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Upside Down Audiobook by N.R Walker, Narrated by Glen Lloyd.

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Blurb
Jordan O’Neill isn’t a fan of labels, considering he has a few. Gay, geek, a librarian, socially awkward, a nervous rambler, an introvert, an outsider. The last thing he needs is one more. But when he realizes adding the label ‘asexual’ might explain a lot, it turns his world upside down.

Hennessy Lang moved to Surry Hills after splitting with his boyfriend. His being asexual had seen the end of a lot of his romances, but he’s determined to stay true to himself. Leaving his North Shore support group behind, he starts his own in Surry Hills, where he meets first-time-attendee Jordan.

A little bewildered and scared, but completely adorable, Hennessy is struck by this guy who’s trying to find where he belongs. Maybe Hennessy can convince Jordan that his world hasn’t been turned upside down at all, but maybe it’s now—for the first time in his life—the right way up.

Review
This was my second time reading this story, in audio this time. I admit I didn’t like this narrator in another book, he was not bad, just had a sort of flat emotional range in my opinion. Yet, here I slowly grew to love him, he had a great comedic sense, and I felt like he enjoyed narrating this book. I loved hoe he interpreted the characters, he got Jordan’s wacky, quirky humor just right, and added this layer of softness to the relationship between he and Hennessy.
This book was incredibly sweet, with the humor I liked so much in Walker’s ‘The Weight of it All’ and dealing with the subject of Asexuality in a wonderful eye-opening way. Walker showed the struggle Asexuals face in our overly sexualized culture.
I think the thing that makes this story so good it how much you don’t really need sex to feel the romance, longing and passion Jordan and Hennessy feel for each other. Jordan is one of the funniest characters I’ve read in a long time, and he had me laughing more times than I can count. Angus and Merry were some of the most amazing side characters I have ever read and I wish we could get their story someday.
This book makes you feel so good, while still having emotional depth and dealing with serious themes. The ending leaves you smiling and a gooey happy pile of emotions. Just a wonderful read through and through.

Number of stars out of 5
5


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Elements of Retrofit by N.R. Walker, narrated by Nick J. Russo

audiobookreview

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/45187628-elements-of-retrofit

Blurb

Generation versus generation, traditional versus contemporary, these men are about to learn a lesson in architecture and love. Can they prove that the old and new can be the perfect design?

A successful New York architect, Thomas Elkin almost has it all. Coming out as gay and ending his marriage before his 40th birthday, he needed to start living his life. Now, four years later, with his relationship with his son back on track, and after a few short-lived romances, this esteemed traditional draftsman thinks he knows everything about architecture, about life.

Cooper Jones, 22 years old, is about to take the architect world by storm. Talented, professional, driven and completely infuriating, Cooper is the definition of Generation Y.

Starting an internship working with Thomas, Cooper is about to knock Tom’s world off its axis. Tom can teach Cooper about the architecture industry, but Cooper is about to teach Tom what it means to live.

Review

A captivating May/December romance with well-rounded MC’s. I loved the funny back-and-forth between Thomas and Cooper. Cooper is not intimidated by ‘Tom’ at all, even though he greatly admires his talent. I liked the mutual respect between the MC’s and how they are equals in their relationship, even though Thomas is Cooper’s boss (at least for some of the story) and is quite a bit older. There is some relationship drama, with Tom being a little presumptuous and not as communicative as he should be and Cooper showing his youth when they hit a certain bump in the road, but it serves the purpose of the story and heightens the emotional stakes in a good way.

Narration: Nick J. Russo was the perfect choice for this story. I loved his take on Thomas and Cooper, the way he captured both Tom’s more reserved nature and Cooper’s teasing banter. Loved it!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5



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Categories
adult - 18+

The Captain’s Snowbound Christmas by Catherine Curzon, Eleanor Harkstead

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55761537-the-captain-s-snowbound-christmas

Blurb

Will Reuben be unwrapping a captain this Christmas?

Reuben’s a makeup artist who’s much in demand in the business, from making the beautiful even more gorgeous to creating an alluring love-scene glow. All of his Christmas wishes come true at once when he’s hired to work on the set of his favourite TV show. And not only that but on the swoony Christopher Manners.

Bunny is lusted after by millions as the brooding hero of television’s Captain Firth adventures. His manly swash and handsome buckle have earned him a legion of fans, and when he strides onto the screen and commands, “Draw your sword, sir,” it’s time to get down to business.

When Reuben and Bunny’s first date turns into a disaster, it looks as though the show’s over before it’s begun, but a blizzard, a mysterious bearded man in a red coat and a hot winter night combine to give them a second chance.

Pubisher’s Note: This book is linked to the Captivating Captains series.

Review
I absolutely adored this book. Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead really know how to write books that are sweet and a bit corny but full of that dry English humor that I just love. I really liked the two main character’s, Reuben, who is a makeup artist and actor Christopher Manners aka Bunny. Their ensuing story is fast paced and full of laugh out loud moments.

While this is a part of the Captivating Captains series, each book is a standalone. The only connection between series is that one of the main characters is some sort of “captain”.

4 Stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

A Christmas Break by Annabelle Jacobs

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55845390-a-christmas-break?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=7e0Q0Rl2uD&rank=1

Blurb

Christmas is a time for giving, not lusting after your brother’s best mate.

Finn has never had the Christmas of his dreams, and this year isn’t shaping up to be much better. Then he rents his spare room out to Jasper, and life begins to look up.

Laid-back Jasper is nothing like Finn expects. He’s hot, sweet, and easy to talk to. Finn could easily fall for him. But, he’s his brother’s best friend. He’s off limits, and Finn would never break that sacred rule…right?

Jasper has carried a torch for his best mate’s brother for years. Living with him sparks an old flame to light, and the more time they spend together, the brighter it burns. Finn is gorgeous and kind. He’s everything Jasper has ever wanted.

But he’s also scarred by old wounds and reluctant to let his guard down again. Friendship blooms, and for a short while, it’s enough. But the fire between them is undeniable. Finn can fight it as much as he likes.

He won’t win.

Review

This was a lovely, easy-to-read, feel-good love story with two adorable, well-rounded MCs. A part of the book’s plot focuses on (re-)connecting with family, which I love above all in a holiday romance. It gives this romance that extra heartwarming touch.
Jasper is Finn’s younger brother’s best friend, so they have known each other for a while; still, the author managed to write in a fun “meet-cutey” moment to start them off on the right track to new possibilities. They really shouldn’t go there, or should they? The story builds on some of my favorite tropes like forced proximity and the slightly forbidden brother’s best friend angle, and I liked what the author did with that. It never feels trite or too predictable when Finn and Jasper grow closer, and the emotional depth that sneaks in among the festive cheer is much appreciated. The writing is fluent and engaging, and I especially liked the humor interspersed among the book’s overall sweetness. The secondary characters, both human and animal, are great, the perfect cast to support our MCs. Finn’s mom is sweet but a little devious, and I loved how she “helps” Finn give a home to the most adorable rescue cats ever. I was absolutely charmed by A Christmas Break. Recommend.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4


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Categories
adult - 18+

How to Make the Perfect Man by Catherine Curzon, Eleanor Harkstead

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55290261-how-to-make-the-perfect-man

Blurb

PART OF THE SOME LIKE IT HAUNTED COLLECTION

Love isn’t science. It’s alchemy.

Needing a date for the hottest Hallowe’en party in town, scientist Aubrey Waldegrave sets to work creating his perfect man. Unfortunately, the Adonis who emerges from his laboratory is a free spirit who has no time for Aubrey’s brogues and tweeds.

Alchemist Trismegistus Nimlet can turn anything into gold, but when his apocathery’s alligator starts talking back and his werewolf allergy leaves him sneezing, it looks like Halloween might be a washout. Worse still, is Tris really about to lose the chap he secretly loves to a manmade surfer dude who’s more flash than Frankenstein?

With werewolves leaving fur in the ornamental fountains and a banshee making enough noise to wake the dead, Aubrey’s Halloween is going from bad to worse. All he wanted was to make his perfect man, but what if he was right there all along?

Review
This was a delightful story. It starts out a bit like Frankenstein, Aubrey creates “Adam”, a perfect man to be his date for the annual Halloween party. Things don’t go the way he plans. His perfect man ends up being a surfer boy who had an aversion to clothes and who wants to be called Kai. They are joined by Tris, Aubrey’s long-term friend, and the man Aubrey really pines for. The great mixture of characters and creatures really make this story. There are werewolves, banshee’s, sequin wearing frogs and a reanimated talking stuffed alligator. This is a very short story but so worth the read!

4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

The Captain and the Baker (The Captivating Captains #7) by Catherine Curzon and Eleanor Harkstead

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54451031-the-captain-and-the-baker?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=3fYNEGJETN&rank=1

Blurb
When a hot-tempered TV chef and a mild-mannered baker meet on the rugged Cornish coast, they’ve got the perfect ingredients for a red-hot snack.

Sweary and stressed celebrity chef Jake Brantham is the captain of several floating restaurants. When he’s sent to the idyllic village of Porthavel to turn a pirate ship into the next gastronomic sensation, it’s the last place on earth he wants to be.

Locryn Trevorrow is the bakery king of Cornwall. From the humble pasty to a wedding cake fit for a mermaid queen, there’s nothing he doesn’t know about the art of baking. He lives in a cosy world of gingham and ganache, but at night he goes home to his smugglers’ cottage alone.

When he’s adopted by a lost kitten, Jake soon discovers that there’s more to Portavel than cream teas, lobster pots, and the annoyingly fastidious Locryn. As the village prepares for the wedding of its favourite young couple, Jake and Locryn find themselves as unlikely matchmakers for two locals who’d given up on love.

Torn between the call of Hollywood and the kisses of Locryn, will Jake choose a mansion in Beverly Hills or a cottage on the Cornish coast?

Review
The Captain and the Baker was another delightful read in the Captivating Captains series. I am obsessed with cooking shows and competitions, add in British humour and this book had everything I like.
The main characters, Loc and Jake are complete opposites. I loved all the banter between these two. My only negative about this book was that it was told from only one point of view, I really would have loved to get some scenes from Loc’s view. Otherwise this is a fun, quick read.
I highly recommend this book!!
4 stars



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Acsquidentally In Love (Sucker For Love Mysteries Book 1)by K.L. Hiers

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/acsquidentally-in-love-by-kl-hiers-11713-b

Blurb: Nothing brings two men—or one man and an ancient god—together like revenge.
Private investigator Sloane sacrificed his career in law enforcement in pursuit of his parents’ murderer. Like them, he is a follower of long-forgotten gods, practicing their magic and offering them his prayers… not that he’s ever gotten a response.

Until now.

Azaethoth the Lesser might be the patron of thieves and tricksters, but he takes care of his followers. He’s come to earth to avenge the killing of one of his favorites, and maybe charm the pants off the cute detective Fate has placed in his path. If he has his way, they’ll do much more than bring a killer to justice. In fact, he’s sure he’s found the man he’ll spend his immortal life with.
Sloane’s resolve is crumbling under Azaethoth’s surprising sweetness, and the tentacles he sometimes glimpses escaping the god’s mortal form set his imagination alight. But their investigation gets stranger and deadlier with every turn. To survive, they’ll need a little faith… and a lot of mystical firepower.

Review:
Wow! I really enjoyed this story  There’s a bit of a mystery, paranormal, loads of humour with hot and steamy tentacle love 
Sloane and Loch 2.0, (you’ll understand the 2.0 when you read the story), are a fun couple. Sloane is trying to solve the mystery of his parent’s deaths. He has no social life, and the one time he tries to have one, it sets in motion events that make this a fun story. Loch is a god. A mischievous, tad arrogant (in a fun way), bit of a thieving god. It’s best to just say he is special 
The 2 MCs have great chemistry together, their interactions were funny, hot and sometimes really sweet. The mystery was well done – didn’t overwhelm the story. I really enjoyed the world-building of gods that had been forgotten by humans except for small pockets of devotees; seemed quite believable.
The other characters – Milo, Lynette, Fred – to name a few, were all memorable.
This is book 1 of a series I am looking forward to following. This is definitely a book I will reread 
I highly recommend this story.

4.5 stars out of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Fire and Diamond By Andrew Grey

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54471813-fire-and-diamond?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=jkIVHzXXH9&rank=2

Blurb
A Carlisle Deputies Novel

When Deputy Nick Senaster chastises a bunch of college kids at a bar, he doesn’t think anything of it, even if their leader is gorgeous. The guy is too young and way too cocky, and soon Nick has an emergency foster placement to focus on. His first job is ensuring ten-year-old Ethan knows someone cares for him. But Nick doesn’t realize Ethan is a package deal.

When Alexander finds out his abusive stepfather, Dieter, has lost custody of his half brother, he’s torn between relief and dread. Alexander can’t get custody until he can provide a home for his tiny family. In the meantime, at least Ethan’s foster father will let Alexander visit.

So of course the man turns out to be the cute but dour cop who gave Alexander a hard time.

Soon Nick and Alexander discover they misjudged each other. Nick is more than an authoritarian automaton, and Alexander has a drive and a maturity that belie their first meeting. But between a campaign of intimidation from Dieter, their own insecurities, and the logistics of dating with Ethan’s fragile sense of stability hanging in the balance, they have their work cut out for them if they want to build a future.

Review
So far I have enjoyed all the books in the Carlisle Deputies series and this one did not disappoint. Like all of Andrew’s books, the characters very well written. The story itself deals with issues of child abuse so that may be triggering to some.
Nick and Alexander are the main couple of this story. Nick is dealing with his boyfriend leaving him and also the new foster child he took in. Alexander has his own family issues as well.
This is a typical Andrew Grey story, a little action, some suspense, a touch of heat and a whole lot of romantic feelings.

4 stars


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Categories
adult - 18+

Shortbread and Shadows Author: Amy Lane

 Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/shortbread-and-shadows-by-amy-lane-11686-b

Blurb
Hedge Witches Lonely Hearts Club: Book One

When a coven of hedge witches casts a spell for their hearts’ desires, the world turns upside down.

Bartholomew Baker is afraid to hope for his heart’s true desire—the gregarious woodworker who sells his wares next to Bartholomew at the local craft fairs—so he writes the spell for his baking business to thrive and allow him to quit his office job. He’d rather pour his energy into emotionally gratifying pastry! But the magic won’t allow him to lie, even to himself, and the spellcasting has unexpected consequences.

For two years Lachlan has been flirting with Bartholomew, but the shy baker with the beautiful gray eyes runs away whenever their conversation turns personal. He’s about to give up hope… and then Bartholomew rushes into a convention in the midst of a spellcasting disaster of epic proportions.

Suddenly everybody wants a taste of Bartholomew’s baked goods—and Bartholomew himself. Lachlan gladly jumps on for the ride, enduring rioting crowds and supernatural birds for a chance with Bartholomew. Can Bartholomew overcome the shyness that has kept him from giving his heart to Lachlan?

Review
I don’t always know what I’m going to get with a book written by Amy
Lane but I know I am going to enjoy it. With this book Amy has given us love and magic, what a potent combination. I fell in love with timid, shy, naive Bartholomew who turns out to be a hero in this story. Lachlan is determined that Bartholomew will pay attention to him and realise how much he is attracted to Bartholomew. Here’s where love and magic get sticky because you can’t fool magic. Magic knows Bartholomew’s true hearts desire is Lachlan. Now the fun begins in the book. Such a wonderful comedy of errors occurs as
Bartholomew, his coven and Lachlan try to appease magic and put things right. True love blossoms in amongst the mayhem and Bartholomew realises he can rely on Lachlan to back him up and support him.
Whilst Bartholomew and Lachlan’s story comes to a wonderful happy for now ending there was a tiny cliffhanger. I do hope the next story is out soon this coven grabbed my heart with their spell and I don’t want to break free from them just yet.
Number of stars out 5 of 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Ride the Lightning (Sinister in Savannah Book 1) By Aimee Nicole Walker

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/54226440-ride-the-lightning?ac=1&from_search=true&qid=T0n02eFgxF&rank=3

Blurb

Truth seeker. Promise keeper. Guarded heart.

By day, Jonah St. John is a criminal analyst for the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. By night, he produces Sinister in Savannah, an investigative podcast, with his two best friends. Jonah’s life revolves around three principles: a man’s word is his oath, friendships are priceless gifts, and love is for other people.

When the Sinister in Savannah team delves into the thirty-eight-year-old murder of a drag queen, they quickly discover that the story doesn’t end with the alleged killer’s confession in 1995. Continuing the investigation could have fatal consequences for Jonah and everyone he holds dear, including his irresistible intern.

To love is to lose: a lesson Jonah has learned the hard way. For a decade, he has embraced solitude as his penance for a past mistake. Then came Avery Bradford, a man whose warmth and sunshine infuses Jonah’s battered soul and challenges his resistance. Over the past eight months, Jonah has soared closer and closer to Avery’s flame until the thing he’s feared the most becomes the one he can’t live without.

The chill of danger merges with the heat of desire, forming a deadly superstorm. Will Jonah seek shelter or ride the lightning?

Sinister in Savannah series is a fictional podcast exploring the city’s most nefarious crimes with Southern-fried snark. The books explore friendship, love, loss, and the irrepressible human spirit. Ride the Lightning is book one of three. While each book is written about a different couple, the series should be read in order. Sinister in Savannah is an LGBT romantic suspense series with mature language and sexual content intended for adults eighteen and older.

Review

From start to finish this book had me enthralled. The suspense, the romance, the hurt, all the feelings. I loved getting to see Jonah on a more personal side. His devotion to Marla was unexpected. I enjoyed how his relationship with Avery unfolded. I was very shocked as the “bad guy” was reveled.
Great story! Can’t wait for the next book.

5 of 5 stars