Recent Release: The Drive (Close Proximity Book 3) by Erin M. Leaf

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41137628-the-drive?from_search=true

Blurb

Liam is done with love, but his daughter Portia has other plans. When he arrives to pick her up from college, she sets him up with her friend Charlie, and merrily heads off to her internship without them. Liam is left with an uncomfortable hard-on for Portia’s bestie, and a long drive to Vegas with a guy too young to know what to do with a guy Liam’s age.

Charlie thought he liked girls. More specifically, he thought he liked Portia, but when her dad offers him a ride home after graduation, he suddenly, shockingly realizes that he doesn’t like women at all. He likes Liam, and he wants to hook up as soon as possible, and maybe not ever let go. So, when Liam makes an offer he can’t refuse, what’s he supposed to do? Say no to the hottest person he’s ever met?

Review

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I wish this were longer! Erin really had me hooked with these two and their romance just moved so fast that was pretty unsatisfying.

I really wanted to see this May/December relationship roll out slowly and/or at least watch these two mesh their lives once it exploded into coupledom so quickly.

Liam was HOT and Charlie sounded perfect for him and I was even proud to see a positive female character portrayed in this story – woot!

In my perfect world we’d have gotten to either take more time getting to know these guys as individuals or spent more time with them as a couple – however –

For what it is – an erotic story about a car ride – it’s way hot!

4.25 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Relase: Handy Harry by Erin M. Leaf

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26850546-handy-harry?from_search=true

Blurb

Reclusive artist Rufus Ward’s house needs repair, but he hates demolition and dust. However, when handyman Harry Hande rings his doorbell, Rufus lets him in. He’s everything the famous painter likes in a man: young, sexy, and somewhat confused about his sexuality. Rufus thought he was done with dating, but Harry is hot enough to push him from loneliness into love.

Harry’s sensible demeanor disguises desperation. His brother is a jerk and he needs to move out, but his fledgling business isn’t quite ready to support him. Rufus is supposed to be just another client, but when they meet, all of Harry’s preconceived notions of attraction are demolished. Lust launches him into the dare of a lifetime. Will letting Rufus draw him nude destroy him, or will his true nature come out?

Review

This would totally have gotten all the stars had it been longer. I LOVED the GFY thing and the reclusive artist meets hot handy man thing but everything moved so fast L

I know this is erotica but there was enough there to make it more substantial – Erin Leaf is really good at character development – so I was hoping for more.

However, as far as fantasy “quickies” go – this is a winner! We get a bit of hot smexy times, some gay virgin sex and a lot of self discovery.

If you’re in the mood for something hot and fast – this is for you!

4.25 of 5 stars


Copy Purchased for Honest Review

Audiobook Month: The Long Way Home by Z.A. Maxfield, narrated by J.F Harding

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/The-Long-Way-Home-Audiobook/B01MQGGZ71?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_4&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=4GVDMJXBB991JR8MT96Z&

Blurb:
Ever since the accident that cost him his job on the Seattle police force, Kevin Quinn has been living with psychic abilities he refers to as the ‘gift that keeps on taking’. His attempts to use his talents to help the police have been met with limited success. Yet, when teenage boys start going missing from the beach cities of Southern California, Kevin gets on a plane.
Connor Dougal has every reason to believe all psychics are fakes and charlatans. He’s still numb from the disappearance of his first love, a boy who went missing 10 years earlier. Everything he aspires to is a direct result of that tragedy, even the acquisition of his detective shield. The irony of having to babysit Kevin Quinn is not lost on him.
These two suspicious men must develop trust and respect for one another to solve the case and, on the way, maybe fall in love.

Review:
A good story with great narration.
Kevin is a reluctant psychic (the ‘gift’ manifests after an accident). He’s asked to work on a missing persons case where he meets Connor. Connor is assigned to assist Kevin in the investigation; at first they don’t get along, but very quickly they develop a rapport which leads to a mutual attraction. As they grow closer, the mystery of the disappearances unfolds. There is quite a bit of wit and humour in the story that kept me engaged throughout.

Story: 4

Audio:

JF Harding was really good! This was my first time listening to him after which I bought a couple more books that he’s narrated. His pacing, inflections and timing was spot on for the characters. The subtle humour and wit of the prose was nicely voiced and he portrayed the dynamics and chemistry of the 2 MC’s very well.
Definitely a story I will listen to again.

5 stars out of 5

Overall 4.5 of 5 stars


Copy purchased for review

 

Audiobook Month: Brandon Mills vs the V-card (Prescott College book 2) by Lisa Henry and JA Rock Narrated by Joel Leslie

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Brandon-Mills-versus-the-V-Card-Audiobook/B07DR66PNT?qid=1529726847&sr=sr_1_22&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_2_2&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=ACM179XN7HZ446WFQ544&

Blurb

Smart, shy Prescott sophomore Brandon Mills is working hard to overcome his troubled past and be normal. With the help of his friends Mark and Deacon, and his brothers at Phi Sigma Kappa, he’s slowly coming out of his shell. But when he accidentally drenches a freshman in orange soda, he faces something he’s not ready for: a boy crushing on him.

Alex Kekoa pledges Phi Sig because it has everything he wants: a house full of nerds who won’t tease him for being smart, a dog, and Brandon Mills. Brandon is just the type of guy Alex needs to help fulfill his college ambition: losing his virginity. Except Alex doesn’t know that Brandon can’t stand to touch or be touched.

When Alex and Brandon are drafted onto the Phi Sig Academic Challenge team, their mutual attraction grows. If there’s anyone who can help Brandon discover it feels good to touch and kiss, maybe it’s klutzy Alex with his cute glasses and his dinosaur obsession. But as the competition–and their relationship–heats up, Alex’s determination not to die a virgin clashes with Brandon’s vow of lifelong celibacy, forcing them to examine what’s truly important to each of them about love.

Review

Brandon Mills (best friend of Mark who we met in book one) is a shy, nerd, who loves dinosaurs, has an eidetic memory and a really, really crappy childhood.

Alex Kekoa is a giant nerd who also loves dinosaurs, has had a sunny childhood, is totally infatuated with Brandon, and is also a virgin (thus the title).

Alex joins Brandon’s frat just to be near him (and because it suits his style and brain). When he – in a fit of passion- kisses Brandon, it sets loose all sorts of thoughts and feelings in Brandon he didn’t know he had and definitely doesn’t know how to process.

First there’s the whole “gay” thing – which he doesn’t really identify as, but isn’t the biggest thing. The biggest thing is the touching. Brandon doesn’t touch anyone. Not even himself.

Most of the book takes place in Brandon’s head. Figuring things out. Trying to remember to forget. Trying to learn how to be new. Using the hair-brained but wonderful advice of his kooky and sometimes high friend, Mark.

Alex is the most gentle and unassuming soul you could meet, exactly what someone with Brandon’s history needs.

Add into the mix Blake and his contributions to the LGBTQ association as well as Mark and Deacon’s continued coupledom and you have a delightful mix of the quirky and funny with the sentimental, tender and sometimes painful.

**

I couldn’t put this book down! I only skimmed book one. And only after I read this. Book one has some elements that I am uncomfortable with… so I just got the highlights. But… I do love Mark and Deacon as a couple and I enjoyed reading about them before they were a couple.

Brandon is so heart-breaking in this story. Gah! He tries so hard and does everything right but sometimes that still isn’t enough, is it? Alex is a wonderful boyfriend and together, the two of them exploring their feelings – it was so sickly sweet and funny and most of the time it felt really REAL.

I guess that reality is what makes me knock this down from a perfect 5 star book to a 4.5. I wanted and really hoped for Brandon and Alex to remain a couple – FOREVER and we get hints that they might… but no guarantees. In fact, I could honestly say that I wouldn’t be surprised if they didn’t… just by the way their relationship to this point was handled. (When they do finally make it to boyfriend status, I never quite got the feeling from Brandon that he was as invested as Alex… but that could just be me.)

Anyhow – I loved how the first-time-sex scene was handled and thought it felt really authentic. Messy, imperfect and wonderful. I loved how Brandon grew, but not in a “fairy tale it all goes away” way. Again, that felt very authentic.

Blake is my absolute hero. I lurves him so much! He was so genuine and wonderful and such a tremendous ALLY! What a great way to view the world and what a nice way to open that discussion – gays in sports.

All in all this was a fun (sometimes), heartbreaking (sometimes), full of feels (all the times) and very well written book.

This writing duo makes for awesome character development and I can’t wait to see what they come up with for book three (which Lisa Henry has said is currently in the works!)

So… I highly recommend this to lovers of the v-card, college boy fans, anyone who loves a hard-childhood story and lovers of dinosaurs everywhere!

Audio

Joel Leslie is Frickin’ awesome! I’m so glad the authors chose him since he can do such a wide array of characters! There are so many unique voices and accents and Joel does them all – so wonderfully!

I adored this and his narration and … him!

Highly recommended!

5 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Purchased for Review

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

 

Time to go Dark: The Making of Matt by Nicola Haken

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25882570-the-making-of-matt?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb:

Matt Carter, self-proclaimed sex-god and drummer for world renowned Souls of the Knight, didn’t have the time or inclination for planning his future, preferring to fill his days with music, women and alcohol. He didn’t want or need anything else in his life.

Until the band parted ways and he found himself no longer living the dream.
Bored and lonely, with too much time and money on his hands, Matt turns to his best friend, Alex Clark, to help devise a new direction to take his life in. Together, they embrace their newfound venture, as owner and manager of one of L.A.’s hottest gay clubs – Kaleidoscope. For the first time, Matt has a plan. He knows where life is heading.
Until a devastating phone call turns his whole world upside down, sending him straight into the comforting arms of his best friend and leading him to doubt everything he’s ever known or believed about himself.
Alex had always been content with his unrequited feelings for his rockstar friend, but as Matt starts to question if he might actually feel the same, he runs as fast as his feet will allow.

Has Matt gone too far? Has his reputation as an irresponsible womanizer who refuses to take life seriously, finally managed to push his best friend away for good?
Or is Alex hiding secrets of his own?

Review: Even though this is the 3rd in the Souls of the Knight series, it can be read on its own – but the first 2 books are good, so give them a try.
Matt was the drummer for the Knights. Now that the band has split up, he’s at a loss for what to do. The one constant in his life is Alex, his best friend. Matt is a lady’s man who has lived up to his rocker rep (brash, no filter, spoilt). However, once he and Alex go into business together, he shows a more stable, sweet side.
Slowly, Matt finds himself falling for Alex, and in his typical way, owned his feelings. Funnily enough, Alex is the one who starts to back-pedal a bit.
When a sensitive issue is revealed, it is done very well and it made their relationship even stronger.
It has all the things I like for an entertaining read – humour, heart low angst and well developed characters.

4.5 stars out of 5

Copy Purchased for Review

 

Audiobook: Day and Knight by Dirk Greyson Narrated by Andrew McFerrin

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/day-and-knight-by-dirk-greyson-2231-

Blurb

As former NSA, Dayton (Day) Ingram has national security chops and now works as a technical analyst for Scorpion. He longs for fieldwork, and scuttling an attack gives him his chance. He’s smart, multilingual, and a technological wizard. But his opportunity comes with a hitch—a partner, Knighton (Knight), who is a real mystery. Despite countless hours of research, Day can find nothing on the agent, including his first name!

Former Marine Knight crawled into a bottle after losing his family. After drying out, he’s offered one last chance: along with Day, stop a terrorist threat from the Yucatan. To get there without drawing suspicion, Day and Knight board a gay cruise, where the deeply closeted Day and equally closeted Knight must pose as a couple. Tensions run high as Knight communicates very little and Day bristles at Knight’s heavy-handed need for control.

But after drinking too much, Day and Knight wake up in bed. Together. As they near their destination, they must learn to trust and rely on each other to infiltrate the terrorist camp and neutralize the plot aimed at the US’s technological infrastructure, if they hope to have a life after the mission. One that might include each other.

Review

With Day and Knight you have a classic Cop/PI/Agent partnership. Older jaded agent gets partnered with a younger more enthusiastic agent and then the spark returns. Andrew Grey, writing under the pen name Dirk Greyson, gives us a great light entertainment story with Day and Knight. It is a good first book in the series setting the background for both Dayton and Knighton. I enjoyed the slightly antagonist way they interacted with each other. It gives a frisson to when they actually do get together. The investigation side of the story is also good, fairly straight forward find the bad guys and da with them. There is a little teaser angle to thread through to the following books. It follows the formula, nothing unexpected. As I mentioned before a good light entertaining story.
I’ve only listened to Andrew McFerrin once before. He has quite a good style. There is good characterisation coming through, especially Knight’s grumpiness and Day’s upbeat personality. The accents where needed are fine. Overall an enjoyable audiobook.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Recent Release: Seducing His Brother’s Receptionist By Charlie Richards

Extasy Presents

http://www.extasybooks.com/charlie-richards/978-1-4874-1954-7-seducing-his-brothers-receptionist/

Blurb

Out of the Cage: When a weekend fling gets a man into hot water, he discovers a knight in shining armor in the most unlikely of places.
Wendell Burgeon just wanted a hot night in town. Instead, he picks up a stalker…a dangerous one. When his make-up doesn’t hide the bruising, a friend at the office jumps to conclusions and tries to cheer him up. Cecil Rochette convinces his brother Teague to give Wendell a ride in his classic car…the one Wendell has been drooling over for years. To Wendell’s shock, Teague’s behavior belies his brawny jock image. He’s kind and sweet and seems interested in him, asking Wendell on a date when the car ride is over. He even comes to his rescue when his stalker shows up. Can Wendell’s knight in shining armor truly be as wonderful as he seems? When Wendell discovers that Teague has secrets of his own, he must make a decision. Who’s the more dangerous…his stalker or his knight?

Review

I thought this was sweet. I loved the GFY aspect and the really sweet MC – Wendell. Like all of Charlie’s books, the shifting was fun and I LOVED seeing Jared again!

Very enjoyable. Best as part of the series but fine on it’s own.

4 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

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

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