Categories
4 stars Audiobook Book Bullying coming of age Dreamspinner Gay Gay High but not hopeless Hurt/Abuse m/m Neta Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Scorching/high heat Virgin young adult

Audiobook: When Everything is Blue by Laura Lascarso

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Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/when-everything-is-blue-by-laura-lascarso-9991-b

Blurb:

Theo Wooten and Chris Mitcham have been friends for years, despite Theo’s nerdiness and Chris’s golden boy charm. Theo lives next door to Chris with his twin sister and his mother after his parents divorced. His relationship with his father is rocky, his social status a mess and his sister is much cooler than he is. For the last year Theo has been attracted to Chris, and he feels bad about not telling him but is afraid of losing their friendship. When Theo’s sexuality is revealed will he be able to keep all the people he cares about?

Review:

overall:
I rather enjoyed this book both for the quality narration and the interesting Coming Of Age story. It is both poignant and funny, and written in a lyrical descriptive way I love! This book is a great YA Coming Of Age that is sexy and achingly heart waring. If you like YA with lots of sexy times this just might be the book for you! This story is full of emotion and realness, it’s a beautiful tale of self-discovery and knowing one’s worth.

Story:
This is a classic Friends To Lovers with Theo and Chris sharing this incredible bond that goes beyond social status and ethnicity. I say this because throughout the book that issue comes up, both as racist slurs, jokes and material value VS love and caring. The best example is Theo’s parents, a white dentist and a Hispanic immigrant. Theo’s father keeps measuring his value in money, and despite the fact his mother is not financially sound you can clearly tell she is much more supportive and caring than his cold, selfish, alcoholic father. These important themes are incorporated well into the story and give it more depth. Another notable element is Theo’s namesake, his great uncle, who has dementia. Captain Wooten is a wonderful side character that is a mirror image for Theo, showing him what happens when you let fear and familial expectations dictate your life choices. Theo is very much struggling with his identity and how he wants to live, and his visitations to his Uncle show him a side of his family he did not know about.

I love how this book shows a true teenage struggle, the exploration of sexuality and questionable decisions fueled by hormones and confusion. Theo is sucked into a relationship with a boy he probably shouldn’t, despite being in love with his best friend Chris. I know many reads shy from books where an MC has a relationship with another character, and here it is described in detail. I personally do not like these kinds of things in stories but here it was fitting, it felt very human to me, and VERY teen like. Chris, his best friend and supporter is such a mature young man, I loved how he steered Theo through the turbulence of his coming out and his relationship with his father. He is the rock that Theo leans on, and he has a very optimistic attitude. The way they get together and explore their connection was wonderful, frantic and gentle at the same time. Also, their relationship is much more HFN then HEA, and that also is fitting these characters and where they are in their life, this is just the beginning of their story.

Narration:
Michael Mola did an amazing job narrating this book, I especially liked how he used breath and added a lot of effects in his narration. He truly preformed this book, and it added a whole new dimension to it. He had a distinct voice for every character, juggling many personalities with ease. The only thing I would change is the accent he did for Theo’s voice. Theo is described as coming from a home were his mother spoke Spanish to him growing up. His twin sister is said to understand but not speak it and it implies that she is trying to “pass” as white American rather than Ethnic. However I do not understand why the narrator chose a Spanish accent for Theo, especially when he did not pull it off so well. It sounded weirdly French and awkward, and in no part of the story does it say he had an accent, nor does it make sense if his twin does not. It was such a shame as everything else from his tone to his pitch was so good and I really enjoyed and admired his skill in performing this book. It’s not a deal breaker for me but was a constant let down and the reason I gave this book 4 Stars and not 5.

4 of 5 stars


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Categories
3 stars BDSM Dreamspinner Gay Gay High but not hopeless m/m Mary D Mild/low level heat Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) slave/master Standalone young adult

Coming Soon: No Way Out by Julie Lynn Hayes

August 28!

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/no-way-out-by-julie-lynn-hayes-9831-b

Blurb
Scheduling for guest posts and reviews (including Release Day Reviews). Final copies available soon.

Wyatt Findley is an up-and-coming artist, attending a prestigious art institute in St. Louis. His mentor, Lukas Callahan, has snagged a sweet house-sitting job for him in a gorgeous home in a well-to-do part of town. Wyatt can’t help but notice two men who live just across the street.
They make an odd couple, since there must be a good twenty years difference between them. And yet there is something about the younger man that calls to Wyatt.

Shylor Lind has been living with Randy Grant for fifteen years, ever since Grant hired Shy’s mother as his live-in housekeeper. But five years ago, their relationship changed when Shy’s mother sold him to Grant and took the money and ran. Since then, Randy has been training Shy to be his submissive, dominating him in every way. There is nothing Shy can do about the situation, and he has nowhere to go, no one to turn to.

And then Wyatt enters his life… and nothing will ever be the same, as Wyatt engages in a battle for Shy’s very soul

Review
I’m so conflicted by this story. It is by no means BDSM but a story about modern slavery. It’s of a young man being systematically abused and controlled to a point where he has no free will. He too scared to do anything out of routine for fear of punishment. But what do you do when an adult of consenting age doesn’t ask for help or make any sign he needs help to get out of the situation he is in. This is the position Wyatt is in when he suspects Shylor is being abused. His instincts tell him something is not right. Others try to tell him that whilst they don’t like it, it’s the relationship between two consenting adults. And there is the crux, consent. Shylor starts to believe he deserves more, to be treated better once Wyatt shows him how it could be. I felt for Shylor, even more so when it became apparent other Dom’s did not intervene even when they suspected Shylor was, at the very least, being mistreated. The story finished too abruptly for me. I felt that there was more to tell. This may come in another book, I hope so especially as I don’t believe Randy has gone out of Shylor’s life yet. There are also some interesting secondary characters that I would like to know more about.

3 of stars out of 5


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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Author Provided Bullying DA Gay Gay High but not hopeless Homophobia Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

Audiobook: On Davis Row by N.R. Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie

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Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/On-Davis-Row-Audiobook/B07FK3X4W3?qid=1533353429&sr=sr_1_10&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_10&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=W1E89REAYVSSRC54DJ64&

Blurb

Nearing the end of a suspended jail sentence should unlock a brighter future for CJ Davis, only the chip on his shoulder is as hard to shift as his bad reputation. Born into a family of career criminals who live down Davis Road, an address the cops have dubbed Davis Row, his name alone is like a rap sheet that makes optimism impossible.

Brand-new parole officer Noah Huxley is determined to see the good in men like CJ. After all, he knows firsthand that bad things can happen to good people. His colleagues mock his doe-eyed optimism, but Noah soon sees CJ’s bad attitude and bravado are weapons he uses to keep people at a distance.

Both men know one simple mistake can change a life forever. At first glance, they might seem to be polar opposites. Yet underneath, they’re not that different at all.

Review

(Book reviewed here previously)

This is such a wonderful, heartwarming story. It’s not Christmas themed, but it is absolutely something you’ll want to enjoy during the holiday season.

NR Walker is the MASTER at giving us characters who tug at your heartstrings, whom are prickly on the exterior and marshmallows on the interior. That’s CJ. Noah, of course, is undeterred by all the bluster and sees the man on the inside.

In addition to these guys really clicking in terms of personality, we’re also given an absolutely gorgeous chemistry that is also very sweet and tender.

If you’re a fan of the author, of underdog stories, or simply a person who wants a lovely happily ever after – this is the story for you!

5 of 5 stars

 

Audio

Joel Leslie does another fantastic job – not only giving us Australian accents but different variants of Australian accents! I can’t imagine the research he must do!

In any case, he gives us – again – a wonderful portrayal of both the fear of falling in love for the first time as well as the emotional freedom that comes from being true to yourself.

Highly, highly recommended.

5 of 5 stars

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Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Gay Gay High but not hopeless m/m Mary D Mid level steam/heat New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Standalone Virgin

Recent Release: Truth & Betrayal by KC Wells

Good Reads Link:
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40742519-truth-betrayal?from_search=tru

Blurb
All the light went out of Jake’s life when his older brother Caleb died in a traffic accident. Getting through the aftermath was always going to be the hardest thing he’d ever done, but finding out that the tall stranger at the graveside was the one driving the car? At least Jake now has a target for all the rage inside him. Because the man responsible for stealing Caleb’s light from the world has no right to intrude on their grief.

Liam had known deep down that it was a mistake to go to Tennessee, but he’d hoped saying goodbye to Caleb would ease the pain inside him. The hostile reception from Caleb’s family and friends comes as no surprise, and Liam flees before things get ugly. They obviously know nothing of Caleb’s life in Atlanta, and maybe it’s better that way. Caleb’s secrets can die with him.
When Jake turns up at Caleb’s apartment to collect his brother’s possessions, what he discovers is the first shock in what is to be a series of revelations, turning Jake’s world upside down. New knowledge brings fresh pain and anguish.

Jake isn’t the only one who’s hurting…

Review
This is such beautiful and powerful story. It’s taken me a while to read because life had other idea about the best use of my time! I have found that when I was not reading l was constantly pulled back to the book. Thinking about the characters when l’m not reading. But sometimes the best way to savour a book is slowly so that all the bubbling emotions can be processed. Grief is hard to deal with at the best of times but finding out that the brother you idolised had a whole other life is extremely hard. Not to mention that Jake is also dealing with his own sexuality at the same time as finding out your brother didn’t feel able to confide in you. Then accepting you were scared to confide in him is a hard journey to take. Jake is lucky he now has Liam to guide him and be his friend whilst both of them come to terms with losing Caleb and the emotions involved in loving each other. Bring into the mix the bigotry and prejudice and there seems to be so much going against them. For me this is a story of faith, trust and hope where love ultimately prevails. The emotions are so powerful There were times I was crying for Caleb, Jacob and Liam. That is a sign for me that already this will be one of the books I will read over and over again.

5 of stars out of 5

 

Purchased by reviewer

 

 

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Author Provided Bi-Sexual Bullying DA Exploration Gay Gay Homophobia Hopelessly Crying Hurt/Abuse m/m Monthly Theme Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Scorching/high heat Standalone Steamy Romance

Steamy Romance: Unforgiven By: Ruth Clampett Narrated by: Eric London, Iggy Toma

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Romance/Unforgiven-Audiobook/B071X7VW49?qid=1532034461&sr=sr_1_4&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_4&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=QRVS6K5PXVWC340YMVBR&

Blurb

Would you live a lie to hold onto the one you love?
Dean and Jason are best friends, like brothers since boyhood, now architecture students and college roommates. They’ve always had each other’s back, but when one walks in on the other with another man, everything changes. How do you explain to your best friend that he’s the one you’ve always wanted, that until now your life has been a lie?
Desperation and shame are two dirty words that run through Jason’s veins. He carries the scars from a wayward priest who stole his innocence and left him shattered. Meanwhile for years he’s watched Dean pursuing woman after woman, as his own heart slowly breaks.
When their world blows apart, they learn the powerful bond between them has more fire than either understood. Can two broken souls find the light in their darkness and come together to make a whole, or will sins of the past be forever unforgiven?

Review

This was a mixed bag for me. First, through no fault of the author, this is a really bad time for me to read anything remotely “angsty”. When I asked to review this – more than a year ago – I wasn’t as worried about our world – as I am today. Unfortunately we had some miscommunication and it took over a year for me to get the audio code and now… well, I’m in a different place.

 

However, the story itself is really good. There’s no denying that. The author does not pull ANY punches and if you have triggers – especially around molestation – please read the reviews that allude to the triggers. I don’t consider these things triggers for me personally but they were VERY disturbing and hard to read.

 

As for the romance – well- Dean is kind of a dick throughout most of the story and Jason is a pushover. That made it hard for me to root for these guys as a couple. Though I love the whole “discovering your gay side” stories – and that part was usually pretty dang hot! – the way Dean treated Jason before and after made it less … good.

 

The ending definitely ties things up for these guys and leaves us with a pretty solid HFN if not HEA.

 

What saved this – for me – was the dual narration. I think, had I been reading it, I’d have bailed. However, the narration was awesome! I really love dual narrators as I think they really help to differentiate the MCs so nicely!

 

I thought Eric London and Iggy Toma were well suited to their MCs and did an excellent job with the emotion, the timing and helping to immerse the listener in the story. For that reason I’d definitely recommend this, though I had reservations about the story itself.

 

 

Story 3 of 5 stars

 

Audio 5 of 5 stars

 

Overall 4 of 5 stars

 

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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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Categories
4 stars 5 stars adult - 18+ Book Dreamspinner Gay Gay Homophobia m/m Mary D Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Standalone Virgin

Release Day Review: A Fool and his Manny by Amy Lane

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/a-fool-and-his-manny-by-amy-lane-9714-b

Blurb

Seeing the truth and falling in love.
Dustin Robbins-Grayson was a surly adolescent when Quinlan Gregory started the nanny gig. After a rocky start, he grew into Quinlan’s friend and confidant—and a damned sexy man.
At twenty-one, Dusty sees how Quinlan sacrificed his own life and desires to care for Dusty’s family. He’s ready to claim Quinlan—he’s never met a kinder, more capable, more lovable man. Or a lonelier one. Quinlan has spent his life as the stranger on the edge of the photograph, but Dusty wants Quinlan to be the center of his world. First he has to convince Quinlan he’s an adult, their love is real, and Quinlan can be more than a friend and caregiver. Can he show Quin that he deserves to be both a man and a lover, and that in Dusty’s eyes, he’s never been “just the manny?”

 

Review by Morgan

I adored this couple! I loved the idea of the younger guy who falls for his “nanny” but ends up getting him! He was just the right amount of contrite and then bossy to really flip all my switches and he felt authentic to me.

The romance moved at a very low angst, steady pace and I loved seeing all the familiar faces. While this is definitely a good standalone, it’s better if you’ve read the others before it.

Watching Dusty move from kid through to adult was just right, too. Enough of the kid stuff for him to feel “real” but not so much that it was weird seeing him as an adult.

If you’re a fan of the author, the series or “mannies” this is for you! If you’re in the mood for a sweet “coming of age” book – I think this is wonderful for that purpose, too.

As for the upcoming audio: I don’t want this to sound like John Solo isn’t good – he is! – but I sure do wish we could have Nick Russo or Gomez for this series as well – I’d love that so much!

5 of 5 stars

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Review by Mary

A fool and his manny is book 4 of Amy Lane’s Manny series within the Dreamspun desires collection. It can be read on it’s own but I think you get a richer story by knowing the history in the previous books. I liked the beginning of this story. There is a a bit set in the present day which then flashes back to a couple of important episodes before coming back into the present. Oh my heart went out to Quinlan. Such a gentle soul to have been hurt so much by an ignorant family. Dusty’s determination for Quin to see him as anything other than a teenager is great. He is just what Quin needs, someone in his corner and a whole family supporting him. It’s rare to get to see a character grow into an adult. Dusty is about 9 or 10 in the previous book growing into the teenager Quin meets when he joined the family 7 years ago. These are characters and a family I grew to love. Low level angst when Dusty was pushing Quin to face his fears and Dusty getting a little dominant over Quin again to push him into dealing with his fear of rejection and see that Dusty wasn’t going anywhere. I’m not sure if this is the end but I hope we get to see this clan again, they are quite fun.

4 of stars out of 5


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Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Bi-Sexual Book Bullying Exploration Gay Homophobia Little to no angst m/m Mild level angst Monthly Theme Morgan New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Scorching/high heat Soccer Steamy Romance Virgin

Steamy Romance: Str8te Boys by Evangeline Anderson

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6562748-str8te-boys

Blurb

How far would you dare to go to win it all?

Maverick Holms and Duke Warren share almost everything a college soccer team, an apartment and the same extremely competitive nature. Thanks to that never-back-down spirit, they re about to share more than they bargained for.

The game is gay chicken . The rule: get as close as possible without kissing, and the one that pulls away first is the loser. The problem: neither of them likes to lose. It isn t long before the game becomes an excuse to touch and kiss in every possible forbidden way. And after they pose for a gay website to earn extra money, things really heat up.

Suddenly Duke is talking lifetime commitment, and Mav is backpedaling as hard as he can, not sure if he s ready to accept all his best friend is offering him. Or the truth about what he is.”

Review

Ok, ok. So this was one of my favorites… awhile ago. It’s not quite as “timeless” as I’d thought but… it’s still a lot of fun with a surprising amount of feelz. (And tons of hawt sex!) LOL

So these guys play “gay chicken” – which is pretty offensive when I think about it – but – for the sake of the story – is an effective tool to get these two guys – who are apparently realllllly clueless – in compromising situations that push the limit on believability – but are also pretty erotic.

If you close your eyes to the vaguely offensive and slightly ridiculous plot, and focus on the feels and the eventual results, it’s a quick, hot read about 2 frat boys finding love.

3 of 5 stars

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