manor, nestled in a close-knit rural community, ready to investigate.

They’re in over their heads, but in very different ways than William could have anticipated. The hills are filled with creatures far more dangerous than any they’ve ever encountered, and their usual tactics aren’t working. On top of his renewed struggles with his addiction, William is left to fend for himself against the dead to protect not only the community, but the person in the world that’s most important to him.

Review
This is an amazing ghost story! A great mix of suspense, adventure, friendship and romance!

The change in pov with regards to A Light Amongst Shadows, from James to William, serves as a lovely way to gain more insight into William’s thoughts and feelings this time. His anxiety comes across far more, same for his opium addiction and how it effectively holds him hostage, it’s a crutch but a dangerous one.

William and James are hired to solve a mystery that may or may not involve supernatural culprits. Either way, they soon have reason to fear they are in over their head. Time to call in reinforcements! We get to reconnect with Virgil and meet a wonderfully brave and intelligent new character, Adelia! Loved her!

William and James are marvelous together as always. It was wonderful to see how they have come along since their time spent at Whisperwood. Their banter is fun to read, but their more emotional moments will tug at your heartstrings something fierce.

I loved how they included so many historical details, in the subtlest of ways, sometimes by using certain quaint words and other times by casually mentioning everyday facts of life of the 19th century. Going from the more banal stuff like fashion choices and horse-drawn “cabs’, to the more peculiar practice of taking memento mori photographs, which seems a rather morbid custom from a 21st century perspective.

This is a beautifully written story and a joy to read thanks to the authors’ eloquent and expressive writing style. I also very much enjoyed the quirky humor that they incorporated throughout the story with, among other things, the never-ending quest for a “company name” for these two fearless spirit slayers.

Kelley York and Rowan Altwood really understand how to tell a tale in a way that’s so clear and compelling that as a reader you are completely sucked into the story. It almost seems to play out before you like a (scary) movie. So it wasn’t always the most relaxing read… things have a way of going bump in the night in ghost stories, after all. I swear I almost jumped right out of my seat a couple of times. Don’t read this book in bed, you’ll be scared to death imagining what might come crawling out from under it…

I also loved the mystery, or rather mysteries, that needed solving. It was exciting to try and figure it out ahead of the characters. Emphasis on try. The plot was well-thought out and there was plenty of suspense and danger, with ghosts and other threats lurking in the most unexpected of places.

So recommend this!!

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Recent Releases: Close Proximity Books 1 and 2 by Erin M Leaf

 

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/series/237768-close-proximity

The Elevator (Close Proximity #1)

Blurb 

Adrian Hughes is a geek who sucks at social interaction because awkward is his middle name. Even though he’s gay, he’s the opposite of flamboyant (when they were handing out fabulous, he was hiding in another room). Even so, he’s always wanted a boyfriend—who doesn’t want to find love?—but so far, the closest he’s gotten to it is crushing on the hot older guy he only sees on the elevator. So what happens when he’s trapped inside it with Mr. Zillionaire Hottie during a heat wave brownout? He stutters like an idiot, because Mr. Greyson Lee is unexpectedly cool, calm, and collected … right up until he’s not.

When kissing leads to sex, Adrian can’t say no. But is it just a hookup? Or is it the start of something more?

The Cabin (Close Proximity #2) 

Blurb 

Flynn is having a terrible day—his fiancée jilted him at the altar and now he’s alone on his honeymoon. Going to a wilderness resort by himself was probably not his best idea, but then artist Beau Green arrives to make everything even more complicated. A reservation mistake and stormy weather means the charismatic black man is out of options for the night, but Flynn can’t let someone sleep on a cold floor when there’s a perfectly good sofa in his cabin. When the power dies, Flynn ends up on the sofa, too, because there’s only one fireplace, and freezing is not part of his plan for the day.

Also not planned? Having sex with a dude, but Beau is everything his ex is not—kind, strong, and intelligent. Unfortunately, Flynn is straight, and falling for a man might be one disaster too many for him to handle.

Review

These do not need to be read together but they are short little snippets so why not?

In Book 1 – we have a nerdy guy who ends up trapped in an elevator with his secret crush. Needless to say they end up learning more about each other and deciding to explore that. Don’t expect a lot of romance – this is erotica, plain and simple – however, the romance is sweet.

Spoiler Inside SelectShow

Book 2

This was my favorite of the 2 – mostly because – though it is still very much erotica – it had a bit more “meat” to the romance side of things. Granted, our guys fall into bed very easily and into love even more easily, but it was super sweet and really fun to read.

5 of 5

Between the two 4.5 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Purchased for Review

Time to Laugh: Rhino Ash by Lindsey Black

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36437886-rhino-ash?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb
Ashley Jameson always tries to do the right thing, but that’s hard when your nephew keeps eating crayons, your niece is dressed as a pudding and your obnoxious older brothers crash the church’s Sunday brunch with the guy you’ve been crushing on for five years. Going to work to fight fires is a welcome relief from family obligations, until the Riot Squad arrives to investigate and Ashley once again finds himself dealing with his siblings. Oh … and Finn Hale.

But Finn’s dark past continues to haunt him. As work gets increasingly busy with a string of arson attacks on illegal immigrants, Finn steps in to be the shoulder Ashley needs to lean on, but Ashley struggles to do the same for the man he loves. Juggling family and work can be difficult, but Ashley soon discovers that the real challenge is when it’s not a struggle at all … because you’ll do anything for the ones you love.

Review
This is the second book in a series but can be read as a stand-alone. Although once you read about this crazy family you might want more.
(https://openskyebookreviews.com/fishy-riot-by-lindsey-black/)
If you have read Fishy Riot and loved it you’ll like this book. Ashley is one of the younger siblings and initially get portrayed as simple, but he’s rather complex and hides his vulnerability. His family all mother him which can be very amusing. He has had a long standing crush on Finn Hale. His close friends call him Halesessed. He thinks no one else really knows this but of course that’s not true! Finn doesn’t show it but he is living his life in contrition for past mistakes and actions. He was made to feel this way by his parents and it takes Ashley’s love to make him see there is nothing to feel guilty about. This is a sweet love story about two people coming out of their shell, or self imposed isolation, to find happiness. Along the way there is an investigation into arson and people smuggling, harassment, and a few near death experiences certainly kept me hooked. The antics of the family, especially his niece and nephew had me laughing. I don’t know if I could cope with children like that!

4 of stars out of 5

Purchased by reviewer