Darkest Hour Before Dawn by Charlie Cochet

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.

Darkest Hour Before Dawn: by Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS #9
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.

As life and death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most for good this time.

 

four-half-stars

 

So close…..

Oh Charlie, you don’t know how close I was to parting ways with your series. I got so tired of Dex & Sloane taking over everyone’s stories, tired of the cliffhangers and tired of the other couple playing side characters in their stories. I was just tired. It would have been sad for me, but I would have no other choice. Along the way, the series has gotten so big that at times I forgot who is who, and what is what.

But Ms. Cochet, you’ve redeemed yourself to me. Big time. I’m not an easy series reader to please, and this felt like one of the beginning books in the series. I really liked this. It was an actual story with no cliffhangers, the minimalist of Dex, and Seb & Hudson finally gets to tell their story.

A really big reveal comes into play. I mean, I kinda figured it out, but I definitely like the direction it went in. Hopefully this means Seb & Hudson gets to play a bigger role in this series as well as a potential spin-off series. I did forget the reason for the breakup, but I did like seeing an established couple work through their problems. Is was very up and down at one point, but I understand both points of views.

This is not a standalone, and reading the series helps a lot. We get to see the main characters in their everyday lives, and how well they are able to work to one another. I got a feeling that the series is almost over for some of these people, but its a couple of people that I’d like to see have a story or novella before we leave. Zachary first and foremost, didn’t forget about him. Austen, Dom, and Alfie ;). Have to read the story to find out about that last name folks.

All in all, I think this was a really good story. Nice plot, decent amount of heat, passion, love, and angst. Yes it was a bit angsty in my opinion, but it had me sucked in from the very beginning. Charlie has redeemed herself in my eyes. Can’t wait to see what’s next for this crew.

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About Charlie Cochet

Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.If you’d like to connect with Charlie, just drop her an email, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google Plus.

Rainbow Sprinkles by Anna Martin

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

Rainbow Sprinkles: by Anna Martin
Series: States of Love
Release Date: March 29th, 2017
Pages: 77 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Cooper Reed has a fairly relaxed life for someone who lives in LA. He’s no celebrity—just the guy who makes sundaes at the Dreamy Creamery, and that’s the way he likes it. The highlight of every week is the beautiful guy who turns up and orders a sundae with rainbow sprinkles. Cooper still isn’t sure if that’s a code, because he has a huge crush and the hot guy is terrible at flirting.

Drew Tanner, it turns out, is an original California dreamer. He’s as wholesome as apple pie and twice as sweet, a real-life Disney Prince at Disneyland. But while Drew’s head is in the clouds, Cooper’s feet are firmly on the ground, and their different outlooks might be more than their new relationship can take.

 

three-stars

 

 

Meh.

That is my overall feeling of it. You can really take it or leave it at this point. I’ve read it close 2 weeks ago and hardly remember anything. I do remember that I felt nothing for it. Both guys are kinda unforgettable. I find myself with Anna Martin’s books either really loving them or this Meh feeling.

Unfortunately it was the latter feeling. The biggest problem to me was that it lacked spark. It was not steam, spark or passion to the story. I enjoyed the playfulness in the first half, but the second portion to a nose dive. Signals definitely got crossed. The little disruption between the two took up a significant portion that could have went towards being together. We all know I hate miscommunication for no reason and I felt like it was just through in here for the sake of it.

I’ve been hit or miss lately with the States of Love series. I mean its a cute, potential HEA but I’m still unsure of the two together. Fans of Martin will most likely enjoy it, but I need more funk in my stories.

 

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About Anna Martin

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

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

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

Blog Tour for SNARED Author Q&A with Jennifer Estep

Series:
Source: Let’s Talk! Promotions, Netgalley

Jennifer Estep Q&A:

1) Will there be more from Mab Monroe’s family tree?

JE: As of right now, I don’t have any plans to bring in anyone else from Mab’s family, but if the right story idea or character came along, I would consider it. I do think it would be fun to do a novella from the point of view of someone connected to Mab. So we’ll see what happens as Gin’s story progresses and I write more in the Elemental Assassin series.

2) Is it possible that Finn has a half sibling somewhere?

JE: Anything is possible, but as of right now, I don’t have plans to give Finn a sibling. I think he is plenty interesting enough all on his own. LOL.

3) What is Gin’s hope for the future? I mean, she takes classes, she loves to run the Pork Pit…I just feel like fighting crime may not be her end game.

JE: I think Gin is a little torn about that. On one hand, I think that she just wants to run her restaurant, hang out with her friends and family, and have a normal life. On the other hand, I think that she knows that she has found her calling battling bad guys and helping people who can’t help themselves. So maybe the goal for her should be striking the right balance between those two things.

4) Could Gin ended up working for Ashland PD along with Bria?

JE: At this point, I don’t see that happening, but I’ll never say never.

5) Why doesn’t Bria have the same powers as Gin? How are the elemental powers transmitted (From mom to child, or father to child or both?) Why didn’t Finn inherit his mother’s elemental power?

JE: Bria has her mother’s Ice magic, whereas Gin got both their mother’s Ice magic as well as their father’s Stone power.
I tend to think of magic as sort of like a genetic or family trait. So if one parent has blue eyes and one parent has brown eyes, the kids could have either blue eyes or brown eyes, but if both parents have blue eyes, then the kids will most likely have blue eyes too. So depending on what kind of magic their parents have, the kids could get magic, get only part of it, or not get any o fit at all, which is why Finn didn’t get his mother’s elemental power.
Happy reading, everyone!

Publisher: Pocket Books
Price: $7.99
Release date: April 25, 2017
ISBN: 9781501142277

Purchase links:
Amazon:Barnes & Noble:Books-A-MillionKoboiBookGoogle PlayAudible

Giveaway!
There’s a tour-wide giveaway for copies of SNARED and a $20 Amazon gift card! Open to US residents only.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Rafflecopter link: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/share-code/OTc1MWMwNDJjY2FiNWQzMTA5YWRiNGY2Y2YyMDEyOjE=/?

 

This entry was posted in Review.

Breaking the Ice by Tali Spencer

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.

Breaking the Ice: by Tali Spencer
Series: States of Love
Release Date: April 19th, 2017
Pages: 86 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

For Matt Wasko, February in Wisconsin is the best time of the year, and ice fishing on Lake Winnebago is his idea of heaven. With shanty villages cropping up, barbeques on the ice, monster sturgeon to spear, and plenty of booze to keep everybody warm, things couldn’t be better — until a surprise storm hits and an uninvited guest shows up at his frozen doorstep.

Matt’s not happy to see John Lutz, a coworker who cracks lame gay jokes at Matt’s expense. But John’s flimsy new ice shelter got blown across the lake, and it wouldn’t be right to leave even a jerk outside to freeze. Would it?

In the close quarters of Matt’s fabulous ice shanty, between stripping off wet clothes, misadventures with bait, and a fighting trophy-sized walleye, the two men discover creative ways to keep the cold at bay. And when John confesses his long-running attraction, Matt must decide if he can believe in John’s change of heart — and crack the ice for a chance at finding love.

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

three-stars

 

Breaking the Ice is a cute enemies to lovers story. Heavy on the ice fishing, low on the steam, and plenty of sass. I loved Matt’s sass. Being the poster boy for out & proud in this small Wisconsin town doesn’t even matter to Matt. He likes what he likes, does what he does and isn’t going back in anyone’s closet for anybody. John is new to town, and with all new people they find the popular people and try to fit it. Its what he did here, regardless of the homophobe taunts could have been aimed back at him, he just wanted to fit in.

I know next to nothing about fishing. Its not in my wheel house and I’m okay with that. Matt explained enough for the both of us. I really enjoyed his style and delivery on such things. He was a forgiving person even though he didn’t want to. I don’t really know if I liked John personally. I feel like we got to see the glimpse of him in a bad way, but post making up and setting amends it kinda flew passed. I didn’t get a feel of him like I would have liked to. This book is very much low on steam, which was another downer for me. They did move pretty quick together for my liking, or it could have been the second half of the book was rushed in my opinion.

It wasn’t a bad story, but it wasn’t as exciting as I would have liked it to be. The relationship growth was all on page, and majority of the book was spent talking about Ice Fishing. I would have liked too see them work things out together and definitely on page. It kept me interested enough to finish so there’s that. I think people would like it.

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About Tali Spencer

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

Tali’s other books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, and Adored, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often posts free stories and excerpts on her blog.

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:
Amazon USAmazon UK

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.

How To Bang A Billionaire by Alexis Hall

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

How To Bang A Billionaire: by Alexis Hall
Series: Arden St. Ives #1
Release Date: April 16, 2017
Pages: 384 • Format: e-book
Published By: Forever Yours
Purchase Links:
AmazonBarnes & NobleGoogle PlayiBooksKobo

The first book in an all-new m/m romance trilogy by RITA Award-winning author Alexis Hall!

Rules are made to be broken . . .

If England had yearbooks, I’d probably be “Arden St. Ives: Man Least Likely to Set the World on Fire.” So far, I haven’t. I’ve no idea what I’m doing at Oxford, no idea what I’m going to do next and, until a week ago, I had no idea who Caspian Hart was. Turns out, he’s brilliant, beautiful . . . oh yeah, and a billionaire.

It’s impossible not to be captivated by someone like that. But Caspian Hart makes his own rules. And he has a lot of them. About when I can be with him. What I can do with him. And when he’ll be through with me.

I’m good at doing what I’m told in the bedroom. The rest of the time, not so much. And now that Caspian’s shown me glimpses of the man behind the billionaire I know it’s him I want. Not his wealth, not his status. Him. Except that might be the one thing he doesn’t have the power to give me.

two-half-stars

DNF @ 67%

ARGHHHHHHHHH

It’s only so much you can take! Goodness, I really tried. I tried Alisa, oh pudding pop I tried. LOL.

I literally want to take a bat to ARDEN’S head and shut him the hell up. It was TOO MUCH internal monologuing. I liked the premise of the story and the reversal of the FSOG saga, but it was too much for me. Honestly, I read up to 67% and put up with alot. I couldn’t deal with a few sentences of dialogue between Caspian & Arden, and then 5 long pages of internal yammering from Arden. It was this way the entire book so far. Then Arden would go on extended rants about things that were so left field. I really feel like he had ADHD. It is okay to admit it.

Don’t get me wrong, I liked Arden a lot. I even liked Caspian, and certain parts of the story were good and funny. Both characters were likeable, but to many words and not enough execution left me bored and pissed off. I wish it was maybe dual pov’s. Maybe it would have flowed more easily reading from Caspian’s pov.

This is a bummer for me. I don’t find myself reading this author that much but I do like a couple of his stories. I don’t think I’ll be recommending this persay, but people seem to read enjoy it. There reviews are a lot more positive in energy about the characters. It didn’t work for me, but it might work for you. Try it. 

 

 

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About Alexis Hall

Alexis Hall was born in the early 1980s and still thinks the twenty-first century is the future. To this day, he feels cheated that he lived through a fin de siècle but inexplicably failed to drink a single glass of absinthe, dance with a single courtesan, or stay in a single garret.

He did the Oxbridge thing sometime in the 2000s and failed to learn anything of substance. He has had many jobs, including ice cream maker, fortune-teller, lab technician, and professional gambler. He was fired from most of them.

He can neither cook nor sing, but he can handle a seventeenth-century smallsword, punts from the proper end, and knows how to hot-wire a car.

He lives in southeast England, with no cats and no children, and fully intends to keep it that way.

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.

Phoebe Sounds It Out by Julie Zwillich

Source: Netgalley

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: Phoebe Sounds It Out by Julie Zwillich
Release Date: April 15, 2017
Format: e-ARC Pages: 32
Published By: Owlkids Books
Purchase Links: Amazon US Barnes & Noble

Meet Phoebe. Unfortunately, her name doesn’t look quite like it sounds. At school, her classmates practice writing their names, but Phoebe struggles. Her teacher tells her to “just sound it out.” Phoebe doubts herself and procrastinates before resolving to try. Readers are privy to her funny, endearing interior monologue and little-kid rationale as she writes the result: FEEBY.

Told in a relatable, introspective voice, this school story conveys the feelings and worries of a 5-year-old and supports learning about sounds and letters. Readers will see from Phoebe’s fellow kindergartners’ attempts that everyone makes mistakes, and that we can take pride in effort and not just perfection.

LEVELING
Grade Range: Pre-K–2
Fountas & Pinnell: J
Reading Recovery: 17
Lexile: AD 590L

COMMON CORE
RL.1.1,2,3,4,5,6,7,9
L.1.1,1b,1e,1f,2,2a,2b,2d,2e,4
L.1.4b,4c,5,5a,5b,5c,5d,6
RF.1.1,2,2a,2b,2c,2d,3,3a,3e,4
SL.1.1,1b,1c,2,3,4,5,6
W.1.3,5,6,8

My 7 year old son read this book to my 5 year old son. They had a different reaction to this book than I did. My youngest was tickled most about Phoebe’s boots. He enjoyed the book and he said that Phoebe sounding out her name reminding him of the Gingerbread man because he thought the first letter should have been “J”.
My big boy thought the book ended too fast. He wanted to know how the teacher helped Phoebe with understand about spelling her name. He also had more comments about the boots and Phoebe’s phonetic issues.

My overall impression was this book that it seemed a tad disjointed. It started off about boots, but then turned into kindergarten kids spelling their names. I actually didn’t think much about the boots. It was actually a distraction. I also didn’t understand the introduction of the second teacher Ms. April who enjoyed music. It didn’t fit. It didn’t seem to flow what I felt was the main theme of the book, which I loved. It was a joy following the steps Phoebe took as she worked to write her name. I would have liked the author to concentrate on the name, and how certain words have a phonetic sound different from the actual spelling. The boots thing could have been a separate story. My kids found that aspect entertaining.

My rating for this book would have been a 3-star, but my kids thought it was a 4-star book. Thus, I will settle in the middle. My youngest did ask me to read it again tomorrow, but he wants to wear his boots when I read it.
So clearly, my son related to Phoebe’s footwear.

*Special Thanks to Owlkids Books via Netgalley for the e-arc given in exchange for an honest review.

three-half-stars

Ezi

Review: Scarred by Mia Kerick

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: Scarred  by Mia Kerick
Genres: LGBTQ+, New Adult, Romance, Suspense
Release Date: March 1st 2017
Pages: 201 • Format: e-arc
Published By: Mia Kerick
Purchase Links:   Goodreads Amazon

Matthew North waited ten years to heal from the devastating wounds inflicted by the man who abducted and abused him as a child. Living reclusively on a tropical island—with no company but his four cats—he merely avoids the lingering pain.

Wearing twisted ropes of mutilated skin on his back, Matt struggles with a profound hindrance—the scars that deaden his soul. However, on the night he meets lively Vedie Wilson, a local restaurant busboy who expresses his gender by wearing lipgloss and eyeliner along with his three-day beard, things change.

Gradually, Vedie and Mateo unite in friendship. Through a series of awkward encounters, the pair learns each other’s secrets. Vedie learns that an angelic face can front for a scarred soul. Matthew learns that the line between one’s masculine and feminine sides is blurred. Can they embrace the painful stories behind each other’s scars if they’re to find everlasting love? Or will surrendered love come to be yet another blemish on their souls?

three-half-stars

3.75 stars.

This read was quite an emotional ride. At times, I had to close my eyes, take deep breaths and count to ten due to the author’s haunting writing style. The author wrote the story in where we felt the characters pain immediately without knowing the source and that made it that much harder for me because my imagination went haywire. It felt like watching horror film and being afraid to turn the page for fear of what’s about to appear. 
This book featured two deeply scarred heroes who were barely surviving day to day. When Matt and Vedie paths crossed at the Tiki Hut, it began the process of them facing their traumas. While they were both hiding from family, Vedie and Matt dealt with their pain in different ways. Matt chose to live an almost invisible life while Vedie seemed to be more flashy and in your face. One person didn’t want attention or touch, and the other needed to be truly seen and acknowledged. 

I had an easier time understanding Matt than I did understanding Vedie but I suspect that was because the author developed that backstory much deeper than Vedie’s. I also felt that both heroes were barely a step away from hurting themselves and that kept me on edge even when Vedie and Matt began opening the door to their hearts. 

Their times together on the island was quiet, peaceful, loving and healing. I am glad we got to experience those because honestly, those times made this book more bearable. Mia Kerick definite has a visceral way of telling stories. The author’s message was clear though, love and acceptance goes a long way to heal broken people. There is no way to finish this book without being amazed at the resiliency of the human spirit.
 

About Mia Kerick

Mia Kerick is the mother of four exceptional children—all named after saints—and five nonpedigreed cats—all named after the next best thing to saints, Boston Red Sox players. Her husband of twenty years has been told by many that he has the patience of Job, but don’t ask Mia about that, as it is a sensitive subject.

Mia focuses her stories on the emotional growth of troubled young men and their relationships, and she believes that sex has a place in a love story, but not until it is firmly established as a love story. As a teen, Mia filled spiral-bound notebooks with romantic tales of tortured heroes (most of whom happened to strongly resemble lead vocalists of 1980s big-hair bands) and stuffed them under her mattress for safekeeping. She is thankful to Dreamspinner Press for providing her with an alternate place to stash her stories.

Mia is proud of her involvement with the Human Rights Campaign and cheers for each and every victory made in the name of marital equality. Her only major regret: never having taken typing or computer class in school, destining her to a life consumed with two-fingered pecking and constant prayer to the Gods of Technology.

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…