So This is Christmas by Josh Lanyon

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

So This is Christmas: by Josh Lanyon
Series: The Adrien English Mysteries, #5.5
Release Date: December 30, 2016
Pages: 127 • Format: eARC
Published By: Just Joshin Publishing, Inc
Purchase Links:
AmazonSmashwords

God Help You Merry Gentlemen…

Arriving home early after spending Christmas in jolly old England, sometimes amateur sleuth Adrien English discovers alarming developments at Cloak and Dagger Books–and an old acquaintance seeking help in finding his missing boyfriend.

Fortunately, Adrien just happens to know a really good private eye…

 

 

 

five-stars

It took me a couple of days to try to figure out what words to describe this story, but I still have no words because this book has been one of my happiest book pleasures ever. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought we would see Adrien & Jake again. They are in my Book Royalty. I love the Adrien & Jake story. It isn’t nice, easy, or sweet. These two have fought extremely hard to get where they are and it’s PERFECT.

This picks up right after book 5. Jake & Adrien are returning from a holiday in London. We see the old gang, some familiar faces and the love between these two. I don’t think we’ve ever see Adrien this content and happy before, and its a beautiful thing. It wouldn’t be an Adrien English story without someone contacting him directly or sometimes indirectly for help. This time it’s Kevin, the cute hottie from book 2 needs some help. Reading this I often found myself smiling for no apparent reason then it feels great to revisit these two. I truly love Josh Lanyon’s style, and felt like this was the most contemporary story we’ve seen from her ever in my opinion.

Ask anyone and they will tell you I wasn’t team Jake ever in a day. I re-read the series prior to reading this and sometimes I forgot why I was so angry at him, but book 4 and seeing him change was something else. I forgive all the tears, anger, and pain that he put Adrien in. We see Jake grow as much as Adrien did in the years since the first book. You can see the personal growth that Jake obtained because in this last book he was so carefree, open and loving. It was like seeing a new Jake, but I firmly believe he just grew up.

With all the happiness and that ending, I couldn’t ask for a better ending to these two. I am forever grateful that Lanyon decided to bless us with this happiness. I loved it, and it’s highly recommendable to fans of this series.

About Josh Lanyon

Bestselling author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance, JOSH LANYON has been called “arguably the single most influential voice in m/m romance today.” Granted, that was yesterday.

Today Josh’s work has been translated into nine languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondari, the largest romance publisher in Italy. The Adrien English series was awarded the 2nd Annual All Time Favorite Male Male Couple by the Goodreads M/M Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist for Gay Mystery, and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads Favorite M/M Author Lifetime Achievement award.

Josh is married and lives in Southern California.

Ezi’s Best Books of 2016

   From Sand and Ash by Amy Harmon


Forbidden by Beverly Jenkins

The Dark Light of Day by T.M. Frazier

Worth the Fall by Claudia Connor

Undecided by Julianna Keyes

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

All The Ugly and Wonderful Things by Bryn Greenwood

Every Day I Fight by Stuart Scott & Larry Platt

Deadly Silence by Rebecca Zanetti

Absolution by Sloane Kennedy

GIVEAWAY

For a chance to win an e-book from my list of Best of 2016, please comment below with your top books of the year (maximum of five books). Don’t forget to add which one of my best of 2016 you would like to win and what format.

Ezi

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

on October 11th 2016
Narrator: Ari Fliakos, Audra McDonald, Cassandra Campbell
Small Great Things Book Cover Small Great Things
Jodi Picoult
Historical Fiction
Ballantine Books
October 11th, 2016
audiobook
480

Ruth Jefferson is a labor and delivery nurse at a Connecticut hospital with more than twenty years' experience. During her shift, Ruth begins a routine checkup on a newborn, only to be told a few minutes later that she's been reassigned to another patient. The parents are white supremacists and don't want Ruth, who is African American, to touch their child. The hospital complies with their request, but the next day, the baby goes into cardiac distress while Ruth is alone in the nursery. Does she obey orders or does she intervene?

Ruth hesitates before performing CPR and, as a result, is charged with a serious crime. Kennedy McQuarrie, a white public defender, takes her case but gives unexpected advice: Kennedy insists that mentioning race in the courtroom is not a winning strategy. Conflicted by Kennedy's counsel, Ruth tries to keep life as normal as possible for her family—especially her teenage son—as the case becomes a media sensation. As the trial moves forward, Ruth and Kennedy must gain each other's trust, and come to see that what they've been taught their whole lives about others—and themselves—might be wrong.

With incredible empathy, intelligence, and candor, Jodi Picoult tackles race, privilege, prejudice, justice, and compassion—and doesn't offer easy answers. Small Great Things is a remarkable achievement from a writer at the top of her game.

I found this book very moving and very thought provoking. I applaud the author for tacking such a topic. Racism in a professional environment is something that many people deal with but often find very little allies when a major situation arises. I don’t want to rehash the blurb because it was clear on the book subject.

I couldn’t put this book down once I started because it was so real especially in this current racially charged environment. I just hope that readers don’t get caught up in the minutiae of the author’s race and really let the message penetrate.
What made the story so powerful was that each character had major flaws and had opportunities to make different choices. I found myself saying “Why did he do that? Why did she say that? What was the point of going over there?” and so on. The insidiousness of racism and the far-reaching consequences to all involved. I found this book painful at times but it is a very necessary read because the problems in the book are still present in society today. I both liked and disliked Ruth and her attorney throughout the book. I mostly despised Turk but I realize that his behavior had been instilled in him at such a young and impressionable age. I have little tolerance for racists so empathy towards Turk is something I didn’t have much of. White privilege is something that many people refuse to acknowledge and that was at the heart of this story.
I wish the twists weren’t so convoluted and dramatic. Even with those extreme leaps in the story, I highly recommend this book to all who are willing to examine their own hearts about race relations in our world today.

Ezi

Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Leo Loves Aries: by Anyta Sunday
Series: Signs of Love, #1
Release Date: December 4th, 2016
Pages: 268 • Format: eARC
Published By: Anyta Sunday
Purchase Links:
Amazon

A new person will enter your life in the early year, Leo. Look past any moments of frustration they might bring and laugh—this could be the start of a thriving friendship.

Theo Wallace usually laughs at the horoscopes his mom sends. Still hung up on his ex-girlfriend and practically friendless, this one begs him to reconsider. Because a friendship that stuck, that thrived…

Well, that would be a reason to leave past pains behind and look to the Bright Future.

When his sister Leone challenges him to find her the perfect date for a spring wedding, Theo uses it as a chance to make new friends. Theo’s ex economics tutor and newest roommate Mr Jamie Cooper seems to be a possible and convenient match. Real convenient. Like written in the stars, convenient.

All he has to do is make sure this Jamie is good enough. Could really be the one for her, and the friend for him.

But watch out, Leo, the stars have a surprise in store…

four-half-stars


This is the best reaction to 67%. I do not like angst of any kind, and this just took to long to happen, but when it did it was freaking magical.

Brace yourself ladies and gents, this is my first Anyta Sunday book. **Duck & covers**, I know. I honestly do not know how this happened.

Leo Loves Aries was such a witty, romantic, feel good story. I really enjoyed the easiness of the reading style. Everything was well written and flowed perfectly. Yes, it didn’t happen 13% in the book like I wanted to. Talk about Chemistry!!! I’ve started signing things like #CancerlovesPisces. These guys were super relatable. I honestly think Theo was the blind one here, he couldn’t see what was directly in front of his eyes, but when he did…. Boy, he went right in and went full throttle. It was no playing around for him. I am so in love with Jamie. Gosh my husband is the SHIT, but a Jamie is a needed necessity for 2017. He’s the type of guy who just wants to see you succeed, be happy and healthy. What more can you ask for?

This book made me happy. I love the little illustrations and factoids at the beginning of each chapter. I adore the parents alot. It shows what good parenting and upbringing produces. These were so responsible young adults. I love the relationship that each had with their counterpart. I adore Leone parts as well. Loved that her disability didn’t stop her from doing anything. She’s such an inspiration, and dare I say I would be interested in a Leone & Sam novel some day.

Gotta say, after reading this; the next day I went and read my horoscope and it said 2018 was my year. I got super excited. I use to be a big horoscope reader in my early twenties, I’ve gradually stopped, but I think I might go back to reading them. I do agree about compatibility when it comes to zodiac signs. I was involved with an Aries and we didn’t work out at all, but the Pisces and Cancer go together like fat girls and chocolate cake. Speaking from experience now folks. LOL. I am rambling, because I can go on, and on about how awesome they both are, but you read it! You don’t get to live vicariously through my fangirling, just know it made my Best of 2016 list and will leave you smitten and happy. I want to leave you with this quote because it means so much to me, it’s a line I used in my wedding vows, and to hear you say it to someone special means the world to them. It’s endearing and all encompassing when it comes to love.

Theo:You are not the best part of my day, you make my day.

About Anyta Sunday

Anyta Sunday – New Zealand writer in Berlin, Germany.

A born and raised New Zealander from Wellington, I’ve been exploring the literary world since I started reading Roald Dahl as a kid. Stories have been piling up in my head ever since. Fast forward to my mid-twenties and jump a few countries (Germany, America, and back again), I started to put them to paper.

My genre of choice is romance, both adult and YA, gay and straight. You can take a closer look at my books, available as e-books for download in many formats!

When I’m not pushing my characters deeper into adventure, I chase my sons around the house and fight my two comical cats for the desk chair.

Interlude: First Noel by Tal Bauer

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Interlude:First Noel by Tal Bauer
Series:The Executive Office #1.5
Release Date: December 19, 2016
Pages: 125 • Format: eARC
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links:
NineStar PressAmazon

Before Ethan returns to DC…
Before he becomes Jack’s first gentleman…
Jack and Ethan share their first Christmas together.

Step back to Jack and Ethan’s first Christmas season and the tentative early months of their relationship under the world’s spotlight.

Three months into Ethan’s transfer-in-exile in Des Moines, Iowa, the pressures of dating Jack, the president of the United States, start to wear Ethan down. His weeks are measured by the days he works in Iowa, chasing counterfeiters and financial crimes, and the weekends he manages to steal with Jack back in DC. The media stalks his every move, he’s isolated by his coworkers, and loneliness hammers at his heart.

In DC, Jack tries to piece together a global alliance to take down the Caliphate, while the world seems focused on tearing apart his personal life. Hostility surrounds him from all corners of the globe, but a surprise offer from President Sergey Puchkov may pave the way for a tentative alliance…and perhaps the beginning of a friendship.

As Ethan finds himself in the middle of an investigation that rubs too deeply against his soul and Jack tries to balance leading the free world and keeping his and Ethan’s relationship going, the two men must face what their love has become…and where they are heading together.

five-stars

While I’m ecstatic to get this novel, it’s making me a little ragey because I want the next in the series so bad. Excuse my grouchy ways, I’m battling the cold demon in my City. I’m not ready for freezing temperatures! I’m pleasantly happy to see Ethan & Jack again. Man, Tal doesn’t do anything half assed. They went into this book with more then a Holiday novella in store. This was a solid storm with so much happy, romancy, feelings. I always wanted to read about their mini break when Ethan was away, and it was everything I could want and more.

Ethan & Jack are just now getting to that special place in their relationship but they are apart from each other. They have most weekends when Jack isn’t busy. This is definitely not a stand alone. Don’t even think about reading it without book one. We see them grow together as a couple, and a lot of first happens here in this book. I really enjoyed seeing Jack open up about his feelings and being super protective of Ethan.

I’m not going to lie, I was starting to worry about Ethan. I don’t think he can handle being alone from his friends and Jack. He was able to do his job, well I should say and stay true to his love with Jack. I did like the relationship that he was building up with Becker his partner. Hopefully we’ll see him in the future somewhere in this series.

It is so going on a favorite of mine this year. I enjoyed all the little things they did for each other, to the big pronouncements of love, endearments, first dances, and special Christmas presents. I will admit to being worried that being such a short book in length we would have to deal with the political formula like the rest of the books in the series. Do not be worried folks, this is strictly romantic. It’s all about the romance and their relationship and what’s to come in the future. If you are fans of this series, then I definitely recommend this to you. If you haven’t read Enemies of State then I dare say get on it folks! Don’t miss out on a brand new fan favorite couple! Tal, I’ll be looking for book 3’s release date soon. I don’t have much wine left to hold me out!!

About Tal Bauer

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

The Mistletoe Effect by Cate Ashwood

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Mistletoe Effect: by Cate Ashwood
Release Date: December 9th, 2016
Pages: 116 • Format: eARC
Published By:
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Although Christmas is his favorite time of year, all is not merry and bright for Danny Ellis. After being laid off and facing eviction, he’s eager to make a fresh start. When a friend mentions an opportunity in Sin City, he packs up and heads west. Unfortunately, plans run awry when his truck breaks down a little more than halfway there and he’s stranded in the cold with no money, nowhere to stay, and no way to get to Vegas.

‘Tis the season, but not for Merrick Holland, who loves being a part of the community in the small town of Rowley Bridge. Christmas has been a little tainted since his father died three years ago, and when people start to deck the halls, he withdraws. When Merrick finds a man asleep inside his bakery one morning, rather than call the police, Merrick makes him a cup of coffee, and after hearing his story offers him a job and a place to stay.

The two men strike up an unlikely friendship, but with Christmas only three weeks away, could a little holiday magic bring them together? 

four-half-stars

 

Definitely one of my top reads this year!!! Call it the quintessential holiday read, Christmas read or straight sugary fluff, but what you won’t do is call it bad. This was pure romance!! Sugary sweet amazing-ness for Danny & Merrick. I don’t read many Cate Ashwood books, but I might start if they leave me happy and content!! My one downfall is that it isn’t longer. I know, I ask for a lot from these authors, but this book could have been 50 pages longer, or Christmas never ends in Rowley Bridge for me.

 


This is Rowley Bridge in my mind!!

Danny is down on his luck. He’s at rock bottom people, and just trying to drive cross country to Las Vegas for a a job. Things don’t go according to plan. His truck breaks down in this cute little picturesque town. It’s Christmas in a few weeks, and having not eating a full meal in weeks Danny breaks into a bakery. Unbeknownst to him, it was the best thing he could have done in his whole life. I think meeting Merrick gave Danny more stability then he could ever know. Both guys are lonely, and have dealt with tragedy. At such a special time in the year, they both are dealing with internal strife. Ashwood popped my heart right open with these two. I love them from the first interaction to the last one. I am super happy with this book, and its definitely put me in the baking mood!!!!

Merrick is such a great guy. I really appreciated him opening up his doors, arms, and heart to a complete stranger. It puts a little faith back in humanity for me. Everyone thinks Merrick hates Christmas, but in actuality the holiday is a reminder of his father’s death a few years back. He doesn’t hate it, but it brings sadness to his life. I think him meeting Danny was the best thing for him as well. His true nurturer side came out, and it allowed him to pick himself up and also got him back into the spirit of life. I really think him being with Danny also gave him reason to live again. He wasn’t doing much but working, he didn’t seem to have a social life at all, not even a pet. Hell, I expected a pet in a situation like this, but was surprised that he didn’t have one.

I read this book in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down, and maybe the ending was rushed. If anything, I’m a little peeved at that seeing as the rest of the book was gloriously paced. They fit together so well. I would not mind seeing these two together again in the future. I think Cate did an amazing job with the atmosphere and characters. I will definitely shelf this on my comfort reads shelf, I can see myself grabbing this to make me happy in the future, or in a week. LOL. I highly recommend this book friends, really great holiday read!!!!

About Cate Ashwood

Cate Ashwood wrote her very first story in a hot pink binder when she was in the second grade and found her passion for writing. Her first successful foray into romance writing came five years later when she wrote her best friend, who was experiencing a case of unrequited love, her own happily ever after.

Cate’s life has taken a number of different and adventurous roads. She now lives a stone’s throw from the ocean, just outside of Vancouver, British Columbia with her husband, son, and two cats. Her life is filled with family and friends, travel, and, of course, books.

The Unlikely Prospect by Lex Chase

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

unlikelyprospectthefs_v1The Unlikely Prospect: by Lex Chase
Series: States of Love
Release Date: December 7th, 2016
Pages: 126 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

In Prospect Harbor, Maine, lobsterman Harper Cook has always loved the sea. He and his two brothers work the harbor waters, in a fishing village of one thousand where everybody knows everybody else’s business and nobody wants to be different.

When it’s time for the annual Men of Maine pinup calendar, Harper’s brothers eagerly volunteer him. Harper isn’t thrilled to bare it all to raise money for an elementary school playground—until he meets out-and-proud Los Angeles out-a-statah Sean Blackburn: the highly available first-grade teacher with Hollywood heartthrob looks.

Harper has no desire to ever stand out from the crowd, but Sean persists and earns Harper’s friendship. Through Sean, Harper opens up to new possibilities. Things get steamy, but Harper still protects his heart. Though the right pressure in the right place might crack even a loner lobsterman out of his shell.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

four-half-stars

Fits all my Checkmark List people!

√ Cheesy and Fluffy Goodness
Adorable Older MC
Virgin
Pinup Calendar
√ A little bit of kink
Noisy Siblings
Shy MC
√ More adorableness
√ A Novelist

I loved this book!!! The right amount of swoony cheesiness and fluff for me! Harper and Sean were truly adorable together. I loved the Cook brothers. I thought they showed real camaraderie between siblings. This was my first read by Lex Chase and I really liked it. It was a bit choppy at times, and transitions were a little bad, but I was able to forget that because I was enthralled with the story.

Harper is a loner by nature, only working and hanging out with the family when he’s forced to. He’s the oldest of 3 boys who are all Lobster-man. This book caught me in the right mood. I loved how shy, awkward, and lovable Harper was. He was prepared to spend the rest of his life alone until his brother Joe asks him to pose for a calendar to support his niece’s playground. Harper will do anything for his family at the end of the day. Forget about talking, or him being socially awkward, his family matters because Mumma said it does. He meets Sean who is completely opposite him of every way. Sean awakens a need in Harper that he didn’t know he had. It was such a quick angst free love story.

The building of their relationship was magical. I liked how well they fit together. Again some of the transitions bothered me, but I was able to look passed it because the story was super good, and swoony. I couldn’t flip the page fast enough to see what was going to happen next. I really wish this was a full length novel. Both guys were able to explore each other and learn what works for them. I love how tender and caring Sean was when it came to their physical relationship. It was a no pressure book, they became friends and lovers all in one go. I would have liked to meet Joe and Danny’s family since they talked about them enough. Would also have liked to see Sean in his element at school. I would definitely recommend this cheesy goodness, definitely caught me in the right mood and it’s a feel good favorite of mine this year!

About Lex Chase

Lex Chase once heard Stephen King say in a commercial, “We’re all going to die, I’m just trying to make it a little more interesting.” Now, she’s on a mission to make the world a hell of a lot more interesting.
Weaving tales of cinematic, sweeping adventure—and depending on how she feels that day—Lex sprinkles in high-speed chases, shower scenes, and more explosions than a Hollywood blockbuster. Her pride is in telling stories of men who kiss as much as they kick ass. If you’re going to march into the depths of hell, it better be beside the one you love.
Lex is a pop culture diva, her DVR is constantly backlogged, she has intense emotions about Hannibal’s Hannigram, and unapologetically loved the ending of Lost. She wouldn’t last five minutes without technology in the event of the apocalypse and has nightmares about refusing to leave her cats behind.
You can find her in the Intarwebz here:

Krampus Hates Christmas by Andi Van

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

krampusKrampus Hates Christmas: by Andi Van
Series: 2016 Advent Calendar-Bah Humbug
Release Date: December 1st, 2016
Pages: 104 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Karl Kringle hates the modern-day Christmas. He was born to be Krampus, but the Holiday Council refuses to let him help his brother Nick—aka Santa Claus—with the Naughty List until he finds his holiday spirit. To meet that challenge, he’s turned human and dumped in a strange apartment.

Lewis Weatherby loves the holidays and always has. Not only do his parents own a pumpkin patch and tree farm, he’s also inherited a Christmas-themed shop. All he wants from Santa is the man of his dreams, and the Big Guy might’ve just delivered. Lewis’s new neighbor Karl is gorgeous, sweet, and has a fantastic sense of humor—if his jokes about being Krampus are any indication.

Soon getting home is less important to Karl than what will happen when Lewis inevitably realizes the truth behind his jokes. He’s finally starting to understand the real joy of the season—now he just has to figure out how to hold on to it.

four-stars

Krampus was AMAZEBALLS!!!!

Definitely a top contender in my 2016 favorite Holiday Reads!

This was my first book by Andi Van, and I loved there quirky sense of humor, and writing. Krampus is a different take on the holiday romance aspect. He’s the twin to Saint Nick, opposite in every way, shape, size and form. In in my mind Krampus original form is a Minotaur. I couldn’t get that image out my mind. LOL. I found myself laughing at the antics of these characters, having the best cheese smile on my face, and tearing up at the end.

Krampus just wants to help his brother with Christmas, but the council decides he’s not ready and doesn’t have the right spirit for it. Noel (Santa’s Husband) decides to step in and help his brother in law out. He sends Krampus to California, to stay in a nice apartment and find his holiday cheer. He’s given an illusion to look like an attractive tall guy named Karl, and staying next door to sweet Lewis who owns a holiday shop.

I really liked Lewis, and adored his best friend Jerry. Lewis is smidge overweight in his 40’s and doesn’t feel so great about himself. Putting these two together just seemed right. They were super compatible from the first meeting. I liked how open they were with each other,( within reason on Karl’s side). I loved how Karl was to willing to do new things, but stay true to himself. I think their journey was really adorable and sweet. I loved NOEL!!! I wanted more parts with him and Nick. Andi Van if you do read this, please consider giving us another holiday treat with these two! I liked Lewis’s family alot. I think they were great and very accepting of Karl and his family history when everything came to the light.

This was super fun to read! Highly recommend it, and can’t stop smiling thinking about it!

About Andi Van

Andi Van is a foul-mouthed troublemaker who lives near San Diego with a small fluffy thing named Koi, a baseball bat that’s forever being used for things other than baseball, and a fondness for rum and caffeine (though not necessarily together).

Andi is fluent in three languages (English, sarcasm, and profanity), and takes pride in a highly developed — if somewhat bizarre — sense of humor.

You Are Not Me by Leta Blake

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

you-are-not-me-coverYou Are Not Me: by Leta Blake
Series:’90s Coming of Age, #2
Release Date: November 29, 2016
Pages:328 • Format: eARC
Published By: Leta Blake Books
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Follow Peter into the summer following his senior year to face new beginnings, new friends, and old baggage.

After a tumultuous final year of high school, Peter Mandel needs a break. It’s the summer of 1991, and his secret relationship with his ‘best friend’ Adam Algedi is put on hold as Adam goes away to Italy for the summer. On the cusp of adulthood, Peter has a couple of months to explore who he is without Adam at his side.

Enter Daniel McPeak, a slightly older, out, responsible college guy with a posse of gay friends and an attraction for Peter. Drawn into the brave new world of the local gay club, Peter embarks on a whirlwind of experiences—good and bad—which culminate in a hotel room where he has to make the ultimate choice.

But Adam will come back eventually, and there are promises that have to be kept. As autumn draws near and college awaits, can Peter break free of the binds of twisted first love? And what exactly is Daniel’s role in his life – a brief temptation, or something more?

Join Peter in the second book of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

five-stars

This was my Zhush!!!! Leta Blake is am Auto-buy author for me. This book just highlights everything I love about her words and characters.

Definitely a favorite of 2016. I think I tried to read it in one sitting, but work got in the way! Leta Blake’s pen game is sickening. She damn near had me using an entire box of Kleenex! Okay, I used about 3/4 of the box. By the end, I just wanted it to be over for everyone. This damn cliffy is going to kill me.

I loved everything about this! Here’s some checkpoints on the awesomeness that was book 2 in this amazing series so far.

√ I am uber in love with Daniel.
√ Minty should be my new best friend.
√ Mike is amazaeballs.
√ Peter is Peter.
√ Minty, Antonio, Windy, Barry, Robert is my life.
√ I loved Peter’s ideal of love and hope.
√ Daniel better get an HEA after all of this.
√ I’m never sad to see Adam go.
√  His selfishness new no bounds.
√ Jeremy should die a painful death.
√ I liked Bobby.
√ I cried for Harry.
√ I might conisder buying a tutu in honor of Minty.
√ I totally wanted to hulk rage on Adam by the end of this book.

I am so in love with everything that happened in this book. I cried so many times during it, and I wasn’t as mad at Peter unlike book one. I think Peter did a lot of growing this book. He’s on his own for the summer while Adam is away in Rome. Peter is deciding to take his life into his own hands. He wants to experience things as a Gay man. I think it was hard for me to not want to get angry at all his mistakes but they were his to make. I adore his father so much. I am even at  a little bit of peace with his mother. I am happy at the progress that they were able to make as a family. I don’t think Peter realizes how he lucked out on parents and being okay with his sexuality. I loved seeing Peter’s vulnerabilities in this book. In book one, he showed them alot, but since this was from Peter’s pov entirely I think we got to see inside his head way more.

You Are Not Me is an emotional rollercoaster. It picks up immediately after book one. Peter is alone with his thoughts for the summer. Adam is still Adam. In  book one, I was kinda rooting for him, but by the end of this book he’s still the manipulating P.O.S that he always is. He doesn’t know what he’s doing mentally and emotionally to Peter. Yeah, Adam isn’t to blame for everything, but he’s played such a major part of his own demise that his shamefulness and guilt ways heavy on his mind! I get Peter wanting to stick with Adam to show him that their love can overcome anything, it made me so mad at times because Peter has this grandiose love mindset that he wasn’t able to see that he can be this guy for someone that’s more deserving. Leta does a wonderful job at creating these flawed characters who we all can relate to in some way.

This was  a more transitional story for Peter. He’s on the cusp of being an Adult and starting school. He’s ventured out of all of his comfort zones. He’s gone after things he wants, and explained in absolute detail on why he wants the things that he does. I don’t know if this is the end to Adam. Adam is that guy who’s going to be married with children and a secret profile on Grindr. It sickens me that he doesn’t think about destroying the two people he’s involved with. I won’t go into spoilery details on the plot. Just know that this book is definitely A+ material. I am so looking forward to book three, and more tears. I really hope a few of my guys get an Hea, or a book about them. Highly recommend this series!

About Leta Blake

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan

favorite Training Season, Leta Blake's educational and professional background is in psychology

and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting

romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S.,

Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

Interborough, by Santino Hassell

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

tinoInterborough: by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs, #4
Release Date: October 24, 2016
Pages: 249 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.

four-half-stars


Don’t even look Raymond’s way. I got this.

Listen up folks, when Sunset Park came out, I saw all the negative comments about the couple. I didn’t argue with anyone, everyone had a right to their own opinion. I’m okay with you not liking Rayvid together. Perfectly fine in my world. It takes alot of emotions for me to fall in love with a character. I literally will read their story a bajillion times throughout the year. My list is 5 guys. It’s never changed for the last 5 years maybe. It’s always Zsadist, Zane, Reyes, Vadim, and Cole. It’s been these 5 forever. When I read Sunset Park, Raymond literally crawled under my skin. He imprinted on my soul. That’s the only honest way to describe the feeling I get when I talk about Ray and read about him. I have to tip my hat to Santino Hassell. The man can write. It’s beautifully flawed. His story telling, his realism, and his emotions are so powerful that you can do nothing but show the man some damn respect. It’s only a handful of authors who can read series and all be high 4 and 5’s. It’s not easy and you might get bored with the same story just regurgitated. I’ve had this book for a while, and it took everything in me not to crack it open. I wanted it to be fresh for release day, and get to openly discuss with my peers all the growth we see in these characters.

It’s been almost 2 years since David and Ray got together. There’s been growth that we can see on page for both guys. I loved Ray’s transition to being “an adult”. He went from everyone providing for him to holding down two jobs and going to school. I loved seeing his passion about being his own man. David is still there, going through the motions with his career that left him feeling uncertain. I really like David. He’s someone who lives in his head, and I know plenty of people like that. David needs constant reassurance about their relationship. I actually felt David was right. He had plenty of reasons for why he felt the way he did. The biggest problem in their relationship was the lack of communication. It’s authentic. Sure having sex feels good for that moment of time, and afterwards but you problems come back big time. I feel like the stress of life got to these two.

Hassell wrote a book that everyone should be able to relate to. Hell I had these problems in the beginning of my relationship. Going to school and work, leaves your love life feeling destitute. I really enjoyed seeing all the different cast of characters. Loved seeing more of Ray’s friends, and even Michael and Nunzio. This was an appropriate representation of a relationship in the real world for me. Can I say it was perfect? No. I wanted to throttle both of them on numerous times, was I happy with the outcome? Yes!! Did I cry? Fuck yes. Was it another baby makers? Check back with me in 9 months for certain.

All in all, I truly loved this book. It’s possible my love for Raymond overlooks everything. I can see myself re-reading it that’s for damn sure. I had some good times with this crew, and how about that epilogue? Oh my goodness, I definitely cried. It was amazing. I highly recommend this series. I think you’ll find yourself enraptured by these characters from book 1 up until now.

About Santino Hassell

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of queer fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.