Starting From Scratch by Jay Northcote

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.

Starting From Scratch: by Jay Northcote
Series: Housemates #5
Release Date: April 12th, 2017
Pages: 294 • Format: eARC
Published By: JayBird Press
Purchase Links:
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Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

four-stars

 

Thank you Jay Northcote. Ben’s story was done really well, and you couldn’t have picked a better mate then Sid. I liked this friends to lovers story. It was very sweet, and endearing. Ben definitely came out of his shell in this book. I truly like how he evolved as a character. He tried so hard to be open to social hangouts, and I thought it was super cute his relationship with his mom.

I learned a lot of information in this book. So many things I didn’t know, and it was very real to read about. I like how informed Ben was in his choices and life. I enjoyed Sid having his doubts, but researching to figure out what to say and do. This actually was growth for both of them. They each changed for the better.

The pace of the story was perfect. Ben is Transgendered, and he is lonely. He wants to be with someone but those fears and doubts create a stopping point each time. Sid is Jude’s ex, but going through his own things, and he’s attracted to Ben at first hang out. I liked the whole talking and courting aspect. This was a developed romance. It had its flaws, and relationship problems, but that’s why its super realistic.

Not to heavy on the angst for me. I think we seem them become to connected to one another. Both experience this relationship for a first time. Both have reactions that are real to the situation. I am loving this series as it gets more along in fact. I really enjoyed this story. Ummm but Jay, you have to write Johnny’s next. No way can we see LACE and not get his story!! Please. I might go back and re-read Dev & Ewan’s because it just popped in my head as I type. LOL. This is a definite recommend folks! Get it and read it!

 

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About Jay Northcote

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with his husband, two children, and two cats. He comes from a family of writers, but he always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, he decided to try and write a short story—just to see if she could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary gay romance about men who fall in love with other men, usually set in or near her home town of Bristol. He enjoys the challenge of bringing the men in his head to life through his words. Jay has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and he also publishes his own titles under the imprint Jaybird Press. Some of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is a transgender man and was formerly known as she/her.

Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan

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.

Shelter The Sea: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: The Roosevlet #2
Release Date: April 18th, 2017
Pages: 190 • Format: eARC
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UKBarnes & NobleSmashwords

Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.

Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.

In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.

four-stars

Shelter the Sea is such a good follow up to Carry the Ocean. Loved seeing Emmett and Jeremey’s love continue to grow.

This book was much lighter than book one.  Not saying that the guys didn’t have difficulties, but I am so ecstatic that Heidi didn’t torture our guys apart to give us a story. This was a lot more realistic then book one if you want to say that. This book dealt with the difficulties of living with a mental illness. This was such an eye opener for people who don’t seem to matter or get pushed to the wayside. This story was a lot bigger then Emmett & Jeremey to me. Of course every couple goes through little snits together and its healthy. This was them plus the people in their everyday life and everyone else they inspire around the world. It was very emotional at times.

Half of the book focuses on their relationship. Some of it is happy, sad, funny and its them. We see Jeremey struggle with his depression a lot more. We also see him open up and he’s a lot more vocal in his wants and needs. Emmett, oh such a sweetheart. I love Emmett’s resilience. He does not give up. This man is the ultimate fighter and champion of his beliefs and causes. Their relationship grows, and we see them grow individually on page to grown men  and better partners for one another.

This was political heavy. Not to preachy, but very detailed and informed on what goes down. I think Heidi did wonderful with his research for this subject. It’s an emotional journey to say the least. It shows how messed up the government is when it comes to Mental Health and its patients, families and allies. It shows the ugly truth about money being the root of everything in this country. It also shows people of different everything coming together for a cause. It shows them banning together to fight to get the same rights as everyone else.

Shelter the Sea is a good closure to their story. It wasn’t very romancy, but it had its moments where it mattered. I think fans of the book one will be very happy with the outcome to this story. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future of the series as well. Hats off to you, Heidi.

 

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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.

Imagines by N.R. Walker

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.

Imagines: by N.R. Walker
Series: Imago #2
Release Date: April 10th, 2017
Pages: 148 • Format: eARC
Published By: BlueHeart Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UK

Jack Brighton and Lawson Gale have been together for six months and are very much in love. Lawson’s work ensuring the survival of the Tillman Copper is demanding as ever, and Jack’s work with the regeneration of the bushfire-ravaged national park is just as hectic.

When Jack suggests they take a short trip, Lawson agrees. But then he is offered a two-week research position in tropical Queensland to help determine why the Ulysses butterfly is on the decline. Figuring they could combine work and pleasure, Jack and Lawson go on their first vacation together.

Working alongside renowned professor Piers Bonfils isn’t easy. But personal and professional differences aside, Lawson is offered a more permanent role in Queensland. Torn between his new life in Tasmania with Jack and a dying species of butterfly he feels compelled to save, Lawson has to decide where his fate lies.

But fate changes the rules. On a research expedition into the depths of the rainforest, suddenly it’s not only the butterflies’ existence that hangs in the balance

A butterfly’s life cycle never changes. From larvae to imago, their course is plotted by design. Jack and Lawson need to determine where they stand, if they live through it. Because the only thing more incredible than one imago is two

 

 

four-stars

Dodged a bullet there folks! I was worried, it started off slow and a little disjointed for me. I loved book one so much that it was added to my favorites books of 2017. Never worry guys, Lawson & Jack are still adorably amazing and freaking hot together. They are still going strong together now for 6 months. Everyone is happy. Jack wants Lawson to move in with him, but of course adorkable Lawson wants to take things slow on that end. They haven’t even met families as of yet. This time Lawson takes his brains and Jack to Queensland on whats suppose to be a holiday and a little job excursion. Of course it doesn’t go well.

I am so enamored with Jack. He is by far one of the best guys I’ve read to date. His attentiveness, his loyalty and heart is what makes him so amazing. Lawson never had someone so giving but Jack requires nothing in return but love. Walker did a really great job of letting the guys explore different meanings of love to them and what works for their relationship. I was really happy with the conflict and how well conversating with one another did for them together.

My seemingly oblivious Lawson. Aww, he doesn’t know when flirting is dictated towards him. I won’t say he doesn’t know, I guess he does not look for it since his happiness is so involved with Jack. He has come a long way from the person in book one. I know it hasn’t been long for them but he has evolved to someone else. Maybe because he has never had the love that Jack gives him, but I like this look on Lawson.

It had some teary moments, but overall it was a really sweet contemporary book. I enjoyed it a lot. I feel like this is it in the series since we had a wonderful epilogue but I wouldn’t mind visiting these guys in the future. If you haven’t read book one, go read it and immediately buy book two. These is a straight forward romance. Walker did a great a job. Definite recommend.
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About N.R. Walker

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…

At Attention 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.

At Attention: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform, #2
Release Date: April 10th, 2017
Pages: 209 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links: Carina Press BooksAmazonKobo

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important—his past or his future—if he wants to keep Dylan in his life.

two-half-stars

 

You know, I’ll admit I waffle if I should give this book 3 stars for the author, or the actual story. I had to go with my gut on this. This was a disappointing read. I struggled throughout the entire story. My biggest thing is that we’ve read this scenario before. There was nothing new or exciting for the same thing again and again. I love Annabeth’s work tremendously but it took everything in me to power through and read it. I seen all the high rating, and love for it. I had to wonder was we reading the same book. The general formula of a widower and a crush getting together was just it. There was nothing significantly interesting to me. Not one point. If I read ten pages then I forgot what the first 5 were. I even put it down for a while to read something else, and it still didn’t draw me in or give me a glimpse of hope that it gets better.

I liked Apollo from book 1. I guess in his book he lost all the sparkle and excitement that I wanted to read about. Yes he was a caring father, and a tad overprotective but that’s human nature. He’s grieving and still in the mindset about Neal. I don’t know how he feels about Dylan honestly. Even at the end, I sort of was not buying his feelings. I guess they feel forced to me. On Apollo’s side it just felt physical. I didn’t see the attraction outside of that, and I’m bothered by this mostly.

I know Dylan has always liked Apollo so I can believe his attraction. He does some classic stupid things, but they are classic and one reason this trope is so popular. Trying to only stay physical without getting their emotions involved is dumb. One because Dylan’s emotions were already there and they just came back full fledged. This was really a contemporary novel nothing really major happens outside of the story.

I tried and tried to read and get involved with the story but it just seemed liked missed connections to me. I will read book 3 because I know Annabeth’s stories work well for me. I just didn’t like this one at all.

 

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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.

Joy by C.S. Poe

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.

Joy: by C.S. Poe
Series: States of Love
Release Date: April 5th, 2017
Pages: 69 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Down on his luck is Gideon Joy’s default state. He doesn’t know why he expected anything different on his cross-country trip, but not surprisingly, the hits keep coming—literally this time. Gideon strikes a moose with his car in New Hampshire, not only totaling his own vehicle, but damaging one belonging to local construction worker Silas Bright. He has no choice but to stay in Lancaster and take a job that’ll pay for the repairs. And in a town so small, Gideon’s always running into Silas. What starts as annoyance between them soon blooms into something much more romantic. But when Gideon’s notorious bad luck rears its head yet again, how many disastrous dates will Silas be willing to weather before realizing Gideon’s not worth it?

Despite Gideon’s desire to remain in the quaint community that has accepted him as one of their own, past fears of inadequacy threaten the very joy he left Los Angeles to discover. If he’s to find a happily ever after with Silas, Gideon must learn that sometimes it’s okay to not be the best. And true happiness might be waiting in a small town nestled among the great White Mountains.

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

two-half-stars

Okay I find myself liking and loathing this series at times. I couldn’t pass this up because I enjoy the author’s writing and the cover model was Wowza big time. Two things stopped this from being a 5 star read. The length, and the ending. I feel like this had the biggest potential ever to be a full length novel or at least a regular novella length. I mean 70 pages didn’t do anything for this story. It had a really good beginning, middle, but the end just tapered off into a dive and never recovered. It got sloppy to me, and conflict for the sake of conflict is not something I want at all. It was sugary sweet goodness for 90% of the story and the last 10% completely changed the tone of it for me. The length was a major letdown. First there’s No On Page Physical anything but a kiss. Yeah, I was a little disappointed but didn’t think it was going to end like that. Ummm no thank you. We really got to see Gideon & Silas start somewhere fresh in their lives, and not really see them start a future.

Gideon Joy thinks he’s having a mid-life crisis at the age of 25. Super funny about that, and he upends his life in Los Angeles to go on a statewide road trip. He finds himself in a small town in New Hampshire in a conflict with Moose. Yes, Moose. Not a person but the actual animals. I laughed at the initial showdown with the animal that caused the car accident and the events later on in the story. He meets Silas who seems standoffish and mean but we come to find out he’s just shy. I liked Silas a lot. With not much money or a job Gideon decides to stay in the Podunk town to work out the repairs for Silas’s car and money for himself. I thought it was cute and a lot of fluff from here on out. Gideon makes a mark on some people. The townspeople are super nice to him, and its the first time that he can really breath. He has no worries, and feels at peace here. He meets a really nice couple who lets him stay there and gets a job from a nice guy name George. Things seem to be looking up for Gideon. He starts flourishes here and Silas isn’t the mean SOB he originally thought he was. Who knows, they find that they have a lot in common and attraction is one of them. Its definitely a fast pace on the relationship which I enjoyed. I really wanted more of the story. We didn’t get any closure or see a future happening. A bummer if you ask me. Such sweet characters and writing, but it felt unfinished and I’m not really happy about that since I liked them so much.

 

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About C.S. Poe

Is an author of gay mystery and contemporary romance. She believes that happily ever after is an attainable goal for any character, given enough elbow grease and legwork is provided.

C.S. lives in New York City, but has called a host of different locations home in the past, most recently being Ibaraki, Japan. She regrets no longer having easy access to limited edition candy, capsule toy machines, and clean trains, but over ten years in New York has proved to her there is no place quite like it.

She has an affinity for all things cute and colorful. C.S. is an avid fan of coffee, reading, and cats, in no particular order. She’s rescued three cats, including one found in a drain pipe in Japan who flew back to the States with her. Zak, Milo, and Kasper do their best on a daily basis to sidetrack her from work.

C.S. Poe’s first publication was Love Has No Expiration, by Dreamspinner Press in 2015. Her debut novel, Snow & Winter: The Mystery of Nevermore is scheduled for release in summer 2016 by DSP Publications.

Loose Cannon by Sidney Bell

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.

Loose Cannon: by Sidney Bell
Series: The Woodbury Boys #1
Release Date: April 3rd, 2017
Pages: 327 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Don’t miss this brand-new male/male romance series from Sidney Bell, author of Bad Judgment

Released after five years in the system for assault, streetwise Edgar-Allen Church is ready to leave the past behind and finally look to his future. In need of a place to crash, he’s leaning on Miller Quinn. A patient, solidly masculine pillar of strength and support, Miller has always been there for him—except in the one way Church has wanted the most.

With his staunchly conservative upbringing, Miller has been playing it straight his whole life. Now with Church so close again, it’s getting harder to keep his denial intact. As they fumble their way back to friendship after so many years apart, Miller struggles to find the courage to accept who he really is. What he has with Church could be more than desire—it could be love. But it could also mean trouble.

Church’s criminal connections are closing in on the both of them, and more than their hearts are at risk. This time, their very lives are on the line.

five-stars

This book surely deserved that slow clap. So I originally read this book in Janurary as an ARC, and was blown away by it. It was the first book of the year to get 5 stars and land on my Best Books of 2017 list! I was completely enthralled with the story and it stuck with me. Well what did I do? I completely forgot to write my review. Knowing that I was going to have to skim or re-read it had me worried. I was worried if I didn’t like it the second time around just as much. If I could find little things to nit pick that would cause me to lower my rating or change my opinion overall. I am shocked that the second time around, I’m just as in love with it as the first one. Didn’t cry, but it was the same raw emotions and feelings the first time around. Bell has some true talent, I’m 2 for 2 on her books and she continues to be a force to reckon with so far.

This angsty, age-gap, out for you romance with a great plot and superb characters was Ah-Maz-Ing like Penny stated above. I was blown away by the story, the journey, friendship, love and obligation that Miller & Church had towards each other. Edgar Allen Church is such a complex character with an wonderful heart. He is fresh out of Woodbury Rehabilitation Center for Youth Offenders. When his living arrangements fall through, it leaves him no choice but to call the one person who he hasn’t spoken to in 5 years. Miller. Miller who is everything to Church. Not knowing the feeling is reciprocated. Church comes from an abusive childhood where fists are used instead of words, where no physical acts of love is shown, and he only has himself. Miller breaks my heart, he’s living day to day but not really living. He has this storm raging inside of him, and instead of letting himself be he hides himself and its literally eating him apart.

I really like how the story is told in 3 different parts. We get to see what lead Church to his incarceration, what happened between him and Miller, and the fall out from those years spent apart. This was angsty in my opinion, but I’m glad that it had multiple components to keep me on my toes without worrying about their relationship. As much as I loved Church, my feelings were all over the place with Miller. He’s been in love with Church for so long but all his thoughts and feelings are constricted based on the guilt he feels about another man. Wrapped up in his own head, and hearing his father saying its a sin has Miller waffling on his sexuality. Bell did a good job on Church being the calm one when the sexuality conversation comes into play. It gets steamy and the love is already there. You can see what they mean to each other and I’m just blown away by the feels that was in this book.

The mystery aspect was well done. I cannot wait for Tobias to get a story. I don’t care if its with Ghost or not, I just need pure, sweet Tobias to get love. Ha, I know he isn’t pure, but I loved him. Ghost is so broken, but so wonderful at the same time I expect so many tears to come when his book comes out.

This was such a great start to the series. I mean, Bell did a good job with Bad Judgement, but Loose Cannon is in a class all by it self. Very well written, extremely flawed characters, such a realistic feeling to an emotional journey. I think fans in this genre would love this, and can definitely see this on the Best Books of 2017 list. A definite recommend from me.

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About Sidney Bell

Sidney Bell lives in the drizzly Pacific Northwest with her amazingly supportive husband. She received her MFA degree in Creative Writing in 2010, considered aiming for the Great American Novel, and then promptly started writing fanfiction instead. Eventually more realistic grown-ups convinced her to try writing something more fiscally responsible, which is how we ended up here.

When she’s not writing, she’s playing violent video games, yelling at the television during hockey games, or supporting her local library by turning books in late.

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.

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
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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.