Time to Comfort: A Chosen Man (The Men of Halfway House #6) by Jaime Reese

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41885577-a-chosen-man?from_search=true

Blurb

For Wall McCormack, actions speak louder than words. He’s giving and protective, loyal to his friends, and devoted to his job. While confident and powerful enough to conquer any challenge, his greatest strength lies in his calm nature. Until an unexpected assignment sends his world into a loud and colorful chaos he never could have anticipated.

Rejection. It’s something Dylan Vaughn has known his entire life. But he’s a tough nut to crack and refuses to break. Armed with a sharp tongue and brutal honesty, he pushes through life and at anyone who attempts to take him on. Except for the quiet guardian who piques his interest and dares him to want…more.

When Dylan’s past comes back with a vengeance and jeopardizes their growing connection, Wall will stop at nothing to protect the younger man and remain by his side. But convincing Dylan that someone accepts the real man behind the cocky facade might prove to be Wall’s greatest challenge yet.

With his freedom on the line, Dylan must trust the strength of their bond and confront the forces threatening their future. Only then will he realize the dream of acceptance is real and finally have a place to call home.

Review

This is such a lovely series. I totally respect the time the author takes in between books, because each story is so fully developed and rich. Just like her visual art, her written words are evocative and descriptive without being wordy or purple.

In this case, our guys are no less broken than the previous couples we’ve met – but these two are maybe a bit “lighter”. It’s a welcome reprieve and I enjoyed the humor, closeness and emotional times we got to share with these guys and Wall’s mother.

As in the other books in this series there is a crime to be solved and in this case some danger of life and limb. It doesn’t overshadow the romance and moves along easily.

I can’t say enough positive things about this – other than – you should read it! It’s best as part of the series but each is fine on it’s own.

5 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Honest 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

Recent (re) Release: Not Just Friends by Jay Northcote

Goodreads link

Blurb

Leaving home for university has it’s struggles: meeting new people, classes, taking care of yourself and dealing with roommates how might not have the same views as you about dishes (that is, actually cleaning them) just to name a few. But what Lewis really isn’t prepared for the powerful crush he develops on his gay roommate Max. Because Lewis had always thought he was straight.

Lewis cannot keep his jealousy over Max’s new relationship hidden and forces him to confront his newfound sexuality. When Max’s relationship falls apart painfully, Lewis is there for him as a friend, one thing leads to another and even though Lewis is ready to take the next step, Max prefers them to stay as friends only.

Lewis tries to move on, keeping their friendship despite his feeling for Max. When the tables turn and Lewis is the one who needs Max’s support he learns maybe there is a future for them after all, if only he can risk his heart a second time.

Review

This is a re-release with no new content, and I enjoyed reading it the second time as much as the first one, which was on audio a while back. Jay’s stories always have that touch of realness to them, especially in the collage age stories, like his Housemates series for example. Relationships are not usually perfect from the start, sexuality isn’t either, and he manages to capture the small bumps in the roads and the physical exploration of sexuality so well. He also creates a true sense of group of friends, with all he small day to day issues of living together, collage lifestyle and all the side characters really shine in his books, here included.

This is a pretty typical coming out story, when Lewis suddenly comes face to face with an out and proud man, Max, he finds he is instantly attracted to, in close quarters no less. What follows are the very real struggles of a confused young man trying to figure out his sexuality, when he assumed he was straight and had a long term girlfriend before. All this while he is navigating collage life, new friends and awkward social situations, his roommate’s baking and attempts at matchmaking.

Max has no place for a relationship in his life, and after their tumble between the sheets he prefers to stay friends, but the friendship they share is so strong they cannot ignore their feelings anymore, and they both need the other for support. I like how they don’t have a clear path, Lewis figures out his sexuality it’s not the only thing in his way to a relationship with Max and they keep hitting walls and having to find ways to overcome them. They form a true friendship and bond that is so much stronger than having them fall into bed, and love, and face the difficulty of Lewis coming out like other romances of this troupe tend to do. This is a great romance that shows the not so perfect sides of romance and how, despite many odds against them, when two people are meant to be they can find a way to make it work if they are willing to take a risk.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


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

 

 

 

 

 

Time to get paranormal: Equilibrium (Superpowered Love #1) by Katey Hawthorne

 

Less than three press

https://lessthanthreepress.com/books/index.php?main_page=product_bookx_info&cPath=123&products_id=1640

Blurb

Hansen has been hot for Sam since they first bonded over their secret superpowers—literally hot, since Hansen can produce fire from thin air. But Sam is always covered in girls, so Hansen keeps his feelings deeply buried and settles for being Sam’s best friend.

Then Sam’s electrical powers go haywire in public, and in the fallout a mutual attraction is forced to the surface—but bisexuality is new to Sam, and Hansen is afraid to admit he’s in love. And in the midst of trying to figure out themselves and each other, they have to face—and survive—the unfriendly witness to Sam’s explosion.

 

Review

This was really good! There is some amazing world building with really cool powers- the meet cute is absolutely wonderful! Our two MCs are at school when clueless Sam meets in the know Hansen but it’s Sam who is the jock and the popular kid – so Hansen having the upper hand is a lovely switch. This follows them throughout their lives and into exploring things sexually when it’s decided that they are more than friends.

There’s some frustrating “misunderstandings” that should go away with just some talking – but since these are two college-age-ish guys – it makes a bit of sense that they aren’t great at communication. (It’s still frustrating tho…)

I wasn’t super comfortable with Sam and the girlfriend and her family and all that transpired there. It kind of made things less authentic and more soap opera-y and I could have done without that.

Thus 4 of 5 stars because I thoroughly enjoyed it but it did have some areas that made it a bit less than perfect.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Get Paranormal:The Alpha’s Widower Audiobook by Susi Hawke Narrated by: Drew Bacca

 

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/The-Alphas-Widower-Audiobook/B07F216KGY?qid=1535304112&sr=sr_1_1&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=03DB94DQSBSYGC0C7QPZ&

Blurb
Series: MacIntosh Meadows, Book 1

What’s a guy to do when his straight best friend proposes a fake marriage? Just say…yes!
Laurie Adams looked like he had it all, but his marriage was a sham, a Mr. Wrong chosen for all the wrong reasons. When his husband dies, Laurie has no time to mourn the cheating bastard, and his in-laws have decided Laurie isn’t fit to raise his children, and they’ll do anything to take them from him. He’s lost his husband and his faith in people, but he won’t lose his children, too. So he runs back home to the small farm town he’d left behind a decade ago.
Dean MacIntosh should be the perfect alpha for anyone, but all around town he’s known as Mr. Not-Quite-Right, the last man a woman dates before she finds her real Prince Charming. It should bother him, but it doesn’t. So when his childhood best friend comes running home for protection, Dean has no problem stepping in.
Except when Dean offered to fake marry Laurie, he never expected the wedding kiss to feel so sweet, and he begins to question the sexuality he once took for granted. From an awkward wedding night to an even more awkward honeymoon, Dean and Laurie find their affection runs deeper than either of them ever guessed. And maybe now is Dean’s chance to be somebody’s Mr. Right.
This audiobook contains mpreg, adults adulting in fun and sexy ways, and probably more potty-mouth language than should be used in an audiobook with kids underfoot. Eighteen-plus listeners only please.

Review: This is an enjoyable ‘friends to fake marriage to real marriage’ story! Laurie and Dean were such sweethearts and the supporting characters were great, especially Kade, whose story is now on my list to read.
Laurie goes back to his childhood home to get away from the memory of his unfaithful husband and horrid in-laws. He falls back into the friendship he shared with Dean, even though he’s always had a crush on Dean. Dean, for his part, has always considered himself straight, but when issues arise where Laurie’s kids could be taken away, Dean steps in to marry him. The way the 2 men explore their feelings for each other is sweet and funny, with the right amount of mild misunderstanding. There’s even a bit of a mystery which adds to the story.

The narration is very good – Drew Bacca is new to me. I liked his work so much that I got the next audiobook in the series (also very good).
He had different voices for the characters, had good pacing and projected the humour, sweetness and other emotions of the characters well. I was entertained!
I’m still a newbie to this trope, (mpreg, non shifting shifters), but I really like it so far.
This is another one of those stories that the audiobook is a really great way to experience the story. I loved it!

4.5 stars out of 5

Copy provided for review

 

 

 

Retro Read: The Billionaire’s Bodyguard Series by Erin M. Leaf

Goodreads

https://www.goodreads.com/series/142586-the-billionaire-s-bodyguard

Blurb

Billionaire Alex Roman needs a bodyguard. His best friend, Jesse Emerson, an ex-Security Forces Specialist, needs a job. What could possibly go wrong?

Jesse thinks protecting Alex will be a piece of cake. He’ll get to spend quality time with his oldest friend while avoiding his ex-girlfriend. Of course, nothing ever goes as planned. Why would Alex introduce him to everyone as his lover? And why didn’t Alex tell him about the threatening notes he’s been receiving for months?

Alex has been in love with Jesse for years, not that he’d ever admit it to his best friend, but he’s not above making a practical joke out of it. Telling everyone that Jesse is his boyfriend will go a long way toward relieving the stress of the threats he’s been plagued with recently. Unfortunately, when someone tries to shoot him at a charity gala, he discovers that maybe he needs Jesse’s skills more than he realized…

…because sometimes a billionaire’s best friend is the fake boyfriend who’s really his bodyguard.

Blurb

It’s Christmas Eve and billionaire Alex Roman screwed up. He promised his boyfriend, Jesse, that he’d be home for the holidays, but he went to a last minute meeting in the city and got trapped in a snowstorm. Now he must face a fate worse than death: spending the night in a strange motel. Alone.

Jesse Emerson thought he could trust his boyfriend to stay home when it’s snowing outside. After all, his father and Alex’s grandfather died in a blizzard, and since that fateful day, neither of them enjoys winter weather. Instead, Alex is nowhere to be found. Jesse has no choice but to head out into the storm to find his wayward lover.

When darkness falls and ice blankets the roads, will the magic of Christmas Eve somehow bring Jesse and Alex back together, or will both men perish in the cold, lost and alone?

Blurb

Alex Roman controls a business empire, but he can’t control his personal life. Just when he thought he and his boyfriend, Jesse, could settle down and enjoy their life together, their past comes back to haunt them once again. They never discovered who killed Alex’s grandfather and Jesse’s father, and neither man would’ve wanted to know the truth if it meant tearing them apart, but that’s what happens.

When a crazy gunman targets Jesse for the sins of his father, he reluctantly decides he must leave the love of his life in order to keep him safe. Little does he know that his decision to protect Alex may ultimately be his undoing. Alex tracks him down and the gunman follows. A deadly confrontation leaves one man down, and their relationship fractured.

Will their love survive the ultimate test?

 

Reviews

This is a series that must be read in order.

It’s a friends to lovers, first time gay, bodyguard romance. These guys have been friends forever and though they live in different “worlds” have been living in each other’s pockets forever. It’s literally only the sex that differentiates them from lovers and once that barrier is crossed there’s no going back.

This is erotica, so a lot of this is hot smexy times – but it’s not overwhelming to the story.

I loved the chemistry between these two and found the continual “screw you” they gave to the outside world to be amusing.

The story line isn’t super believable and Alex’s continual denial of the danger gets to be annoying, but overall the relationship is enough to make up for these issues.

I am a fan of the author’s paranormal materials and I found this to be just as engaging.

If you’re in the mood for something light, a little funny and a lot sexy – give this a try!

4.5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook: Bad Company (Bad in Baltimore, Book 1) BY K. A. Mitchell Narrated by: Chet Daniel

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-company-by-ka-mitchell-9657-b

Blurb

Some things are sweeter than revenge.
“I need a boyfriend.”
Hearing those words from his very straight, very ex-best friend doesn’t put Nate in a helpful mood. Not only did Kellan Brooks’s father destroy Nate’s family in his quest for power, but Kellan broke Nate’s heart back in high school. Nate thought he could trust his best friend with the revelation that he might be gay, only to find out he was horribly wrong and become the laughingstock of the whole school. Kellan must be truly desperate if he’s turning to Nate now.
Kellan’s through letting his father run his life, and he wants to make the man pay for cutting him off. What better way to stick it to the bigot than to come out as gay himself—especially with the son of the very man his father crushed on his quest for money and power. Kellan can’t blame Nate for wanting nothing to do with him, though. Kellan will have to convince him to play along, but it’s even harder to convince himself that the heat between them is only an act….

Review

This was originally published in 2011 and I feel even though that’s only 7 years ago, it does “date” this. There’s something about the extreme closeted/denial nature of this story that feels “older” than the books I’m reading published more recently. I think there is plenty of “secret” gayness still going on, but how it’s presented here feels more secretive than necessary – but appropriate for the time. If that makes sense.

On the one hand I feel so blessed that our society is opening up more and more to “other” and letting people be whom they are inside – and stories like this remind me of how far we’ve come. Or at least how far it feels we’ve come.

Besides that… this is a GFY, best friends to lovers story with a bit of denial thrown in for good measure. The angst is fairly high, but so is the humor and the chemistry.

I’m not a big fan of either of these guys as characters so I can’t say that I really loved this – I never warmed to Nate – but I can appreciate the ability of KA Mitchell to write “real” people.

I remember liking this the first time I read it the narrator helps to maintain that admiration. He sometimes felt a little “dramatic” but that was slight. In general he was easy to listen to, made the characters feel unique and didn’t distract from the story.

All in all I’d give the story a 3.5 of 5 stars, the narrator a 4 and round the overall up to a 4 of 5 stars as well.

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Steamy Romance: The Blueprint Audiobook by SE Harmon Narrated by Sean Crisden and Alexander Cendese

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/the-blueprint-by-se-harmon-9446-b

Blurb

Kelly Cannon is satisfied with his life. He has friends, a wonderful family, and a great job. But his love life has reached a new level of pitiful. Why? Well, his heart decided to break all the rules. Don’t fall in love with a straight guy. And definitely don’t fall in love with your best friend.
NFL standout Britton “Blue” Montgomery has pressure coming at him from all sides. From his father, who’s only interested in Blue’s football career. From his coaches, who just want him to play without getting injured again. From the fans. From his agent. And from his mother, who has popped up on the radar after leaving his family years before. And now his relationship with Kelly is on shaky ground, and that frightens Blue more than anything.
When Kelly admits he’s in love with Blue, bonds are tested, and Blue has to decide what’s really important. He doesn’t want to lose the number-one person in his life, but the cost to keep Kelly close might be more than he’s willing to pay.
It’s a good thing his nickname is the Blueprint—it’s time to draft a new set of plans.

Review

(Book reviewed previously)

I was really attracted to this because “Friends to lovers” and especially, first time with a man romances are some of my favorite things. I’m not a big football fan, and luckily the football didn’t overwhelm the story.

I thought the original ideas were great – long time friends finally explore some sexual feelings for one another – but the execution never felt good. Blue is mostly an ass and I never felt a strong connection between these guys – despite their being friends for years and years.

The sexual component was sometimes really hot and somehow felt flat, too. I just never bought in to Blue’s change of heart and though I could tell he liked the sex – I didn’t feel the emotional connection.

I think fans of the author, fans of football romances, and fans of gfy/ofy will probably find this at least entertaining. The writing was good, it was the romance that wasn’t great.

3 of 5 stars

Audio
I love dual narrators and Sean Crisden is one of my favs, so this is an obvious win for me! I thought their VERY distinct voices really helped to emphasize the difference between the two mcs. Sean was lovely and growly and really suited Blue. Alexander’s Kelly wasn’t as “twinky” as I think I’d have expected but he did a nice job representing him.

Both narrators really tackled the steamy scenes well – and since there are A LOT of them – that is important.

Listening to this really brought home the fact that this is a HFN and I’m hoping the next book gives us a bit more of these guys- even though I know it’s about a different couple.

5 of 5 for the narration

Overall 4 of 5 stars

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Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Steamy Romance: More Than Make-Believe by Tymber Dalton

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16083209-more-than-make-believe

Blurb

When you fall for a fantasy, how do you know it’s more than make-believe?

Travis Collins, a straight college student, finds himself in a financial bind. He’ll do anything legal, including going gay for pay and spending a weekend as “Craig Rocke,” with gay porn star Marston Cougar. Marston tells him to remember it’s all fantasy for the camera even though it feels like more.

Gary Carmeletti, also known as Marston Cougar, has a respectable day job. He started out making gay porn to pay for college. After getting his heart broken, he has a no-dating rule. Now paired with “virgin” Craig, he finds it hard to keep it make-believe when he’s losing his heart.

Gary’s niece needs surgery, and he almost has enough money to quit for good. But now that he feels a true connection with his fantasy costar, will he be able to find a happily ever after when he feels it’s more than make-believe?

Review

This is one of the first m/m romances I remember reading and it (to me) is so romantic. Travis is so hopelessly in love with Mars and spends the entire time they are filming trying to himself out of it! The whole “big brother/reality TV” thing is absolutely NOT my thing and it in and of itself almost ruins this for me – but the set up is almost like a fake marriage and so it works.

As you can imagine this is full of hot smexy times, but it is also very tender and touching as well. I absolutely LOVED the ending and I still consider this one of the sweetest “hot” romances I’ve ever read.

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

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Copy Purchased for Review