Recent Release: Sanctuary (Mercy Hills Pack #5.5) by Ann-Katrin Byrde

Good reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36395933-sanctuary?from_search=true

Blurb

“Omegas for alphas and betas for betas…”

Ori and Patton have been best friends since they were pups. But growing up changes everything—Ori must settle on an alpha to mate, while Patton takes on the beta’s work of maintaining the walled enclave their pack lives within. They try to make the best of it, until a wealthy suitor comes calling for Ori, and they realize neither of them can face a future without the other. And on a moonless night, Ori and Patton escape over the enclave walls, breaking both shifter and human law in their determination to reach the sanctuary of Mercy Hills.

Hunted by their own people and forced into a dangerous masquerade among the humans, their original plan–so simple and direct—turns into a twisted path toward a promise of freedom that might not even exist. Because Mercy Hills doesn’t know they’re coming, and the trouble they’re bringing to the enclave’s doorstep may be more than those already beset shifters are willing to bear.

Finding out Ori is pregnant makes their mission that much more urgent. Omegas never mate with betas, let alone have pups with them. If their pack finds the two lovers, they’ll be separated forever.

But the pack never reckoned with the determination of a beta in love, or the stubbornness of an omega determined to keep his mate and his baby.

Review

I like this series quite a bit but I do find some of the detail a bit too tedious. I’ve never been a huge fan of “dystopian” and I sort of lump these types of stories as dystopian. In this world, the knowledge of shifters is out there and they are subsequently treated very poorly and kept in enclaves.

I really hate this type of story but I so admire the love stories the author is capable of giving that I wade through the sadness and despair to find the happy and the sweet.

Our two MCs have a truck load of misery to over come in this book and I have to admit I skimmed the entire first half as it was entirely too “difficult” and way too long – for me – but I really enjoyed the part where they finally made it to the Mercy Hills Pack and found their beginning to be really touching as well.

I think this is another author who could benefit from a stiff editing ☺

I think this is good for fans of the author and the series but I wouldn’t start with this – I think they need to be read in order.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: A Deeper Blue (The Game #2) by S.E. Harmon

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-deeper-blue-by-se-harmon-9928-b

Blurb

A year ago, Kelly Cannon couldn’t imagine he’d end up with his formerly straight best friend. It’s hard to believe he can finally kiss Blue any time he wants… as long as they’re in private. And there’s the rub. Despite Kelly’s promise to wait until Blue is ready to come out, he’s tired of sneaking around. The cracks in their relationship are starting to show, and there might not be enough spackle in the world to fix them.

Britton “Blue” Montgomery may not be the physics brainiac his boyfriend is, but he’s not stupid. He knows Kelly isn’t completely happy. But he’s not ready to be the poster boy for bisexuals and gays in the NFL. He just wants to keep his head down, play the game he loves, and go home to the man he adores. Is that too much to ask?

With the truth slowly coming to the surface, Blue must make a choice. If it means losing Kelly, there’s no decision to make…. He has to find enough courage to face the music and hope they’ll survive the fallout.

Man. Happily-ever-afters may not be just for Disney princesses, but they sure are a lot of work.

Review

So here’s the thing. If you loved book one, if you love this author and their style of writing, you will love this sequel.

It’s full of SE Harmon’s sense of humor, flair with sexual chemistry and attention to minutia (I mean detail- ahem.)

One thing I’ve felt about each SE Harmon title was that it was good but too long and needed a fierce hand with an editor and it’d be tight and wonderful. As it is, though there is a lot of interesting stuff happening, it isn’t needed IMHO. I felt like I understood the importance of Kelly’s career without having to go step by step with him through his teaching process. I get that the foot ball guys are jerks without having to sit through each moment of practice.

So, for me, I found myself wanting to skim a lot and though I found the sex hot – it got skimmed as well.

I definitely needed this book to close up what we started in book 1 and so – to that extent – I was happy to have read this – but I’m still left with that feeling of wishing it’d been shorter and more to the point.

I think fans of the author will disagree but I give this 3.5 stars.

3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Knowing Me, Knowing You by Renae Kaye

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/knowing-me-knowing-you-by-renae-kaye-9931-b

Blurb

Loving You: Book Four

Can friends turned occasional lovers move beyond past mistakes and wrong assumptions to build something that can last?

Quiet bookworm Shane has a big secret—one he’s kept for fifteen years. AFL superstar Ambrose Jakoby grew up next door to Shane. They were close friends, and Shane supported Ambrose through school.

One night, everything changed.

Before Ambrose left Perth as a scared eighteen-year-old to head to Melbourne and take up his new footy career, Ambrose and Shane slept together.

For the next nine years, they continued a secret friends-with-benefits situation whenever Ambrose was in town. Shane never knew exactly where he stood or how to define Ambrose’s sexuality—and Ambrose didn’t know either. Then last Christmas, everything changed again, and a disagreement strained their friendship. Shane vowed to get over his unrequited love.

But Ambrose is back, recovering from an injury and hoping to make amends. He claims he’s ready for a real relationship. But Shane has to decide whether Ambrose means it and whether his Hufflepuff soul can take the chance.

Review by Aerielle

When I saw that Renae Kaye was writing another installment in the Loving You series I was very excited. While this book is a very good “friends-to-lovers” story it was lacking the pure joy and light heartedness that the first three books had.

Shane has always been in the background in the other stories, so coming into this book he was a complete blank page. He seems to have very little self-esteem and self-worth. He tends to calls himself “wallpaper Shane”.

Every few chapters there is an “Interview”, which is Shane asking his friends how long it took them to know they were in love. I really enjoyed getting these little insights.
By the end of the book I still felt like I didn’t really know much about Ambrose and only slightly more about Shane which is a real departure from all of Renae’s other books. This can be read as a stand-alone since there is a lot of explanation about the previous couples and their stories.

Overall this is a fairly decent story about two long-time friends who occasionally slept together coming to realize that they each mean the world to each other.

4 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review:  Jay and the gang are back! This time they make their appearances in Shane and Ambrose’s story.

I loved this addition to the series, especially 1 page ‘interviews’ with many of the cast from the previous stories.

Shane and Ambrose have been friends for years – Shane knows he in love, Ambrose appears to be straight. Until he’s about to leave for a professional football career in Melbourne (they live in Perth).

When Ambrose returns home to recover from an injury, the truth of his feelings for Shane comes out.

This ‘in the closet’ story could have been angsty and fraught with unnecessary misunderstandings; instead it is delightful, funny and warm.

As always, Renae Kaye writes warm personalities for her characters – Shane is the caring, self-deprecating (to a fault), snarky best friend. Ambrose is a bigger, but kind guy, looks out for his friends and still goes home to his mum.

This is a standalone story, but honestly, not reading the prior books would be a shame since they’re so good. There are references to 2 other characters from another author’s (Sean Kennedy) books which had me smiling, (I have the books).

 

Loved this story and I hope Hiram gets his own story.

 

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

I really enjoyed the first three books of the series but I have some reservations about this one. Mainly, I could not get over how much I disliked the way their relationship was manipulated by Ambrose. I felt like he put too many terms, and did not give enough back to Shane. Shane is a character that is sometimes hard to like, and he treats himself so poorly, despite Ambrose’s claims of his worth, that Ambrose’s treatment of him just grated on me more.

It was mainly the undefined friends-with-benefits situation going on, were it seemed like Ambrose was the only one really gaining anything out of it, and believing that Shane should be with him because he has undefined, but strong feeling towards him he never spoke about. And in the end Shane did what Ambrose needed, because it was good for Ambrose’s career at the time, and I could just not get over how much I felt it was not equal between them, and Ambrose taking what he needed when it was right for him. And Shane’s job is constantly treated as something he dislikes. Like it’s not worth anything, and so he can leave it and just be a kept man/do something else in Melbourne because he was not attached to it anyway. It was hard to care about a character that seemed to be designed to be rootless and motiveless, aside from pining after Ambrose and getting some action when he was around. I also felt like the author did not deal with the issue of Ambrose’s sexuality (him being Demi, perhaps) and the issue with is native roots. It felt like a side note when it should have been a bigger part of the story to me.

Their relationship felt off, more so when you realize the amount of time they hid this undefined thing between them. It hurt to read and was unsatisfying when Ambrose turned out to be the one who’s feelings and needs needed to be considered and not the other way around and heir HEA did not satisfy me at all.

The things I liked were mainly the other couples from previous books showing up and the friendship they share in their group.

Number of stars out of 5
2.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to get Scared: Abercrombie Zombie by KZ Snow

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11719825-abercrombie-zombie?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Dead folks are the best friends of Quinn McConnell and Hunter Janz. Dead folks pay the bills for this team of psychic mediums . . . but just barely. To make it into the financial comfort zone, they need to outshine their competition.

Quinn needs even more than that. He’s been infatuated with his partner for the nearly three years they’ve been together, and if he can’t either get over his crush or make something happen with Hunter, they’ll have to split up. Sexual tension and unrequited love can wreak havoc with a psychic’s reception.

Salvation comes hobbling along in the form of a well-dressed but ravaged-looking man who can clearly see and converse with the dearly departed. Why? Because, he claims, he has something in common with them: He’s also been dead. The zombie who calls himself Dustin DeWind needs the psychics’ help in finding the man who made him what he is. In return, he promises to steer them toward the often elusive spirits that are their stock in trade.
But something more goes on when Quinn and Hunter forge an uneasy alliance with Dustin DeWind. It seems he’s also nudging them toward each other.

Review:

A totally different take on zombies – well, this zombie anyway.
The blurb gives the bones of the story, but it doesn’t prepare you for the murder/mystery, subtle humour, some pop culture references or the life lessons you get out of the story.
The humour and some of the pop culture are intertwined; the zombie is called Dustin DeWind – I didn’t know it was the name of a song, instead I thought it a tongue-in-cheek reference to zombies being dead (dust to dust …). Still thought it was amusing☺.
The way Dustin became a zombie is different, which makes him a different type of zombie – one that doesn’t eat brains – for starters ☺
When Dustin meets up with Quinn and Hunter, Dustin inadvertently stirs up a mini drama between the 2 psychics, especially with Quinn who’s been in love with Hunter for some time. Quinn has managed to keep it to himself until circumstances change to bring those feelings up front. The way the unrequited love angle is handled really well – hardly any angst, but you feel Quinn’s hurt.

When all 3 men get better acquainted, it turns out they all need each other – and this is the meat of the story. I was pleasantly surprised by the way the story evolved, and because the story is so unique, it’s best you read it to see how it progresses and ends.

I really enjoyed it.

4 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

 

 

 

 

Audiobook: The Veranda (Lavender Shores book 3) by Rosalind Abel Narrated by Kirt Graves

audiobookreview

Audible link

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Veranda-Audiobook/B07DF63QG3?qid=1538205381&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=PF0JDWDYB4VN30TVVP2C&

Blurb
Donovan Carlisle helps countless people in Lavender Shores with his skills as a therapist. It seems, however, that his ability to enable others to live their happiest life only works outside of himself. Donovan truly loves his life, but isn’t able to find a relationship that satisfies his heart’s craving. Maybe the problem is that the only man he wants is off-limits.
Spencer Epstein came to Lavender Shores to find himself. Instead, he married one of the local town beauties. He’d thought his prayers had finally been answered. Then, he met his pregnant fiancée’s brother. It turned out those answered prayers were just cruel twists of fate.
A decade later, after a divorce and the crumbling of all Spencer thought was set in stone, he sees his brother-in-law at a masquerade sex party. He takes full advantage of the anonymity and acts on the desires he’s held at bay all those years. The problem is, those silent and frenzied moments didn’t satiate anything. The fire and heat between the two men only grows as secrets are uncovered and they must determine if the cost of their passion is too high…

Review

Story:
Donovan and Spencer are both at a point in their lives where I think they’ve stopped hoping for a grand romance or happily-ever-after.
They know who their heart belongs to, but they do not believe their feelings are reciprocated or that a relationship is even possible. One of the drawbacks of falling for your (ex-)brother-in-law.

They are both such caring and kind men. It’s such sweet relief when they finally find some much-deserved happiness with each other. The yearning and love they feel for each other is off the charts.

There’s a little bit of angst when they first cross that line from “mere” brothers-in-law into something more personal, with Spencer being somewhat sneaky in how he goes about it.
But it does the trick in getting the ball rolling. Donovan’s reaction when he finds out that Spencer knew full well what he was doing and with who at the masquerade party was great! Surprising, and wonderful. I would have hated recriminations or emotional drama at that point.
Donovan the therapist sometimes hinders Donovan the man with the doom and gloom of everything he has seen and heard in his years of counseling others. On the other hand, it also helps him to understand Spencer better and be there for him the way he needs.

Spencer was brought up to believe being gay was wrong and sinful, and that a “cure” was possible if he only tried hard enough. My heart ached for all he went through because of that, and the far-reaching impact it had on him, even at a time when you think he’s finally reached a happy and safe place in his life.
I hate that his parents didn’t react better or more feelingly, not at any point in the story. As a mother, I can’t fathom how anyone could treat their children so. How horrible and sad that such things are not confined to the world of fiction.

Donovan and Spencer aren’t in their twenties anymore and they are fully aware that no man is an island. There is Erica to consider, Donovan’s sister and Spencer’s ex-wife, and more importantly still, Spencer’s and Erica’s children, Emma and Ethan.

The scene where Erica finds out that her brother and ex-husband are together is very intense and emotional. This is the scene that made me cry. Her anger is understandable, though how she goes about expressing it is less so, but her sincere remorse at how she lashed out and Spencer’s reaction to everything, make this into a very powerful moment. Very raw. Very real.

One of the many things I adored about this story, is that the three adults always keep in mind what is best for the children and that the children never have any reason to doubt how loved they are. Erica’s occasional mean-spiritedness never touches her children, and when the moment comes to explain to Emma and Ethan that daddy and uncle Donovan are in love, Donovan especially rises to the occasion. Though all three of the adults handle the revelation with care and sensitivity.

I was completely blown away by this story.

Narration:
Kirt Graves again did an excellent job! He has a warm and soothing voice that made listening to this story an absolute pleasure. Donovan and Spencer come across very distinctly and I really liked the timbre he choose for each of their voices, which I felt matched their personality very well.

Number of stars: 6


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Prophet’s Pass by Chapman Brown

release day review

 Dreamspinner Press

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/prophets-pass-by-chapman-brown-9877-b

Blurb
Political journalist Aiden McCabe is used to interviewing presidents and world leaders. On a night out with friends, Aiden has a chance encounter with a handsome, enigmatic young man who leaves a lasting impression. Soon after, Aiden is assigned to travel to Utah, where he’ll interview Orson Jensen, a prominent Mormon politician and Republican presidential hopeful. While the Jensens’ faith and values couldn’t be more opposite to Aiden’s urbane, Manhattan disposition, he can’t help but be charmed by the friendly clan… until the stranger Aiden met in the club reappears, and this time with a startling revelation—one that could tear the Jensen family apart, destroy Orson’s political career, and change Aiden’s world forever.
States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

Review
This was an interesting read that delved into religion, specifically Mormonism and how being gay is or isn’t accepted. Aiden is sent to Utah to write up a profile on a prominent Mormon politician. He admittedly knows very little about the Mormon religion and at one point thinks that the family will go all Kathy Bates on him. He is surprised to find that religion aside the family appears very loving and accepting. He then meets their middle child Hunter, who he had a run in with at a gay bar a few months prior. Hunter, at first does not admit that he is gay. He tells Aiden how much his family and his status in the church means to him. During a snow storm, one of Hunter’s sisters goes into labor and this leaves him and Aiden home alone for a few days. Its during this time that Hunter accepts that he is gay and that coming out will most likely cause him to loose his family and his position with the LDS church. There is a blow when the family comes back unexpectedly and Aiden is forced to take the brunt of the blame. He leaves Utah and goes back to New York and Hunter is forced to make a choice.
I really enjoyed this book for the most part. I am not Mormon but I do have a few close friends who are and from what I know the author did a good job of relaying the basis of their beliefs. Through Aiden, he also voiced a lot of the doubts non Mormons have about this religion. There is a sex scene between Aiden and Hunter that I really don’t believe should have been included. I think it happened really fast and may have been included because the author thought it was needed to make it a romance. The ending was a little lackluster but I prefer happily ever after endings versus the happily for now, which this is. This novella is a part of Dreamspinner Press’ States of Love series, there is no need to read any of the other books as each one is a standalone.

3.5 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Recent Review: Rocked Hard by Morticia Knight

Pride Publishing Presents

https://www.pride-publishing.com/book/rocked-hard

Blurb

Can the touch of a rock god last forever?

Legendary alt rock singer, Aubrey King, is making a comeback after many years out of the spotlight. Rumors of his sexuality have always dogged him, and while he’s never come out publicly, his reasons for leaving the industry had nothing to do with his fear of discovery. What matters to him is the music. That’s his truth, and so far, his only real love. He aches to find someone to share his life with, but his propensity to fall fast and hard—along with chasing men he knows can never be his—has left him all alone.

Rock journalist Bryan Gallagher was first turned on to rock music at the age of twelve when he became obsessed with Aubrey’s band, Falling in Stereo. His friends, and even girlfriends, would sometimes tease him that he was hot for Aubrey. But it was all about the music and nothing else—at least that’s what he’s always told himself. When he’s approached about helping Aubrey write his memoir, it’s not only a dream assignment, but an exciting opportunity to work closely with his idol.

When Bryan meets Aubrey, the electric heat between them is unnerving. He’s further confused by how intense Aubrey’s attraction toward him is and how deeply they connect over their shared obsession of music. While Bryan struggles with uncertainty regarding his own sexuality, he also has to navigate through the perils of working with a lover and keeping their relationship a secret.

But Bryan’s biggest struggle of all might be determining whether declarations of true love from a rock star can ever be trusted.

Review by Xanthe
What a great story! I fully enjoyed the characters and the story line of this book from Morticia Knight.
Aubrey King is our rocker looking to make a comeback and has taken on Bryan Gallagher, rock journalist, to write his memoirs. Aubrey has always known he’s gay but the Rock and Roll life that he used to live never allowed him to be open as to who he truly was and he has never had anyone worth coming out for
Bryan, unlucky in love is about to meet and write for his inspiration for writing about the rock world. He’s been a fan since he was a boy and this is his ultimate dream come true. Though things take a turn he wasn’t expecting with some flirtation coming from Aubrey. Having never been attracted to a man before Bryan’s not quite sure how to handle things.
Moving forward with the project, both men become much more than they could have ever expected and big decisions have to be made for both of them.
This, for me, was an absorbing read. Constantly wanting to know how things are developing with both the MC’s and the life that they are moving towards. Aubrey’s lifestyle and person is a bit different to what Bryan was obviously expecting and I love when a character is sent off kilter in that way. Exploration between the two moves quickly and is hot(!) though Aubrey is very keen to point out that any and everything is going to go at the pace that Bryan wants, refusing to hurt or push him in any way. Bryan takes his time with thinking about the changes cropping up in his life since meeting Aubrey, even his interactions with others become interesting.
My only niggle with this book is the speed at which things happen in the beginning. I understand instant attraction and getting to know each other but for someone who has never experienced it with another man, it didn’t really ring true. However, Aubrey is such a lovable guy you can’t help but fall for him and how he expresses his feelings. Both he and Bryan bring out some of the best lines about the other man, just making you awwwww at them both.
There’s quite a bit of drama separate to but also impacting their relationship. It’s interesting to read how both men want to deal with things and the resulting changes it has on both of them.
I love some of the secondary characters we have – Rudy, tour manager and Jimmy, bassist, are the two guys to be truly relied upon, and Ed the man you love to hate. Bryan’s mother is adorable and I would have loved to have gotten more interaction with her and both men.
I’d definitely recommend this book!

Number of stars out of 5
5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review by Sorel

I’m not quite sure what it was about this book, but it didn’t seem realistic enough to me and instead of feeling pulled into the story, I felt like quite detached from it.

Both Aubrey and Bryan were likeable enough characters, but from the very first meeting the whole relationship felt slightly off, even false. Maybe it is because I am not a big fan of insta-love and this was very, very instant.

As a character Bryan came across as very grounded and down to earth, but way too excepting of his attraction and very fast relationship with Aubrey. From never showing any interest in a man, to jumping into bed with one within a couple of days of their initial meeting, just doesn’t ring true.

As for Aubrey himself, at times I found his childlike quality towards love and commitment far too sugary and implausible. Even with the explanation we were given, the insecurities he displayed seemed more like a teenager than a rock star of 42 and had me pausing in annoyance on more than one occasion.

Overall, it was an easy, readable book, but it just didn’t grasp my attention like a good book should.

3 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Recent Release: Safe Place- Rainbow Place book 2

Good Reads:

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41049130-safe-place?from_search=true

Blurb:
Almost 18, Alex is firmly in the closet and desperate to get out. Working hard to get the grades he needs to go to university, were he will be finally able to live out and proud away from his bigoted, homophobic father is his only hope. When Rainbow Place, the new café in town and LGBTQ+ safe heaven, is vandalized Alex can’t help but join the cleaning efforts. And there he meets Cam.

23 year old Cam can’t help but be attracted to the young, beautiful guy he meets at the café, and when Alex shows up on opening day he seizes the chance to talk to him, and maybe a bit more. He soon realizes Alex’s home situation is more complicated, and despite wanting him romantically, backs away in favor of being friends. When Alex fails to get the grades he needs he is devastated, and when he is outed by his father Alex finds himself homeless AND jobless. Cam steps in and offers his couch until Alex is back on his feet, but will they be able to keep their friendship without crossing the lines they drew? With so much sexual and emotional between them, how can they not cross them?

Review
The magic of Jay Northcote’s writing to me is the sense of community he creates. He has a wonderful touch for creating a group on friends were each is interesting and unique in his/her/their way. In this series, much like his Housemates books, you get the feeling of an ongoing story and enjoy all the side characters popping in again with an update. The other part of his writing I absolutely adore is how he describes sexuality and sexual acts. Jay brings a realness to every scene, both physically and emotionally, he shows situations that are not pure romantic idealism, and for that I admire his writing and storytelling.
I have to admit it took me a bit of time to get into the story of Cam and Alex, I was a bit put off by the fact Alex is not 18 yet even though it was just a few months and 6 years apart is not such a big age difference. I eventually learned to like them, when Alex grew and matured so did his story and it was an amazing transition to read. They go from casual almost hook-up to friends, to eventual lovers and it took the time it took because Alex needed to understand who he is first, stand up for himself and figure out how he want to live his life. Cam’s refusal to be more than a friend to him is frustrating but in the end it gave them the safe place to be themselves so they can find to courage to be a couple. It was a VERY satisfying ending to an emotional journey of self-discovery and growing up.

As always, Jay’s writing is funny, witty and sexy, with a bit of angst and a lot of self-restraint to make the fire burn that much hotter when they let lose.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Release Day Review: Counterpoint by Anna Zabo

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39675785-counterpoint?from_search=true

Blurb
Twisted Wishes lead guitarist Dominic “Domino” Bradley is an animal onstage. But behind his tight leather pants and skull-crusher boots lies a different man entirely, one who needs his stage persona not only to perform, but to have the anonymity he craves. A self-imposed exile makes it impossible to get close to anyone outside the band, so he’s forced to get his sexual fix through a few hot nights with a stranger.

When computer programmer Adrian Doran meets Dominic, he’s drawn to the other man’s quiet voice and shy smile. But after a few dirty, demanding nights exploring Dominic’s need to be dominated, Adrian wants more than a casual distraction. He has no idea he’s fallen for Domino Grinder—the outlandish, larger-than-life rock god.

Dominic is reluctant to trust Adrian with his true identity. But when the truth is revealed prematurely, Dominic is forced to reevaluate both his need for Adrian and everything he believes about himself.

Review
This was an amazingly tender love story, extremely well-paced and beautifully worded, crescendoing into a very intense, emotional conclusion. Very enjoyable read.

I completely fell in love with Dominic/Domino. What a wonderful idea to have a nerdy booklover, who struggles with anxiety, hide beneath the persona of a cocky, untouchable rockstar.
Dom hides in plain sight, changing his clothes and hairstyle when circumstances call for it, in true Clark Kent/Superman style.

He has a hard time reconciling these two aspects of his personality, and coming to terms with the fact that he doesn’t have to pick one over the other. Dominic is Domino and vice versa. He is still himself, regardless of how he dresses. Domino can only be strong and self-assured thanks to Dominic’s core of inner strength.
Domino Grinder is very important though, serving two purposes: he allows Dom to perform on stage without succumbing to a panic attack and he offers Dominic Bradley privacy and much-needed anonymity, enabling him to lead a “normal” life, unhindered by paparazzi or fans.

Still, Dom knows his true identity will be revealed sooner or later and then his carefully constructed house of cards will come tumbling down. When he meets and falls, hard, for Adrian Doran, that house of cards seems even more crucial to him, but also far more precariously balanced.

Adrian Doran is a great character. As soon as he meets Dominic, their connection seems inevitable in a meant-to-be, happily ever after way. They click immediately and have insanely intense chemistry together, to say nothing of how utterly sweet they are with each other.
I think Adrian has Dom from the second he shows him his magnificent library. Worked like a charm for Beauty and the Beast, and Dom is equally enchanted!
I adore Adrian for his patience and the care he takes with Dominic. He knows full well that Dom keeps secrets from him and is so respectful of his lover’s privacy, doing everything he can to show Dom that he can trust him.

I loved the camaraderie and playful yet caring dynamic between all the members of the rock band. Their friendship is so important to Dominic. Adrian, likewise, is incredibly fortunate with his friends, Jackson, and Janelle.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review:All He Ever Needed by Cate Ashwood

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41059360-all-he-ever-needed?from_search=true

Blurb

Some secrets are too heavy to hold on to forever.

For Ethan, pretending has become second nature. After all, he’s spent the last decade pretending to be straight, pretending to be happy, and pretending he isn’t desperately in love with his best friend. But in a single moment of raw honesty, all those lies come crashing down around him and he’s left wondering what to do next.

When Jase learns his best friend is going through a breakup, his first instinct is to come to Ethan’s rescue, and he knows just the thing to help. The cabin where they spent summers as kids is sitting vacant, and a week there is the perfect remedy to start healing a broken heart.

In the seclusion of the mountains, long-buried fears and emotions take their friendship into unexplored territory that will either bring them closer together… or tear everything apart

Review

The story stars off with Jase whisking his best friend Ethan off to a cabin that they spent their childhood at after Ethan breaks up with his long-time girlfriend. Ethan eventually tells Jase the reason behind the breakup. He’s gay. Jase has trouble coming to terms with this. Jase can’t stand the thought of Ethan with other men. He’s confused by these feelings but admits to himself that he’s been attracted to men in the past. After an awkward first kiss, it finally clicks in place for Jase that Ethan has always been his. They spend time at the cabin exploring their mutual attraction, but Ethan knows once they leave that real life will come crashing around them. Jase really struggles with his “coming out” whereas Ethan finds acceptance. Jase is eventually able to realize that loving Ethan is the only this that matters.
This is the first book I’ve read by Cate Ashwood and I absolutely loved it!!! Friends to Lovers is one of my favorite tropes. Ethan has always known how he felt towards Jase, but Jase never even thought of Ethan that way. Cate does a great job conveying the characters thought and emotions. The chemistry between these two are off the charts. I will definitely be reading more from this author.

5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review