Coming soon! Scott (Owatonna U Hockey #2) by R.J. Scott and VL Locey

March 27

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42108159-scott

Blurb
What happens when you try to fix the past and end up threatening your future?

Scott is struggling. Grieving the loss of his brother, carrying the weight of his father’s expectations, and getting his ass kicked in the rink, he’s in a downward spiral. He needs a solution and fast, but when his steroid use is exposed, he’s close to losing his place at Owatonna and more importantly, on the Eagles Hockey team. Thrown out of his house, with nowhere to go and no future in sight, he only has one choice; agree to mandatory counseling, random drug tests, and get his act together. Only then will he have a chance at normal. Meeting Hayne, a senior connected to the world through his art, is a shock to the system. Moving in with him is his only option, but falling for the shy artist leaves Scott in an impossible situation, and one he can’t escape.

Hayne has always been that quiet, creative kid who sat in the back of class drawing instead of listening to the teacher. A talented artist, the shy and sensitive young man is struggling with the loss of his childhood friend. Seeing his sadness reflected in his usually colorful paintings, he decides to attend grief counseling and meets Scott, a lost soul in desperate need of light and color in his life. Taking in a homeless hockey player certainly was never part of his carefully orchestrated ten-year plan. But now that Scott is in his life, he’s discovering the joy of this man’s loving smile and tender touch is one of the most beautiful palettes on earth.

Review

Ugh.

Sigh.

Sorry.

I loved book one SO MUCH! I love this spin off as a concept. I love the adjustment to YA/NA as far as theme and topics and steam. I love all of it.

Except … this mostly didn’t work for me.

I’m a fan. I’m following the stories including the supplementals and sometimes I was confused about what happened. I think a bit more surrounding the steroid crisis itself would have helped. Then I really wanted to see more of Scott’s recovery rather than hearing about it off page. I also didn’t buy the family turn around – it didn’t feel authentic and though I can totally get behind shiny happy HEAs – it didn’t resonate. These authors aren’t shy about giving us angst and drama – so own it! Let his family continue to be as they are – maybe give us some glimmers of hope? But it felt too cleanly tied up given the amount of fuckery they’d engaged in for the last 4 or so years.

I super loved Hayne’s family and I somehow wanted to know more about them at the beginning. I was having a hell of a time picturing him until the family came to town and gave me a more solid picture.

The evil roommates. I think we needed to either make this more of the story’s central theme or get rid of them. They were a distraction and OTT. (I hope they were OTT – sheesh!) I really wanted Craig to get a lot more smack down then he got as it is. What a Douche Bag!

Finally – I don’t know where these boys are going. I love that Ten et al are able to help them out – but I kinda wanted them to have a more concrete plan of their own.

As it stands we have this sort of mix of “reality” like situation meets total fairy land and it was conflicted and hard to follow at times.

I’m not sure how much of this comes from the 2 authors collaborative efforts or just because the story itself lacked cohesion but I felt it here more than in their other works together.

I’m still a fan and I still can’t wait for Benoit but I was disappointed.

2.75 rounded to 3 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Release Day Review: Hat Trick (Harrisburg Railers #8) by R.J. Scott , V.L. Locey

release day review

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40948160-hat-trick?from_search=true

Blurb

Stan Lyamin has seen many of his dreams come true. He’s found his soulmate, loves Noah like his own, hoisted the Cup, and has his Mama living with him in his new country. But his fantasies of a loud, loving, madcap home overflowing with childish laughter linger. When a distant family member passes, Stan and Erik immediately agree to take in the two orphaned children, but that means a trip back to Russia for Stan, an idea that both exhilarates and terrifies him.

Erik’s world tilts on its axis when a phone call wakes him and Stan in the middle of the night. Abruptly, Stan is returning to Russia, making deals, working with people who know people, and fully intending to bring two orphaned children home. The red tape is overwhelming, and Erik is alone in Harrisburg with the nearly impossible task of finding a nanny who can speak fluent Russian. Being on his own is one thing, but add in fears about Stan’s safety and team issues, and Erik is finding everything hard to balance; not least of which is spending quality time with Noah.

When their family expands from three to five, the journey won’t be easy, but love can always find a way.

Review

This was so much fun! I could read books with Stan in them all day! He is such a great character! He’s fun, big hearted, sexy and sweet. Erik definitely didn’t play much of a role in this story – which I missed – but Stan definitely shone brightly.

There is a bit of good news in this regarding Ten in this story as well – thank goodness! – and a lot of good news for Stan and his family.

I applaud the authors’ willingness to continue with this story line despite current world politics and I highly recommend this to fans of the series.

5 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Audiobook: Tracker Hacker by Jeff Adams Narrated by John Solo

audiobookreview

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/tracker-hacker-by-jeff-adams-10196-b

Blurb

A Harmony Ink Press Title

Codename: Winger One

Theo Reese is just an average high school student with a passion for hockey and an uncanny talent when it comes to computers… at least on the surface.

What his teammates, fellow students, and even his boyfriend don’t realize is that Theo leads a double life. When he’s not putting up his facade of normal, Theo is working as an agent for Tactical Operational Support, where his technical genius is more than just a hobby. At sixteen he is responsible for helping agents in the field and keeping the TOS network secure.

It’s a secret he has to keep—from everyone.

But secrecy becomes even harder when a hacker compromises the system TOS uses to track its agents and Theo’s dad goes missing. Theo must find him and stop the hacker, which means leaving the comfort of his computer screen and venturing into a very real and very deadly world.

And if that’s not enough to deal with, all the secrecy is really putting a strain on Theo’s love life.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson

Review

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. Theo aka Winger is a 16-year-old technical genius. After hacking his parent’s phone, he finds out that they are a part of a covert organization. The organization brings Theo on board for a sort tech support role. Aside from that Theo seems to be a normal teenager. He plays hockey and has an adorkable boyfriend named Eddie. Theo struggles with keeping his two lives separate, especially with Eddie and I have a feeling that there will be a big blow up later on in the series.

The story was fast paced, and it held my interest the whole time. While I had trouble following some of the more complex technical lingo. Jeff did a good job explaining what was going on. I also enjoyed that hockey played a role throughout a good portion of the story. I eagerly look forward to reading the next book in the series.

John Solo did a great job with the narration. He has a great range and was able to give everyone a distinctive voice. One pet peeve of mine with YA audios are that the characters sound too old but John succeeded in portraying younger sounding voices for the teenagers.

4 stars



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

 

Recent Release: Playing The Point by Ashley K. Broome

 

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36113607-playing-the-point?from_search=true

Blurb

In hockey getting traded was never easy. Henny knew his trade was coming but he wasn’t prepared to go from the Seattle Thunder to playing for what used to be his biggest rivals on ice, the Dakota Crusaders.
He planned to hide everything about himself that prompted the trade. With the preseason over and the regular season in full swing, Henny can only hope that the Crusaders will think he’s worth what they paid for him.
He wasn’t expecting the current captain of the Crusaders, Matthew Doherty to look past his former team and welcome him onto the team. The way they clicked on ice and how the entire team worked together made the trade easier. Now if he could stop starring at Doherty and focus on hockey, that would be great. He didn’t need a repeat of what happened in Seattle. He just wanted to play hockey.

Review

This is a fun hockey series. It’s got a lot of hockey feel to it with some medium steam romance and a lovely HEA.

I think this would be better as a short story – it would carry more punch – but it was an easy read and I was engaged throughout most of it.

I really hope the author gets an editor who can help them with the basic writing and some grammatical errors as there is a lot of potential there but the flow is a little ragged and there were some pretty obvious typos and other mistakes.

I’ve enjoyed reading from this new author and look forward to more from them.

3 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Recent Release: Picking the Corners by Ashley K. Broome

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36675273-picking-the-corners?from_search=true

Blurb

Nate Cross of the Vancouver Vikings would do anything for his best friend Roman Orlyck, including taking him in after a devastating concussion. Until Roman moved in, Nate didn’t realize how much he cared about him.
With the season looming and his linemate forced to sit out, Nate struggles between friendship and wanting more from Roman. Days turn to weeks and their friendship deteriorates, leaving Nate to struggle with their relationship and his performance on the ice. The question looms heavy—how are they supposed to play together when they aren’t even speaking?

Review

I recently found this author and I’m pretty glad I did. I’ve now read 2 of the 3 of her hockey books and they’re pretty good.

She seems to know about hockey and is good at character development as well as giving us some wonderful sexual tension.

I’m not crazy about her writing style and sometimes her sex scenes leave a little to be desired in the heat/flow department.

However, I was able to fall into the story without much effort and I wanted to keep reading til the story ended – a sign of good book!

The plot in this story is predictable but still enjoyable and I’d recommend this to fans of m/m hockey romance.

3.75 (rounded to 4) of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review

Time to celebrate the holidays: Neutral Zone: A Christmas Railers Novella (Harrisburg Railers #6.5) by R.J. Scott V.L. Locey

 

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40936747-neutral-zone?from_search=true

Blurb

Tennant Rowe has it all, a boyfriend he adores, a loving family, and a career on the rise. He’s sure of his place in the world, and the future can only get brighter. Then one night, in a flash of skates and sticks, life changes forever. Getting back on the ice is Ten’s priority, and experts tell him that it’s just a matter of time.

Jared watches his lover fall in more ways than one, and when tragedy strikes, even the strongest of relationships are tested. Ten is strong, but Jared has to be stronger to help the man who holds his heart. Only, he has to admit that maybe it isn’t just him who can make Ten whole again.

Jared and Ten’s love is forever, but the rocky path to the romantic Christmas Jared had planned may be hard to travel.

 

Review

These guys!  Ugh!  On the one hand I super appreciate that the authors are striving to make these guys go through a lot and really reinforce their relationship.  But… the person in me who loves for our guys to live dreamy lives is super frustrated by this story arc.  I wanted them to just be good already!  Like it isn’t hard enough being out, being in a relationship with your coach, being in a family of perfectionists, being with an older guy… you get my drift – now we have to deal with a potentially career ending injury?  It’s too much!

I love how our MCs comfort each other and deal with Ten’s issues – it felt pretty authentic.

I’m hoping this branch of their story can be put to rest and we can move on to more happiness 🙂

This is not a standalone but I do recommend it – so go to the beginning and start the series!

4 of 5 stars

 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Time to Comfort: Score (Men of Hidden Creek) by A.E. Wasp

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39680434-score?from_search=true

Blurb
Home is where you make it.
Beau Hopper is good at goodbyes. A minor-league hockey player, he goes where the league tells him. Single and estranged from his family, Beau drifts without connections or commitments. He makes a living, not a life.

Former Marine Connor Casey’s life revolves around his siblings. After Hurricane Harvey took their home and a car-crash claimed their parents, Connor is determined to rebuild their house and their lives.

When Beau learns Connor might lose custody of his siblings if he can’t finish the rebuild in time, he volunteers to help in exchange for a place to stay, and it isn’t long before he finds himself in Connor’s bed. It takes more than passion and plywood to build a home, so when the league comes calling after Beau, Connor can’t ask him to stay… but how can he ever let him go?

Welcome to Hidden Creek, Texas, where the heart knows what it wants, and where true love lives happily ever after. Every Men of Hidden Creek novel can be read on its own, but keep an eye out for familiar faces around town! This book contains eye-rolling teenagers, stolen kisses, and fewer noogies than you’d expect.

Review
This was an incredibly moving romance, it really got to me. The MC’s were lovable to the extreme, the kids were absolutely wonderful, and the other, more minor, characters were also really great (okay, most of them, not the dreaded Walrus of course! And I hope Youngblood will get a chance to redeem himself).

Connor is a former marine who has given up his career in the military to take care of his siblings, after their parents died in a car crash. He is self-sacrificing and hard-working, always giving to his loved ones, never asking anything for himself.
Beau is a hockey player, who has never been in a real relationship and spends his living running away from big emotions like love and commitment. Until Connor…

I love how their relationship developed. Starting with an instant reaction, and with very little opportunity to act on it, they almost naturally become an item and Beau fits into Connor’s family seamlessly.
Beau falls in love with Connor, but at the same time gets to know and love Connor’s four siblings as well. Which is so beautiful and touching to see happen.

We get to know Sean, Fiona, Micah and Benji really well. They are an important part of Connor’s life, and as such, also of this story. They are not just props in the background. I loved that! Reading about the dynamics of this little family was very touching and heart-warming.
There was one scene in particular that stood out for me. It revolved around Sean, Beau and Connor, where Connor had a PTSD-related “episode” that was very emotional and gripping.

The epilogue was wonderful!! Both romantically sweet and funny. How could anyone not fall in love with Prince Connorette and his knight in shining armor, Beaumeo? Impossible!

This book really drew me in. My heart ached for Connor and Beau, especially near the end, because of course, it wasn’t smooth sailing all the way through to their HEA.

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Provided by Author

Release Day Review: Hockey Holidays Anthology!

release day review

Blurbs

(I didn’t include the m/f stories because I didn’t read them – the VAST majority of this anthology is m/f – which… if that’s what you like will make you very happy!!!!)

Dallas Christmas by RJ Scott
Logan knows lusting after his captain’s brother can only lead to trouble. But when fate throws them together, it’s hard not to fall in love.

Review

This was super sweet but angsty as fuck too. I really thought Logan was a dick for most of the story and it kinda made me want to stab him. I thought he finally grew a pair but I’m not sure he deserved his HEA.

3 of 5 stars

Holding On Tight by Susan Scott Shelley
For defenseman Vince Forsberg and his boyfriend Joseph Parelli, the pressure to make their first Christmas together perfect leads to a lot of chaos, holiday mishaps, and some unexpected results.

 

Review

Maybe this would have meant more if I’d read the original story… which is not out yet so…

3 of 5 stars

A Star-Crossed Christmas by V.L. Locey
Two years ago, Mitch shared an explosive kiss with his childhood friend Shaun. Will Christmas be the time for the two men to find a future together that works?

Review

This was the best of the m/m stories. I really loved their chemistry and their relationship building.

4 of 5 stars

This is a book for charity so I think it’s totally worth buying but it’s heavily laden with m/f stories.

Overall 3 of 5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Retro Read: Hiding in Plain Sight Audiobook by Cassandra Carr Narrated by Jason Hilton

Good reads link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26799230-hiding-in-plain-sight

Blurb:
Vladimir Gusev exists in a living hell. A year ago in the Olympics the professional hockey player was forced to use a homophobic slur during a game, and guilt is eating him from the inside out. Not only is Vladimir not a homophobe, but in the aftermath of the Olympics, he was finally able to admit his true nature to himself. Yet he’s been taught homosexuality is a sin, so he tries to push away his feelings, but to no avail.
Joe Bufford is an out gay man and an ex-Delta Force member who was medically discharged after an injury to his hand leaves him no longer able to perform his duties. His job as a mechanic at the airport is hardly a long-term career choice, but Joe has no idea where he can utilize the skills he learned in the Army.
Vladimir and Joe meet, and Joe instantly recognizes Vladimir as a terrified closet case. Before he knows it, Joe is offering to help Vladimir figure out what he is and what he wants. As time goes on, Joe begins to hope more and more that the answers to those questions lie with him.

Review:
This is book two in the Safe Harbor Series and it is so good it even surpasses book one!
First, we see the homophobe from Book one is actually gay and hiding it because of the Russian Mob and threats to his family. Second, we see someone experience being gay for the first time in his life. Everything. Third, Joe is amazing. He is kind, sweet, sensitive and really grounded. But… he’s ex-Delta force so he can kick ass, too! He’s the absolute perfect guy to tackle a giant hockey player and take on his closeted issues.
Vlad has a lot keeping him in the closet. He has to wrestle his own issues with being gay and feeling less “manly” and those are interwoven with fear about his family and their reaction in Russia, and he worries about his job security as a hockey player and his reputation in the media (since the Olympics branded him a homophobe he’s been ridiculed).
Joe is reluctant, at first, to be the guy that introduces Vlad to gay sex for fear of being abandoned for the closet (he just got out of the military and is grateful to be out and proud) or being abandoned for the next guy once Vlad decides to stretch his new gay wings. But he can’t resist Vlad’s honest and sincere desire to learn more about being gay and he’s super attracted to him, as well.
Finally, the couple agrees to a trial arrangement, with the caveat of no strings and nobody can know. Both men are fooling themselves if they think they aren’t invested, and it becomes clear that neither thinks of the other as merely a “fuck buddy”.
Politics moves Vlad into confessing his sexuality and Joe does it proudly by his side, with the help of Jason and Patrick from book one. A very HEA is had by all.
**
The narration for this book is both way better and way worse than book one. On the one hand, there are several glaring mistakes where it is clear the narrator messed up and nobody went back to edit out his mis-starts and throat clearings. However, those almost fit in. The guy’s voice is just so natural in the role it feels like he’s telling the story to you personally and those things happen in normal conversation. I wasn’t bothered by them, I just chuckled when I noticed a mistake.
On the other hand, the narrator does a fairly awesome Russian accent that makes the smexy scenes to die for! Ooo la la. Did I enjoy Vlad telling “Joey” in a thick Russian accent “I want to fuck you!” Wow! Scorching hot! (I loved that Vlad calls Joe “Joey” and nobody else is allowed to call him that… super cute!)
So – despite some technical errors and a few strange plot twists and turns I really, really loved this book and this narration and give them both a 5 of 5 stars. You are seriously missing out if you don’t give this one a try. (They are both stand alone books and don’t necessarily need to be read in order, though reading them booth adds a bit to the enjoyment.)
Overall Impression:
5 stars


Copy Purchased for Review

Retro Read: See The Light Audiobook by Cassandra Carr Narrated by Jason Hilton

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17366214-see-the-light

Blurb:
Hockey player Jason Monroe lives a double life—star defenseman and soon-to-be Olympian on the ice and closeted gay man outside the rink. A serious relationship is out of the question, and Jason makes do with anonymous sex in barroom bathrooms, not willing to take the chance on coming out as gay in a decidedly macho sport.

Advisor to the US Olympic hockey team Patrick Parker knows a thing or two about being a professional hockey player who’s not out. He’s fifteen years older than Jason, and when he senses the sexy younger man is interested, he knows he shouldn’t give in to the attraction.

The two men can’t keep their hands off each other, though, and with each heated encounter it gets harder to hide their relationship. When their world blows up around them, forcing them into the limelight, though, will their love survive or be put on ice?

Review:

Wowee was this a sexy read. Jason “knows” he’s gay but has done very little to act upon this knowledge. He’s visited some clubs but never had a relationship and never really had the “full sexual experience” as he defines it (penetrative) and doesn’t know that he wants it. He’s a hockey player first and foremost and though he accepts that he likes men more than women, he’s not quite sure he’s comfortable identifying as a “gay man”, and he isn’t out to anyone.

Patrick is the opposite. He’s older. He’s had relationships. Though he still isn’t out professionally, he’s out to his friends and family. His interest in Jason at first is strictly professional, but when Jason begins acting peculiarly around him, he begins to have his suspicions. When he bravely acts on these suspicions he’s richly rewarded and the couple begins a deeply closeted affair, consisting of stolen moments over the course of months. They don’t even live in the same state, they have busy schedules and it is hard for them to be together.

The benefit of this is that Patrick can’t rush Jason or push him to doing anything that makes Jason uncomfortable and this helps ease Jason into accepting his sexuality more.
I thought the dialog between the guys felt very natural and masculine. Neither guy was overly “in touch with his feelings” much and so the natural hurdles that would exist between two recalcitrant males felt organic.

When the couple is in close contact during the Olympics things really begin to heat up. There is an uncomfortable moment when a homophobic slur is made that stops play during a game and Jason has a crisis of conscience about continuing his “straight” charade when others have to face discrimination without support. Patrick leaves the decision up to Jason on how much to reveal, advising that times might be changing, but there are never any guarantees.

Finally, an accident forces the couple to show their hands and they have to face the media, their team, and their family, and (especially hard for Jason) – themselves.
**
All in all, the story was really very well written. The slow movements toward couple-hood felt natural and well-paced. The sex was super hot and the emotions were real and fulfilling. I thought the hurdles were realistic and tackled in a way that seemed authentic.
The narrator did an excellent job. He has a very deep voice that really seemed to fit both Alpha Males and I really enjoyed his narration of their bantering dialog especially.
I hadn’t read the author or listened to the narrator before, but I will now be on the lookout! I highly recommend both the story and the audiobook and give both 4.5 of 5 stars.
Overall Impression:

4.5 of 5 stars

Copy Purchased for Review