Categories
adult - 18+ Book Gay Mid level steam/heat Mild level angst Novel 140 pgs + (80K + words) Part of a Series

Recent Release: Clutch (Forbidden Desires #1) by Piper Scott and Virginia Kelly

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42208487-clutch

Blurb

Bookish, snarky, and fiercely independent Nate Boudreaux leads a solitary life. Between teaching classes at the university and working toward his PhD, he doesn’t need a partner to occupy his time, and he certainly doesn’t need a man like Alistair Drake complicating his future.

Alistair Drake, black sheep of the tremendously wealthy Drake family, is more interested in adding another notch to his bedpost than another zero to his bank account. When a Grindr message brings him to Nate’s doorstep, then straight to his bed, he has no reason to believe that what they share will be more than a simple hookup, until, three months later, a tug on his soul informs him otherwise.

For the Drake family has a secret—one that will force Nate and Alistair together as much as it will demand that they be torn apart. One that Alistair and his brothers have carried all their lives… and one that Alistair and Nate’s future children will carry, too.

Bound to each other by the three precious impossibilities, Nate and Alistair have no choice—no matter the consequence, they will fight for their forbidden clutch.

Review

This book gives a different quirky twist to the usual mpreg alpha/omega story.
Both Nate and Alistair are likable characters who fit together well. The relationship between them moves along at a fast pace, with both snark and vulnerability balancing out the romance.
The comedy elements had me laughing out loud more than once through the story and the way Alistair takes off hand comments literally adds to the charm of the book.
The cast of secondary characters were a great addition, with an obvious set up for a following story that I look forward to reading.

4 stars out of 5

 

Purchased by the reviewer

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Time to Comfort: Love Me Louder by Christina Lee

Good Reads Link

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40663475-love-me-louder?from_search=true

Blurb
Noah Dixon is damaged goods. After an accident leaves him physically scarred and emotionally vulnerable, dating isn’t in the cards, so he throws himself head-first into his retail job. When he’s obligated to attend his best friend’s engagement party on Fire Island, it dawns on him he’s about to spend yet another weekend feeling totally invisible and alone among a swarm of gorgeous men.

That’s when the idea of an escort comes in.

After Will Crossen was forced to put his theater major on hold in favor of two jobs to tackle his ailing mother’s hospital bills, he tells himself becoming an escort isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just another form of acting, right? He doesn’t expect his newest customer to be the cheery, overconfident sales associate he avoids like the plague at his day job. Talk about awkward.

But what happens on Fire Island stays on Fire Island…especially when a smoldering attraction sparks into flames. Will doesn’t feel so alone anymore, and for the first time, Noah realizes someone is seeing him behind all the scars. But between their jobs, Will’s massive familial responsibilities, and Noah’s vulnerabilities, they don’t stand a chance unless they find a way to let love speak louder than their demons.

Review
I enjoyed this story immensely!!

It had everything I want in a romance: emotional depth and a real connection between the MC’s, great chemistry and a lovely slow-burn hurt/comfort theme.
Throw in the excitement and angst that comes with falling for a fake boyfriend and I knew I was in for an allnighter because no way was I putting this book down!

Noah feels inadequate and has a very low self-image, especially with regards to his appearance. Initially, this skews his view on the world, read Will, and he has a difficult time accepting that Will might be genuinely attracted to him.

Will takes care of his mother and works two jobs to make ends meet, giving up his dream of a career in the theatre. I love his sense of responsibility and family.

Noah and Will dance around each other and their true feelings for quite some time, afraid to give too much away and get hurt, hesitant to believe that what they share between them could be real.

I love how the fake boyfriend trope was written here, with the closed-off colleague turning out to be an escort! The author didn’t take the easy way out by turning the route of insta-lust, but slowly let the feelings build, raising the emotional stakes bit by bit.

We get to reconnect with some of my all-time favorite characters as well, which was a delightful surprise!
Tate & Sebastian are such an adorable couple and I loved that Tate’s alter ego, Frieda Love, was the one to give Noah and Will that final little nudge to help them confess their true feelings to one another!

As is the case in all her books, Christina Lee surrounds her MC’s with engaging, three-dimensional secondary characters, be they family, friends or co-workers, drawing us into the wonderful fictional world she created. If only there was a portal the reader could step through to make their acquaintance!

I loved the title of this book so much!! Its message is incredibly apt and feels so true to these two amazing characters.
The extraordinary Frieda Love sums it up marvelously:

“Sometimes people need you to love them a little louder!”

Number of stars out of 5: 5


Review copy provided by Author

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Release Day Review: Bad Habit by K.A. Mitchell

release day review

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/bad-habit-by-ka-mitchell-9957-b

Blurb

Life is always looking for ways to screw you over. Scott McDermott survived the foster care system and knows better than to let anyone close, but Liam Walsh is his one vulnerability.

Twice Scott let down his guard, and twice Liam vanished from Scott’s life.

So when Scott comes face-to-face with Liam for the first time in six years, he punches Liam in the nose. Only after Scott’s friend—and Baltimore County police officer—Jamie reads him the riot act does Scott discover that in the intervening years Liam has been to war and lost his leg.

Liam hasn’t had the easiest life either. He took care of his drug-addicted mom when she was unable to take care of herself. He’s fallen in love with Scott twice, but when Liam saw Scott going down the same path as his mother, he left. The lesson that he can’t save everyone has been a painful one for Liam to learn. Maybe what he and Scott had can’t ever be fixed.

Scott and Liam have never fallen out of love—which becomes obvious when they start working together—but what will make this time any different from all the others? Will the third time really be a charm?

Review

This is a grittier second chance at love story than I’m used to reading, and at first rather higher on hurt than comfort, but I enjoyed it very much. Love certainly isn’t for the faint of heart in this story, but I loved how these characters ultimately found their way back to each other. It’s not just about finding love though, but also very much about following your own path in life and finding friends and a community.

Scott and Liam have both had a difficult childhood, part of it spent (or misspent) in the foster care system. Outwardly, Scott is the tough guy and asocial misfit, whereas Liam seems all charm and affability, so at first glance these two seem a very unlikely pair. Liam and Scott both have fears and insecurities to overcome, but as we get to know them better, Scott seemed to me to be the more vulnerable of the two. I can certainly understand his initial angry reaction upon seeing Liam again after all those years.

The bond between Scott and Liam is incredible intense, but laced with the pain of past mistakes. Their connection is really strong, tinged with inevitability even, and comes across the pages very clearly and powerfully even when a HEA seems impossible. They are obviously meant to be together, but can’t seem to figure out how to make their relationship work, how to let their guard down (again) or how to take a chance on love and trust in the possibility of a future together.

There’s an amazing moment in the book where the author captures the essence of their relationship in the lyrics of a song. That scene really got to me. Beautifully written and very emotional.

Scott is very caring and considerate toward Liam, trying to help him regain his independence, no strings attached. He’s such a sweetheart, though one with a temper and a very short fuse.

This book can be read as a standalone, though I would recommend you read the other books in the series first. Quite a few of the main characters from the previous books come along to lend our current heroes a hand or weigh in with an opinion, so it’s more fun if you’ve read the other books as well. Though perhaps it is merely a case of meeting new friends instead of reconnecting with old ones. Either way Scott and Liam are in awesome company!

This is a great addition to a wonderful series!

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+ Book Gay Mild level angst Part of a Series Standalone

Release Day Review: Fangs for the Memories by Julia Talbot

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fangs-for-the-memories-by-julia-talbot-9965-b

Blurb: One wolf lost his memory, but they’ll both lose their hearts.
Bitten werewolf Tom owes the folks at the Dead and Breakfast big for saving his life. So when they ask for help with a rogue wolf on the premises, he’s happy to do his part….
Though he isn’t quite prepared for what he’ll find.
Werewolf Nathan lost everything to a sadistic kidnapper—his freedom, his memories, and maybe even his ability to be human. But as soon as he meets Tom, he knows he might be able to reclaim his life. And even a turned wolf like Tom feels the mating call. The trouble is, Tom isn’t the only one who wants Nathan, and they’ll need help from all their supernatural friends at the D & B to defeat a powerful enemy and keep their love—and themselves—alive.

Review: This is a standalone sequel to Fangs and Catnip, this time the pairing is between 2 wolf shifters. The story is sweet, with an almost childlike feel to the dialogue, which fit within the storyline.
Tom, (we met him when he was bitten in book 1), is a made wolf. He runs a sort of animal rescue centre that includes helping shifters. The owners of the B&B have noticed a wild, distressed wolf and ask Tom to help. He helps the wolf, learns his name – Nathan and discovers that he’s a shifter.
Nathan has run from a horrid situation and is understandably traumatized. The way Tom and the others look out for Nathan makes up the bulk of the story. We also get to see past characters like Carter and meet new ones like Ed, a magpie shifter.
There is very little angst, some suspense – (when the cause of Nathan’s trauma reappears) – and humour. The suspense piece may have been a tad rushed, but it brings some new faces to the series.
This is a cozy read, like the satisfaction one gets putting on one’s favourite pair of slippers.
And it was my pleasure to read.

3.75 stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Review: Lazy Sundays by K-lee Klein


Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/41998052-lazy-sundays?from_search=true

Blurb
Scott Weston’s car is sensible, his suits are bland, and his job is stable but boring. Mundane routine helps keep his anxiety and obsessive tendencies under control. Socializing—especially dating—isn’t on his list of strong skills either, and, made worse with the echoes of his disapproving mother. So he’s content to stay at home with his lists and cleaning and wildlife documentaries, until a one-night stand goes unexpectedly right.

History has taught Devon DuCaine that dating can be uncomfortable, but there’s just something about Scott. He may be the opposite of Devon’s own long-haired, tattooed, free-wheeling spirit but he brings out the nurturer in Devon. Maybe it’s Scott’s surprising fascination with Devon’s motorcycle, or his shy surprise in moments of affection, but there’s more under those sensible suits than meets the eye. The most important person in Devon’s life, his mom, taught him love and compassion and that’s all he wants to share that with Scott.

Their one-night stand turns into a regular thing, but Scott doesn’t trust it to last. He’s pretty sure Devon is hiding something. He’s even more sure that once Devon gets to know him, the attraction will fade. And then there’s his mother. However many sparks fly between them, Devon will have his work cut out to convince Scott they can have their happily ever after.

Review
Originally this book consisted of two short stories, but the author re-wrote them into one book and added a lot of content. I never read the short stories, but as far as I can tell the added content serves mostly to make the story longer but not better, per se. Some scenes just felt too drawn out to me (how long can a Valentine’s day date drag on?) and the author also repeats certain points so much that it got on my nerves. I understand that Devon had a really good mother and that they were very close, however, I didn’t need to read it quite that many times. And yes, Scott has very low self-esteem, but Devon was constantly there to give him all the validation he could want, so when he continued putting himself down and doubting their relationship I felt he short-changed Devon with his negative attitude.

The story starts when the relationship has been going on for a couple of months, although they haven’t truly put a label or expectations on it yet. There’s something mysterious about Devon who is obviously hiding something, but Scott is slow to catch on. Once that particular cat is out of the bag, though, everyone they meet seems to know about Devon, so it’s a bit odd that Scott was oblivious for so long.

The best part of the book, for me, was when everything seemed to go to pieces because of the “big reveal”. Those scenes are, thankfully, very intense. Up until that time I didn’t feel very emotionally invested in this couple, maybe because everything was going almost too smoothly…uneventfully.

The scenes that deal with Scott’s anxiety and his panic attacks are well-written and feel very real. There is also a lot of playful banter between Scott and Devon, as well as good times with family and friends, which was fun to read.
As far as their relationship goes very little actually happens. I didn’t understand what they saw in each other. Not that they both weren’t likable characters, because they were, I just didn’t feel the magic between them.

So this was definitely not my cup of tea, but it might just be the perfect book for readers who like their romance easy-going, mellow and sweet. An easy read for a lazy Sunday afternoon.

Number of stars out of 5: 3


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

This is a short story about Scott and Devon. Scott is a geek with low self worth, anxiety, and OCD. Devon is a sensual Alpha male with tattoos and versatile in the bedroom. Scott likes routine in his life and is thrown off by how someone like Devon would be with him. Little things get to Scott a lot. Having a child with OCD similar to Scott, I know how affected you can be when the routine is thrown off. Devon does seem to try to work with Scott’s routines instead of ignoring or being counterproductive. There is great chemistry. Heart clenching how Scott works himself into a panic over Devon. There was a good mix of angst and cute moments. Worth reading. There are moments of panic attacks, trigger warning.

Number of stars out of 5
5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Review

On the whole I did enjoy this book, although in some ways it didn’t quite work for me.

Devon is a rock star and a nice guy, I just wasn’t convinced with his rock star status. It all seemed far too convenient and not totally realistic.

Scott is an accountant with anxiety issues. Again, I liked this character, but having read other books with similar themes, it felt the author had skimmed the surface rather than truly commit to the issues. Even the storyline with his parents was not totally explained and I still felt the situation with his mother was unresolved at the end of the book.

The banter between the two main characters was fun, and the relationship very sweet. I did find myself caring about both Devon and Scott, but I just feel that everything could have of had a little more depth to it.

Number of stars out of 3.5


Purchased copy

Categories
adult - 18+

Release Day Review: Seeking Solace by Ari McKay

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/seeking-solace-by-ari-mckay-9938-b

Blurb

Like his cousins, Devin Walker aspires to be a chef, but he wants to indulge his wanderlust while feeding his customers, and working a cruise ship seems like the solution. Since he can’t find an opening in the kitchen, he’s happy to start out in a position behind the bar.

While onboard Poseidon’s Pearl, Devin is assigned to shepherd a visiting executive. Paul Bailey is quiet and unassuming, and the car accident that cost him his leg also shattered his confidence. He doesn’t think he’s attractive to other men anymore, and Devin is eager to show him just how wrong he is. Paul has a surprising secret that might sink their passionate affair before it even leaves port.

Review

This was a really sweet love story, not to mention a very romantic one with “love boat” vibes of the very best kind. Very much a feel good romance with a little dash of hurt/comfort, but low on angst and conflict.

Devin is working as a bartender on a Triton cruise ship when he meets Paul, who is an executive for Triton Cruises. Devin is put in charge of showing Paul around and explaining the day-to-day workings onboard ship. They both instantly like each other and go from a tentative friendship to something more almost seamlessly.

Paul has been in an accident and is understandably self-conscious about his scars and prosthetic leg after being dumped by his boyfriend because of them. He’s well rid of that guy, of course. I adored Devin for being so sensitive, supportive and full of wise advice. Paul slowly learns to trust him, and to trust in the attraction and feelings that they have for one another, but he’s been keeping a secret from Devin… One that might very well ruin everything.

I loved the dynamic of the Walker family and how they stick up for each other. There’s teasing, but also a united front when one is needed, very heartwarming and uplifting to read.

This can be read perfectly as a standalone, although I have to admit I’m super curious about the other books in this series now! But that’s okay, I’m in total control of my TBR-pile…not.

Number of stars out of 5: 4


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+ Older MCs young adult

Release Day Review: Fire and Agate by Andrew Grey

release day review

Dreamspinner Presents
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/fire-and-agate-by-andrew-grey-9959-

Blurb
When Chris Anducci is moved off jail duty and into the sheriff’s office, he doesn’t expect his first assignment to be protecting a witness against a human trafficking ring. Knowing the new sheriff doesn’t abide screwups, Chris reluctantly agrees to work the case.

Pavle Kasun has spent the last four years of his life at the mercy of others. When an opportunity presented itself, he took it, resulting in his rescue. Now the safe houses he’s placed in are being threatened and he needs protection if he is to have any sort of chance at a life.

Chris opens his home to Pavle, but he doesn’t expect Pavle and his story to get under his skin… and stay there. Soon they discover they have more in common than either of them thought. Slowly Pavle comes out of his shell and Chris finds someone who touches his heart. But as the men looking for Pavle close in, they will stop at nothing to get him out of the way. Even if Chris can keep him safe, he might not be able to protect his heart if Pavle moves back home.

Review
There are some very heavy topics included in this story, human trafficking, PTSD, organised crime, police corruption, but none of it has much weight. The story focuses on Chris and Pavel and is told from Chris’s point of view. I found it a little hard to accept that as Pavel had been held prisoner for four years and subjected to who knows what kind of treatment would be so quick and seemingly comfortable with entering In to a physical relationship with someone so soon. Putting that aside the story focuses on Chris and Pavel’s relationship and the criminal investigation part is in the background. There is very little realism in this story but I was quite glad of that. I enjoyed the positivity that Pavel was strong enough to fight the trauma of what he had been through not only to testify against his captors but to find love.

3 of stars out of 5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Time to Comfort: Love’s Tethered Heart by CL Etta


Dreamspinner Press
https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/loves-tethered-heart-by-cl-etta-7960-b

Blurb

Two years ago Mico and his partner suffered a savage gay bashing that left Mico a quadriplegic—and ended his dreams of traveling the world as an archeologist. Abandoned by the man he loved, he lives in isolation, tethered to his bed by the machines keeping him alive, with only his caretakers and immediate family as companions.

Assigned to interview Mico and uncover the story behind his assault and his refusal to identify his attackers, journalist Danny is unprepared for his reaction to the fragile, yet enigmatic man. Mico is afraid to let Danny into his life, and Danny is unsure how to change his mind. Mico is also keeping secrets, and he isn’t the only one. Danny is determined to protect Mico, and he’s determined to show Mico that their feelings for each other can thrive amidst the mechanics of Mico’s existence.

If you enjoy romantic tales of heartbreak turned to hope, the life-affirming story of Danny and Mico will make you believe in the possibility of love for everyone—no matter what obstacles they face.

Review
I’m in awe….This is how you write a story from different perspectives. Really amazingly done.
The buildup is stunning and the story beyond my expectations
At 30% I really broke down when Mico broke down my God it was heartbreaking.

As you can read in the blurb Mico was bashed two years earlier and left with quadriplegic, I’m not familiar with such circumstances as described in this story. But it’s all convincing and I’m very content when there is love, compassion, honesty and forgiveness involved.
And when this is done in a amazingly honest and caring way I’m sold.

Danny is interviewing Mico about what happened to him two years ago. Through these interviews we get to know the whole story. We will meet all his caretakers and we see the growing affection between Danny and Mico. I love them both <3

There are some hilarious parts (you must read them yourself)
The story was in balance and felt real and honest, despite the dark clouds you could feel the warmth of the sunshine.
There are some hideous parts where I couldn’t believe my eyes.
Some stupidities which were understandable.

It was a journey and a hard one. It touched me deep. I felt it in my burning chest.
When I have that feeling I know it’s real. Through reading every time i try to assure myself if this was holding Mico high because no way I want to read something that degenerate someone, that would bring someone down because of someones disability. In this case Mico who depends on others. Mico is not his disability he is a man with a big heart, humor, intelligent and caring….so exceptional, all his reflections felt real.

And Danny my God he is amazing, he sees a soul just how we all should. We see this story from his pov. We can see him grow and his love has no boundaries he is very dedicated.
Then there are Randy, Adrian their story will stun you. And there is Santi, Dad and other Dad and Mom
It was a circle of unconditional love.

All felt real and convincing.

You know….some sentences are so right….so straight to the heartstrings…you can only love them.
This book will make you laugh and cry and will amaze you about the strength of men kind.
It was beautiful solid written with unexpected turns.
An absolute mustread!!

5 stars out of 5


 

 

 

 

 

Copy provided for review

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent (re) Release: Not Just Friends by Jay Northcote

Goodreads link

Blurb

Leaving home for university has it’s struggles: meeting new people, classes, taking care of yourself and dealing with roommates how might not have the same views as you about dishes (that is, actually cleaning them) just to name a few. But what Lewis really isn’t prepared for the powerful crush he develops on his gay roommate Max. Because Lewis had always thought he was straight.

Lewis cannot keep his jealousy over Max’s new relationship hidden and forces him to confront his newfound sexuality. When Max’s relationship falls apart painfully, Lewis is there for him as a friend, one thing leads to another and even though Lewis is ready to take the next step, Max prefers them to stay as friends only.

Lewis tries to move on, keeping their friendship despite his feeling for Max. When the tables turn and Lewis is the one who needs Max’s support he learns maybe there is a future for them after all, if only he can risk his heart a second time.

Review

This is a re-release with no new content, and I enjoyed reading it the second time as much as the first one, which was on audio a while back. Jay’s stories always have that touch of realness to them, especially in the collage age stories, like his Housemates series for example. Relationships are not usually perfect from the start, sexuality isn’t either, and he manages to capture the small bumps in the roads and the physical exploration of sexuality so well. He also creates a true sense of group of friends, with all he small day to day issues of living together, collage lifestyle and all the side characters really shine in his books, here included.

This is a pretty typical coming out story, when Lewis suddenly comes face to face with an out and proud man, Max, he finds he is instantly attracted to, in close quarters no less. What follows are the very real struggles of a confused young man trying to figure out his sexuality, when he assumed he was straight and had a long term girlfriend before. All this while he is navigating collage life, new friends and awkward social situations, his roommate’s baking and attempts at matchmaking.

Max has no place for a relationship in his life, and after their tumble between the sheets he prefers to stay friends, but the friendship they share is so strong they cannot ignore their feelings anymore, and they both need the other for support. I like how they don’t have a clear path, Lewis figures out his sexuality it’s not the only thing in his way to a relationship with Max and they keep hitting walls and having to find ways to overcome them. They form a true friendship and bond that is so much stronger than having them fall into bed, and love, and face the difficulty of Lewis coming out like other romances of this troupe tend to do. This is a great romance that shows the not so perfect sides of romance and how, despite many odds against them, when two people are meant to be they can find a way to make it work if they are willing to take a risk.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

Categories
Mid level angst

Recent Release: Rivals (Gaymer Guys #1) by Alison Hendricks

Good Reads Link
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/42183978-rivals?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb

Finn:
The Cyclones are more than just a team to me—they’re my family. As captain, I give my all to make sure they’re taken care of. Sure, it doesn’t leave a lot of time for me, but I’ve always been able to ignore my own needs. Until Ryker.

I know he’s all talk. But it’s such dirty, distracting talk that it costs me and my team qualifying points. I shouldn’t let him get to me, but I want him in the worst way, and a hookup at a gaming convention seems as good a place as any to get over him.

But when he earns a spot with the Cyclones, all my hangups over this guy are brought to the forefront, 24/7. I expected to give in to my attraction again, but I never thought he’d become an integral part of my team… and my life.

Ryker:
Beating the Cyclones isn’t just about bragging rights for me. It’s about proving to my dad—and myself—that I’m worth more than the internship he’s oh-so-generously offered me.

There’s only one problem: I’ve been low-key obsessed with their captain, Finn, for the better part of a year. He’s everything I want, and everything I want to be—driven, talented, passionate. He also hates my guts, which honestly only makes me want him more.

But it only takes one insanely hot encounter to tell me I won’t be getting him out of my system anytime soon. And when I finally have the opportunity to join the Cyclones and pursue my dream, the one thing I want most of all is him.

Rivals is the first book in a brand new series! While all these books feature gaming and geekery, you don’t have to be a self-professed gamer to enjoy them. If you like the idea of hot, adorkable nerds falling in love, you’re in the right place.

Review

Funnily enough… there was way too much sex in this IMHO. I had to bump this down a notch for that alone.  I wanted more relationship and less humping.  They thought about having sex.  Had sex.  Then thought about how they had sex.  It was too much.

I was very captivated by the enemies to lovers, but sometimes the ages of the MCs felt off – at times too young and others too mature. Inconsistent definitely.  But – maybe – some of that was them growing… hard to tell.

However, the gaming stuff sounded legit and fascinating and I’m stoked for a new series!  Sometimes I was overwhelmed by all the gaming jargon, but it was mostly done in a way that non gamers cold follow.

Recommended!

4 of 5 stars