Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Bent Not Broken by Z. Allora

Good Reads

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bent-not-broken-by-z-allora-11668-b

Blurb

Stefano Rossi longs for the mystical—and so far unattainable—peace of reaching subspace. But can he accept that the person who can take him there is a man?

Riku Tao has given up on finding a sub who complements him. He’ll stick with doing demonstrations at the BDSM club the Edge. He certainly doesn’t have time for a closeted Catholic guy with internalized biphobia… and yet he cannot help but want to protect Stefano and give him what he needs. A history of physical and sexual abuse makes it impossible for Stefano to come out of the closet, and Riku certainly isn’t going back in.

Perhaps an arrangement of six months to explore their desires will be enough to satisfy them both.

Or it might break their hearts.

To take hold of his future with the man he’s coming to love, Stefano will need to move beyond the pain of his past, and he won’t be able to do it alone.

Review

Very moving and inspiring OFY romance with incredibly well-rounded main characters. High on hurt/comfort and genuine emotions, very nuanced story-telling. Riku and Stefano both need the connection and love they find with each other, but it’s not an easy road to happiness. Stefano has gone through so much when he was younger, and it still haunts him to the present day, preventing him from being happy or being able to truly connect with others. It was heartbreaking to read his story, so much raw pain… When he finds Riku and is almost astonished at being treated with gentleness and care… that just touched me so deeply. Riku is an amazing character. As I read this, I got incredibly invested into the well-being of Stefano and Riku both. Stefano struggles to accept himself for who he is, in more than one way, but seeing him get to a better place, step by small step, was wonderful. I loved that Stefano found it within himself to reach out for help and to recognize his own strength and self-worth in the process. Very satisfying HEA. Recommend.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 4.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Fall Through Spring by Amy Lane

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fall-through-spring-by-amy-lane-11443-b

Blurb
A Winter Ball Novel
As far as Clay Carpenter is concerned, his abusive relationship with food is the best thing he’s got going. When a good friend starts kicking his ass into gear, Clay is forced to reexamine everything he learned about food and love—and that’s right when he meets troubled graduate student, Dane Hayes.
Dane Hayes doesn’t do the whole monogamy thing, but the minute he meets Clay Carpenter, he’s doing the friend thing in spades. The snarky, scruffy bastard not only gets Dane’s wacky sense of humor, he also accepts the things Dane can’t control—like the bipolar disorder Dane has been trying to manage for the past six years.
Dane is hoping for more than friendship, and Clay is looking at him with longing that isn’t platonic. They’re both positive they’re bad at relationships, but with the help of forbidden desserts and new medication regimens, they prove outstanding at being with each other. But can they turn their friendship into the love neither of them has dared to hope for?

Review

Now this is the Amy I love! I LOVED book 1 – Winter Ball and was a bit disappointed in book 2. I thought the characters were amazing and was not a huge fan of Terry – even though they definitely all get a happy ending I wasn’t sure Mason and Terry are a “forever” couple.

First, Amy kinda addresses that in this book – IMHO. Through the eyes of Dane and Carpenter we see their worries for that couple, too. Second, I’m SOOOOO glad Amy decided to give Dane his own full story. Sure – a lot of it we speculated about in Mason’s book – but here we get to see it really evolve.

Carpenter is such an amazing guy. Wow. He puts up with a lot of BS from Dane and he will have to continue to do so for a long time. However, I loved how Amy shows us WHY he’s worth the trouble.

I also LOVED the frank discussion about both Carpenter’s issues and Dane’s. We get no happy ever after for those problems – they are a constant work in progress. I thought that Carpenter’s take on his body was insightful and realistic and that struggle with the clothes in his closet was SPOT ON! Man – how many sizes do we all have “just in case” – well maybe not all of us – but I sure do!

The feelz, the smexy times, and the HEA are all wonderful and though you don’t HAVE to read books 1 and 2 – I think you should read book 2 to really appreciate the nuances in this book 3.

Highly recommended to fans of the author, angst, mental illness, body image stress, cookies and animals!

5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Hellion (415 Ink series – #3) by Rhys Ford

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/hellion-by-rhys-ford-10757-b

Blurb

From the moment SFPD Detective Ruan Nicholls meets Ivo Rogers, he knew the tattoo artist was going to bring chaos to his neat orderly life. A hellion down to the bone, Ivo is someone Ruan not only doesn’t understand but isn’t even sure he needs to. Everything about Ivo is vibrant, brash, cocky and arrogant and Ruan wants no part of him.

Or at least that’s the lie he tells himself when he damps down his desire for the social wild child life tosses into his path.

For Ivo Rogers, his life revolves around two things; his family and 415 Ink, the tattoo shop he co-owns with his four brothers. His family might be stitched together by their battle scars from growing up in foster care but their brotherhood was tight—and strong enough to hold Ivo together during the times when he fell apart.

Now Ivo faces a new challenge when he falls for a cop with an old-school mentality on what a man looks and acts like. Ruan is the promise of a life Ivo thought he’d never have but their thunderous clashes threaten any chance of a relationship. Being the family’s hellion makes it easy to be misunderstood yet Ivo has faith Ruan will not only embrace who he is but love him as well.

Review

This had all the makings of a very promising opposites attract story with a bit of an age gap for extra piquancy, but I was a little disappointed in how it was written. The sentences are rather long and have a rambling quality to them that slows down the pacing of the narrative too much and makes it harder to feel the intensity of what the MC’s are going through and really get that connection to them.

Both MC’s are fascinating characters though and the character development was well written. Ivo’s had a truly heartbreaking childhood and went through some very dark periods, which makes it so important for him to finally be able to unapologetically be himself. Ruan is great for him, steady and loyal, but has to overcome his own fears about what it means to be out, and stand out. After a rocky start things go quite fast, and for me the commitment and I-love-you’s followed too hastily after the brief amount of time they actually spent together.

There’s a heartwarming cast of secondary characters, what with Ivo’s meddlesome, slightly overbearing and extremely protective brothers and I’ll admit to being curious about the stories of the others even if this book wasn’t totally my cup of tea.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review