Audioreview: Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Narrator: Callie Dalton

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: Lingus by Mariana Zapata
Release Date: October 26, 2016
Format: Audiobook (10 hrs and 49 mins)
Genre: Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio

Blurb: Most people would describe Katherine Berger as a responsible girl with a big heart, a loyal friend who takes care of those close to her, and the possessor of a wicked sense of humor. There was something about her that most people didn’t know.

“My name is Kat Berger, and I love porn.”

When 25-year-old Kat is dragged to a porn convention by her best friend, she’s both embarrassed and nervous. The last thing she ever expects is to meet someone who makes her laugh like no other. This is a story about acceptance and friendship and a love born out of the most unexpected of places.

four-stars

The blurb/synopsis doesn’t accurately describe the heart of this novel nor does it do the love story justice. The porn convention was a backdrop to a friends to lover trope.

Katherine Berger goes to a porn convention with her bestie and while she was attempting to discretely pick her panties out of her butt, a guy named Tristan saw her. Tristan began teasing her and it was a beginning of a friendship and later romance. If you have listened to a Mariana Zapata book, you know that the journey to love tends to be longer and slower than the norm. Usually I enjoy the ride but this book felt longer than the previous books by the author. I liked the friendship but it was always clear that Kat wanted more than his friendship and was waiting around for Tristan to want her back. I loved the humor, I also loved the friendship but I found Tristan underdeveloped. We never really got to know him as Robby Lingus and I didn’t believe people in law school or law firms wouldn’t find out his job. Tristan seemed a tad antisocial but I would have liked to get to know his layers more. I know an ex-girlfriend led him into porn, and he was using it to pay for school. He clearly didn’t care for it but he never really talked about it. Kat, her dad, and their bond was explored along with her loving relationship with her girlfriends showed with care and precision. Tristan was really the unknown in this equation.

With that said, I laughed listening to this audiobook.  Mariana Zapata has a gift in building realistic relationships. This story was special because the friendships were authentic. The friendship between Kat and her girlfriends as well as Kat and Tristan was so real to me. I felt elated and satisfied when Kat and Tristan finally took the leap together.  I will read any and everything this author releases. I enjoy her work that much and I always know the journey to the happy ending will be worth it.

Ezi

Family Man by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton

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.

Family Man: by Heidi Cullinan & Marie Sexton
Release Date: September 11th, 2017
Pages: 206 • Format:eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Sometimes family chooses you.

At forty, Vincent “Vinnie” Fierro is still afraid to admit he might be gay—even to himself. It’ll be a problem for his big, fat Italian family. Still, after three failed marriages, it’s getting harder to ignore what he really wants.

Vinnie attempts some self-exploration in Chicago’s Boystown bars, far from anyone who knows him. Naturally, he runs smack into someone from the neighborhood.

Between working two jobs, going to school, taking care of his grandmother, and dealing with his mother’s ongoing substance abuse, Trey Giles has little time for fun, let alone dating someone who swears he’s straight. Yet after one night of dancing cheek-to-cheek, Trey agrees to let Vinnie court him and see if he truly belongs on this side of the fence—though Trey intends to keep his virginity intact.

It seems like a solid plan, but nothing is simple when family is involved. When Vinnie’s family finds out about their relationship, the situation is sticky enough, but when Trey’s mother goes critical, Vinnie and Trey must decide whose happiness is most important—their families’ or their own.

four-stars

 

This was my first read of this book, and I”m shocked that I haven’t read it before. I really enjoyed this story. I love the setting, the family, the people in it, and Trey & Vince. This was realistically done! Love the big families, and how the family trope was done so well. Cullinan and Sexton need to write more books together if this is what came out!

Vince is 40 years old, and now accepting that he’s gay. Not only has he been married 3 times to women, but his greatest fear is being without his big Italian Family. With only his sister being his support system he ventures out into the world to see what being gay can offer him. Trey is gay, but school and his family is what is most important to him right now. He can’t think about being in a relationship while dealing with his mom’s alcoholism, being the breadwinner in his family, and oh yeah he’s a virgin. Not because he is a prude or something. He just wants it to mean something. Trey & Vinnie know each other, living in the same neighborhood, and being Italian of course they know one another.

Loved how patient Trey was with Vinnie. They both have personal things going on within themselves that they try letting it stay in the background to see where this No-Sex rule goes between the both of them. Vinnie is hard case to crack sometimes, but he’s interested in Trey. He’s a gentleman, and shows a side of dating to Trey that Trey hasn’t seen before. Trey can offer Vinnie things and views on being Gay. What it means to fall for the same sex. This was a learning experience for both guys. It was extremely sweet at times, and other times extremely vulnerable.

I laughed, had some tears, but overall I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I’m so happy I decided to read this. I wish it was a follow-up seeing as its a second edition being published and its had years being out. I would have liked to a “Where are they now?”, moment from the authors. No matter, because I’m happy and I definitely recommend this.

 

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About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

About Marie Sexton

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.

How To Save A Life by Eli Easton

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.

How To Save A Life: by Eli Easton
Series: Howl at the Moon #4
Release Date: August 28th, 2017
Pages: • Format: eARC
Published By:Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Rav Miller looked into the terrified, intelligent eyes of the chocolate Labrador on death row, and knew he’d do anything to save him. When the dog, Sammy, escapes and heads to Mad Creek, Rav follows. Mad Creek. The town had become legendary in Rav’s mind after he’d met that bizarre group last year. Rav dismissed his crazy suspicions back then, but when he arrives in Mad Creek, he knows it’s true. Dog shifters exist, and apparently they all live in the California mountains. It’s enough to blow a bad boy’s mind.

Sammy has something in common with Rav—neither one of them trusts people. After Sammy’s abuse as a dog, he particularly dislikes tough-looking men like Rav. But when Sammy gets a chance to work with rescued dogs at the new Mad Creek shelter, his deep compulsion to help others overcomes his fear. Rav and Sammy bond over saving strays. If they can each find the courage to let someone else in, they might find their way to love.

Sheriff Lance Beaufort doesn’t like humans moving into Mad Creek, especially not the tattooed and defiant Rav. When Rav starts a rescue shelter, the town thinks he’s wonderful! But Lance isn’t fooled. He doesn’t buy Rav’s innocent act for one second. How much does Rav know about the quickened? What is his game? And why did he have to show up now, when Lance and the other town leaders are overwhelmed by all the new quickened pouring in?

Rav knows how to save a life. But can he save an entire town? Can he rescue Mad Creek?

 

four-stars

I really enjoy this series! I’m not an animal person at all, but I would love to have all these dogs with me. Easton’s, Howl At The Moon series is one of my favorite shifter series! Each book has something different in it. This book had me tearing up in the first 10%. I couldn’t believe it. I really enjoyed Rav’s characters and Sammy’s earnest personality.

Rav is a biker, with a heart of gold. Running a no-kill shelter and taking in dogs when he doesn’t have enough room. Sammy is such a sweet doggy. He’s a sweeter human. He’s had a tough life up until getting to Mad Creek, but he pushed through and made it work. This was a relatively slow burn on the romance, and it wasn’t bad persay. Not the steamiest, but I can always understand it isn’t needed. I liked how Rav stuck to his guns with the town. Loved all his reservations, fears, and hopes being played out on the page. In each book, Eli defintiely distinguished each personality with their dog’s counterparts. I really liked Rav and his knowledge on how each dog is. Love how he was able to be patient with Sammy. Allowing Sammy to learn on his own, about what he wants and doesn’t.

Don’t know how I feel about some of the other characters getting page time. It felt rushed in a sense that no other story offered it, and felt like the author didn’t have much to say with these characters. I also couldn’t understand making Rav’s background so heavy for it to dull off at the end, and nothing to come from it. The ending didn’t feel like an ending. More like a middle. It didn’t feel like a proper ending like the rest. I don’t know whats to come for Rav & Sammy. Even these problems to me, wouldn’t make me change my rating. I did like it. I really would like to see Rex & Simon get a book, of course not together but seperately. Its a lot more quickeneds in Mad Creek that need their stories told!

 

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About Eli Easton

Having been, at various times, and under different names, a minister’s daughter, a computer programmer, the author of metaphysical thrillers, an organic farmer and a profound sleeper, Eli is happily embarking on yet another incarnation as a m/m romance author.

As an avid reader of such, she is tinkled pink when an author manages to combine literary merit, vast stores of humor, melting hotness and eye-dabbing sweetness into one story. She promises to strive to achieve most of that most of the time. She currently lives on a farm in Pennsylvania with her husband, three bulldogs, three cows and six chickens. All of them (except for the husband) are female, hence explaining the naked men that have taken up residence in her latest writing.

The Long and Winding Road by TJ Klune

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 Long and Winding Road: by T.J. Klune
Series: Bear, Otter and the Kid #4
Release Date: August 11th, 2017
Pages: 346 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are.

And here, at the end, Bear and Otter will be tested like they’ve never been before.

There’s a knock at the door from a little girl who has nowhere else to go.

There’s a phone ringing, bringing news they do not expect.

There’s a brother returning home after learning how to stand on his own.

As these moments converge, all of their lives will change forever.

Beginning in Bear, Otter, and the Kid, and continuing in Who We Are and The Art of Breathing, TJ Klune has told a saga of family and brotherhood, of love and sacrifice. In this final chapter, the events of the past pave the long and winding road toward a future no one could have imagined.

five-stars

 

 

Its been 2 days since finishing this book, and I’m trying to figure out how to conjure Otter out of this alternate universe. With no luck, or help it isn’t happening. I’m a huge fan of Klune, and everyone knows I like his more serious books without the comedy. I enjoy the comedy don’t get me wrong, but the realistic fiction calls to my soul more. When I first laid eyes on this series, I stayed away! Yikes the cover was HIDEOUS for book one. I don’t even recall what I first thought about it. My very first read was Into This River I Drowned and it destroyed me. It broke me into a billions pieces, and I had to reconsider on what covers mean to me. At this point, 2 books in the series were out and three was a few months out. I decided to give it a chance, and its the best thing I’ve ever had to do. Falling in love with this family felt so right. Falling in love with Otter felt so normal Crying, and laughing felt like home. I just re-read the first 3 books leading up to me reading this. Its a series that I know I can’t re-read often for fear of losing that spark that I felt the very first time. I won’t go on and long with poetry about how amazing Klune is. After all he gave me Otter, Gus & Ox. His characters are real, flawed, amazing, and seep so deep down inside you, that you can’t help but to love them.

Reading this book was hard because as much as I loved it, seeing me get close to the 100% was way harder. It was emotional, it was funny, and it made me feel melancholy for a while. Unlike most, I’m happy with the end of this series. I love where they are at. I feel like Bear & Kid have finally found peace and I’m happy with everything they’ve had to go through to get where they are. No part of this journey has been easy. If I could have had any of the support in my life that these two have had, then I’d be happy and content.

The Long and Winding Road is broken up into 3 different parts. Each part literally tears me down. I might love the future part, but the past part definitely affected me more. Seeing the Kid’s situation was so devastating, but it was brilliantly done. It was honest, and truthful. No easy fix, no rainbows or sprinkles. Really gritty, and something that needed to be approached. Love that the overall message is about family. Whether it comes from blood relatives, or people you’ve woven together it only matters that you love one another and look out for the people who’ve always mattered.

Its bittersweet saying goodbye, but I thank T.J. for welcoming these people in my life for the betterment of it. I can peacefully say goodbye to Bear, Otter, Kid, Dominic, Mrs. Paquinn, Creed, Anna and the Rents! I can say goodbye to the future Thompson’s and Millers. I can say goodbye to the earthquakes, laughter, and that little patch of beach. It might not be really goodbye for me, but I’m happy with the ending. So thank you T.J. I totally loved this book and Otter ever more!

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About TJ Klune

When TJ Klune was eight, he picked up a pen and paper and began to write his first story (which turned out to be his own sweeping epic version of the video game Super Metroid—he didn’t think the game ended very well and wanted to offer his own take on it. He never heard back from the video game company, much to his chagrin). Now, two decades later, the cast of characters in his head have only gotten louder, wondering why he has to go to work as a claims examiner for an insurance company during the day when he could just stay home and write.

He lives with a neurotic cat in the middle of the Sonoran Desert. It’s hot there, but he doesn’t mind. He dreams about one day standing at Stonehenge, just so he can say he did.

Release Blitz: Gabriel (Legacy Ranch, #2) by R.J. Scott

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: Signal Boost Promotions

Length: 55,000 approx
Cover Design: Meredith Russell
Kyle (The First Legacy)Amazon US | Amazon UK
Blurb:
Trapped in darkness, can an escort find a man to help him into the light?Gabriel Reyes never gave in. He fought and was hurt, was abused but escaped with his life. He made his way in the world using the one thing he was good at: sex. He earned a place with a man who controls everything but Gabriel is safe; he’s made it.Cameron Stafford hires Gabriel for a night, needing nothing more than a pretend boyfriend to get his dysfunctional family off his back. With the money he has in the bank and his own hotel, why won’t they just leave him alone? It doesn’t matter that a degenerative disease has stolen his vision, or that his last boyfriend was a bastard who tried to steal from him; for now he has purpose.

When Gabriel and Cam fall for each other, can they find real happiness and, maybe, a forever that will save them both?A new story set in the world of Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes and the Double D Ranch, Texas. Please be aware: emotional and physical abuse are depicted on the page in this book.

Trapped in darkness, can an escort find a man to help him into the light?Gabriel Reyes never gave in. He fought and was hurt, was abused but escaped with his life. He made his way in the world using the one thing he was good at: sex. He earned a place with a man who controls everything but Gabriel is safe; he’s made it.Cameron Stafford hires Gabriel for a night, needing nothing more than a pretend boyfriend to get his dysfunctional family off his back. With the money he has in the bank and his own hotel, why won’t they just leave him alone? It doesn’t matter that a degenerative disease has stolen his vision, or that his last boyfriend was a bastard who tried to steal from him; for now he has purpose.When Gabriel and Cam fall for each other, can they find real happiness and, maybe, a forever that will save them both?A new story set in the world of Jack and Riley Campbell-Hayes and the Double D Ranch, Texas.
☀️Please be aware: emotional and physical abuse are depicted on the page in this book.four-stars

I love reading RJ Scott books because she tackles sensitive matters with delicacy and grace. Her writing style is very visceral and poignant that I am often moved to tears. As with book 1, this second book was very angsty, emotionally taxing and subtly encouraging. The threads of hope kept me going through the hard to read parts because I know that we will eventually make it over to the other side. I would encourage readers to read Kyle, Book 1, to truly appreciate the importance of Legacy Ranch in this series because the impact of the safe haven was more evident in the first book. Gabriel was first mentioned as one of the four boys abused the Bar Five Ranch by Hank Castille, who is currently in jail after the boys including Gabriel testified against Hank in court.

In this sequel, the reader was introduced to an emotionally and physically battered Gabriel who lives with Stefan, the man who “takes care of him and gives him what he needs” aka his pimp. It is clear from the start that Gabriel is in an incredible amount of physical, mental and emotional pain. When Gabriel is hired for a night to pretend to be the boyfriend of Cam Stafford, a rich, blind man, I saw the first real lifeline to a drowning Gabriel. Cam Stafford was the owner of the hotel where Stefan frequently set up Gabriel’s appointments, so Cam and his bodyguard Six had time to study Gabriel. The “work” association created an emotional link between two men whom found it difficult to connect with anyone due to abuse they continually suffered.
This book was difficult because the abuse was truly distressing, but the author kept giving the characters reasons to be optimistic. It was heartbreaking to read how warped Stefan’s actions with Gabriel were. The abusers were so sadistic that it required true acts of courage to break free. Eventually Kyle and Cam made it possible for Gabriel to ask for help and begin the process of deciding that he wanted to live. Legacy Ranch and the therapy there was the first step in Gabriel’s healing process. It took a lot to get there but I was so thankful that there was even a place for Gabriel and people who wanted so desperately to help him.

My chief complaint was that Cam didn’t really address his own issues. There were some self-worth issues there as well and it was just glossed over. Cam’s family situation was a hot mess. I felt bad for him too because no one seemed to have his back from when he was twelve. Having money didn’t make him immune to emotional abuse. I would have loved Cam spending some time at the ranch to work on himself while Gabriel worked on himself. I still loved him as a character because Cam tried his best to help and support Gabriel in getting the help he needed.
This series is well written and realistic that as the author warns readers, it may cause triggers for victims. I really enjoy RJ Scott’s work and can’t wait for book 3.

August 7 – Making It Happen,

Author Bio

RJ Scott is the bestselling romance author of over 100 romance books. She writes emotional stories of complicated characters, cowboys, millionaire, princes, and the men and women who get mixed up in their lives. RJ is known for writing books that always end with a happy ever after. She lives just outside London and spends every waking minute she isn’t with family either reading or writing.

The last time she had a week’s break from writing she didn’t like it one little bit, and she has yet to meet a bottle of wine she couldn’t defeat.

mailto:rj@rjscott.co.uk
www.rjscott.co.uk/
www.facebook.com/author.rjscott?ref=ts&fref=ts
www.goodreads.com/author/show/3432558.R_J_Scott
twitter.com/Rjscott_author
www.librarything.com/author/scottrj

About R.J. Scott

My goal is to write stories with a heart of romance, a troubled road to reach happiness, and most importantly, that hint of a happily ever after.

I’ve has been writing since age six, when I was made to stay in at lunchtime for an infraction involving cookies and the mixing bowl. You can’t tell a six year old not to lick the bowl!

I was told to write a story and two sides of paper about a trapped princess later, a lover of writing was born.

As an avid reader myself, I can be found reading anything from thrillers to sci-fi to horror. However, my first real true love will always be the world of romance. I love my cowboys, bodyguards, firemen and billionaires (to name a few) and love to write dramatic and romantic stories of love and passion between these men. (Yum)

With over 90 titles to my name and counting, I am the author of the award winning book, The Christmas Throwaway, which was All Romance Ebooks best selling title of 2010.

I’m also known for the Texas series charting the lives of Riley and Jack, and the Sanctuary series following the work of the Sanctuary Foundation and the people it protects.

I’m always so thrilled to hear from readers, bloggers and other writers.

Standalone Sunday (8/6/17): Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Standalone Sunday is a fun feature created by Megan at Bookslayerreads where each Sunday you feature a standalone book (not part of a series) that you loved or would recommend. There’s so much focus on books that are part of a series… she thought it’d be nice to focus on some standalone novels, too!

Feel free to join in on this weekly feature by creating your own Standalone Sunday post! And be sure to check out Megan’s very creative blog and leave a link in her Standalone Sunday comments section so she can add your blog to the list

My Standalone Pick this week is: Lingus by Mariana Zapata

Blurb
Most people would describe Katherine Berger as a responsible girl with a big heart, a loyal friend who takes care of those close to her, and the possessor of a wicked sense of humor. There was something about her that most people didn't know. "My name is Kat Berger, and I love porn."

When twenty-five-year-old Kat is dragged to a porn convention by her best friend, she's both embarrassed and nervous. The last thing she ever expected was to meet someone who makes her laugh like no other. This is a story about acceptance and friendship, and a love born out of the most unexpected of places.

ADD TO GOODREADS

I have enjoyed every book since trying The Wall of Winnipeg earlier this summer. This is the only remaining audiobook by Mariana Zapata that I haven't tried. I'm looking forward to beginning it shortly. What's your favorite book by this author?

Trust With A Chaser by Annabeth Albert

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.

Trust with a Chaser: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Rainbow Cove #1
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Pages: 255 • Format: eARC
Published By: Annabeth Albert
Purchase Links:
Amazon

One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

four-stars

This book! ZOMG!!! It brightened up my day big time. I read this in one sitting, and couldn’t move or put it down. I need Albert to push this series out big time! Rainbow Cove is so my comfort read. I really enjoyed everything about this book, my only downfall is that I never wanted it to end! Guh!!!! Why??? I needed to see Mason, Lilac and Nash after that statement. Annabeth, you had to know we would want to see them, and read about them for at least another 100 pages. Is that so hard to ask?

Probably so. LOL. Don’t worry folks, this doesn’t end in a cliffhanger. Its more a HFN until I get a finale from these two. It has a lot of my favorite tropes, the age-gap, out for you, small quaint town settings, children. Its a definite winner. Mason Hanks comes from a family of people whom representation isn’t that upstanding. They are kinda known as criminals, and people who don’t up-stand the law. Not that Mason things he’s better then his family, but he just wants different in life. Coming back to Rainbow Cove isn’t something he planned but with 2 of his friends having the opportunity to open a tavern in his home town is a dream come true. Being closer to his niece who he adores, and a wayward brother and okay father. Never in Mason’s wildest dreams did he think Police Chief Nash Flint would be somebody he falls in love with. Flint isn’t easy to deal with at all. He’s so far in the closet, he’s practically in Narnia. Not really for fear of what others thing, but the fear of not living up to the job title and perception of folks all around him. Falling in Love with Flint isn’t easy. He’s grumpy, monosyllabic at times, and stubborn. Think that’s a common trait in the y chromosome folks. I liked the they were able to trade off on compromising for each others wants and desires. They didn’t have the best of communication but definitely made it for best for them.

One of my favorite things is when the writing feels real. This is a really good realistic fiction. With everyday problems and every day people. I enjoyed the other characters a lot. Can’t wait for Curtis & Logan’s book, I can only dream of where it goes. No idea on who Adam will end up with, kinda don’t want it to be Brock because I want him to end up with this burly lumberjack guy in my head. Proper Brock and Lumberjack dude is so hot. ARGH!!! Focus Tamika! I can’t wait for more, and loved the pacing of the story. There were some really steamy scenes, and I found the pillow talk to be truly endearing. I think fans will really appreciate and enjoy this series a lot. Annabeth, totally rocked this! Definite recommend from me!

 

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About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Audiobook Review: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata

Narrator: Callie Dalton
Source: Tantor Audio

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: Under Locke by Mariana Zapata
Release Date: January 19th, 2014
Format: Audiobook (16 hrs and 5 mins)
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Published By: Tantor Audio

He was my boss, my brother’s friend, a Widower, an ex-felon, and a man I’d seen casually with a handful of women. But he was everything that gripped me, both the good and the bad. Worst case scenario if things turned awkward between us, I could go somewhere else. I’d gotten over epic heartbreak before, one more wouldn’t kill me.

After moving to Austin following six months of unemployment back home, Iris Taylor knows she should be glad to have landed a job so quickly… even if the business is owned by a member of the same motorcycle club her estranged father used to belong to. Except Dex Locke might just be the biggest jerk she’s ever met. He’s rude, impatient and doesn’t know how to tell time.

And the last thing they ever expected was each other. But it was either the strip club or the tattoo shop… she should have chosen the strip club.

four-half-stars

If you have read Mariana Zapata, then you know you are in for a slow yet well developed romance. I haven’t read one that I didn’t enjoy and this book was no exception.

Iris “Ritz” Taylor lost her mom, and having no way to take care of herself, moved to Austin, Texas to live with her half brother Sonny. They shared a deadbeat dad who seemed to prefer getting in trouble than taking care of the kids he kept creating. Sonny worked a garage, but arranged for Ritz to work at a tattoo parlor owned by his friend named Declan “Dex” Locke. When Iris showed up, she met this Dex and it wasn’t love at first sight at all. Dex was definitely a douche and a naive Iris was the recipient of his constant venom.

This book detailed the journey as Iris and worked hard to rebuild her life and protect herself from the loan sharks her father But slowly, Iris showed her grit as she and Sonny tried to handle the loan sharks who decided to target them since they can’t find Iris’s dad. This required help from Dex and soon Sonny found herself living with Dex for protection. The two got to know each other and sparks flew.

Callie Dalton did a great job narrating this story. Her voice for Ritz had a youthful and hopeful note and her voice for Dex was gruffy, rude and bossy. The chemistry and angst was palpable that I was on pins and needles waiting for Dex to declare his feelings to Ritz.

Mariana Zapata has become one of my new favorites for a meaningful adult-ish romance (not overly sexy) with characters that are entertaining. I think this is my second favorite book from her so far.

The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia

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Title: The Lovely Reckless by Kami Garcia
Release Date:October 4th 2016
Format (Pages): Paperback (384 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Published By: Imprint

I’ve become an expert at avoiding things that could hurt me—which means I will figure out how to stay away from Marco Leone.

Seventeen-year-old Frankie Devereux would do anything to forget the past. Haunted by the memory of her boyfriend’s death, she lives her life by one dangerous rule: Nothing matters. At least, that’s what Frankie tells herself after a reckless mistake forces her to leave her privileged life in the Heights to move in with her dad—an undercover cop. She transfers to a public high school in the Downs, where fistfights don’t faze anyone and illegal street racing is more popular than football.

Marco Leone is the fastest street racer in the Downs. Tough, sexy, and hypnotic, he makes it impossible for Frankie to ignore him—and how he makes her feel. But the risks Marco takes for his family could have devastating consequences for them both. When Frankie discovers his secret, she has to make a choice. Will she let the pain of the past determine her future? Or will she risk what little she has left to follow her heart?

five-stars

This book featured one of my favorite romance tropes: good girl falls for bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks. But what made it so enjoyable was the visceral writing of Kami Garcia. I felt like I actually knew these kids and I couldn’t help but hope they had what it took to overcome their obstacles.

Frankie Devereux was a seventeen year old forced to move in with her police officer dad due to some bad choices and actions on her part. While at her new school, she met Marco Leone, the resident bad boy that everyone warned her to stay away from. As fate often does, situations kept bring them together and revealing that each character was more than the image the exuded to the world.

The author did a great job of developing the characters and the story was so captivating. It had just the right amount of angst, suspense, cuteness and hope that I fell in love with this book. I hope the author will consider doing a sequel on the supporting characters because the friends all had things going worth exploring.

This book was just what I need to remind me what I loved about new adult romances.

About Kami Garcia

Kami Garcia is the #1 New York Times, USA Today & international bestselling coauthor of the Beautiful Creatures and Dangerous Creatures novels. BEAUTIFUL CREATURES has been published in 50 countries and translated in 39 languages, and the film Beautiful Creatures released in theaters in 2013, from Warner Brothers. Kami’s solo series, The Legion, includes the instant New York Times bestseller UNBREAKABLE, and the sequel UNMARKED, both of which were nominated for Bram Stoker Awards. Her forthcoming YA contemporary romance THE LOVELY RECKLESS releases on October 4, 2016, followed by THE X-FILES ORIGINS: AGENT OF CHAOS, a novel about a teenage Fox Mulder, in January 2017, both from Imprint (Macmillan).

Kami was a teacher for seventeen years before co-authoring her first novel on a dare from seven of her students. If she isn’t busy watching Supernatural, Kami can teach you how to escape from a pair of handcuffs or bake a Coca-Cola cake. She lives in Maryland with her family, and their dogs Spike and Oz (named after characters from Buffy the Vampire Slayer).

Review: The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett

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: The Hard Truth About Sunshine by Sawyer Bennett
Release Date: March 28th, 2017
Format:  Kindle Edition (348 pages)
Genre: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Purchase Links: Amazon | Paperback | B&N | iBooks | Google Play | Kobo

An angry, bitter amputee.
An optimist losing her eyesight.
A dying kid.
A suicidal thief.

Four people with nothing in common but their destination.
Despite having narrowly escaped death’s clutches, Christopher Barlow is grateful for nothing. His capacity to love has been crushed. He hates everyone and everything, completely unable to see past the gray stain of misery that coats his perception of the world. It’s only after he involuntarily joins a band of depressed misfits who are struggling to overcome their own problems, does Christopher start to re-evaluate his lot in life.
What could they possibly learn from one another? How could they possibly help each other to heal? And the question that Christopher asks himself over and over again… can he learn to love again?
He’s about to find out as he embarks upon a cross country trip with a beautiful woman who is going blind, a boy with terminal cancer, and an abuse victim who can’t decide whether she wants to live or die.
They will encounter adventure, thrills, loss and love.
And within their travels they will learn the greatest lesson of all.
The hard truth about sunshine…

Warning: This book deals with some tough issues including suicide and sexual abuse.

four-stars

This book was an emotional roller coaster that kind of ended well, but the subject matter was HEAVY. I am glad that I read it though I probably will never read it again.

Christopher Barlow was a former marine floundering after he was maimed by an IED. He was forced to get counseling after a suicide attempt as well as his continuing PTSD battle. During his group therapy, he met several people including: Jillian Martel, a woman going blind, Barbara Stiles, a woman who had attempted suicide a few times due to sexual abuse trauma and Connor McCann, a young guy who had less than a year to live. To help Connor tick off items on his bucket list, the therapy group went on a road trip.

This trip began the bonding that allowed each character to make themselves vulnerable to the other members of their group. Most of the stories were sad but I was also in awe at the strength that each of them exhibited as they tried to deal with their depression.

I haven’t read anything like this from Sawyer Bennett and I am surprised that she tried this. I will give her kudos because the story shows bravery, real life issues and the uncomfortable reality of many people struggling with being less than “society perfect”. I put it down a few times to decompress but I am glad that I finished it. There was light at the end of the tunnel and it was worth it to finish this book.