Categories
adult - 18+

Holiday Review: A Boyfriend For Christmas by Jay Northcote


Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48915871-a-boyfriend-for-christmas

Blurb

Archie’s posh parents want him to meet a nice girl–how can he tell them he’s fallen for a bad boy instead?

Closeted, innocent and lonely, Archie Arandale longs for someone special in his life. A Christmas party organised by his wealth management company is the last place he expects to meet the man of his dreams.

With his leather jacket, tattoos, and piercings, Cal Turner turns heads the moment he walks through the door. He definitely isn’t looking for a boyfriend, but Archie’s hesitant charm captures his attention, and sneaking off during the party to have a little fun can only make a dull evening more interesting.

After their reckless and thrilling encounter, Archie is keen for more experience and Cal is happy to oblige. The need for secrecy means this can only be a casual fling, yet as they spend time together in the run up to Christmas, their feelings become more intense than either of them had bargained for. How can Archie find the courage to tell his family about Cal, when Cal’s the exact opposite of the ‘nice girl’ they’ve been hoping for?

Contains: A closeted virgin, a tattooed biker, class differences, a dramatic coming out, a very inappropriate Christmas gift, and a happy ending (of course).

Review

This book left me feeling giddy and optimistic. It’s a hopeful and fun read, very heartwarming, and surprisingly naughty…

The author brilliantly captures those first nervous moments of falling for someone, wondering if they’ll like you back, the excitement as well as the awkwardness that can come with firsts of any kind, and most especially the passion and delicious rush you get when falling in love.

Archie and Cal are, at first glance, an unlikely, but utterly adorable pair. The posh rich kid and the tattooed, slightly older, biker… how can anyone resist reading this story 😉 I loved that despite the small age gap, Cal and Archie are always on an equal footing and feel incredibly at ease around each other, almost from their first meeting.

Jay Northcote has a knack for writing real-life characters who seem completely genuine and authentic, and he pulls it off here too. He always makes me feel as if I could meet his MC’s just by setting foot in a pub in England, or maybe during a hike in Wales. A Boyfriend For Christmas is a light-hearted holiday romance with a great set of secondary characters, even those that make a rather awful first impression, and a great epilogue. Loved the humor and the inspirational gag gifts!

 

Number of stars out of 5: 5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Downward Facing Dreamboat by Bru Baker

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/downward-facing-dreamboat-by-bru-baker-11362-b

Blurb

Love is trying to catch up to two lonely men. Can they stop long enough to let it?
Running defines Kincaid’s life. It’s not until he loses it that he realizes how isolated he’s become. But even if an injury hadn’t forced him to slow down, the hottie in the yoga studio would have given him pause. In fact, admiring the man each morning is the only thing keeping the spring in his step when it feels like he’s lost everything.
Owen’s busy life as a yoga instructor doesn’t leave him much time to meet guys, let alone date. He’s convinced his passion for helping people is worth the sacrifice, but he’s willing to spare a few moments for the cutie who walks past the studio every morning.
When their lives intersect and romance is set in motion, they stumble off the starting block. But no matter the obstacles in their path, this race won’t be over until they reach the finish… together.

Review
This was terribly cute! I’d forgotten I’d read this when it was first published as a short story on it’s own and I was happy to re-read it! I loved the quick pace that still felt fully fleshed out.

All the yoga is fun and the Sanskrit words make it even cuter!

This is a great short story and perfect for a pick me up!

4 star


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Deal maker by Lily Morton Audiobook narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/Deal-Maker-Audiobook/B07YGWH9MT?pf_rd_p=f7d83ab4-b13f-4b8d-8333-ba0de3107275&pf_rd_r=XT0YA13M5730HHKA4GGJ&ref=a_pd_Rule-B_c5_adblp13nABCD_1_1

Blurb

Sometimes your mouth makes deals that your heart can’t honour.

Jude is a highly successful model, but a very reluctant one. His life is full of casual hook-ups with pretty men in glamorous locations, but it’s still empty. However, circumstances decreed a long time ago that this was his path, so he’s resolutely stayed on it and accepted his fate with good grace. He made a deal with himself and his hook-ups. Get in, get out and no ties with anyone.

However, an accident at home one night leads to him making a new deal and accepting the offer of help from an unlikely source. It leads to an unexpected summer of falling in love with a larger than life man and his child.

But by the end of the summer his reasons for not staying are still valid. Will he turn away? Can he?

Asa is a talented actor who has spent time away from the scene to look after his son. But now he’s back, and the last thing he needs are complications from the gorgeous man who is staying with him. Scarred from too many betrayals, he has no intention of forming a lasting tie with anyone. However, he can’t resist the beautiful man with secrets, and to his horror he develops feelings.

But a deal’s a deal and they said it was just for the summer. What can Asa do with a man who has forever in his eyes and goodbye on his lips?

From the Amazon bestselling author of ‘Rule Breaker’ comes another scorchingly hot romantic comedy.

Review

Unlike the first book in the series that took some effort to get into, I liked this one from the start. Jude is the perfect snarky character to ever grace a books pages, he does his outmost to be a ditzy, clueless model parody to make Asa’s life difficult. And as funny as that was, I liked that the author didn’t take it too far or it could have been annoying. Asa, for his part, is also a clever witty man and catches on to Jude’s act, shifting their relationship to a new territory.
Asa is just a big old cuddly softy that makes the ultimate book boyfriend, and his relationship with his son is sweet and touching. Billy is the cutest, most conniving little boy you can imagine and seeing how Asa and Jude orbit around his was wonderful.
I liked how much Jude was a well-rounded character, he had many good reasons to be the way he was, and Asa did too. It made the conflict of the story that much more interesting because you could clearly take either side. Finding their HEA was not easy and they each had to fight old scars and pain from past relationships to get it.
This book is both funny and genuinely touching, with great supporting characters too. The replies to fan mail Jude writes in Asa’s name at the beginning of ever chapter are hilarious! Choosing to read them out in Asa’s voice is even more so!

The narration by Joel Leslie is, like always fantastic! He fits characters like Jude and Dylan so well and his accent work his so good! I cannot get enough of his accents, he’s like a chameleon, smoothly moving from character to character. This book was hilarious and he just made it that much better with his nuances and acting skills.

Number of stars out of 5
4


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Love and Linguistics by Tara Lain

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/love-and-linguistics-by-tara-lain-10895-b

Blurb

In his neighborhood, El Martin stands out, and that can be life threatening. Against the odds, he’s managed to graduate high school and then master IT. Now he’s desperate to get a good job to free his drunken dad and himself from the control of gang leader M2 and the drugs he sells. But with his piercings and his slang-ridden speech, El looks and sounds like a Bronx gangbanger, and potential employers won’t give him a second look. So when El hears about Henry Fairhaven, PhD, linguistics researcher and wealthy New York socialite, El takes his life in his hands to escape from M2 and ends up sleeping in the stairwell at Henry’s building, hoping to learn how to speak.

To Henry, who wants to prove himself as a scholar and not merely a rich dilettante, El isn’t only the most beautiful man he’s ever seen—he’s also the key to getting a paper published on Henry’s ground-breaking linguistics methods before a competitor beats him to the punch. But Henry doesn’t tell El the truth, and El thinks Henry’s helping him because he cares.

El’s dreams collide with Henry’s ambitions at the elegant Met Gala, where El captivates a prince of Silicon Valley. But the real collision comes when M2 tracks El down and Henry has to choose between the validation he craves and a future with the man he’s come to love.

Review

Delightful m/m retelling of My Fair Lady with some darker elements added to the plot, bringing a sense of danger and tension to the story that isn’t there in the original.

El Martin is an amazing character, very driven to make something of himself, hardworking and just the sweetest, unassuming guy underneath the tough boy exterior he’s trying to shed.
Henry is very much the oblivious scholar, too focused on his paper & career to take into account the feelings of actual people like El. He’s quite smug and a bit of a snob, but when he falls in love, he falls hard and it’s easy to forgive him for his imperfections.
I liked how the relationship between El and Henry was written, the misunderstandings and the mutual longing. The secondary characters were great too and it was wonderful to see El gradually making new friends and even a new life for himself.

All in all, an enjoyable, sweet read.

Number of stars out of 5: 3.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: From Brussels, With Love by Amy Calirel

Dreamspinner

https://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/from-brussels-with-love-by-emy-calirel-10834-b

Blurb

Dispirited after a recent breakup, Irish project manager Trevor is guilted into a trip to Brussels with his best friend. A chance meeting with cute and funny tour guide Jerome turns into a weekend of sex and friendship. Forgetting his phone at Jerome’s apartment shifts their fling into a long-distance relationship held together by postcards, texts, and stolen weekends. But distance isn’t the only thing keeping them apart—Trevor is a workaholic who values his success, while artistic Jerome is carefree but insecure.

Starting a life together means facing major challenges, but the loving words they’ve shared build a bridge across the sea—one that might let them meet in the middle.

Review

This was an okay read, but I think both the characters and the plot could have been a little better developed. I didn’t feel the magic between the MC’s and their romance fell a bit flat for me. A couple of weekends don’t a relationship make. Their annoyances and differences are glossed over, allowed to fester and throw a wrench into things at far too late a stage in the story. Some of the writing also felt too over the top, with overly dramatic, cliché plots and reactions from the MC’s and even sometimes from the secondary characters.

I’m from Belgium so I was curious to see how the author would incorporate Brussels/Belgium into the story, but unfortunately I didn’t get much of a Belgian feel from either the setting or the Belgian characters, apart from a little name-dropping of touristy places and a little bit of French thrown in. The setting didn’t feel authentic to me.

 

Number of stars out of 5: 2.5


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Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Bite (Anthology) by Clare London, Ruby Moone, Sue Brown, Joanna Chambers

Good Reads
https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48272713-bite?ac=1&from_search=true

Blurb: Vampires old and new, strong and sensual, with desires both predatory and protective. Their attraction is fierce and fascinating, and their love is eternal. We believe they deserve a very special kind of man—and their own happily ever after.
Four best-selling authors bring you their own take on the vampire lover’s story.

In Out of Time by Clare London, the ancient vampire Ambrus tries to protect Edward, a newly-turned young man, hoping to bring him comfort, acceptance of his fate, and eventually love.

In Christmas for a Vampire by Ruby Moone, grief-stricken vampire, Ellis Davenport, faces a miserable, lonely life when it seems the love of his life prefers death to eternity with him.

In A Tale Told in Darkness by Sue Brown, Lee comforts his lover with the tale of Brook, a vampire who falls for his neighbour Michael. When the young man is pursued by someone far more dangerous, only Brook can save him.

In Lamb to the Slaughter by Joanna Chambers, there is very little Lucien St. Villiers enjoys more than hunting for beautiful young men who are eager to learn all that Lucien has to teach them.

Review: Four well written, vampire-themed novellas in one collection.
Here are my thoughts about each story (in no particular order).

A Tale Told in Darkness (Sue Brown)
This is a story in a story. The main story, (with Lord Brook and Michael), has a bit of suspense, but a satisfying end. Brook, the vampire, meets his neighbour, Michael (human and is his fated mate). However, someone seems to be stalking Michael, and when he disappears, Brook has to find out who and why.
Nice little mystery here.

Lamb to the Slaughter (Joanna Chambers)
This was definitely a tale of the hunter being the hunted ☺
Lucien, our undead person, is a love/feed them and leave them creature. Until he meets Marcus, who gives him a run for his money. I enjoyed the twists in this story.

Christmas for a Vampire (Ruby Moone)
This story was a bit sad. Set during the winter holidays, Ellis is heartbroken that his lover, Quinn doesn’t want the same things he does. The holidays remind Ellis of his lost love. Liked the story overall.

Out of Time (Clare London)
Younger Edward as not had an easy life (or afterlife after being turned). Ambrus, an older vampire offers to help Edward. Ambrus travels through time, not forming any connections with anyone … until Edward. The story of how Ambrus helps Edward overcomes his resentment against his situation, (as a reluctant vamp), spans several decades. Sweet story with a touch of angst.

All 4 stories were enjoyable, there were a couple I wished had been a bit longer, but all were entertaining.


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Categories
adult - 18+

Audiobook: Troubled Water by: HJ Welch narrated by Nick J. Russo

audiobookreview

Audible

https://www.audible.com/pd/Troubled-Waters-Audiobook/B07YY7VRL2?qid=1571592234&sr=1-3&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=ECNKBEQF2EWH204J6ZFM&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_3

Blurb
Scout Duffy doesn’t know what’s worse. The fact that his scorching one-night stand is his bratty new client, or the fact that he doesn’t even remember Scout. But beneath all the bravado, Scout can see Emery is terrified, and he’ll do anything to protect him from his attacker. If only he would lower his walls and let Scout into his heart as easily as he lets him dominate in the bedroom…

Being out and proud his whole life means Emery Klein has never been safe. But now, his charity work and social media fame have put a target on his back from bigots, and his friends force him to hire a private bodyguard. Emery doesn’t need to be judged by some straight former boxer, but his attraction to the gorgeous hunk is insatiable. When Emery finally recognizes Scout, they can’t keep their damn hands off one another, if only for as long as Scout’s in town.

There’s a reason Emery never looks too closely at the men he sleeps with, just like there’s a reason Scout lives out of a suitcase in motel rooms. Will two men hiding from hurt realize the love that could heal them both is right in front of them? Or will Emery’s attacker take everything before they have the chance?

Review
There is wealth and depth of stories weaving together in this book. insert have an enemy to lover, employer to employee not to mention the mystery of who was out to get Emery. In the beginning I found Emery so annoying and frivolous. He felt like a character that didn’t care about anything that didn’t affect him. I was firmly on Scout’s side, he’s such a sweetheart. Except it started to become tangled. Neither would give ground and I could see that fault lay on both sides. I found it to be a very good twist between the two very different characters. Scout has ethical work decisions to make and Emery has his own reasons for being an absolute princess. In amongst this intriguing will they won’t they romance there is the mystery of who is after Emery. This aspect was in the background but it was never forgotten. I never had a clue who the perpetrator could be.
As always Nick J. Russo gave the characters life and spirit. He brings their personalities to the forefront giving us another dimension.

5 of stars out of 5


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Categories
Uncategorized

Audiobook: Rule Breaker by Lily Morton Audiobook narrated by Joel Leslie

audiobookreview

Audible
https://www.audible.com/pd/Rule-Breaker-Audiobook/B07QMZ1Y9Q?qid=1571523000&sr=1-24&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=H2E2R942ZY1VXR844X5T&ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_2_4

Blurb

Is it really wrong to want to murder your boss?

Dylan has worked for Gabe for two years. Two long years of sarcastic comments. Two long years of insults, and having to redo the coffee pot four times in the mornings to meet his exacting standards.

Not surprisingly he has devoted a lot of time to increasingly inventive ways to murder Gabe. From stabbing him with a cake fork, to garrotting him with his expensive tie, Dylan has thought of everything.

However, a chance encounter opens his eyes to the attraction that has always lain between them, concealed by the layers of antipathy. There are only two problems – Gabe is still a bastard, and he makes wedding planners look like hardened pessimists.

But what happens when Dylan starts to see the real Gabe? What happens when he starts to fall in love with the warm, wary man that he sees glimpses of as the days pass?

Because Gabe is still the same commitment shy, cold man that he’s always been, or is he? Has Dylan had the same effect on Gabe, and has his solid gold rule of no commitment finally been broken? With his heart taken Dylan desperately needs to know, but will he get hurt trying to find the answers?

From the author of ‘The Summer of Us’ comes another scorchingly hot romantic comedy, showing what happens between two men when rules get broken.

Review

This book was very funny, the banter between the characters witty and addicting. The attraction between Gabe and Dylan ran deep and I liked the build of it as well as the e-mail correspondence that started every chapter that really showed their humor. When I was reading this book in e-book format I had a hard time liking it about halfway through, and in the audio I liked it much better.
I think my one main issue is Gabe, even though I understand why he is the way he is its too hard for me to like him. In the end, despite the romance and sweet ending I feel like Gabe went too far and lost my affection.
Dylan on the other hand, is so likable, and caring. I really enjoyed his character and the way he evolved in the book. His family is funny, and have that ‘real’ feel of authenticity I like in books- with each member being quirky and unique.
The narration by Joel Leslie is fantastic, it’s as if Dylan was tailored to fit him, I can easily imagine him as Dylan. He does great accent work, making each character shine and ramped up the humor. He was a great choice to narrate this book and, like I said, the audio was a much better reading experience for me then the printed version.

Number of stars out of 5
3.5


Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review

 

Categories
adult - 18+

Recent Release: Bishop: A True Lover’s Story by A.E. Via

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48195130-bishop?from_search=true

Blurb

At only thirty-two, Bishop Stockley has lived a hard-knock life. His gang was his family, the streets his home. Until the crew he’d always called his brothers betrayed him. After doing five years in a federal prison, Bishop is back at his dad’s trailer and working for his landscaping company, thrust into a legit world where he’s no longer the alpha—a world where a criminal record is the least of his disadvantages, because Bishop can’t read or write. Illiteracy had never been an obstacle for him on the streets, he didn’t need to know how to read Moby Dick to survive, he needed to know how to read people… and that was a hustle he’d learned hard and fast. Now, he had to change his life.

Bishop’s only support system was a young, inexperienced dad who’d insisted he call him Mike all their life—since they looked more like brothers than father and son. And his hot-tempered, childhood, best friend from ’juvie, Trent. Bishop already had the deck stacked against him, but he wasn’t afraid of hard work to change his situation, and he did want to change. Especially after he encountered Edison Scala, a kind-spirited office manager who didn’t hesitate to come to his defense… a man that saw past Bishop’s grass-stained coveralls. A man who wasn’t intimidated by his stern features and his silence.

Edison hadn’t grown up the way most of his peers had. He’d been raised by a single father who’d owned an old-fashioned barber shop where Edison was taught how to not only shave with a straight razor, and shine shoes, but also how to treat others, to not judge, to be a gentleman, to be respectful and speak without profanity. But, the biggest lesson he’d learned, was to always be himself. His lack of friends and a social life wasn’t his fault. No matter how much weight he gained, no matter how many times his staff called him a square, Edison did not need to change.

Bishop knew Edison was off-limits. He’d made personal vows to himself when he was released from prison, ones that he never intended to break. But, when Edison asked him about providing landscaping services at his home, there was no way he could refuse. He hadn’t expected Edison to feed him, praise him, encourage him, and look at him the way he did—as if Bishop was somebody. Mike and Trent warned him not to mix business with pleasure and he didn’t intend to.

No multiple pairings. No cliffhangers. Ends with a very, very HFN. Warning:
This book is a M/M contemporary romance, a hardened man’s struggle to find real love. There are no police chases or doors being kicked in, in this one. But, don’t worry. Bishop is still intense enough to keep you on the edge.

Review

Man I love AE Via!  I LOVED Bishop and his relationship with his dad.  I super loved how the author handled Bishop’s learning disorder and I adored the relationship between Bishop and Edison.

While I’m not sure I really saw the creepy stalker co-worker thing working out quite like it did, I was psyched to see Edison begin to stand up for himself and I loved how Bishop was there for him.

The pacing and gentle progression of this love story are what kept me captivated and wanting to just keep reading.

This was awesome and 5 stars aren’t enough!

Highly Recommended!

5 of 5 stars


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Categories
Uncategorized

Recent Release: Running From My Heart (Rock Bottom #3) by Felice Stevens

Good Reads

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48390823-running-from-my-heart

Blurb

“Holding onto the past can hurt more than letting it go.” People say six years is long enough to mourn the death of his husband but for Ross Miller, the pain is as fresh as if it happened yesterday. He’s left his glittering Hollywood life behind, yet guilt still dogs his steps, no matter how far he runs. Trapped by his past and needing to escape his well-meaning friends, he rents a cabin in the secluded Adirondack mountains. A reclusive man moves in next door and piques Ross’s interest, but his persistent attempts at friendship are rebuffed. That doesn’t stop him because the one rule Ross Miller has always lived by is to never take no for an answer.Novelist Arden Wainwright has given up. He can’t pretend a happiness he knows he’ll never find again. Solitary days turn into years, and he remains frozen, unable to take a breath. At his wit’s end, he retreats to the mountains, but it does little to stir his creativity. He continues to hide from life and avoids his overly nosy neighbor, who insists on planting himself at Arden’s doorstep at every turn. Making friends is the last thing Arden wants, but annoying or not, he can’t get the damn man out of his mind.Finding peace in their isolated surroundings, the two lonely men forge an unlikely friendship where they realize they’re more alike than different and better together than apart. With Ross’s help, Arden begins to rebuild the shattered pieces of his life, while Arden gives Ross the strength to face his fears and find his way home. When love comes calling you can choose to hide from hurt, loss, and pain, but if you take a chance and open the door, you might discover that running from your heart is the last thing you’ll want to do.
This book can be read as a stand alone but you may remember Ross, Foster’s best friend from Broken Silence, Book One of the Rock Bottom series.

Review

Undoubtedly one of the most moving love stories I’ve read this year. Ross and Arden’s journey is all about love, love lost and new love found, and it really resonated with me. Arden’s loss especially hit me very hard. The sorrow and grief both MC’s are struggling to overcome is almost palpable and seeing them find the strength to live and love again after such heartbreaking loss was incredibly touching and inspiring. I liked that the author didn’t rush the healing process and that Ross and Arden became friends before becoming lovers, after a bit of a rocky start. The trust that gradually built between them was a wonderful thing to read.

I loved the writing style, its imagery but also its realism, and of course the well-rounded secondary characters. Note to self: must read Julian and Foster’s story asap. I also very much enjoyed how the author described the nature and wildlife surrounding the cabins in the Adirondack mountains, the ospreys first and foremost, and their importance to Ross and Arden’s journey.


Number of stars out of 5: 5


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