The Impossible Boy by Anna Martin

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 Impossible Boy: by Anna Martin
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Pages: 204 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Pres
Purchase Links:
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This is not your average love story.

Ben Easton is not your average romantic hero. He’s a tattooed, badass, wannabe rock star, working in a perfectly horrible dive bar in Camden Town. His life is good, and he’s totally unprepared for how one man will turn it upside down.

Stan isn’t your average heroine. As a gender-fluid man, he proudly wears his blond hair long, his heels sky-high, and his makeup perfectly executed. A fashion industry prodigy, Stan is in London after stints working in Italy and New York City, and he quickly falls for Ben’s devil-may-care attitude and the warm, soft heart Ben hides behind it.

Beneath the perfect, elegant exterior, Stan has plenty of scars from teenage battles with anorexia. And it only takes the slightest slip for his demons to rush back in while Ben is away touring with his band. With the band on the brink of a breakthrough, Ben is forced to find a way to balance the opportunity of a lifetime with caring for his beautiful boyfriend.

four-stars

This book was on its way to becoming a 5 star book for me. What stopped it was an incident in the story. I don’t feel like it was authentic enough and it happened out of nowhere. That pissed me off more. I guess I was looking for signs to point out this, and then thought signs weren’t needed. It’s something one of the MC’s has dealt with most of his life. Even after knowing this, I’m not happy. The joy I was feeling throughout reading this was dwindled down to nothing. I worried, and angst over these two. Didn’t see how they were going to come out on the other side, but no worries I think Anna Martin prevailed. The Impossible Boy is a lovely story. Told through dual pov’s from the mc’s. They both come from different walks of life and fall in love.

I truly adored Ben. Ben is super amazing. I think I feel in love with Ben from the very start. He was kind, and its a word I would describe most people in life. He was kind to a person whom he didn’t know. He should Stan a kindness that he wasn’t sure he would get. Ben is automatically intrigued upon seeing Stan for the first time. Stan walks in looking like a million buck and Ben sees his prey in sight. Ben is working two jobs and being in a ban. He loves his life, doesn’t see reason to change it, and sees Stan and immediately taken by him. Ben is who he is. He doesn’t change, apologize for being who he is or liking what he likes.

Stan is fabulous. Left home at 15 to explore the world and never looked back. For being so young, and independent Stan has it together better then most people. I love Stan’s definition of who he is. He isn’t trying to conform to anyone’s society and love what he represents. He has some past issues and is learning to cope with them each day. I do love how he stays his ground and is firm on what he knows his body, soul, and mind needs.

Ben & Stan together is pure magic. I truly think the love at first sight thing works here. Both guys are drawn into one another very easily. They just fit into one another life like a missing puzzle piece. Ben with his nurturing personality, and Stan with his kindness work well. It’s not wonder that things moved fast for these two. I can see them falling in love on page, and I was so happy.

While I’m not happy with a certain part of the story, I still loved this. I can definitely see myself re-reading this. Anna Martin did a really great job with this gender-fluid story. I think she handled it with care. This is a definite recommend for me, and the cover is amazing!!!

About Anna Martin

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south- west of England and now lives in the slightly arty, slightly quirky city of Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, baking weird and wonderful sweets, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.

Ezi & Mika Dual Review: Block and Strike by Kelly Jensen

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.

Block and Strike: by Kelly Jensen
Release Date: January 6, 2017
Pages: 266 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Jacob Kendricks is three months out of prison, estranged from his daughter, and ready to get his life on track. Taking care of the bum curled up on his doorstep isn’t part of the plan. When he realizes the man has been assaulted, Jake takes him to the hospital, where he learns that Max is his downstairs neighbor… and that he could really use a friend. Keeping Max in the friend-zone would be easier if he wasn’t so damned cute.

Maxwell Wilson has been bullied for years, and the only person who ever cared lives too far away to come to his rescue. Now his upstairs neighbor is offering support. Max remains cautious, suspecting he is little more than a project for the handsome Jake. When he learns Jake has had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, Max has to reevaluate his priorities—and muster the courage to take a chance at love.

Just when a happy future is within their grasp, life knocks them back down. A devastating blow leaves Max lower than ever and Jake wrestling with regret. They both have to find the strength to stand on their own before they can stand together.

four-stars

It’s rare for Ezi and I to want to read the same book. We have completely different taste on books. She wants the angst, and I want to kick it for a punt return. Hell we wanted this book for different reasons. Ezi immediately stated that the blurb was angsty, I wanted it for the child mentioned and the hurt comfort it seemed to be throwing out there. He’s our first dual review ever on Oh My Shelves. Hope you guys enjoys it.

Ezi’s Review

I liked this story because this is a love story that the author took time to develop. This story was well written and the main characters were constructed methodically.

Jacob “Jake” Kendricks was a man who let his temper get the best of him at times, which resulted in a stint in prison. When he was released, Jake resolved to lay low and piece his life back together starting with rebuilding his relationship with his nine-year-old daughter Caroline.

Jake finds his neighbor Gareth Maxwell “Max” Wilson on the steps of their apartment building, beaten to a pulp. After Jake takes Max to the hospital, Jake’s kind heart makes him take pity on a young bullied guy. A sweet friendship developed ensued and later blossomed into love for Jake and Max.

This story was not a fast insta-love type of romance. It was a layered story where the author took her time to build up the characters. I felt invested in both Jake and Max as individual struggling with their various issues as well as their budding romance which was wrought with trust issues. Both characters had to learn to depend on the other as well as heal their own hearts from past hurts.

I haven’t read this author before, but I enjoyed the story-telling. I empathized with all the characters and couldn’t help but root for them. My only issue was the slow pace of the story. I understand it was necessary to really focus on individual struggles of both Jake and Max, but I was hoping for the romance to get underway a lot faster. It also took a while for the author to reveal why Jake spent in prison and I got impatient. Still, at the end I was left very satisfied with the ending. Jake and Max healing each other made everything worth it.

Mika’s Review

Talk about a slow burner! Goodness, my add wasn’t going to allow me to participate any longer if things didn’t happen at the correct time. It’s my third book by Kelly Jensen, and I really love how relatable and realistic her stories make me feel. This book was no different. Jake & Max are two individuals who needed a Win in life. They both have struggled with various issues that has happened to them.

I really adored Jake’s character. I loved how he wanted to protective Max, teach Max, and love Max in a way that he hasn’t been yet. Jake struggles seems minuscule compared to everything Max goes through in this story, but Jake has a way to go. He has to deal with his actions that lead him to prison. In the blink of an eye his life change, and the person who suffered the most was Caroline his daughter. I think Max is good for Jake because being with him teaches Jake patience, and makes Jake want to keep his temper in check.

Max, oh max. Goodness, he pulled at my heart strings continuously. I am so surprised that I didn’t cry. I didn’t shed not one tear, but I really empathized with his character. Max didn’t have any hope for his future. He seems so despondent about life, and yeah life has completed effed him over. No parents to love him, no family to cherish him, and he’s only 22 but seems so much older. I am uber grateful for Jake. Yeah, Jake’s issues is what caused Max pain unbeknownst to both guys, but it also allowed Max to see what real love is. Jake’s love, teaches, friendship and family allowed Max to open up and be confident. It allowed Max a glimpse of a future that is obtainable if he wanted it.

This redemption story on both parts was equally good. It’s a slow burner for sure. The romance is in the background and while it plays a major role, I’d like to think both guys have healing and growing to do separately and together was more important. I will tell you from the books I’ve read by Jensen, that I’ve come to really appreciate her take on the realistic fiction trope in Gay Romance. I love how relatable and normal they are. These are everyday people in her stories, they could be your spouses, brothers, fathers, uncles, and cousins. This is a definite recommend for me. I really liked it!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Born in Australia and raised everywhere else, Kelly now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and herd of four cats. After disproving the theory that water only spins counter-clockwise around drains north of the equator, she turned her attention to more productive pursuits such as reading, writing, writing about reading and writing stories of her own. She also enjoys volunteering at her local library, playing video games and holds a brown belt in Kiryoku, a martial art combining Shotokan, Aikido and Tang Soo Do. Her family is not intimidated by her.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, short stories, and this bio. She does not consider this bio a seminal work. Her books are much more interesting (and definitely sexier). You can view a list of them here. She has been writing reviews of books and video games for web and print magazines for nearly fifteen years. Her book reviews can be found at SFCrowsnest, Goodreads and here, on her blog.

Currently, she is working on several projects, including a science fiction romance series co-authored with her best friend and writing partner, Jenn Burke. The first three books of the Chaos Station series are available now, with the fourth due in January 2016 from Carina Press.

Wake of Vultures (The Shadow, #1) by Lila Bowen

Series:
Source: Netgalley
Wake of Vultures Book Cover Wake of Vultures
The Shadow, #1
Lila Bowen
Paranormal Romance; Urban Fantasy; Fantasy
Orbit
October 27th 2015
audibook; e-book
342
Netgalley

This story started off really promising with the introduction of the heroine Sixteen-year old Nettie Lonesome. She was a biracial girl living on a ranch with a couple she called Pap and Mam. According to Pap and Mam, no one including her biological family wanted this half black, half native American girl, so they took her in and tolerated her.
One day, a visiting man attacked Nettie at the ranch and when Nettie stabbed him, the man turned into ash. This opened her eyes to a whole other world of lurking monsters such as vampires, chupacabras, skinwalkers (shapeshifters) etc and altered Nettie’s understanding of her world.
Nettie runs away from the ranch and joins a new Ranch, the Double TK, but lives there as a man named Rhett. After a series of events sends her running away, Nettie begins her true destiny hunting monsters, most specifically the Pia Mupitsi (the Big Cannibal Owl) rumored to steal babies and turn them into monsters too.
I am not sure how I feel about this book. In the beginning, I thought I would be taking a journey with a girl who lived as a man because she didn’t like what women had to do to survive if you were poor like her. Those women worked in saloons, or were basically subservient to mean drunken men like Pap. Nettie knew she never wanted to be treated with so little regard, so she chose to live as a man. But soon after she arrived at the Double TK, the story shifted to a paranormal story with Nettie as the chosen hunter or the special one. So, it became less about Nettie, the teenage girl trying to figure herself out in her community, to Nettie the one prophesied to destroy an evil monster, the Pia Mupitsi.
The subplot that I was most interested in pertaining to Nettie’s gender identity issues as well as her establishing her own way as a rancher breaking horses. That plot took a backseat to the search for the supernatural monsters. The story just veered off for me and I didn’t have the same enthusiasm as with the first part of the story.
I was never able to decide if Nettie was truly transgendered or was she living as a man because in that time period, women were at the mercy of men. The audiobook was enjoyable and the reader was treated to the history of Nettie which made her current mindset more understandable.
I wish the author had split these into two books, letting us know Nettie as a girl first. She was smart, resourceful and suspicious of everyone.  Definitely an interesting western and how far someone women went to protect their virtue or even. There were many themes in this book so perhaps it’s a situation of treating the reader on too much.
I just don’t know how I feel about the paranormal aspect about this book. It’s definitely not the traditional PNR. I thought there was excellent writing and the author put forth a lot of research. It was clever, creative and imaginative. The second half just didn’t click with me right now .

<i>*Special Thanks to Orbit Books via Netgalley for the ebook given in exchange for an honest review

Holiday House Swap by Sarah Madison

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.

Holiday House Swap: by Sarah Madison
Release Date: December 21st, 2016
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAReAmazon

Reclusive writer Noah Kinley is facing a dilemma: how to confess to the world he’s really the author of a best-selling romance series. For years, his friend Julie has been the face of his brand, but she wants her life back now. Fast running out of ideas for his popular series, Noah wants to break out into other genres. Not that he’s writing much of anything at the moment anyway, thanks to paralyzing writer’s block. With his publisher breathing down his neck for the next installment, he hopes a change of scene will get his writer’s juices flowing again. Desperate enough to try anything, during the holidays Noah swaps his isolated cabin in the woods for a gentrified horse farm.

USAF Major Connor Harrison has chosen forced retirement over facing charges for an unauthorized mission to rescue a buddy from behind enemy lines. No one expects him home for the holidays, and he certainly didn’t anticipate finding a stranger in his house, much less Noah Kinley with his acid tongue and a wry sense of humor that pierces all of Connor’s defenses.

Both men need to figure out what the next chapter in their lives will be—and whether it will include each other.

three-stars

This was my first read by Sarah Madison. I didn’t dislike it. I’m always hesitant to try new authors, but I like Holiday reads so I was at an impasse of sorts. Holiday House Swap is exactly what it sounds like but have two people falling in love. Noah seems to be a reclusive author who lives in Maine to write his New York Times Best Selling Series. I say recluse, because he’s anything but timid and shy. If anything, he’s vocal, adamant and has no problem voicing his opinions on things, or trying to come up with a conclusion of sorts. Connor Harrison is fresh off the plane that is, a retired Air Force Pilot coming home to a stranger in his Jacuzzi.

It had plenty of funny moments to me, and both guys initially got to know one another better. The relationship did take a while to progress we can see them sizing each other up. I didn’t expect this Noah. I think I’m blown away by the confident Noah that we seen. In my head the confidence was going to come all from Connor. Not to say it wasn’t welcomed. It wasn’t the case, it was more of Connor being unsure of himself based on previous experiences. I did like that the plot focused on them apart and different aspects of their life then the passion level. I would have liked to see what became of Connor’s land and such. It was such a focal point of the story and we never got closure. I didn’t really like that.

All in all it was an okay book, but it wasn’t anything spectacular to me. It was very low steam, and it’s fine when we have something else to invest in. The problem was that as soon as we get invested it’s an epilogue and then over. Umm no ma’am. I want to see some progress together. Where do they live? We know, but I want to see some things happen. We’ve had all this buildup and then an instant later a proposal??? I think not folks.If you like low steam, nicely told stories, with okay guys then this is right up your alley folks!!!

About Sarah Madison

Sarah Madison has a large dog, and an even bigger horse, too many cats, and a very patient boyfriend. She enjoys photography, hiking with her German Shepherd, and competing her horse in the sport of combined training and eventing. Writing has become a passion that sometimes take precedence over everything else. As a matter of fact, when she is in the middle of a chapter, she usually relies on the smoke detector to tell her when dinner is ready.

You can contact Sarah at akasarahmadison@gmail.com.

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.

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.

When Forever Ended by Cara Dee

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.

when-forever-endedWhen Forever Ended: by Cara Dee
Series: Camassia Cove #2
Release Date: November 30, 2016
Pages: • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

At ten years old, Kelly and I were two rambunctious boys who carved our initials into a tree in the forest. We promised to be best friends forever and bumped our fists to seal the deal. I never should’ve kissed him that summer before college. It was a day that buried me in shame, a day I spent the next twenty-four years regretting, a day I never told anyone about.

At forty-three, depression was suffocating me. Not even my wife and two children could lift the heavy fog. I was riddled with guilt and self-hatred, and I was starting to realize that I would slowly fade away until nothing remained. Then one day, Kelly was back in town.

10% of the proceeds will be donated to Hope For Depression.

(All novels taking place in Camassia Cove are standalone.)
four-stars

I literally need to tip my hat off to Cara Dee. I really am a fan of her writing style. I don’t want to use the word plain, but maybe it’s more homey and realistic. I am always able to connect with her characters. I don’t necessarily have to be in their shoes, but she makes it to easy to relate to their struggles. I do like the way Cara tackled depression. I think we all know someone living with depression, and this book was such an eye opener for me. Its so easy for me to tell someone to get over things, but I’m not in their shoes and I don’t feel like they do. This book was completely different then book one. I loved book, and I really enjoyed this one as well. I do feel slighted in the sense that I would have liked to see more with Will & Kelly. It was nice for the two different p.o.v’s but because the focus on the story was for them more then anything I would have like them to have more screen time together. This wasn’t some quick fix for Will, he had to want it, and adjust to life differently then what he is used to.

Cara has written some of my favorite comfort read books, and this series is definitely gaining group to add to the list. I really like the simplistic way of life that her characters have. For me, I feel like they are relatable is so many ways. I adored Kelly. Oh my gosh, did I? I looked how he treated Will, and was so forthcoming with his past history with depression. It must have been really hard to walk away from someone that you love because of your fears. Kelly doesn’t have it easy. He’s adjusting to life with his sexuality and accepting it.

Will is 43, married with two kids, and severely depressed. The one thing that I would have liked was some prologue and a glimpse in the life of Will before Kelly came back into his life. I don’t think it was real clear on his reason for depression. I believe so many things that can have caused his depression, but its certain things that the characters speak on a past event that I felt like maybe it should have been included in the story. It was emotional to say the least, I felt all Will’s vulnerabilities, and his heartbreak.

Word to the wise for all those HEA people, there is cheating in this book. Don’t lose sleep over it, cheating happens in real life here folks. This series is realistic fiction so real life situations happen here. I really would be so much happier if this book had 100 more pages. I never wanted it to end. I wanted to see the progress of everyone by the end of the story. Was Will’s depression cured? Hell no, it is manageable by the end of the story. That’s all I can ask for. This definitely made me want to go back and re-read book 1 and this again. I love this writing, and can’t wait for the next in the series!

About Cara Dee

here aren’t many things better than picking up my Kindle and getting completely sucked into a whole new world—where words morph into images and characters’ moods suddenly reflect my own. Aside from good plot and writing, for me, it boils down to relatable characters.

As a writer, I’m not finished until the men and women in my books come to life, until I can see them as real people, until I can connect with them. Which means I write what I want to read: everyday heroes and heroines who have the same struggles we all do. They evolve, have flaws, make mistakes and amends, learn, and find the endings they fight for.

Those are the characters who take the readers on a journey away from work, laundry, grocery shopping, and to-do lists.

When I’m not writing, researching, or brainstorming, I’m either planning my next trip (never-ending bucket list!), reading, watching hockey, or spending time with family and friends

Pictures of You (’90s Coming of Age #1) 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.

Title: Pictures of You by: Leta Blake
Series: ’90s Coming of Age, #1
Release Date:Sept. 19, 2016
Pages: 316 • Format: eARC
Published By: Leta Blake Books
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Growing up gay isn’t easy. Growing up gay in Knoxville, Tennessee is even harder.

Eighteen-year-old Peter Mandel, a private school senior—class of 1990—is passionate about photography. Peter doesn’t have many friends preferring to shoot pictures from behind the scenes to keep his homosexuality secret.

Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly new guy who doesn’t do labels, but does want to do Peter. Hardly able to believe gorgeous Adam would want geeky, skinny him of all people, Peter’s swept away on a journey of first love and sexual discovery. But as their mutual web of lies spins tighter and tighter, can Peter find the confidence he needs to make the right choices?

Join Peter, in the first of a four-part coming of age series, on his search to love and be loved, and, most of all, how to grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

four-stars

The main thing I would tell readers!!!

Pictures of You is about heartbreak, sadness, love, and understanding. It’s about two young men falling in love in the early 90’s in Knoxville, Tennessee in their senior year of High School.

I am so shocked at myself, it was emotional at many different of times, but I didn’t cry as much as I thought I would. I’m also a fan of Adam!!! Don’t throw anything at me. I think I understand Adam so much, and his reasoning. He made me what to kidnap him and take him somewhere where he can be free. He also made me want to eviscerate him time and time again. **Big Sighs**, Oh Peter, Peter the Eater! I love you. I don’t know if I was this smart at 18. Peter was smart, but stupidly in love. I really enjoyed this story. The first time I picked it up, I cried at the beginning. I decided to pick it up at a later date, and now that I decided to give it a second chance, I was just blown away at the level of writing. Leta Blake is a definite auto-buy author for me. I love how her characters resonates with her readers. We might not be able to personalize with each character, but I guarantee you that we will be able to point out a detail on why they are just like me.

There was so many moments that I wanted Peter to open your eyes hun, he isn’t going to choose you moments. I don’t know if it was a relief when Peter came to that conclusion himself, because in doing so Peter excepted anything that was thrown at him. I loved Peter’s thought process. I thought he was such a splendid character. I really loved the time that he was around his Dad. Oh, that was super emotional for me as well. I’m one of the few people in romance that is okay with Cheating. Yeah, I know some people get ragey crazy mad, but cheating is normal. It happens daily, and in this story it was no better. Peter accepted the cheating and that hit me in the throat. Being in love with Adam had to be to hard. I know what its like to be in the love for the very first time. Its like sunshine, daisies and hearts galore. Its like feeling on top of the world. Adam!!!! **Grr**, I have to grr when I speak his name. I don’t want to say he was leading Peter on, but I do want to say he didn’t have to give up anything. Let me be clear, I understand Adam. His background, home life is as acceptable as Peter’s is. I don’t think Adam got the guise that he can end up leaving Knoxville at any time, and Peter is left broken and hurt. Sure Adam is going to be hurt, but I do think he was selfish enough to be in love with two people. That part hurt-ed me the most.

This is a 4 part series, and I can only imagine the level of emotions that I’m going to go through from each book. I will do this because Leta Blake proves to be amazing, and I love her writing. Sure this books leaves us with no HEA. I am happy with that, but I am so scared of whats to come. I only hope that Peter decided to put himself as a priority this go around. College is on the horizon, and both guys will be experiencing new things. Bravo, Mrs. Blake.

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.

Enemy of My Enemy 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.

talEnemy of My Enemy: by Tal Bauer
Series: The Executive Office #2
Release Date: October 24. 2016
Pages: 287 • Format: eARC
Published By: NineStar Press
Purchase Links:
NineStar PressAmazon

An affair that stunned the world.
Two men, committed to their impossible love.
One general, determined to destroy them both.
President Jack Spiers and former Secret Service Agent Ethan Reichenbach throw caution to the wind, committing themselves publicly as the first out male lovers and partners to occupy the White House. Jack moves Ethan into the Residence, but as Ethan settles into his new role as first gentleman of the United States, not everyone is thrilled with their choices. When it seems like the world turns against them, Jack and Ethan must turn to each other, finding the strength together to press on.
In the chaos, Jack’s relationship with the Russian president, Sergey Puchkov, grows closer, and the two nations find themselves working almost as allies. But President Puchkov has secrets of his own, secrets that could rip everything apart. And Ethan steps back into the action with Lieutenant Adam Cooper, taking charge of a covert kill team tasked with hunting down General Madigan once and for all.
But Madigan is elusive, and his dangerous reach is long. He strikes at Jack and Ethan from the shadowy corners of the globe, unraveling their entire world. As the mad general draws new allies together, he is single-minded in his quest to destroy the only two men who ever beat him.
He will stop at nothing until Jack and Ethan are shattered men, worlds apart, and struggling to get back to one another.
And after that, Madigan’s true revenge begins…

four-half-stars

This might be the novel version of Scandal. I enjoyed this so much more then book one. I’m all for that, but good Lord it seemed Good never could prevail against the evil in this book. That ending!!! ZOMG, I swear if it turns out to be true then I will find you Tal Bauer!!!! Nooooo, please don’t let crazy become the mole. It’s always the most loyal ones right. This book picks up immediately after the first, it’s not a stand alone and you definitely need all background info going into book two. Ethan & Jack!!! You guys gave me straight feelz. I was overloaded with joy with how fair these two have come, but just like Olivia and Fitz your happiness had a timeline!

I don’t even know where to start. So much information was thrown at me, that I am not 100% certain who is Good and who is Evil. It was so many twisty turns in this book, so many Noooo moments, so many tears!!! Gosh, I didn’t expect the tears but they were out in full force today! I really enjoyed the writing and the transition into each different povs. I think getting the main cast pov instead of just Ethan & Jack’s made the story. It was realer to see from everyone’s aspect. Even crazy ass Madigan. He was crazy but I liked his thoroughness.

You notice in my review that I don’t really talk about the plot, well I think it’s best if you read it and feel it while everything is happening. I mean it’s some really big WTF moments in the book, and yeah I closed my left eye and suspended reality for a while, but it’s fiction and I love it. I’m seriously in love with Fiasal and Sasha at the moment. I swear they better get a HEA by the end of the next book. Don’t know about their counterparts but these two need to come out on top

Ethan & Jack’s love was able to stand against everything that was happening to them. At the end of the day it’s still a romance, and I love them together. It was heartbreaking moments, but I love that they were able to be together by any means necessary.

Now, how long until the next book? Do I have enough time to order a case of wine?

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.