Strays by Garrett Leigh

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.

Strays: by Garrett Leigh
Series: Urban Soul #2
Release Date: March 27th, 2017
Pages: 249 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Work, sleep, work, repeat. Nero’s lonely life suits him just fine until his best friend, Cass, asks him to take on a new apprentice—a beautiful young man who’s never set foot in a professional kitchen. Despite his irritation and his lifelong ability to shut the world out, Nero is mesmerised by the vibrant stray, especially when he learns what drove him to seek sanctuary on Nero’s battered old couch.

Lenny Mitchell is living under a cloud of fear. Pursued by a stalker, he has nowhere left to run until Nero offers him a port in a storm—a job at the hottest restaurant in Shepherd’s Bush. Kitchen life proves heady and addictive, and it’s not long before he finds himself falling hard and fast for the man who has taken him in.

Fast-forward a month and a neither man can imagine life without the other, but one thing stands in their way: a lifetime of horrors Nero can’t bring himself to share with Lenny. Or can he? For the first time ever, happiness is there for the taking, and Nero must learn to embrace it before fate steps in and rips it away.

four-half-stars

 

 

Oh my goodness, this book was amazing!!!! I loved every single minute of it. Leigh packs a healthy punch of angst in her for those lovers, but it was non-angsty enough for me to enjoy it. I mean let’s be honest here who does flawed characters like Garrett Leigh? NOBODY! She is Reigning Queen and this book solidifies it. I thought I could pick it up to start reading to take my mind off things, but I ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. (NTS: go back and re-read Misfits)

Lenny & Nero were so good together. I can’t stop gushing about it. What is it about grumpy ass men? I’m so attached to them. At first grump glance, Nero was mine. He just wants to be in the shadows and maintain a kitchen, but he can’t. LOL. Well he can, but he realizes really late in life how amazing he is. He is the team of a-holes, but with his past its no wonder why. Realizing his sexuality and never acting on it is driving him part mad when in flounces Lenny. Pretty Lenny, who I adored and who adapted to this new situation. I really loved Lenny. He was going through a traumatic experience but was able to mold into something new for himself. The attraction to one another is pretty obvious. Its definitely a waiting game to see who is going to fold first. I didn’t care at this point. Feelings were being made, angst was being dropped, but when moves were made and action was had in this story. It was great seeing Cass, Tom & Jake from Misfits. Loved how they all fitted so well within this book.

Both guys have some sort of trauma that they are dealing with. Lenny’s is most recent, and Nero is in the past. How can he help Lenny, and still deal with his monsters in the dark? I like that Lenny kinda reinforced to Nero that the communicating is a 2 way street. If you want to know all of my flaws, and scares then give up yours. It was a lovely for me to have the emotions that I did have, but I think once again its why I like Leigh’s books. They are definitely realistic and very much you can know these characters off hand in one way or another.

Strays is a definite recommend for me. You can read it as a standalone, but why do that? If you are looking for great writing, and an equally amazing story then pick this book up. You will not be disappointed!

 

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About Garrett Leigh

Garrett Leigh is a British writer and book designer, currently working for Dreamspinner Press, Loose Id, Riptide Publishing, and Black Jazz Press. Her protagonists will always always be tortured, crippled, broken, and deeply flawed. Throw in a tale of enduring true love, some stubbly facial hair, and a bunch of tattoos, and you’ve got yourself a Garrett special.

When not writing, Garrett can generally be found procrastinating on Twitter, cooking up a storm, or sitting on her behind doing as little as possible. That, and dreaming up new ways to torture her characters. Garrett believes in happy endings; she just likes to make her boys work for it.

Garrett also works as a freelance cover artist for various publishing houses and independent authors. For cover art info, please visit blackjazzdesign.com

Goodbye Paradise (Hello Goodbye #1) by Sarina Bowen

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)

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: Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen (originally In Front of God & Everyone (Pay It Forward #1))
Series: Hello Goodbye #1 (Pay It Forward #1)
Release Date: March 21st, 2017 (first published February 18th, 2015)
Format: e-ARC                Pages: 331
Genre: Gay Romance, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Cult romance
Published By:
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble Kobo Google

Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh & Caleb called it home.

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world.

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves.

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires.

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels?

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord’s name in vain, and love against the kitchen counterThis book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone. For more about its previous publication, you can read this blog post.

four-stars

This is one of those books that makes you believe in the young people’s resilient spirit and the kindness of strangers. It was sweet, hopeful and just encouraging that people can recover after horrifying childhoods peppered with traumatic experiences.

This story was told from both Caleb and Joshua’s POV as young people trapped in a cult where the elders usually kept 4-6 wives, some as young as fourteen. Consequently, boys over the age of 14 were considered a threat to their family structure and were sent to live the bachelor quarters. The young guys considered “weak” usually disappear from the compound after they are reach age of majority. Joshua and Caleb grew up together as best friends and live together in the bachelor quarters but it was generally understood that Joshua was a weak link. So, when Joshua was thrown out close to a bus station with $50, Caleb ran away to join Joshua.

From the beginning, it was clear that the bond between Joshua and Caleb was stronger than just mere friendship. It was ardent, devoted and passionate. It was as though their hearts were always bound together from day one but it had to be hidden. Once outside the confines of the religious cult, Joshua and Caleb had to learn how to deal with the feelings that they had been taught were sinful and perverse. Joshua struggled a lot harder than Caleb. I struggled with Caleb’s seamless transition from accepting his feelings to use of cuss words. I was expecting the guys to have some difficulty adjusting to the “outside” life as well as some language barriers since cult language seems to be more biblical and less informal/conversational in secular society. In addition, this story lacked the angst that I expected from boys tormented by the cult leaders. It’s almost like their past was forgotten. There was no mention to save those left behind or even rescue other boys who were sure to be discarded like Joshua.

Regardless of those issues, I found the love that blossomed between Caleb and Joshua to be so sweet and endearing. In Maggie and Daniel’s home, Caleb and Joshua found freedom, acceptance and finally, their talents. There were wonderful secondary characters that made this story richer. From Washington, Daniel, Maggie & Chloe, the supporting cast helped make this story heartwarming. Caleb and Joshua would have had a much harder and rougher time but for the continual support of the secondary characters. Most of all, I love that they all helped Joshua find his voice and gave him the strength to use it. Joshua was the one I rooted for the most because I am always drawn to the underdogs of the world. His development made this book for me.

If you want a super dramatic, angst-filled story, this isn’t it. This romance was a steady and emotionally even love story, not just between two guys, but a makeshift family.
Ezi

About Sarina Bowen

Sarina Bowen is a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Vermont’s Green Mountains with her family, six chickens and too much ski gear and hockey equipment.

Fair Catch (Players of LA #2) by Leigh Carman

Series:

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: Fair Catch by Leigh Carman
Series: Players of LA
Release Date: March 20, 2017
Pages: 200• Format: e-ARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links: • •

 

Here For Us (Us #1) by A.M. Arthur

Series:
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: IndiGo Marketing & Design

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: Here For Us by A.M. Arthur
Series: Us #1
Release Date: 3/17/17
Pages: • Format: 94k words
Genre: Romance (Male/Male Menage)
Published By: Briggs-King Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US
ADD TO GOODREADS

four-half-stars

Cris Sable doesn’t walk into popular gay bar Big Dick’s expecting to find more than a casual hookup, so he’s surprised by his instant attraction and intense chemistry with go-go dancer Jake. Jake’s sexy as hell and a firecracker in bed. The sparks between them are undeniable, and what starts as a hookup evolves into something deeper, possibly permanent—until Jake dumps Cris flat on his ass for no good reason.

Angry and confused, Cris finds comfort with his longtime friend and employer Charles “Chet” Greenwood. Cris’s emotional state stirs up Charles’s long-buried feelings for Cris. Feelings he’s denied for eight years, because Cris is his employee and therefore off limits—not to mention two decades younger than Charles. Cris admits he has feelings for Charles, too, but he’s still getting over Jake and both men agree nothing can happen between them while Charles is still Cris’s boss.

Jake Bowden knows he doesn’t have anything to offer a guy. He’s a go-go dancer with no degree and no real career aspirations. He’s also used to everyone who loves him leaving, so it makes sense to cut Cris loose before things get too serious. Cris is kind, passionate and totally deserves a guy like Charles—wealthy, owns a home, successful businessman. Jake can’t compete so why bother? They’re better off together. But when Jake has a serious personal crisis, Cris and Charles unite to pull him back together, and the three men discover it’s possible—maybe even inevitable—to fall in love with more than one person at a time.
Man, I loved this one. It had all the things I love in a love story except little kids. It had damaged characters, a love story not overshadowed by sex, and growth by the main characters. This was a story of some guys that found refuge in each other as their various life journey converged into one lane.  It felt like going through a storm and coming out on the other side to basking in sunshine.

I really liked Cristian “Cris” Sable. I wasn’t sure what he found so intriguing about Jake Bowden, but I suppose a sexy and unpredictable guy is just too much sauce to for a stable guy like Cris to pass up. Cris and Charles “Chet” Greenwood is one of those relationships where the time was never right, until it was. Cris and Chet felt like the joy I get while unwrapping a Christmas present. The author laid a proper foundation and that relationship felt like it was rooted in much more than physical attraction and curiosity. Cris and Chet had an enduring respect, affection and trust created from years of working together. These two really made the book for me because they were both caretakers and selfless men. That’s probably what drew them to Jake because he definitely need taking care of.

I’ll admit that I didn’t care for Jake. He alternated between abrasive and sharp-tongued to overly emotional and dramatic. I am glad he got counseling for all he had been through but at times I kept thinking he wasn’t worth the effort Cris and Chet were putting forth. In caring for Jake, Chet and Cris showed the depth of their loyalty and their capacity for patience and love. It made me love them that much more.

The chemistry between the three was palpable though I liked Cris as the connection, not Jake. I didn’t feel the attraction between Chet and Jake as strong because it felt more like compassion than passion.

My only complaint in this book was that the author introduced so many characters. Some of the secondary characters were necessary as it was clear they would be getting their own books in the future. But it was too many new people and I got annoyed trying to remember them as I didn’t know what role they would play in the threesome’s relationship down the road.

Despite that, I really enjoyed this book. I was so impressed with the way the author layered this romance. It wasn’t quick and insta-love, but it wasn’t so slow that I felt bored. It was just a steady pace of attraction, friendship and love. I can’t wait for the next book which I really hope is Taro and Dell.

Ezi

About A.M. Arthur

A.M. Arthur was born and raised in the same kind of small town that she likes to write about, a stone’s throw from both beach resorts and generational farmland. She’s been creating stories in her head since she was a child and scribbling them down nearly as long, in a losing battle to make the fictional voices stop. She credits an early fascination with male friendships (bromance hadn’t been coined yet back then) with her later discovery of and subsequent love affair with m/m romance stories. A.M. Arthur’s work is available from Samhain Publishing, Carina Press, Dreamspinner Press, and SMP Swerve.
When not exorcising the voices in her head, she toils away in a retail job that tests her patience and gives her lots of story fodder. She can also be found in her kitchen, pretending she’s an amateur chef and trying to not poison herself or others with her cuisine experiments.

Sophie by J.P. Barnaby

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.

Sophie: by J.P. Barnaby
Series:Survivor Series #5
Release Date: March 15th, 2017
Pages: 108 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

It’s amazing how a single word from a tiny girl can change your life.

Spencer Thomas’s world turns upside down when his beloved Nell dies and leaves custody of her three-year-old daughter to him. Her “Spenna” comes when Sophie needs him most, but his boyfriend, Aaron, can’t be a parent. He just can’t. Neither of them expected a baby to fall into the lives they’d finally just settled.

When Nell’s ex comes to claim Sophie, Aaron needs to make a decision: man up or walk away as Spencer faces the fight of his life.

 

 

four-stars

 

I don’t want to say goodbye to Spencer or this series. I am smitten with the man that Spencer has become. From the very beginning in Aaron’s book I adored this series. I fell in love with the writing, the trauma, the characters, and the will to overcome everything that has been thrown at the Downing & Thomas family. It’s bittersweet that I’m writing this, because while its the end of a great series (minus book 2, sorry that’s how I feel) its also the end of J.P. Barnaby’s writing career. I don’t know what she’s going to do, but I want her to know readers will definitely miss her voice, her talent, and her characters. Thank you for writing so many books, but for me this series resonate so clearly within myself.

I thought book 4 was a dozy in the emotions department, but I was not ready for this short book to hammer at me so hard. We see all of the characters come together to help Aaron & Spencer at their most critical time. Told from both guys pov’s, but I feel like Spencer didn’t have enough page time to me. I really enjoyed seeing Anthony, and his family. We have followed this family from the hardest of times to the joyous of occasions. Spencer has a huge responsibility now that he has custody of his 3 year old cousin Sophie. He didn’t realize until it was there in his face how much he wanted kids.  Of course a dilemma occurs between Aaron & Spencer. One wants kids, and the other doesn’t. They don’t really have time to talk this through because an accident happens and leaves Sophie with Spencer. There is happiness in the story between the two guys, we see them come full circle and its a beautiful thing.

If I had to talk about the downside is that it felt rushed. It didn’t seem like Spencer got enough screen time for me. I want issues and things to be talked through on page, and instead it shoots to another scene. I’m left feeling unsettled because it doesn’t seem complete. Listen if it was up to me, I’d have a Spencer book each year. I love him that much.

All in all it’s still a really good story. An okay conclusion for me, but fans of this series will definitely be happy regardless. I wish JP all the best in her next journey in life, and thank her from the bottom of my heart for this incredible series. A definite recommend from me.

 

 

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About J.P. Barnaby

JP Barnaby, an award-winning gay romance novelist, is the author of over two dozen books, including Aaron and the Little Boy Lost Series. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro who didn’t like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance, but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When she’s not hanging out with hot guys in leather, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix. A physics geek, she likes the science side of Sci-Fi, and wants to grow up to be Reed Richards.

True Colors 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.

True Colors: by Anyta Sunday
Series: True Love #2
Release Date: March 14th, 2017
Pages: 226 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Oskar used to be Marco’s best friend. His everything. His sunshine yellow.

But that was before. Before Marco stopped being a hot jock. Before he learned to live with scars and pain. And before Oskar tore their friendship apart.

Now the boy next door has returned home, determined to rekindle his friendship with Marco, and Marco’s more afraid than ever. Afraid of getting hurt. Afraid of being humiliated.

Afraid of falling in love.

Can Oskar find a way through Marco’s fear, back into his heart?
~~~~***~~~~
“True Colors” is an enemies to lovers, boy next door, first time, slow burn M/M romance with a generous helping of UST. This no-cliffhanger, HEA book can be read as a standalone.

three-half-stars

I am not a fan of the angst. She is not a fan of the angst. We are not a fan of the angst. I.HATE.THE.ANGST.

I got that out of my system. I don’t go looking for angst, because I always get so ragey made by midway through the book, but end up enjoying it. I don’t want to feel that way towards my books. I really liked Leo Loves Aries, and wanted to read more of this authors’ work. It’s a big difference of slow burn romance, and angst central. I can deal with slow burn romance, because the buildup of their love & devotion is so beautiful to watch. Angst is some hard core b.s. While I felt like the story was angsty enough, I also felt like March was over melodramatic. Put your pitchforks away and let me explain.

Marco went through a traumatic experience. I applaud him for having the strength to succeed in day to day things. During this traumatic time he was betrayed by someone he trusts. I get all of this. 16 is a hard age to adjust to and deal with. I think whatever happens during the time is life changing, but for Marco the one thing he didn’t expect with his fallout with his best friend Oskar. Someone he counts on, depends on, and loves deeply. Oskar has been his life force during this troubling time. But the betrayal came from Oskar. Marco hasn’t allowed himself to heal internally, and his hatred it seems for Oskar is damaging everything around him. His and Oskar’s family is friends/neighbors/family together. They’ve been in each others lives forever, and by the boys not being friends anymore its hard to adjust to. Fast forward to the present. Both guys are 20. Adults in every sense of the word. Oskar is moving back home after being away for 2 years. Marco is moving out of his home, and finding the independence that he needs. He doesn’t take into account Oskar moving back throws a wrench into his mental plan. Here’s my thing when they communicate or start to build up to where they were or could have been, I feel like Marco was stagnant in this sense. I get him being upset and mad. I get Oskar doing what he did. What I don’t get is an educated, smart person who plans to be a high school teacher, and was once a teacher holding a grudge for this long. At times I felt like every time Oskar was on page, and Marco didn’t like it was very melodramatic. Oskar practically begging for his forgiveness, and Marco defiantly holding his past against him. This is all my take on the situation. Its very easy for me to say these things, and not have it been about me.

I will say out of my melodrama comment, I did enjoy the story. I loved the author’s take on the chapter titles and meanings. It was super fun to see what each meant. This was an angsty friends to lovers romance, and outside of my quips on a certain situation I did enjoy it. I really am glad that I gave this a chance. I did fans of Sunday will love Marco & Oskar’s love for one another. It’s the best kind of romance when its a near friend of yours. I really loved Oskar as a character. He seemed so mature for his age, and even Marco who I felt could be lenient sometimes, but I understand it was a defense mechanism. It can be read as a standalone and a definite recommend.

 

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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.

Danced Close 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.

Danced Close: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Portland Heat #6 
Release Date: March 14th, 2017
Pages: 132 • Format: eARC
Published By: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links:
AmazonKobo

Portland, Oregon, is one of the hottest cities in America. Just ask all the hard-working men sweating it up behind the counters of the restaurants, boutiques, and cafés all over town …

Newly clean and sober, Todd’s taken a shine to his job at Portland’s most talked about bakery. It’s not just the delicious desserts they sell, but the tasty treats who keep walking through the door. That certainly includes Kendall Rose, a wedding planner with eyes the color of brown sugar and skin to match. Todd doesn’t try to hide his attraction to Kendall’s elegant confidence and unique style, even as he worries about exposing the secrets of his past.

For Kendall, the attention is just part of the anything-goes Portland he’s grown to love. But he’s still looking for that special someone who will embrace all of him—including his gender fluidity. So he takes a chance and asks Todd to be his partner in a dance class leading to a fundraiser. When the music starts and he takes Todd in his arms, Kendall is shocked at how good it feels. Turns out taking the lead for once isn’t a mistake. In fact, it might be time to take the next step and follow his heart …

three-stars

 

After careful consideration I bumped my rating up to a full 3 stars. I’m not happy with the overall product, but A.A is a very good writer. I always say I want more out of this series, and after each novella I’m like it should have been more pages. This was one time that I think it read needed to be long. The beginning was to slow, and choppy, I’m not convinced Todd knows himself well enough, because we surely didn’t get enough about him. It was frustrating trying to put together a background with no help. It would be little information about him, but nothing substantial as to why he is who he is. I thought this was careless on Albert’s part when every book in this series has been outstandingly thorough up until now. I feel the same exact way for Kendall. It’s little information but nothing really big.

After all of that is being said, once we got passed 35% the story got interesting. I think these two lonely guys who needed acceptance for different reasons learned to trust themselves to open up to one another. I will say that I did like that for all of their internal flaws there wasn’t nothing like the uplifting that they did for one another. Kendall for all his assurances about his appearance was a little hesitant about Todd’s feelings about himself. I think Todd realized that if Kendall a person who probably get judges daily for his appearance, then Todd can start uplifting him as well. It’s the same for Todd, he lacks the confidence at work and in his personal life. I like the idea that dancing has brought them together, and much closer.

I think it was a cute story, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the other novellas in the series. I wish this would have been a full length story then it could have went a different way for me. It’s still Annabeth Albert, and I like her books. I think fans of this series will really like an added book to this series.

 

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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.

Guest Reviewer: Lickety Split by Damon Suede

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.

Lickety Split: by Damon Suede
Release Date: March 13th, 2017
Pages: 286 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Lickety Split: Love won’t wait.

Patch Hastle grew up in a hurry, ditching East Texas for NYC to make his name as a DJ and model without ever looking back. When his parents die unexpectedly, he heads home to unload the family farm ASAP and skedaddle. Except the will left Patch’s worst enemy in charge: his father’s handsome best friend who made his high school years hell.

Tucker Biggs is going nowhere. Twenty years past his rodeo days, he’s put down roots as the caretaker of the Hastle farm. He knows his buddy’s smartass son still hates his guts, but when Patch shows up growed-up, looking like sin in tight denim, Tucker turns his homecoming into a lesson about old dogs and new kinks.

Patch and Tucker fool around, but they can’t fool themselves. Once the farm’s sold, they mean to call it quits and head off to separate sunsets. With the clock ticking, the city slicker and his down-home hick get roped into each other’s life. If they’re gonna last longer than spit on a griddle, they better figure out what matters—fast.

four-stars

This book is a hard one to review. I thought the writing and storytelling was really good but there were things I didn’t like about it. Most of those things though are personal preferences so…on one hand I didn’t like this book but on the other, I liked it a lot (yes, helpful I know).

Patch heads back to the small town in Texas where he grew up to settle his parent’s estate. His dad’s best friend Tucker still lives on the property and is caretaking. Patch had a crush on Tucker as a teen but the older man was always mean to him so he’s dreading seeing him again. For the first 30% of the book I didn’t like Tucker. Not at all. He has had a life of running around on women, stealing from an ex and leaving a bunch of kids all over that he never took care of. (the kid thing is a hard limit for me) By 60% I found myself warming to him a bit. I think the thing that stands out about this for me is the author never makes excuses for him or tries to pretty up his past. Tucker is what he is. As the story goes on both Patch and the reader see this and learn to accept it. The good in him slowly unfolds and I have to say he treated Patch wonderfully and with the utmost care. By the end there is no doubt in your mind he loves Patch and he’ll anything he can for him. 

The whole thing made me think a lot as I was reading this. I didn’t necessary like Tucker and I wouldn’t in a million years get involved with someone like him but at the same time I could see the beauty in their relationship. I think that it is a great piece of storytelling when the author can make you care about a character you don’t actually like. I had spent the first 60-70% hoping Patch would go back to his life in New York but somehow as the story unfolded I found that I had somehow bought into this relationship hook, line and sinker. All the things I had been worried about (the age gap, the lifestyle differences, the life experience differences) all just melted away and I found myself rooting for these two to get a hea. On a side note, I also liked how the author handled the age gap and their past. Super realistic imo and not something you see often in romance stories.

Two of my biggest issues though were the slang and the crudeness of the story. They, especially Tucker, talk in heavy Southern slang and there were entire passages where I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about. In fact, there is this huge pivotal moment in their relationship towards the end and I literally don’t know most of what was said. I read it 3x and then just decided to go with it. I got the general idea. I found this frustrating because it did impact my overall enjoyment. I think I missed some of the emotions by not understanding scenes. 

And my biggest complaint…..the crudeness. Gah….it was horrible for me. A sex scene would start off and it would be kind of hot or kind of romantic and then Tucker would open his mouth and it would shoot straight into gross territory for me. This is a really personal preference though so this may not be an issue for other readers. Some examples were: “releasing his meat”, “You got a big load stored up for me? You carrying a lotta squirt in them balls?”, “the fat rammer”, “his fat branch”, “he kissed the juice of Tucker’s knob”, “He bent to suck the sauce off”. These were just never ending and I swear the word “dick” was never used and “cock” only once. It was constantly his “meat” (which I find so, so gross) and a million other euphemisms. (euphemisms are a pet peeve of mine which didn’t help). SO……..different strokes for different folks and all that. I’m including these examples because I know a lot of people told me they didn’t like Hot Head due to the crudeness. I had no issue

with that book, in fact I loved it, so be prepared. If it was too crude for you this is probably not going to work. (I’m just giving little examples….the sex scenes were all pretty crude.) On another note, there was a Hot Head easter egg which made me smile. I love when author’s do those.

I have really mixed feelings about this. Huge portions of it I didn’t like and even by the end I didn’t love Tucker but, I really felt the love between these two men. I felt their emotions so strongly and there’s a scene towards the end where Tucker lays his feelings out that was really beautiful. I think the author did a really good job on making this relationship feel real and turn out good. Big kudos to him for doing this and for writing a romance outside the box.

 

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Who We Are by Nicola Haken

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.

Who We Are: by Nicola Haken
Release Date: March 9th, 2017
Pages: 271 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

four-half-stars

 

 

I did not expect this amount of emotions

 

Nicola!!!! Goodness, warn us! Would you??

I was a wreck after reading this. No scratch that I was a hot ass mess while reading this, and up until I finish. I mean, it’s a HFN in the contents of a realistic fiction. This was my second Nicola Haken book, and I’m rethinking why I haven’t read anything else by her. I love British stories, the humor, love, tears and the feelings that I’m able to convey with these characters. Can I say I’m not an animal lover at all, but I loved Marvin Daye. Oh my goodness it left me in tears every interaction between Sebastian & Marvin. The humor was such a great aspect to this love story.

I like being able to relate to characters I read about. In any way, shape or form it’s nice to see some comparisons between fiction and real life. I think Nicola has the perfect antidote on writing realistic fiction. Her characters can be you, your family, spouse, and friends. Its the same reactions through all the tears, joys, love and laughs. I knew next to nothing about this book when I requested it. I saw the cover and a little of the blurb and wanted to read it. Did I expect the read it in one sitting? Absolutely not, but I did. I might not have the best words to describe the story, but I really thought it was a love story between two guys who were each hiding something about themselves to the world. Sebastian has seem to given up on love when we meet him. He’s sure of himself and being bi-sexual but none of the past partners or future to him were able to be okay with it. It has left him cynical and not really looking for love. Oliver hasn’t been himself in years, his love life sucks. His personal life doesn’t seem to be much better. Left custody of his younger brother at a young age himself hasn’t left Olli time to experiment with dating and love. Every little minute is left is dedicated to his brother Tyler who is at the age when he’s a little shit. Oliver’s only freedom is when he’s able to turn into Miss Tique, his drag persona who he evolves into, and lets all his inhibitions a loose while performing. A chance meeting between these two guys turns into something magical. The physical attraction is right their on the page and its not hard to see the love grow & blossom. I love both of these guys for all their faults & flaws. Both guys are hesitant to tell each other about the children in their lives. For different reasons they are scared to show each other their true selves.

I really didn’t expect this book to pack so many emotions. I couldn’t believe where it went with the plot, it was times in the story that I had to stop because the tears were following so heavy. I fell in love more and more with Olli & Seb. I think people will appreciate Haken’s canny sense of realism. I thought the pacing, the length and gradual increases of tone were perfect for the tone of the story. I think fans of the M/M Genre will be surprised by how great this is. I think you should give it a try, and great job Nicola. I so look forward to more of your work. A definite recommend from me!

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About Nicola Haken

I live in not-so-sunny Rochdale, England (true northern girl!), and when I’m not playing with my imaginary friends I can usually be found being a slave to my four adorable (sometimes!) children (five if you include the dog, six if you include the hubby!) or binge watching Netflix.

All in all I’m just an ordinary gal with an addiction to reading about hot book guys, writing about hot book guys, tattoos, and Pepsi Max! Oh, and if my kids ever ask… I moonlight as the Pink Power Ranger 😉

Guest Post: Skythane by J. Scott Coatsworth

Oh My Shelves welcomes author J. Scott Coatsworth to the blog. He is here to talk about his latest release Skythane out at Dreamspinner & other retailers. Please give a big OMS welcome to J. Scott Coatsworth! In honor of him being a really nice person, we at Oh My Shevles are giving away a $20 Dreamspinner Gift Certificate & a e-book copy to a lucky commenter! Don’t forget to comment below!

 

Flying Through the Air With the Greatest of Ease
J. Scott Coatsworth

I’ve noticed a few patterns in my work over the last couple years. One of them is that I apparently LOVE LOVE LOVE having characters who fly.

In my novella “The Autumn Lands”, there are flying elves. You heard me right – flying elves.

My short story “Tight” was about flying spirts who enticed people out of planes in midair, to soar among the clouds.

My forthcoming book Liminal Sky has men and women who use gliders to soar over an artificial world.

And Skythane, my just-released novel, is full of men and women with wings – two whole kingdoms of them.

There’s just something that appeals to me about being able to fly under one’s own power.

I used to have these amazing dreams about flight – sometimes like Superman, soaring through the air like a missile. At other times, I’d be flapping my wings or arms until I was high above the ground. What they had in common was an incredible sense of freedom.

It’s a primal thing.

In Skythane, it was fun to explore what would happen when a race of winged humans had to co-exist with their flightless cousins, people like us. And in the following book, “Lander”, what happens when they go to war.

——————

My new novel, Skythane, is just out – and it combines my love of sci fi and secret reveals and MM romance. I hope you enjoy it!

Skythane: by J. Scott Coatsworth
Release Date:February 17th, 2017
Pages: 244 • Format: e-book
Published By:Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerKoboiBooksAmazon

Blurb

Jameson Havercamp, a psych from a conservative religious colony, has come to Oberon—unique among the Common Worlds—in search of a rare substance called pith. He’s guided through the wilds on his quest by Xander Kinnison, a handsome, cocky wing man with a troubled past.

Neither knows that Oberon is facing imminent destruction. Even as the world starts to fall apart around them, they have no idea what’s coming—or the bond that will develop between them as they race to avert a cataclysm.

Together, they will journey to uncover the secrets of this strange and singular world, even as it takes them beyond the bounds of reality itself to discover what truly binds them together.

Excerpt

Rain hit the plas and ran downward in little rivulets, separating and rejoining like branches of time as the storm whipped itself into a frenzy over Oberon City.

Xander Kinnson lay on his bed, head thrown back, watching the tempest with a laziness that belied his inner turmoil and pain. Alix had left him and gone missing. A year had passed, and still he had a hard time accepting that simple fact.

His dark wings with their jet-black feathers were stretched out lazily to each side of his supine form, their tips extending past the edge of the bed. His chest heaved slowly up and down, and he breathed easily, as if he were utterly relaxed.

Nothing could have been further from the truth. Below the surface, under the deception of skin and sinew, his heart beat at a thunderous pace, and his mind raced for answers to Alix’s fate that slipped beyond his grasp.

The handsome trick he’d brought home rested his warm hands on Xander’s thighs, his hot mouth engaged elsewhere. Xander smelled the deep, masculine musk of him, slipping a hand absently through the man’s dark, tousled hair as the rain increased to a thundering downpour against the plas. The drops glistened, each an individual universe of shimmering light before running quickly out of sight.

A flash of lightning illuminated the room, thunder indicating how close it had been. As the heavy rain pounded against the arco’s walls, Xander rode the wave of pleasure higher and higher. Despite himself, he rose quickly toward climax, drawn up on the tide as the trick worked his cock. Unable to stop himself, he thrust his hips almost angrily upward into the man’s willing throat. Closer, closer….

He reached the crest, a pleasure so intense it burned through him like phosphorous, a white-hot fire.

Lightning flared again across the wet, black sky, followed by thunder so close it shook the bed. The storm had reached a fever pitch outside, and he arched his back in the air one more time, his wings rustling beneath him. As if in concert with the storm, Xander came, the release of his orgasm radiating from his hips along his spinal cord and down through his toes and the tips of his wings.

The rush of elation washed away his cares for a few brief moments. Xander shuddered, shivered, and shuddered again, and it was over.

For a while, he drifted in an oblivion that was blessed in its emptiness. The rain fell in a steady beat against the window, and he forgot to wallow in his pain. His mind floated free, with no responsibilities, nothing to worry about for those brief moments between sex and real life. This was what he needed. This lack of thought, this pleasurable oblivion where he could just be.

When he opened his eyes at last, the nameless trick was staring down at him, expectant.

“You’re still here.”

“I can do more, if you’d like,” the man said with a grin. Like Alix, he had no wings—a lander man.

Xander glared at him, annoyed. He was handsome enough, tall, dark-haired, with blue eyes and a light complexion. Strangely, he reminded Xander of Alix. The hair and eyes were wrong, but there was something about him, and that annoyed the hell out of Xander, for reasons he didn’t care to examine too closely. “Get out,” he said with a dismissive wave.

The man frowned. “I thought—”

“Oh right, your pay.” Xander took the man’s arm and slitted him a hundred crits from the wrist reader embedded in his own. Then he waved the trick away. “We’re square. Now get the fuck out of my flat.”

The man gathered his own clothes, but Xander didn’t give him time to put them on. Instead he hustled the trick out of the irising door, palming it closed on his hurt and angry expression.

I really have become a bastard, he thought, staring at his dim reflection in the shiny black door. It had been a long year.

He tapped the cirq in his temple with his left hand, and called out to his PA. “Ravi, any messages for me?”

 

Author Bio

Scott has been writing since elementary school, when he and won a University of Arizona writing contest in 4th grade for his first sci fi story (with illustrations!). He finished his first novel in his mid twenties, but after seeing it rejected by ten publishers, he gave up on writing for a while.

Over the ensuing years, he came back to it periodically, but it never stuck. Then one day, he was complaining to Mark, his husband, early last year about how he had been derailed yet again by the death of a family member, and Mark said to him “the only one stopping you from writing is you.”

Since then, Scott has gone back to writing in a big way. He has sold more than a dozen short stories – some new, some that he had started years before. He is currently working on two sci fi trilogies, and also runs the Queer Sci Fi (http://www.queerscifi.com) site, a group for readers and writers of gay sci fi, fantasy, and paranormal fiction. You can reach me here:

Website: http://www.jscottcoatsworth.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jscottcoatsworth

Twitter: https://twitter.com/jscoatsworth

 

Giveaway

Comment below to win a $20 Dreamspinner Gift Certficate and a second place winner will recieve an e-book copy of J. Scott Coatsworth latest novel Skythane!