Faking It by Christine d’Abo

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.

Faking It: by Christine D’Abo
Series: Ringside Romance #2
Release Date: May 8th, 2017
Pages: 238 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Max Tremblay should be happy. His night club, Frantic, is one of the most popular gay clubs in Toronto, and his childhood refuge, Ringside Gym, is well on the way to reopening. But when he finds yet another drunk in the alley beside the bar, Max isn’t sure this is the life he truly wants.

Grady Barnes has it all. He’s rich, famous, and wants for nothing. Well, nothing but a good relationship with his father. When he discovers that his father is going to force him into an arranged marriage, Grady has had enough. He tracks down Max, the man who got him to safety after a night of overindulgence, and makes him a proposal: pretend to be his fiancé for two weeks and he’ll invest in Ringside Gym.

When the pair travel to Vancouver to attend a family wedding, the flames of their mutual attraction ignite, and they discover that the only difference between pretend and reality is how well they can fake it.

four-stars

I read this book in sitting. Faking can be read as a standalone in my opinion. Max was in book one, but he stands on an island by himself in this book. He has everything he could ever want, on second thought he knows he’s missing that other half. Grady has everything one can ever want or need. Its all material things of course, he’s by himself on an island by his self. His island deals with self rumination is the name of the game for him. Both guys have problems with their father for different reasons. They need a hug. I’m just saying. Trying to escape from under his father’s hand Grady escapes to Toronto trying to keep a low profile, but fails miserably when it leads him to Max’s bar Frantic.

The chance meeting starts a slippery slope for the two. This is a opposites attraction trope. Grady is a rich beyond means, and never told no of any kind. Max is a regular guy who lends a helping hand just to about anyone. Grady finds how what his father has in store from him, and makes Max an offer. Max really doesn’t need to take the offer, but its something about Grady that calls to him. Its definitely not all physical. I think they are able to get under each other skins means something to both. No one hasn’t even effect each other quite like the other. I liked how Max is so resistant to Grady, but the minute someone oversteps their boundaries he’s this big protective teddy bear. The same with Grady. He realizes Max is something so much more.

They don’t talk much to learn things about one another. They really don’t have the time to properly get to know one another, but the steamy side of the relationship is A-OK. Max & Grady mesh well together in the bedroom. It was hot and steamy at times. When it wasn’t that they were trying to steer things together. But before we know it both guys think that something is happening here, and aren’t ready for it to be real. It takes a while for them to realize what they want. By the end of the story, I’m happy where they are at.

This was a good story. Can’t wait to read Eli’s book! I even despised Justin and wouldn’t mind seeing him with someone. Not Eli though. This was a good addition to the series. Even got to see Zack & Nolan as well. Can’t wait for more!

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About Christine D’Abo

A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

My thoughts on any of my Goodreads reviews are only my opinion as a reader. I don’t post anything here that I’d give less than three stars to.

Concourse by Santino Hassell

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.

Concourse: by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs #5
Release Date: May 1st, 2017
Pages: 366 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.

Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.

When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.

three-stars

One big circle jerk.

It took me a long time to get into the story. I was bored. It went back and forth with them being idiots. It was a circle of useless things for me. I didn’t feel anything to either character. Wait let me not lie, Chris was involved and others from Ray’s crew. Can’t wait for there stories.

I stopped using the word Thirsty in high school so for me everyone being thirsty or salty was annoying. I’m pretty sure the dialogue from all 5 books will feature some semblance of the same two words.

We know I love Raymond Rodriguez, and I think I’ll pick up any book in the series to get a glimpse of him. That being said this was not it for me. It was the same formula of the previous books. You know I like Hassell realism in his writing, but I really do get tired of the same colloquialisms, backgrounds, and recycled plot drama.

The first half of the story bored me to tears. I liked Ashton in the previous story, but in this one he was a floundering fish. What’s up with all the guys having self esteem issues, and all their family being douche bags? Seriously no one had any supporting family to deal with. I feel like this book was super convoluted mess.

Val & Ashton are friends. They’ve grown up together not by status but more so my happenstance. I’m sitting here wondering why Val could want Ashton. Val seem disinterested in life. He didn’t show not one iota of happiness doing anything to me. I really wanted to know what got his motor going. I’m not just interested in his sexuality, because its his business but outside of that he didn’t seem to have any focus or love doing anything. Jeez, I would rather read Caleb’s book again and again.

Ashton was the typical Hassell character to me. The one who has all the different facades, whose life is really terrible. When its really not. I mean, was he so bored with life that he couldn’t see the passion in certain things he did? Ashton was left out to fend for himself by his family, but instead of using that anger & neglect to be a Boss he decided to just be. I personally wouldn’t do it. He was lifeless at times, and I don’t know if the author wanted him to come off like that, but he did.

Hassell did the one things, I didn’t think he’d ever do: Miscommunication Trope. What the f***? Why? You did not need to do it. Then after you do it, it was anticlimactic as such. Oh no, I take my previous findings about Val out. He showed passion at this point. During the big reveal. **Rolls Eyes**. I think had Ashton found out from Stoic Val then everything would have been copacetic.

I know it reads like I didn’t like anything, but there were some high points for me. I would like to see a different formula for this next book. I get what the series is suppose to be about, but it can’t be the same as the previous book. If so, then the steamy scenes needed to be on Oli & Caleb point. That hot of a scorcher. Oh and Nunzio. **Dreamy Sigh**, liked seeing him.

 

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About Santino Hassell

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of queer fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

Stage Two by Ariel Tachna

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.

Stage Two: by Ariel Tachna
Series: Lexington Lovers #3
Release Date: May 1st, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Love has a steep learning curve.

Assistant high school principal Blake Barnes has everything he wants—a chance to help troubled students and an outlet for his passion for theater. Well, almost everything—he still goes home to an empty apartment. Then his high school crush explodes back into his life, the unexpected guardian of two boys in Blake’s care.

Thane Dalton has always been a bad boy through and through. Not much has changed, including his mistrust of authority figures, and no amount of institutional bureaucracy will keep him from protecting his nephews from the bullies terrorizing them. If that means butting heads with Blake, so be it.

Blake and Thane have lessons to learn: that they both have the boys’ best interests at heart, that the tension between them isn’t just confrontational, and that sparks can fly when opposites come together.

 

three-stars

This would have been better if the beginning hadn’t dragged as much. I had a hard time getting invested. I have a love/like relationship with the Dreamspun Desires line, but overall I like the chessiness of the stories. I never read the romances that its based off or watched soap operas as well. So, who would have thunk it that I’ve been reading these books? This was a good opposites attract. Blake being the authoritative figure in Thane’s nephews lives. How to navigate a relationship without breaking the morality clause for Blake. Its all good to see that Thane wants a relationship instead of one-offs when it comes to Blake.

Thane & Blake went to high school with one another, but one didn’t know the other existed. Blake had this worldly crush on resident bad boy Thane since he was a freshmen and a theater geek. Fast Forward 20 years and Blake is assistant principal at their same high school. By a happenstance Blake is in charge of Thane’s nephew when bullying ensues. When they do meet, they are both kinda brisk with one another. Not knowing the history or what to expect Thane was kinda a jerk-off. It could be how he is with most initial meetings. I doubt it, seeing as his nephews have been through hell and back and he’s only protecting them.

It got good after a couple of meetings. It was nice seeing them flirt with one another unknowingly.  I still had a hard time seeing them together. I don’t know what it is, it just seemed not to mesh well as the others in the series. They both do a bit of growing up by the end of the story, so maybe it was me. It just didn’t have that feeling that I get when I read this series.

Fans of this series will definitely like this! An opposites attract trope so there is that! It was cute, but I wish I could have started on a better note. It was probably just me though.

 

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About Ariel Tachna

When Ariel Tachna was twelve years old, she discovered two things: the French language and romance novels. Those two loves have defined her ever since. By the time she finished high school, she’d written four novels, none of which anyone would want to read now, featuring a young woman who was—you guessed it—bilingual. That girl was everything Ariel wanted to be at age twelve and wasn’t.

She now lives on the outskirts of Houston with her husband (who also speaks French), her kids (who understand French even when they’re too lazy to speak it back), and their two dogs (who steadfastly refuse to answer any French commands).

Vodka & Handcuffs by Brandon Witt

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.

Vodka & Handcuffs: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #2
Release Date: April 26th, 2017
Pages: 112 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force.

Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

three-stars

Yeah, Bunk that’s exactly how I feel.

I took a few days off from writing my initial thoughts and feelings for this book. The blurb and the Vahin had me really excited to read his book. I liked him a lot in book one. My rating is very generous because I like the author, and know how great his stories can be. This was a total letdown for me. I feel cheated because they couldn’t even build up to a relationship without all the outside interrupting them. Some might classify this as a HFN, but I can not. They spend literally a blink of eye together, and it was nothing that I read that seemed like they connected. It was not good. There, I said it.

I enjoyed Vahin as a character in book one, but in this book he kinda seems lost. I guess that has to do with his past playing heavy on his mind. I don’t know if it took away from his character, but it definitely posed a bigger mystery to him? I thought it would be some resolution for him at the end since his past was presence so much, but it was none. I don’t know how to write this when I feel like pieces of the story were so disjointed.

Marlon, Marlon Marlon. Why?? Two people of color as main characters and their story was not good. I don’t really get Marlon. I guess he never seemed into Vahin. I felt like Witt forced them together, I didn’t feel the steam, love, lust or any connection between the two. Marlon had to deal with his horrible partner as a Denver Police Officer. One could ask why he is still a beat cop at 38, but that just randomly flew out of my head. Kudos to Witt writing some realism in this story. He always is able to deliver some realistic fiction in his stories. The subject is very much true and happening so prevalent in this day and age.

It had a few funny laughs, but nothing to wow me about the book. I really wish it was light hearted, smutty with this side of drama like book one, but I digress. I’ll still read Witt’s forthcoming book. This just didn’t work for me.

 

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About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

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.

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.

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.