Categories
adult - 18+ Audiobook Gay High but not hopeless Hurt/Abuse Mid level steam/heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series

Audiobook Month: Yanni’s Story (Spencer Cohen #4) by N.R. Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Yannis-Story-Audiobook/B07D38WN8F?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=17VCKKJQV633DMVDG4G5&

Blurb

When Yanni Tomaras is kicked out of his family home, his parents’ final words are religious insults and an order to never return. Homeless and desperate, he’s lured in by Lance—charming on the outside, an evil predator underneath—who abuses Yanni until he finds the courage to leave.

Yanni should feel free. But by the time Spencer Cohen finds him, he’s resigned to being handed back to Lance and once again being caged by fear.

Starting school and a part-time job, Yanni begins to reclaim his life. But a love for silent films leads him to Peter Hannikov, a man with a kind heart but who’s twice his age. An unlikely friendship between them blooms into so much more. Neither man knows what he wants, at first. Finding out exactly what he needs is Yanni’s story.

“I’d spent years as a bird, caged with my wings clipped, tormented and beaten.

I thought I’d escaped when I’d left my abuser, but in hindsight, I could see that I was still caged, this time by fear and self-doubt.

Spencer and Andrew, and Andrew’s parents, opened the door to the cage that confined me.

But it was Peter who taught me how to fly.”

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of violence, suicide, and sexual assault. Reader discretion advised.

Review by Mary
(Book reviewed here previously)
Yianni is a character from book 2 and the timeline runs along books 2 and three. In my opinion it can work as a standalone. As would be expected it is written from Yanni’s point of view. There is little to no angst and I like like that it is a positive story about Yanni pulling his life back together. When they first meet neither Yanni or Peter are in the right place for a romantic relationship but a close friendship develops from shared interests. Liked the pace of the story. I appreciate the slow burn of the impending deeper relationship given what Yanni escaped from and Peter only recently coming out of a relationship.
There is daddy kink in the story rather than just a May/December relationship which sort of surprised me. It comes from the security and nurturing angle of the kink rather than sexual games or the desire to dominate. That’s not to say they aren’t equal in the relationship because they are. It’s definitely not about control. I think this sums up Yanni’s feelings for Peter He was a pillar of warmth and strength and everything my soul craved. Such beautiful writing, so evocative.
The support characters really stand out and each one has a role, whether intentional or not in Yanni’s recovery. Andrew’s parents enfold Yanni into a family he so desperately needs and his house mates provide the understanding friendship. Whilst his work colleagues help to re-enforce his confidence.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this story when I started but as I went on I found it to be a beautiful story of healing, not just for Yanni but also for Peter, and quite thought provoking.

4.5 of 5 stars

Review by Beth

This is a sweet story about a man, Yanni, who removes himself from an abusive relationship and the struggles he goes through to regain his feelings of self worth. All of the supporting characters are kind and generous, supportive of Yanni’s recovery.

The story shows us how much an abusive relationship can really warp your self worth. Depending how long the situation lasted, the more it seems the victim feels he isn’t worth redemption. The author takes us through many of the steps to recovery letting us root for Yanni to recover each small step he takes.

Then we have Peter who is mildly into the daddy aspect of BDSM. An older man who likes younger men. He and Yanni discover they have a lot of the same interests. Peter doesn’t learn of the extent of abuse Yanni had gone through until about half way through the story, yet he is kind and gentle in general.

The sex is sweet when it finally happens. And all the Daddy/boy play is very, very subtle.

The story moved at a pace that was appropriate for the content. I read this in pretty much 1 sitting, wanting to see how the story progressed.

4 of 5 stars

Review by Morgan

I want to start by stating that I’m a big NR Walker fan, and I have LOVED pretty much everything she ever wrote. Mostly. But this wasn’t my favorite, unfortunately, it just hit me wrong, and I couldn’t get over the “daddy” kink. I think that’s pretty mild and only people really sensitive to the issue will notice – but that was my overshadowing impression.

I really loved the series and was happy to see Spencer again! But I wasn’t that involved in this story as I have been in the past.

The writing was good and I’m still a super fan!

3 of 5 stars

Audio
While this is not my favorite NR Walker story, I still loved this series in it’s entirety and was so thankful she chose Joel to narrate. He is able to give the vast myriad characters such depth and to perform all the deeply emotional scenes to perfection.

Highly recommended in this format!

5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars

 

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Angst Level Audiobook Audiobook Month Author Provided Beth Jumper Book Exploration Gay Gay m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Monthly Theme New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Virgin

Audiobook Month: Watching and Wanting by Jay Northcote Narrated by Lewis Carter

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Watching-and-Wanting-Audiobook/B07CNGM8N9?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=50BDYMC2WCRBWDJKGB8Z&

Blurb

Watching Jude’s cam show stirs desires Shawn’s always denied… Shawn is adrift. Recently graduated, he’s stuck in a dead-end job that barely pays the bills. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends have moved on, and he’s still in Plymouth – going nowhere.
Jude is a student living in the same shared house. Out and proud, he’s everything Shawn’s been running from since he hit puberty. When Shawn discovers Jude works as a cam boy, he can’t resist the urge to watch one of his shows. It makes Shawn want things that scare him, yet his fascination forces him to confront his attraction. Keen to explore his bicurious side, Shawn suggests they do a show together. Jude agrees, and things get complicated – and kinky – fast. But Jude isn’t looking to get involved with someone so deep in the closet. If Shawn’s going to get what he wants, he needs to find the courage to stop hiding from himself and be honest about who he is.

Review

This story finds us in sympathy with Shawn, he is in a dead end job and just dumped by his girlfriend. Everything is rubbing him wrong and that leads to him lashing out to his flat mates. Barging into Julian’s room and interrupting his cam show leaves Shawn not quite shocked enough to notice the website playing. He goes back to his room , pulls up the sight and watches. This leaves him questioning his sexuality and approaching Julian.

Julian is comfortable in his skin, and looks at what he does online as just a job, a way to help him pay for school and his room at the house. He is also out and proud and definitely doesn’t want to go back into the closet, even for someone he feels a strong connection to.

I like how some of the scenes they play out are talked out before hand, but I also like how even with planning they expand into something neither of the guys expected. I also liked how Shawn finally decided what he wanted and acted on it. Overall this is a great story of exploration and discovery

Narration
This is the first time listening to Lewis Clark and his timing and inflection were good. I thought the voices tended to get a little to effeminate, but that is my only complaint. Voices were distinguishable and applied where needed with narration and thoughts had the distinction needed.

Overall I would be willing to listen to something else he narrates.

4 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Categories
2.5 stars Age Group Book Bullying Dee Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Novella 20-160 pgs (20k-40k words) Purchased Standalone young adult

Retro Read: Blindsided By You: A Gay For You Sports Romance by Cameron Riley

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31549350-blindsided-by-you?from_search=true

Blurb

 Could their forbidden romance be everything they never knew they wanted?
Seth is a college senior and star quarterback. Unlike his best friend Marc, he doesn’t love being a football hero — but since his coach is also his father, he feels trapped. When he meets Marc’s younger brother Aaron, Seth is surprised at the instant attraction between them, since he’s always considered himself straight.

Aaron knows he’s gay — his favorite pastime is reading M/M romance novels. It’s almost as if Seth stepped right from the pages of one of Aaron’s books and straight into his fantasies. Aaron is more than ready to make them real … if Seth will make a move.
But Marc doesn’t want his brother’s sexuality making headlines — for Aaron’s protection, yes, but also for the sake of Marc’s future career. Can Seth and Aaron keep their relationship a secret? If they’re discovered, can they survive the fallout?

Review:
The premise of the story had promise, but the execution and editing errors detracted from my enjoyment.
The beginning started off well: Seth plays college football and Aaron is the non- sporty type; complete opposites. Seth realises that he is not entirely happy with his life – he wants more. It dawns on him that he may not be entirely straight and admits to himself that he doesn’t really like football.
The MCs meet at a frat party and interest is kindled. However, from here, the storyline does not flow well. For some reason, Seth takes on the responsibility of paying for damages from the frat party, but what about his frat brothers? It was never clear that Seth orchestrated the party by himself. Another thing that didn’t work – Set takes a job at a gay club (to pay for the damages) and on his first day is able to find time to dance with Aaron? (he said it was his break, but it was last call for closing).
There were other inexplicable instances, but the last straw was that at the end of the book, despite Seth not wanting to play football, he goes in for the NFL draft and is happy to be selected!
The plot and editing issues made this a disappointing read.

2.5 stars out of 5

Copy purchased for review

 

Categories
4.5 stars Audiobook Contemporary Football Gay GFY/OFY Hidden Lovers Homophobia m/m Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Opposites attract Purchased Riptide Publishing Scorching/high heat

Audiobook: The Quarterback by Mackenzie Blair Narrated by Greg Boudreax

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/The-Quarterback-Audiobook/B07C7MYH7X

Blurb

Matt Lancaster is the star quarterback at Bodine College, a small Southern Division II school with an ultra-conservative Dean of Athletics. Matt is also very much in the closet, and he thinks he’s kept his secret well hidden. Until his best friends take him to a happy endings massage parlor and request a male masseuse for him.

In walks Trevor Kim, a gorgeous, pierced, tattooed fellow Bodine student who does massages—without happy endings—to pay for school after his family kicked him out for being gay. Trevor takes one look at Matt and breaks all his own rules about mixing business with pleasure.

Matt needs to keep his scholarship, win the National Championship, and survive his asshole father. Instead, he falls in love. Trevor needs to accept that the football god is meant to end up with him rather than a perky cheerleader. It’s time for a happy ever after for both of them.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

Well, ‘tis the season for sports minded romance! This is one of three or four GFY or supposedly straight guys finding their gay side that I’ve read in the last month. Honestly, they’ve all been really good, so I haven’t minded one bit!

What I liked about this was that Trevor speaks up for himself and isn’t willing to be shut up in a closet. Trevor is also pretty unique and funny and as a character, was a lot of fun.

Matt is pretty typical, as far as jock characters go – though I found his willingness to try things at the happy ending massage place pretty funny.

There is quite a bit of exploratory/virgin sex , some pretty unrealistic team mates and some super awesome family members. The dialog was witty and fun and there wasn’t a lot of football to get in the way of the romance – which I appreciated!

I really enjoyed this and recommend it to fans of GFY/OFY jock/nerd romances.

4.5 of 5 stars

 

Audio

This might be the first time I’ve ever said this… but while Greg did his usual great job, I’m not sure he added as much to this as I was expecting.  I didn’t see a big difference between Matt and Trevor and I figured there’d be at least something what with all the potential for accents based on location, heritage, etc.

I thought he did great with some of the other guys on the team but I was looking for something a bit different for the two MCs.

It was still wonderful and amazing and a great way to enjoy this story.

Highly recommended!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review