Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Recent Release: Across the Pond (Arizona Raptors #2) by R.J. Scott , V.L. Locey

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48637692-across-the-pond?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

The greatest journey isn’t from England to the States, it’s the one that two men take on the way to find each other.

Sebastian Brown is on a mission to rescue the Arizona Raptors and a vow he made to a friend in college. Either that or he’s on vacation. He’s not entirely sure that he’s made up his mind yet. Either way, traveling from England, to the arid desert of Arizona isn’t exactly a picnic, particularly with the doubts and worries he takes with him. He’s turned even the worst of companies around, but faced with the challenge of improving the reputation of a hockey team that everyone seems to hate, he knows his work is cut out for him.

Focus is key, but that is easier said than done when Seb is sent into a tailspin by the intriguing Alejandro. Seb’s entire marketing plan hinges on making Alex a poster boy for equality and fair play. But with Alex’s utter dedication to the game, and his dark secretive eyes, the gorgeous Alex is stubborn, opinionated, doesn’t want any part of being the team focus, and worst of all, doesn’t appear to like Seb at all. It takes everything that Seb has to keep his hands off of Alex, but things get out of hand and Seb’s life might never be the same again.

Alejandro Garcia has had to work hard to get where he’s at. Born to Mexican immigrants, his siblings and himself have never had it easy in this new country their parents dreamed of calling home. A native son of Arizona, Alex has always been the odd man out on the ice but he’s not going to let a stupid thing like his heritage get in the way of his dreams. He’s now a Raptor and he plans to put all that training and collegiate hockey experience to good use. Working hard comes naturally to him. It’s something his parents have instilled in him from the time he was a toddler. Being one of a handful of Latino hockey players makes him strive for success with even more determination. His first pro season has had some ups but a lot more downs, but Alex is one stubborn young man and failure is not an option.

As the Raptors struggle to rebuild not only their team but their core values, Alex finds himself drawn to one of the owner’s friends, a tall, lanky Brit with the face of an angel and an accent and attitude that bewitches and befuddles him. Sebastian is everything he thought he would never be attracted to but he can’t push the sexy, older, fun-loving man out of his thoughts. If ever there were a man he would not be able to take home to his parents – not that he can bring a man home since he is deeply closeted – it’s Sebastian, but desire knows no socioeconomic, age, or international borders. The heart wants what the heart wants and Alejandro’s wants Sebastian.

Review

(Contains mild spoilers)

 

 

 

 

I am soooo disappointed in this. I’ve been (mostly) loving this series and the original and I was really anticipating Alex’s story, but this did not deliver.

First, Sebastian is so bland and not fleshed-out, as to be almost non-existant. There is next to no real romance building between him and Alex and what there is goes by waaaayyy to fast to feel good.

Second, Alex is so all over the map, he gave me whiplash.  On one hand I know some of that is his character, but on the other hand he goes from being so deep in the closet to out and proud at his sisters party!  It just didn’t feel right.  I didn’t get the sense that the two really spent quality time together to build a relationship worthy of his spectacular coming out.

 

I think there are just too many plot points so none got well developed.  One that really deserved attention was the age gap and it was really skimmed over – at best.  Then they have to deal with either a long distance relationship or moving permanently?    We also had Alex’s virginity and his religion to contend with. Nope.  We just didn’t get enough of that for me to buy this romance as settled or even well thought out.

 

I’ll give the story a 2.5 stars for the characters and the continuation of other story lines, but their romance in particular did not shine as I’d hoped.

 

2.5 stars


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Recent Release: Benoit (Owatonna U Hockey #3) by R.J. Scott and V.L. Locey

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43560366-benoit?from_search=true

Blurb

When the lines between career and love blur, will Ethan and Ben find a way to create a future that will work for both of them?

Senior year is here, and everything is on the line. Benoit’s time to shine in the crease is now, and he’s going to do everything he can to make sure those professional scouts take notice. He’s earned a great reputation for his skills in the net, and his laid-back demeanor is his key to maintaining his cool when things get heated in the goal crease.

As the Eagles roar into a new season, Ben’s laser-sharp focus is shattered by his attraction to Ethan Girard, the team’s new defensive consultant. Trying his best to ignore the budding friendship that’s taking a hard, fast turn into something far more passionate, Ben is determined to keep his mind on the sport he loves and not let his feelings for the handsome older man creep into his performance. But love, like hockey, is wildly unpredictable, and soon Ben finds that he’s unable to distance himself from Ethan who is slowly and surely working himself into his heart.

Famed Boston defenseman, Ethan Girard, isn’t stupid. Celebrating his thirty-second birthday in the emergency room after breaking his leg, and with a warning that healing will be a long process, he knows he has to think about his future. He was drafted at eighteen, and he’s never known anything but hockey, but with no contract in place yet for the new season he considers that maybe it’s time for him to hang up his skates for good.

Volunteering to help out with the Owatonna Eagles fills his time, but from the moment he lays eyes on goalie Ben, he knows his world will never be the same again. Falling in lust is as easy as stealing his first kiss, but Ben refuses to engage. Has Ethan finally met his match?

Review

I love goalies! And goalie stories! Benoit is a little odd, as are all goalies, and he has his own traditions and peculiarities which make him feel authentic.

Ethan did not get as fleshed out, for me, as Benoit did and though he was a lot older than Ben, I didn’t get the same feeling of age difference as I did with Ten and Jared. I loved having the characters from the Railers come through here – especially Stan – who remains my favorite character in both series.

The romance was pretty darn easy and the “suspense” was pretty uneventful. All in all it was a nice, relatively angst free romance with a few smexy times, a nice re-visiting with prior characters and a little bit of hockey on the side.

4 of 5 stars



Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: The Doctor’s Secret (Copper Point Medical #1) by Heidi Cullinan

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41219382-the-doctor-s-secret?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

The brilliant but brooding new doctor encounters Copper Point’s sunny nurse-next-door… and nothing can stand in the way of this romance.

Dr. Hong-Wei Wu has come to Copper Point, Wisconsin, after the pressures of a high-powered residency burned him out of his career before he started. Ashamed of letting his family down after all they’ve done for him, he plans to live a quiet life as a simple surgeon in this tiny northern town. His plans, however, don’t include his outgoing, kind, and attractive surgical nurse, Simon Lane.

Simon wasn’t ready for the new surgeon to be a handsome charmer who keeps asking him for help getting settled and who woos him with amazing Taiwanese dishes. There’s no question—Dr. Wu is flirting with him, and Simon is flirting back. The problem is, St. Ann’s has a strict no-dating policy between staff, which means their romance is off the table… unless they bend the rules.

But a romance that keeps them—literally—in the closet can’t lead to happy ever after. Simon doesn’t want to stay a secret, and Hong-Wei doesn’t want to keep himself removed from life, not anymore. To secure their happiness, they’ll have to change the administration’s mind. But what other secrets will they uncover along the way, about Copper Point… and about each other?

Review

This story reminded me how much I loved Heidi Cullinan stories so I had to go back and listen to Carry the Ocean. Gah. I love that so much!

This is more along the lines of her Love Lessons series. It’s very light and though it could have some dark moments, the author mostly skims over those. Hong-Wei’s family is actually amazing and rather than doing what you might imagine – they do something a bit different.

The hospital administration is probably the worst villain in this and they seemed to act as they should once faced with the opposition.

I applaud the science and medicine in this. Either Heidi is in the field or knows someone – because if felt very authentic.

I didn’t give this 5 stars because I wanted more tension and resolution between our MCs. It was just a bit too easy and I wasn’t as involved in their romance as I was the whole thing going on with Hong-Wei and his family and career.

In the end, I can’t wait for books 2 and 3 to come out because I already love those characters!

4.5 stars of 5 


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
adult - 18+ New Adult

Time for the Holidays: Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane (re-release)

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/christmas-kitsch-by-amy-lane-10019-b

Blurb: Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them—just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity—Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not—but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Review: Rusty is a “nice boy”. Tries hard, plays football, dates girls… but he’s not the “quickest”. He can eventually figure things out – given enough time- but he takes awhile to get there.
Good manners and a fascination for the new kid – chocolate to Rusty’s vanilla – prompts Rusty to befriend snarky, openly gay, Hispanic and funny Oliver. Oliver can hold his own with Rusty’s “friends” but it’s Rusty who becomes Oliver’s best friend in the last year of high school.
When it comes time for Rusty to go to Berkley, where he just knows he’s going to fail, Oliver does all he can to assure him that he’ll be there for him and that he knows Rusty won’t get lost in the shuffle. And… he kisses Rusty – telling him to just “think about it”.
Rusty is left at Berkley- lost, scared, trapped with a crazy but warm-hearted-hyper-sexual-roommate (Rex), and the memory of Oliver’s kiss to make him question…everything.
When it becomes apparent that Rusty is in fact not ready for Berkley – though he tries damn hard – he is ready for Oliver and knows that Oliver is more than just his best friend. Rusty goes home for Thanksgiving and is greeted by Oliver and kisses. His family witnesses this and kicks Rusty out of the house.
Luckily, Oliver’s family is there to help Rusty pick up the pieces and get him set up. What follows, is Rusty’s jump into the deep end of adulthood and his navigation of his first real relationship that also happens to be his first gay relationship.
Oliver’s impatience and love both help and hinder him in this process, but the underlying support he and his dad offer Rusty give him the strength to grow into the man he needs to become.
**
After Gambling Men, this is my favorite Amy Lane book. It is sweet, funny, tender, lightly sexy and really wonderful.
Rusty’s character is so open and honest as is Oliver. I love that the two have constant communication about their feelings, but even so, still manage to run into trouble because relationships are hard! Oliver just can’t understand Rusty’s reluctance to have him move in and Rusty just can’t be pressured in to giving Oliver anything but a wonderful home.
Oliver is just smart and snarky enough to ease the saccharine sweetness of Rusty’s goodness and make them a real, fun, and sexy couple.
I loved the interactions with the secondary characters. The role model of Oliver’s dad. The hilarity of the cousins. The hero-worship of Rusty’s sister. And the eventual grace of Rusty’s parents.
I read this book when I need a warm hug on a rainy afternoon and it always makes me feel better.
I can’t recommend it enough.


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review
There is a special place in my heart for Amy Lane and her books. It was through Amy’s Little Goddess series, I followed her carefully laid out book crumbs which led me to the world of MM romance. She was also the first ‘real live author’ I wrote to after reading her work and I was so excited when she wrote back.

Knowing how Amy writes, I was expecting to shed a few tears over this book, and I wasn’t wrong.
Rusty is an absolute sweetheart. With his upbringing, he could have been a really arrogant bully, but he isn’t. He knows he isn’t that smart, but he still tries his hardest. He doesn’t want to go to college as he knows it will be too hard for him, but he goes anyway to please his parents.
His one rebellion is to fall in love with Oliver Campbell. And he gets kicked out of home for it.

I adored Rusty right from the beginning. Reading the book from his point of view, he may not quite have rose tinted glasses, but there is an innocence to the way he sees the world that can’t help but charm the reader. Oliver may be the smaller of the two boys, but he is smarter and does everything he can to fiercely protect Rusty.

This book is what Amy Lane does best. Great characters and a story that will rip out your heart and stomp on it before carefully putting it back inside you to beat another day.

4.5 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
4 stars adult - 18+ Audiobook Book DA Gay Gay Homophobia Hurt/Abuse Hurt/comfort m/m Mid level angst Mid level steam/heat Morgan Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Purchased Stalker/Abusive Ex

Audiobook: Jared’s Family by V.S. Morgan Narrated by Jack Raleigh

audiobookreview

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Jareds-Family-Audiobook/B07FK2YGZJ?qid=1532025659&sr=sr_1_11&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_11&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=45CEPPP767CFF13WRVGB&

Blurb

After witnessing his mother’s death, a once outgoing preschooler is now a quiet shadow of himself. The little boy suffers nightmares and rarely speaks, choosing to use the basic sign language he learned in daycare. Desperate to help his little nephew, Virge Stevens takes a leave of absence from the LAPD to bring Donovan, known as D to Montana for the therapy he needs.

A chance meeting at the library changes Virge and his nephew’s lives forever.

Jared Malone is one of five brothers, right smack damn in the middle. He is the peacemaker and the one who gets shit done. When his younger brother gets sick, Jared fills in reading to small children at the library. There he encounters a tall, dark, and handsome stranger and his cute little boy. Jared is immediately drawn to Virge but is still dealing with the betrayal of an abusive ex.

As the Malone family welcomes them to the ranch and into their lives, Virge’s instant attraction for Jared grows, but the cowboy is fifteen years younger than him. Will he be rejected?

Both men have secrets. Secrets that could destroy the connection between them. Can they overcome the odds and find happiness together?

Review

This was a very sweet story about an Uncle, devoted to his nephew who finds help on a ranch in Montana.

Jared’s family is wonderful and so helpful – sweet if not 100% believable – and they serve as a terrific place for D to find a family to heal the one he lost. Virg is smart enough to recognize the help they offer and also unable to keep his eyes off Jared.

Jared’s past is a little dark- but it doesn’t take much for him to try again – with Virg.

There is a bit of a dance before the two MCs find themselves kissing and a few bumps as the evil ex tries to make their lives difficult – but most of this is really pretty angst free and smooth sailing.

There are some plot threads that got mentioned but not developed: their age gap, the Dom, Virg’s police job, Jared’s deaf friend… but what we do get is light, sweet and fun with a little bit of sexy thrown in!

Highly enjoyable!

4.5 of 5 stars

Audio

This is a new narrator to me. Sometimes, it was hard to tell what words he was saying as his pronunciation wasn’t always crystal clear. I appreciated his efforts at trying unique sound effects and trying to give every person a unique voice, but, unfortunately, I didn’t always understand the accent or inflection choices he made.

In the end, his voice is nice to listen to and I think – with time and more experience – he could turn into a really excellent narrator.

For now, it wasn’t my favorite, but I definitely didn’t feel like stopping due to his narration.

3.5 stars

Overall 4 of 5 stars

Morgan - Signature-small

Copy Purchased for Review