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

 

 

Audiobook Month: Yanni’s Story (Spencer Cohen #4) by N.R. Walker Narrated by Joel Leslie

Audible Link

https://www.audible.com/pd/Fiction/Yannis-Story-Audiobook/B07D38WN8F?ref=a_search_c3_lProduct_1_1&pf_rd_p=e81b7c27-6880-467a-b5a7-13cef5d729fe&pf_rd_r=17VCKKJQV633DMVDG4G5&

Blurb

When Yanni Tomaras is kicked out of his family home, his parents’ final words are religious insults and an order to never return. Homeless and desperate, he’s lured in by Lance—charming on the outside, an evil predator underneath—who abuses Yanni until he finds the courage to leave.

Yanni should feel free. But by the time Spencer Cohen finds him, he’s resigned to being handed back to Lance and once again being caged by fear.

Starting school and a part-time job, Yanni begins to reclaim his life. But a love for silent films leads him to Peter Hannikov, a man with a kind heart but who’s twice his age. An unlikely friendship between them blooms into so much more. Neither man knows what he wants, at first. Finding out exactly what he needs is Yanni’s story.

“I’d spent years as a bird, caged with my wings clipped, tormented and beaten.

I thought I’d escaped when I’d left my abuser, but in hindsight, I could see that I was still caged, this time by fear and self-doubt.

Spencer and Andrew, and Andrew’s parents, opened the door to the cage that confined me.

But it was Peter who taught me how to fly.”

Trigger Warning: Descriptions of violence, suicide, and sexual assault. Reader discretion advised.

Review by Mary
(Book reviewed here previously)
Yianni is a character from book 2 and the timeline runs along books 2 and three. In my opinion it can work as a standalone. As would be expected it is written from Yanni’s point of view. There is little to no angst and I like like that it is a positive story about Yanni pulling his life back together. When they first meet neither Yanni or Peter are in the right place for a romantic relationship but a close friendship develops from shared interests. Liked the pace of the story. I appreciate the slow burn of the impending deeper relationship given what Yanni escaped from and Peter only recently coming out of a relationship.
There is daddy kink in the story rather than just a May/December relationship which sort of surprised me. It comes from the security and nurturing angle of the kink rather than sexual games or the desire to dominate. That’s not to say they aren’t equal in the relationship because they are. It’s definitely not about control. I think this sums up Yanni’s feelings for Peter He was a pillar of warmth and strength and everything my soul craved. Such beautiful writing, so evocative.
The support characters really stand out and each one has a role, whether intentional or not in Yanni’s recovery. Andrew’s parents enfold Yanni into a family he so desperately needs and his house mates provide the understanding friendship. Whilst his work colleagues help to re-enforce his confidence.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this story when I started but as I went on I found it to be a beautiful story of healing, not just for Yanni but also for Peter, and quite thought provoking.

4.5 of 5 stars

Review by Beth

This is a sweet story about a man, Yanni, who removes himself from an abusive relationship and the struggles he goes through to regain his feelings of self worth. All of the supporting characters are kind and generous, supportive of Yanni’s recovery.

The story shows us how much an abusive relationship can really warp your self worth. Depending how long the situation lasted, the more it seems the victim feels he isn’t worth redemption. The author takes us through many of the steps to recovery letting us root for Yanni to recover each small step he takes.

Then we have Peter who is mildly into the daddy aspect of BDSM. An older man who likes younger men. He and Yanni discover they have a lot of the same interests. Peter doesn’t learn of the extent of abuse Yanni had gone through until about half way through the story, yet he is kind and gentle in general.

The sex is sweet when it finally happens. And all the Daddy/boy play is very, very subtle.

The story moved at a pace that was appropriate for the content. I read this in pretty much 1 sitting, wanting to see how the story progressed.

4 of 5 stars

Review by Morgan

I want to start by stating that I’m a big NR Walker fan, and I have LOVED pretty much everything she ever wrote. Mostly. But this wasn’t my favorite, unfortunately, it just hit me wrong, and I couldn’t get over the “daddy” kink. I think that’s pretty mild and only people really sensitive to the issue will notice – but that was my overshadowing impression.

I really loved the series and was happy to see Spencer again! But I wasn’t that involved in this story as I have been in the past.

The writing was good and I’m still a super fan!

3 of 5 stars

Audio
While this is not my favorite NR Walker story, I still loved this series in it’s entirety and was so thankful she chose Joel to narrate. He is able to give the vast myriad characters such depth and to perform all the deeply emotional scenes to perfection.

Highly recommended in this format!

5 of 5 stars
Overall 4 of 5 stars

 

Morgan - Signature-small
Copy Generously Provided for Honest Review