Categories
3 stars adult - 18+ Book Gay Gay Mid level angst Morgan NetGalley Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series

Coming Soon: Life of Bliss (Love Life #2) by Erin McLellan

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39695252-life-of-bliss

Blurb

Nobody plans to accidentally marry their frenemy with benefits.

Todd McGower and Victor Consuelos do not like each other. They can’t have a conversation without insults flying, and Victor seems to get off on pushing Todd’s buttons. The fact that their antagonism always leads to explosive sex . . . well, that’s their little secret.

Victor has a secret of his own. His full-blown crush on Todd is ruining his sex life. He hasn’t looked at anyone else in months, and he’s too hung up on Todd to find a date to his cousin’s wedding.

In a moment of weakness after a heart-stopping night together, Todd agrees to be Victor’s fake boyfriend for the wedding. Victor will have his plus-one—which will get his family off his back—and Todd will get a free mini-vacation. It’s a win-win.

But pretending to be fake boyfriends leads to real intimacy, which leads to too much wine, and suddenly, Todd and Victor wake up with wedding bands and a marriage license between them. That was not their plan, but a summer of wedded bliss might just change their minds.

Review

I loved the blurb for this. Frenemies. Fake relationships. Secret romance. It sounded funny and sexy and intriguing.

Welllll…. It was hard to get into and I kept going back to see what I’d missed because it felt like I needed more information than I had and it felt like I’d skipped a chapter or something. (Which happens if you don’t read a book in one fell swoop.) It turns out that this is a book 2 of a series and (I hadn’t paid attention to that) and I think someone really needs to read book 1 to enjoy this book 2. I figured things out, but it didn’t feel as engrossing as I bet it would if I’d read book one.

I wasn’t that attached to these guys and I never felt the chemistry like I wanted to.

My recommendation is to read book 1 first and then this.

3 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 1) by Tara Lain Narrated by Nick J Russo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/volley-balls-by-tara-lain-8014-b

Blurb

2nd Edition

A Balls to the Wall Romance

A double dose of alpha male might be better than one.

Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

A “pumped up” version of the Volley Balls story, twice as long as the original.

First Edition published by Etopia Press, 2011.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)

I read the original edition and though this says it’s twice as long as the original, I can’t say that I noticed a heck of a lot of difference.

I love this series and though this wasn’t my favorite of the bunch, it’s still a lot of fun!
(I’m not sure if she’s redoing the entire series, but I see that there’s at least a new cover for book two so…) In any case, FAST Balls is my favorite of the series, reviewed here https://openskyebookreviews.com/fast-balls-balls-to-the-wall-5-by-tara-lain/) and I think that, though it’s not necessary, reading them in order helps to introduce the characters in a really nice way.

David is the owner of an art gallery who’s recently left an ex who abused him. He’s not really looking to date, but open minded when opportunity comes along. Edge and Gareth are Australian Volleyball players who are in town during a tournament. Gareth knows he’s gay but he’s deeply in the closet, Edge has some secrets of his own and some self-examination in his future.

To me, you have to just accept a lot on faith with this story. Don’t try to look at it too deeply- there are a lot of plot holes and amazing insta-love moments that aren’t terribly realistic. We don’t get a lot of relationship building here, as Gareth sees David once and is pretty smitten and makes some important life decisions with only a little bit of encouragement from David to go on.

The relationship between Edge and Gareth actually makes the most sense – given their history – and I guess the triad kinda makes sense – given that David is the only one with any real relationship experience at all. (This was the hardest for me to swallow. I could buy David and Gareth, Gareth and Edge and even David and Edge, but the three of them, coming together, and agreeing that this would work for them? I had a hard time seeing this given the brevity of their time together and the situation with Edge and… Well, it was a hard sell. The other thing that bothered me was the dialog – sometimes David and Gareth spoke in ways that didn’t always feel authentic. “Shall I …” etc. I just reminded myself this is fiction and kept reading. )

The sexy times are plentiful. Gareth’s mom is awesome. The art sounds fun. Seeing Edge switch gears and share with Gareth and David – super, scorching, hot and at times sweet, too. I didn’t really buy the triad, but found the guys fun to read about anyway, and I really enjoyed the other books in the series so…

3 of 5 stars

Audio

Nick is one of my favorites. Is his Australian accent good? Not the best. Is it good enough. You bet! I still loved this even though it wasn’t my favorite by this narrator. He’s still easy to listen to and fun. He’s great with the comedic timing and the smexy times and that makes this worth the money!

4.5 of 5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Time to Laugh: The One that Got Away by Rhianne Aile and Madeline Urban

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-one-that-got-away-by-rhianne-aile-and-madeleine-urban-5285-b

Blurb: When David Carmichael suffers a migraine and then a broken shoulder, Trace Jackson, his best friend, simply moves in to take care of him. Their easy camaraderie continues with no problems until David discovers an undercurrent of heat and tension flowing between them. Despite knowing his best friend is straight, David is slowly falling in love. What he doesn’t know is that Trace is struggling with a similar discovery.
Trace has never desired another man before. He’s a ladies’ man with quite the reputation, considered a top prize around town. But his close, treasured friendship with David makes the emotion and arousal growing between them irresistible. Soothing David’s doubts, Trace makes it clear that he wants to know if they can make it work. Because Trace is sure he wouldn’t love another man — that’s not the issue. He just loves David.

Review: This is one of my favourite re-reads- there is no angst, no misunderstandings, just a humourous, sweet romance.
Trace and David have been friends for a while. David injures himself (during a migraine episode) and Trace stays to look after him. David is gay and during his recuperation time, he is slowly falling for his straight friend. Trace, for his part, is beginning to see David in another (more sexually attractive) light. The men slowly realise that they could be more than friends and go for it. There are some funny scenes, especially with Mabel, Trace’s cat and the poker game ☺
This is not a deep book, just entertaining, so just enjoy it for the feel good read it is.

3.75 stars out of 5

 

Copy purchased for review

 

Categories
3 stars Bi-Sexual Book Closeted co-workers to lovers College/University Contemporary Friends to lovers Gay High but not hopeless Homophobia m/m Mild/low level heat New Adult Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series Riptide Publishing Swimming/Diving young adult

Release Day Review: Medley (Changing Lanes #2) by Layla Reyne

release day review

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/37556674-medley?from_search=true

 

Blurb

Sebastian Stewart was never Mr. Dependable; he was more the good-time guy who only wanted to swim, party, and ink tattoos. Until he cost his team the Olympic gold four years ago. Bas is determined to do right this time around—by his medley relay team and his rookie mentee.

Jacob Burrows is in over his head. The Olympic experience—from the hazing, to the endless practices, to the unrelenting media—makes the shy nineteen-year-old’s head spin. He’s trying to be everything to everyone while trying not to fall for his gorgeous tattooed teammate who just gets him—gets his need to fix things, his dorky pirate quips, and his bisexuality.

When Jacob falters under the stress, threatening his individual races and the medley relay gold, he needs Bas’s help to escape from drowning. Bas, however, fearing a repeat of his mistakes four years ago, pushes Jacob away, sure he’ll only let Jacob down. But the only path to salvaging gold is for Jacob to finally ask for what he needs—the heart of the man he loves—and for Bas to become the dependable one.

Review

 There was a lot to like about this:
Jacob – super adorkable esp. with the pirate stuff
The Olympics
Swimming
Alex and Dane

There was a lot that was …. Less great:
Continual teenagey angst – even though most of the characters are older than that
A lack of communication
Lack of steam

This is more of a YA than a NA story. I think if you go into it like that – with those expectations – it’s feels better. As an NA story it felt lacking.

I really enjoyed book 1 a bit more, but I’d keep with the series.

3 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Author Provided Book Gay Gay Hurt/Abuse m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words)

Audiobook: Switched by NR Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Switched-Audiobook/B0759R5PKV?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=XKAAR7WE7TEJ0TDN6PWE&

Blurb

Israel Ingham’s life has never been easy. He grew up in a house devoid of love and warmth. Nothing he ever did was good enough. The fact Israel is gay just added to the long list of his father’s disappointments.

Then a letter from Eastport Children’s Hospital changes everything.

A discovery is made, one of gross human error. Twenty-six years ago two baby boys were switched at birth and sent home with the wrong families.

Sam, Israel’s best friend, has been his only source of love and support. With Sam beside him every step of the way, Israel decides to meet his birth mother and her son, the man who lived the life Israel should have.

Israel and Sam become closer than ever, amidst the tumultuous emotions of meeting his birth family, and Sam finds himself questioning his feelings toward his best friend. As Israel embraces new possibilities, he needs to dissect his painful relationship with his parents in order to salvage what’s left.

Because sometimes it takes proof you’re not actually family to become one.

Review
(Book reviewed here previously)

WOW. NR Walker has done it AGAIN!

When I read the blurb I was a little leery, not that it wouldn’t be good, not that I wouldn’t enjoy it, but I was worried that this was going to be a story about Israel and his family MORE than about Israel and his new romance with Sam.

But, I should never doubt the master!

NR manages to move the story forward about BOTH Sam and Israel’s family – effortlessly! And I mean that she does it in a way that neither side felt less than the other and instead both seemed to work BECAUSE the other was moving forward.

This is an absolute fairy-tale of a story. Who hasn’t – at least once! – thought about if they were adopted/switched/belonged to another family at one time or another? Well, in this case I think the author gives a very plausible (if vague) reason for it and a way that opened up the story to the crux of the issue, which is how Israel feels and how his parents react.

The sexual tension in the story is WONDERFUL, and the release, even better! I loved these two together and thought they were not only adorable and sweet as a couple but HOT, too.

For fans of the author, fans of friends-to-lovers romances, anyone curious about how it would be to find out you were switched at birth, or anyone looking for a seriously-heart-warming story about finding your family, this is for you!

5 of 5 stars

Audio

What can I say about Joel that I haven’t already… he’s just so talented. He immerses you in the story and you know he’s as moved by what he’s reading as the listener. His relationship with NR Walker is a fortunate one that we all benefit from because she’s an amazing writer and he’s an amazing narrator and their chemistry together is off the charts! He’s the perfect choice for this story.

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
5 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Author Provided Bi-Sexual Dee Friends to lovers Friends to Lovers Gay m/m Mild level angst Mild/low level heat Monthly Theme Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Standalone

Friends to Lovers: The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue Audiobook by Mackenzie Lee, narrated by Christian Coulson

Audible Link

 https://www.audible.com/pd/Teens/The-Gentlemans-Guide-to-Vice-and-Virtue-Audiobook/B071NV6DG1?ref=a_a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=XGB2H3B070GV0AXTNQYA&

Blurb:
Henry “Monty” Montague doesn’t care that his roguish passions are far from suitable for the gentleman he was born to be. But as Monty embarks on his grand tour of Europe, his quests for pleasure and vice are in danger of coming to an end. Not only does his father expect him to take over the family’s estate upon his return, but Monty is also nursing an impossible crush on his best friend and traveling companion, Percy.

So Monty vows to make this yearlong escapade one last hedonistic hurrah and flirt with Percy from Paris to Rome. But when one of Monty’s reckless decisions turns their trip abroad into a harrowing manhunt, it calls into question everything he knows, including his relationship with the boy he adores.

Review: This is a wonderful story made excellent by the narration. The story centres on Monty, a seemingly self-absorbed young man who has to clean up his act in order to take over the family business. Monty is also in love with his best friend and companion, Percy.

This is the first time I have listened to narration by Christian Coulson and I will definitely lookout for more of his work.
He managed to capture the essence of Monty as a decadent and somewhat selfish young man, but he also makes you sympathise with Monty. The narrator also voices the other characters – main and secondary – extremely well. The standout character (for me) is Felicity – snarky and intelligent; Mr. Coulson does her justice.
It’s hard to adequately describe how good the book is and how excellent the narration is. All I can say is that I recommend the narration unreservedly.

5 stars out of 5

5-stars-small

 

Copy provided by publisher