Sunday, November 30, 2014

ARC Review: Truly by Ruthie Knox

Truly (New York, #1)
From the blurb:
May Fredericks hates New York. Which is fair enough, since New York seems to hate her back. After relocating to Manhattan from the Midwest to be with her long-distance boyfriend, NFL quarterback Thor Einarsson, May receives the world’s worst marriage proposal, stabs the jerk with a shrimp fork, and storms off alone—only to get mugged. Now she’s got no phone, no cash, and no friends. How’s a nice girl supposed to get back to safe, sensible Wisconsin?

Frankly, Ben Hausman couldn’t care less. Sure, it’s not every day he meets a genuine, down-to-earth woman like May—especially in a dive in the Village—but he’s recovering from an ugly divorce that cost him his restaurant. He wants to be left alone to start over and become a better man. Then again, playing the white knight to May’s sexy damsel in distress would be an excellent place to start—if only he can give her one very good reason to love New York.

Heather's rating:






Fan-freakin'-tastic.

Honestly, I was bound to love this.

This book reads like a love letter. It's a love letter to New York City (my home turf), a love letter to the food-obsessed (ME), and love letter to our imperfections. It is about being who you are and not who you think you should be. It was touching and light all at the same time.

It made me so happy today.

When I want awesome contemporary romance, I know who to turn to and Ruthie Knox is on my short list. For some reason, I seem to have the most trouble with M/F contemporaries than any other genre, other than NA M/F contemporaries. However, books like these are the reason I keep trying them.

What impressed me so much was the chemistry between May and Ben. It was right THERE, just in your face. I bought the romance, I bought the love.

And, GAH, those food descriptions! I almost want to start beekeeping so I can get myself some of that honey (like, actual honey, not a code for nookie!). Didn't that sound divine? And do all of those restaurants actually exist in NYC? I need to find that borscht place! It was such a yummy read.

Book Review: Beauty and the Bookworm by Nick Pageant

Beauty And The Bookworm
From the blurb:

Mason Leery is a bookworm and he thinks he might just be able to get through life simply by reading about it instead of living it.

Until he meets Shane Beaumont. Shane is the opposite of Mason in every way, he's beautiful, athletic, and lives his life to the fullest.

Sparks fly when the polar opposites come together, but it will be up to the bookworm to shut down his e-reader and go after the beauty if he wants to love someone outside the pages of a book.


Todd's Rating:




For this novel to be only half the length of most novels, I found myself enjoying it twice as much as many of those. Did it leave me wanting more? Oh hell yeah, no doubt about that.

Both Mason and Shane are completely adorable start to finish, with Mason being a cardigan-addicted book worm and Shane being a fitness-addicted marathon runner.

Some of my favorite parts of this book were the self-deprecating humor from Mason regarding his own eccentricities and the types of MM fiction that he read. I nearly shit myself over the blurb from "Easter Lust":

Easter Lust. It’s a story about a bunny rabbit shifter who meets a chicken shifter. They come together, fall in love, and then, tragically, discover they’re both submissive bottoms. They try bumping butts for a while (great scene with a double-headed dildo) and then they meet a dominant wolf shifter who’s into leather and bossing people around. He buggers them both mercilessly and everyone ends up happy. Five stars.

And blurting. GOD, do I love a good, unfiltered blurter, which Mason most definitely is. Like during his first boxing lesson, just after running away when the coach tried to punch him.

 “Sorry, I just panicked. Can I try to hit you, first? I think that would work better for me. And shouldn’t we have a safe word?” “A what?” I was trying to apply some of the knowledge I’ve gained from books to a real-world situation. “Well, this seems like a Dom/sub thing you’ve got going, so I thought we should have a safe word.”

I laughed, I cried. Should. Have. Sent. A. Poet.

But the biggest gut buster for me was the 'no-no'. And no, no divulging here. You will have to read the book to figure that one out.

Book Review: Bad Influence by K.A. Mitchell

Bad Influence (Bad in Baltimore, #4)
From the blurb:
The young man the world knew as Jordan Barnett is dead, killed as much by the rejection of his first love at his moment of greatest need, as by his ultra-conservative parents’ effort to deprogram the gay away.

In his place is Silver, a streetwise survivor who’s spent the last three years learning to become untouchable…unless you’re willing to pay for the privilege. He shies away from anything that might hold him down long enough for betrayal to find him again.

Zebediah Harris spent time overseas, trying to outrun the guilt of turning his back on the young man he loved. Now, almost the moment he sets foot back in Baltimore, he discovers Silver on a street corner in a bad part of town. His effort to make amends lands them both in jail.

Trapped together in a cell, Silver sits on his mountain of secrets and plans a seductive form of revenge, but finds that using a heart as a stepping stone is no way to move past the one man he can’t forgive, let alone forget
.

Heather's rating:





*1.5 stars for the story + 0.5 stars for nostalgia*

I hate being wrong.

I was convinced, CONVINCED, that I was going to love this book despite the fact that most of my friends didn't. I mean, I loved Bad Company when most people didn't! I was SURE to enjoy anything K.A. Mitchell writes, right?

Wrong.

*Sobs in a corner*

I was about 70% through the book when it hit me: I don't like this story and it isn't getting any better. I was waiting and waiting and waiting for the story to turn around, to really grab me and it just never did.

First of all, it's a sad day when the cover of a K.A. Mitchell book is hotter than the inside.

In the beginning, I felt totally neutral towards the story. However, as time went on, things began to really bother me.

It's true what everyone says: This story is cluttered as F. It is filled to the brim with accessory characters, people that populated the previous books. And while that's okay in small doses, it really detracted from the two MCs here. I was really sick of Eli by the end of this story, and I was so tired of the repetitiveness of the characterizations of the other guys. I already know Eli, Jamie, Quinn (yadda yadda), you don't need to keep telling me about them and who they are! I want to learn about SILVER!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Book Review: Rock by Anyta Sunday

Rock
From the blurb:

Igneous.

When Cooper’s parents divorce, he finds himself landed in Week About—one week with his mum and one week with his dad.
Only, it’s not just his dad he has to live with. There’s Lila, too: The other woman, the one who stole the rock-solid foundation of his life.

And then ...

There’s Jace. Lila’s son. Lila’s smug, regurgitated-fish-scale-blue eyed son.

All Cooper wants is to have his family back the way it once was, but there’s something about this boy that promises things will never be the same again.

Sedimentary.

Resisting the realities of his new life, Cooper and Jace get off to a rocky start. But rocky start or not, after hundreds of shared memories together, they forge something new. A close ... friendship.

Because friendship is all they can have. Although it’s not like they are real brothers...

Metamorphic.

But how does that friendship evolve under the pressures of life?
Under pressures of the heart?


Heather's rating:






I debated for a long time whether or not to read this book based on what I'd read in other reviews. It is no secret that I don't read incest, but step-brothers I can usually handle. I had a long discussion with many of my friends, including the lovely Anyta Sunday, and decided to give it a go.

It is impossible to be objective when it comes to a reading experience. It simply isn't possible. Everyone is going to take elements of their personal history and apply it to what they are reading, subconsciously or not. While I can truthfully say that I tried to keep an open mind throughout the book, I know my own feelings changed how I viewed this story.

But maybe not in the way that you think.

I had much less of an issue with the guys being step brothers (of sorts, the parents aren't married) than I did with the whole family dynamic. For one, the whole "dated another woman for 5 years and took vacations with her and her kid without my two children" would have been a HUGE issue for me if I was Cooper. HUGE. I honestly didn't really understand or forgive Cooper's dad for that. If that was my father, I think it would have taken years for me to come around. When Cooper sees Jace playing soccer with his dad and Jace calls Cooper's father "dad"... I would have been DONE. More than anything, I had an issue with that. I also wouldn't have forgiven Jace for just existing and knowing my dad in a way that I felt was MINE. It might be petty but I'm stubborn like that, more so than even Annie. It shocked me how fast Cooper got over it.

In terms of the squeak factor of them being pseudo step brothers, I would have been less bothered if they both didn't call Cooper's father "dad." That made it more uncomfortable for me for some reason. And though that alone wasn't as big of a road block for me as I had expected, it might have changed how I saw Jace and Cooper as a couple.

Book Review: Diary of a Teenage Taxidermist by K.A. Merikan


Blurb:

Ethan is a levelheaded, some might say ‘antisocial’, young artist-entrepreneur with a love for quirky taxidermy. He is close to graduating high school and at a crossroads. All he wants is to develop his business further, yet all his parents want is for him to go to law school. That is more than enough problems for Ethan, so any kind of love life is off his agenda. That is until Robert Hunter, the quarterback of the football team, comes crashing into him. Literally.

Robert drifts along in high school. He has good grades, he’s getting ready for med school, he’s even leaving potentially problematic dating until college. He’s gay, not ashamed of it, but he doesn’t want to stir up any trouble. His carefully laid plans might just go completely off the rails though, when he drinks too much at a party and causes irreversible damage to Ethan, the school’s weirdo.

Robert has to face the fact that maybe he isn’t the good guy he always considered himself to be. And maybe he doesn’t want to go to med school. And maybe, just maybe, he doesn’t actually want to wait with dating until college.

Dani's rating:




I almost DNF this book. Ethan is into taxidermy, and I kept wondering if the animals were killed or just found dead? It was sort of disturbing, but his art sounded cool. So I was totes conflicted.

Also, loss of an eye, memory lapses, and headaches: these are not minor problems.

Maybe if Robert hadn't been directly responsible for Ethan's "accident"? While I like the idea of a non-perfect MC, I thought Ethan's disability became almost a non-issue, and yet it was. A. Big. Fucking. Deal.

So that was weird.

BUT. Despite myself, I got pulled into this quirky story. And I kind of loved it.

This is all about the first-time love, total and complete devotion and adoration, and the HOTTEST, double-virgin sex. These boys are 18! Don't I feel like a pervert? Yeah, kind of. *shrugs*

But I appreciated their independence, their faith in each other, their enthusiasm for the future.

I wasn't sure who loved whom more. Ethan was completely in sparkly love with Rob, but Rob ADORED Ethan. I loved how Rob protected Ethan and how Rob's friends came round. And I loved Rob's mom; Ethan's parents...not so much, but they got it together, too.

And, hell, while I'm all for college education, Ethan and Rob had so much talent...and not all talent is cultivated in a lecture hall. #ohtobe18again

Book Review: Where Least Expected by D.C. Williams

Where Least Expected
From the blurb:
Blake has absolutely nothing in common with his ex's annoying hippie roommate. So why are they hanging out together?

Blake is totally not still hung up on Jeff, his hot ex-boyfriend. And he's so not sleeping with Bob, Jeff's annoying hippie roommate. Except he is. And even though they have absolutely nothing in common, Bob might just show Blake that there's more to their relationship than just sex. If Blake can share some of his secrets and let his guard down just a little bit.
 


Heather's rating:





I have been SO impressed with this author's stuff lately. She is fairly new to the published author world yet her stories are good. This was another enjoyable story from her that could have been FANTASTIC with a few changes.

"Where Least Expected" is a sort of opposites attract/enemies-to-lovers story, though it is more reluctant acquaintances-to-lovers than true enemies. From reading the blurb, I had no idea that this was a GFY story and, let me tell you, THAT was a pleasant surprise! I'm hugely (HUGELY) obsessed with GFY and a GFY where the newbie is the bottom? I'm was in HEAVEN!

Though I usually read GFYs for the tension and the whole agonizing process of coming to terms with your changing sexuality sort of deal, I sort of loved that Bob was relaxed about himself. Bob is a hippie, liberal type with long dreads, a curiosity about same sex hanky-panky, and very few hangups. He was a good counterpoint to the more bratty but likeable Blake.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Kindle Weekly Deals~ Black Friday 2014 Edition!

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ARC Review: Safe in His Arms by Renae Kaye


Blurb:

In the late-night quiet of the caravan park shower room, Lon Taylor washes away the filth of the Western Australian mines. He’s not looking for anyone, but when Casey offers, Lon doesn’t turn him down.

Welcoming the young man in his big, hairy arms, Lon provides a safety to Casey that he has never known, and Casey wants to stay forever. Still reeling from the breakup of his family years ago, Lon’s not sure he’s ready for the responsibility of the comfort and security Casey craves.

But perhaps Lon can risk opening his heart again and hoping for a brighter future. Casey has some pretty big skeletons in his past to deal with. And Lon wonders what Casey will do when he finds out how badly Lon failed at protecting the ones he loved eight years ago.

Dani's rating:




Kaye pushes boundaries with this book; it's darker and grittier than her previous work and deals with issues of past physical and sexual abuse.

When big, musclebound Lon, who works in the mines of Western Australia, catches slim, pretty Casey eyeing him in the showers, he tells him to fuck off or suck his cock. Casey chooses the latter.

From the beginning, Lon and Casey have undeniable chemistry. Even though Lon doesn't want to be anyone's Dom, he likes taking care of Casey, and Lon makes Casey feel safe and protected. Casey leaned back so he could stare into Lon's brown eyes.
"Anywhere is safe as long as it's with you. I just need your arms around me, and I can take on the world."
Lon works hard and comes home to the Aussie equivalent of a trailer park. He is a bit bristly and alone, save for his best friend Paul. Nearly a decade before, a family tragedy changed Lon's life forever, and he blames himself for the horrific turn of events.

Casey's father is a monster. He hurt Casey, but Casey refuses to be a victim. He's still afraid, still jumpy, but he's also giving and more than capable of love.

The writing in this book is superb. Kaye's prose is engaging, witty, and evocative. The secondary characters are well developed, and the mystery of what happened to Lon's family is a quiet thread in the story.

I particularly liked Casey's friends Devon and Ash (surely their tale must be told? *bats eyelashes innocently*), as well as Lon's brash but kind friend Paul, who is in love with a married man.

But what really elevates this book is the strong, supportive relationship between the MCs.

Besides a singular incident where Lon becomes unfairly angry at Casey, these two are each other's rock. Casey finds someone he can trust, and Lon has someone to whom he can come home.

The age difference (Casey is almost 20 to Lon's 33) is an interesting juxtaposition considering Casey's background. And even though there is plenty of sweet, HAWT sex in this book, there is nothing kinky about Lon and Casey's love.

My only issue is that the character of Olivia is introduced rather abruptly and Olivia's present-day drama takes over the last bit of the book. The last two chapters feel slightly rushed, with too much summarizing of major events.

I was also a little unnerved by Ronnie and Olivia's relationship, and wasn't sure I entirely trusted Ronnie. But family is often messy and complicated, and I can't fault Lon for his love.

The ending is a beautiful HEA. These men find such JOY in being together.

And who cares about having your own pillow when you have your own man?
"A heart is an amazing item. My heart's been bruised, battered, smashed, and stabbed. Yet it still beats in my chest . . . It can still love. It still hopes and dreams."



Get the book:


   


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Guest Review: Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan - review by Todd

Disasterology 101Blurb:

Kevin Morrison had it all. A house he worked hard for, a loving wife, and three beautiful children. But it wasn’t until his marriage ended that he realized what the void he’d felt almost all his life meant. Coming out as a gay man at thirty-six is not an easy feat, but he is determined to be true to his heart. Meeting a man who shares his values, and is good with his children would be a bonus, but when the guy arrives in a uniquely wrapped package, and has very specific handling instructions, Kevin needs to decide if he’s up for that kind of love.

Obsessed with order and symmetry, and a paralyzing fear of germs, Cedric Haughton-Disley has lived with isolation and loneliness as long as he can remember. Desperate to be normal, he makes some much-needed changes in his life. If he can commit to his treatment, he might very well be able to procure some quality of life… even if that’s all he can get, as finding love and having a relationship are only possible in Cedric’s wildest dreams. But when a chance encounter leaves Cedric wishing for more, he decides to take a leap of faith, and pursue the guy he wants.

Together the two men make an unlikely match. Cedric needs organization, and Kevin represents chaos. In order to stay together they both need to compromise, but will they be able to deal with Cedric’s issues and the potential disaster, or let it break them apart?


Todd's rating:





I absolutely loved this book. If you're a fan of the USA Network's 'Monk' TV series and MM romance, then I suspect you'll really enjoy it as well. The book is like the 'bastard love child' of the two. : )

The book followed a really great progression from Kevin's first attempts at dating in the gay scene, showing a lot of maturity on his part when balancing his physical desires with his emotional needs. That was really refreshing, as most gay newbies tend to immediately take the easier and more thrilling 'man whore' route.

But when Kevin meets his 'pretty thug' and 'oddball', Cedric, something just clicks for them and we're led through a very emotional (and highly entertaining) roller coaster ride of neuroses, germ phobia and the journey to true love and, finally, self-acceptance.

My very favorite part was where... (spoiler whited out)
Kevin was at TK's soccer game (Kevin's 14 y.o. son and awesome kid, by the way) and was being angrily confronted by one of his bigoted, old acquaintances about being gay and Cedric (in full out ghetto gear) got up in the assholes face and defended their relation.

After which, Cedric calmly says to Kevin's true friends, who had been defending him against said dillhole:


“I’m Kevin’s boyfriend, by the way. My name’s Cedric, and I assure you, I’m a law-abiding citizen. Don’t let my appearance or recent actions reflect on him. Okay… Right… I need to go vomit now.” He grabbed Brianna’s hand, and turned TK away. “You coming, pet?”

Absolutely hilarious.

Blog Tour: Love You Senseless by Susan MacNicol

Displaying Banner300x250.jpg



Today we close out the blog tour for Susan Mac Nicol and her book

Love You Senseless




Displaying MoL_Love You Senseless_cover.jpgBlurb:

An award-winning chef with his own restaurant and an inexhaustible passion, Gideon Kent once had everything. Then came tragedy. It stole more than Gideon’s home. He hasn’t cooked since.
Until Eddie Tripp. Fun-loving and vivacious, the Norfolk redhead’s a real up-and-comer in Gideon’s kitchen—and other places. Slim where Gideon’s broad, easy-going where Gideon is growly, he and Gideon seem polar opposites, and yet Eddie conjures flavors that would tempt anyone with a taste for perfection. 
The sauce of love is already simmering, and this pair is about to dine on the most delicious dish they’ve ever prepared. Because Eddie’s been Gideon’s missing ingredient all along.



Excerpt:


Eddie kissed back, wanting nothing more than this moment, this man in his body and his lips on his. Somewhere a bell rang and for a minute Eddie thought it might be the sound of his own passion translated to tinkling sleigh bells and fireworks like in the cartoon movies when two people kissed. He smiled at that thought then as the bell got more insistent and irritating, he turned to Gideon only to find he was no longer there. Eddie scowled and reached across to where the annoying bell sound was….

Spotlight: Texas Fall by RJ Scott

Displaying Texas Seris LLB.jpg


Today we welcome RJ Scott with the latest installment of the Texas series,

Texas Fall

Book six in the Texas series




Displaying Texas Fall 400x600.jpg

Blurb:

Jack is focusing on building an equine therapy school for children with special needs and works hard along side his normal horse training and breeding program. He and Riley have settled into a softer, quieter, kind of family life, but that doesn't stop them using the barn with the door to the fullest!
But the lull comes before the storm.
Riley and his new assistant travel to Laredo, and across the border into Nuevo León as part of an exploratory team and things very quickly go to hell. Riley is caught in some serious Cartel problems and suddenly everything Jack holds dear is threatened.
Add in Vaughn and Darren's story, revisiting Robbie, Eli, Liam and Marcus, alongside Sean and Eden and the wedding that never was, and this story promises you everything you want from a Texas series book.

Excerpt 

He didn’t have time to think about how he was going to remove the glitter when Hayley ran to him and clung to him, asking him to go with her. He opened his mouth to ask what was wrong, but he could see the emotion in his daughter’s eyes. She was close to crying, and as soon as he followed her into the good room, those tears began to fall. Riley sat on the sofa and pulled her into his arms. She was such an itty-bitty thing, and she needed a hug. She held him so tight and she was sobbing, her slim form shaking in his hold. Riley’s heart split in two.

“What happened, sweetie?” he asked when her crying had settled to a few hitched breaths.

“It’s Logan,” she began.

Riley’s chest tightened. Hayley’s big crush was obvious to everyone. Had Logan done something? Had he hurt Hayley? He was a good kid, but that didn’t mean Riley wouldn’t flatten him if he’d upset her. Jack would just have to understand; after all, this was their daughter and daughter trumped nephew. The daddy side of him wanted to call Logan out , the sensible adult side of him was trying to be patient.

“What happened?”

“He’s… he’s… g-got a girlfriend.” Hayley managed to get the words out before sobbing into Riley’s shirt, and Riley held her as his little girl’s heart broke into a million pieces. He stroked her long blonde hair and back. He felt powerless, but he knew this was only the first of so much that Hayley would be experiencing, and it wasn’t like a skinned knee or strep, he was helpless here.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart,” he said gently as he stroked her back, marveling at the softness of her hair and her scent and the very wonder of holding his teenage daughter in his arms. She still loved them at the moment; she hadn’t reached that point where a father’s love would be replaced by the angst of teenage years or the love of another male.

“I’m so stupid,” she said. “He’s at a school with girls, and I’m stuck at mine.”

Hayley being at a school with just girls was a bone of contention between Hayley and her dads. She loved it there, she was safe, she had friends, and Riley had gone to an all-boys school and it hadn’t done him any harm. But she wanted a boyfriend, and she’d set her sights on Logan.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Book Review: The Art Of Breathing by TJ Klune


The Art of Breathing (Bear, Otter, and the Kid, #3)

Blurb:


Tyson Thompson graduated high school at sixteen and left the town of Seafare, Oregon, bound for what he assumed would be bigger and better things. He soon found out the real world has teeth, and he returns to the coast with four years of failure, addiction, and a diagnosis of panic disorder trailing behind him. His brother, Bear, and his brother's husband, Otter, believe coming home is exactly what Tyson needs to find himself again. Surrounded by family in the Green Monstrosity, Tyson attempts to put the pieces of his broken life back together.

But shortly after he arrives home, Tyson comes face to face with inevitability in the form of his childhood friend and first love, Dominic Miller, who he hasn't seen since the day he left Seafare. As their paths cross, old wounds reopen, new secrets are revealed, and Tyson discovers there is more to his own story than he was told all those years ago.

In a sea of familiar faces, new friends, and the memories of a mother's devastating choice, Tyson will learn that in order to have any hope for a future, he must fight the ghosts of his past.

Todd's rating:





Yes, after years of waiting for BOATK3, I *L-O-V-E-D* this story. It was *inevitable*, after all.

I honestly expected this one to mainly be a love story between Ty and Dom. And it was. But it wasn't, too.

Much of the story was centered around Ty and Bear, with only a smidge devoted to Otter (who I love, love, love.) Also, we get quite a bit of back story from Ty's perspective early on through present.

It wasn't quite what I expected, but that wasn't a bad thing, just different. And I was glad to see Paul and Vince (and Wheels & Johnny Depp) rolled into the story as a cool bonus.

And Bear's meltdown at a family dinner ("Put a baby in me, Otter!") had me laughing so hard I cried. Plus the fact that Corey/Kori Ty's best friend from school and ex-boyfriend/girlfriend was getting his/her first, much-anticipated 'Bear implosion'? --> “No words. Should… have sent… a poet.”

Funny as hell.

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