Coach’s Challenge by Avon Gale

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.

Coach’s Challenge: by Avon Gale
Series: Scoring Chances #5
Release Date: June 26th, 2017
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

It’s been decades since blackmail forced Troy Callahan to retire from playing professional hockey, and he’s built a successful career behind the bench. When he’s offered the opportunity to coach the Asheville Ravens—the most hated team in the ECHL—he’s convinced that his no-nonsense attitude is just what the team needs to put their focus back on hockey. But Troy is disheartened when he finds out the Ravens have signed Shane North, a player known for his aggression—especially when Shane’s rough good looks have Troy thinking inappropriate thoughts about a player, even if he’s set to retire at the end of the season.

Shane’s career in the majors never quite took off. Wanting to quit on his own terms, Shane agrees to a one-year contract with the Ravens and finds himself playing for a coach who thinks he’s an aging goon, and with a team that doesn’t trust him, Troy, or each other. Despite his determination not to get involved, Shane unwillingly becomes part of the team… and is just as unwillingly drawn to the gruff, out-and-proud coach. As the Ravens struggle to build a new identity, Shane and Troy succumb to the passion that might cost them everything.

four-stars

I really enjoy this series, and for a time while reading this book I wasn’t certain on how I felt about it. Took me longer to get involved and invested into this installment. I had to warm up to Troy, and ended up liking the relationship between him and Shane. It didn’t help that the dirty talk was so much above board with these two. Good Lord, we needed a fan, and a spray bottle at times. Their quirky, dominating relationship worked well for me. It didn’t have the formula of the past 4 books, but I was okay with it. To be honest, I enjoyed most of the series but Power Play will always be my favorite. 

After reading 5 books, you’d think I would know something about Hockey. Nope, still clueless. Its okay though I just substituted it with other sports in my head. LOL. I really liked the idea of the guys being in their late 30’s, early 40’s. I like mature guys, and it doesn’t help that its their first relationship ever at this age. I really <3Troy. Not saying Shane was bad, I liked him alot. Dirty filthy Shane, but lordy he was freaking hot. Troy though comes off as this brash, careless, dictator. Well dictator was the last dude, but he’s very demanding and I guess him being so blunt takes people by surprise, but that caring side of him will win you over every time. Troy has his reasons and methods for being the way he is. Being a ex-pro hockey player and having dealt with the St.Savoy it only felt right for him being the head coach to take over the Ashville Ravens. They are the most hated team, and Troy is trying to do everything in his power to overcome that negative. When Shane is late his first day of practice, it doesn’t look to good for these two. We see right away their issues, but I seen the UST a mile away. Dude!! I had to fan myself. These two were so freaking explosive together! I will never look at another jigsaw puzzle with innocence again in life. I won’t spoil it for you guys! Avon did us justice!

Once I got involved in reading it, I really enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing these two together, and liked that they were so different from the other couples in previous books. I do hope Xavier gets him a gentleman. He needs one, or maybe a bad boy for his sweet self. I wouldn’t mind reading a Ben & River book. Didn’t see much of those two but the short instances definitely were impact. Fans of this series will truly enjoy this book. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

 

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About Avon Gale

Avon Gale wrote her first story at the age of seven, about a “Space Hat” hanging on a rack and waiting for that special person to come along and purchase it — even if it was a bit weirder than the other, more normal hats. Like all of Avon’s characters, the space hat did get its happily ever after — though she’s pretty sure it was with a unicorn. She likes to think her vocabulary has improved since then, but the theme of quirky people waiting for their perfect match is still one of her favorites.

Avon grew up in the southern United States, and now lives with her very patient husband in a liberal midwestern college town. When she’s not writing, she’s either doing some kind of craft project that makes a huge mess, reading, watching horror movies, listening to music or yelling at her favorite hockey team to get it together, already. Avon is always up for a road trip, adores Kentucky bourbon, thinks nothing is as stress relieving as a good rock concert and will never say no to candy.

At one point, Avon was the mayor of both Jazzercise and Lollicup on Foursquare. This tells you basically all you need to know about her as a person.

Romancing the Ugly Duckling by Clare London

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.

Romancing the Ugly Duckling: by Clare London
Series: Romancing the Ugly Duckling #2
Release Date: June 15th, 2017
Pages: 260 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Is this the makeover of a lifetime?

Ambitious fashionista Perry Goodwood lands the project of his dreams—track down a celebrity family’s missing brother in the Scottish Highlands and bring him back to London for a TV reality show. But first he must transform the rugged loner into a glamorous sophisticate.

Greg Ventura has no use for high fashion. He lives on the isolated island of North Uist to escape the reminder that he’s nowhere near as handsome as his gorgeous brothers and avoid the painful childhood memories of being bullied.

Greg wants nothing to do with city life, and Perry’s never been outside London. When Perry is stranded on North Uist, this conflict seems insurmountable. But Greg is captivated by the vivacious Perry, and Perry by both the island and his host. However, Perry’s one heartfelt wish remains: that ugly duckling Greg fulfill his potential as a swan.

 

four-half-stars

 

Definitely one of my favorite books so far from this series!!! I didn’t want it to end. I fell in love with Perry & Greg!

I am being a tad bit petty by only giving it 4.5 stars. Initially I was going straight for the 5 stars, but I wanted an epilogue. Why??? Why couldn’t we see where Greg & Perry end up in 6 months or a year? Does Greg and his brothers end up mending the rift in their brotherhood? What becomes of Perry’s business proposal with Aileen? Does Bridie and Lisa get married? I have so many questions and no answers.

I really enjoyed Perry as a character. Being who he is and what he stands for did not disappoint me. He didn’t let anyone push him over, and his stood up for himself. We can see the moments between the two falling in love. We can see Greg thawing out to Perry. I really enjoyed their transition every step of the way. I don’t want to give much away with the plot, but I really would have liked an epilogue. Or better yet, please give me a novella of such! I swear Clare London, I would love you forever and ever.

The writing was really good. It had just the amount of steamy scenes, but heavy on the sugary sweet goodness that I’ve come to expect from this series. I couldn’t recommend a better book in the series to read and that’s saying something. I definitely can see myself reading this and it becoming a comfort read for me!

 

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About Clare London

Hi, I’m Clare London, a published author of gay romantic fiction, often erotic, usually contemporary, but sometimes in other worlds entirely. I publish with several publishers, in print and ebook, and I also offer free fiction on my website www.clarelondon.com. Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with her other day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with award-winning novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters. Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home.

Dim Sum Asylum by Rhys Ford

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.

Dim Sum Asylum: by Rhys Ford
Release Date: June 9th, 2017
Pages: 240 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Welcome to Dim Sum Asylum: a San Francisco where it’s a ho-hum kind of case when a cop has to chase down an enchanted two-foot-tall shrine god statue with an impressive Fu Manchu mustache that’s running around Chinatown, trolling sex magic and chaos in its wake.

Senior Inspector Roku MacCormick of the Chinatown Arcane Crimes Division faces a pile of challenges far beyond his human-faerie heritage, snarling dragons guarding C-Town’s multiple gates, and exploding noodle factories. After a case goes sideways, Roku is saddled with Trent Leonard, a new partner he can’t trust, to add to the crime syndicate family he doesn’t want and a spell-casting serial killer he desperately needs to find.

While Roku would rather stay home with Bob the Cat and whiskey himself to sleep, he puts on his badge and gun every day, determined to serve and protect the city he loves. When Chinatown’s dark mystical underworld makes his life hell and the case turns deadly, Trent guards Roku’s back and, if Trent can be believed, his heart… even if from what Roku can see, Trent is as dangerous as the monsters and criminals they’re sworn to bring down.

 

four-stars

 

In my entire history of reading its never taken me so long to read a Rhys Ford book. Its partially my fault, and partially the books fault. I was busy, and summer read has taken a backseat to much needed enjoyment time with the ball & chain. It took me 9 days to completely finish the book. Some days I didn’t get a chance to pick it up. While that seems bad, it was good for me because when I did get a chance to get back to it I had no problem with diving in. It was easy enough to follow far as plot wise goes. I gotta say this one was kinda insta-love something I didn’t expect at all. I mean it was 2 maybe 3 days into Roku & Trent to become Rent!! <—- Ha, Ha, Ha. See what I did there?

The world building was astounding. Such vivid descriptions, and thorough world embodiment.I do think some times it escapes Ford with how much she does focus on the world building. In turn I would have liked just a teeny tiny bit cut off to focus on the plot. I feel like this has the potential to be a series, but as of now its a novel. Don’t know how I feel about that.

I’ve said it once, and will say it again. I’m not really a Fae girl, but for some reason most of Rhys pnr/uf has focused on the fae. I always feel like its too much involving the fae. I constantly get lost on the good vs. bad fae, but nevertheless this book was easy enough to follow through. It doesn’t help that Roku was a really good character. He is just dealt a bad hand with certain situations. Trent, grew to my liking. I liked how he wanted foundation and after everything he’s been through that he feels like he’s found some commonality in Roku. It could definitely work, seeing as they both of them have similar background and need someone in their life.

As usual I liked the writing. It always flows beautifully. I thought it was a well developed story and was really happy with the outcome. I enjoyed the short in the anthology story, and glad that Ford decided to develop this into a well thought novel. A recommend from me as usual!

 

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About Rhys Ford

Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

P.S. I Spook You by S.E. Harmon

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.

P.S. I Spook You: by S.E. Harmon
Release Date: June 12th, 2017
Pages: 256 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner • Amazon

SSA Rain Christiansen used to be the agency’s golden boy. It just takes one moment of weakness, one slight, tiny, itty-bitty paranormal sighting, and all of a sudden he’s the agency’s embarrassment. His boss gives him one last chance to redeem himself—go down to Brickell Bay, play nice with the local police, and leave the ghost sightings behind. Rain is determined to do exactly that, even if it kills him.

Cold-case detective Daniel McKenna’s latest investigation is going nowhere fast. Five years earlier, high school student Amy Greene went missing after leaving her part-time job and was never seen again. Daniel is glad to finally have the FBI help that his department requested, even if it does come in the form of his ex.

It doesn’t help that Rain is pretty sure he’s falling in love with Danny all over again—if he ever stopped. Add to that the frustration of seeing ghosts at every turn while he works a case that’s stalled in its tracks, and Rain is starting to wonder if second chances and happy endings are just for fairy tales.

four-half-stars

 

 

Dude. I’m so blown away by this story! It was really good from beginning to end. Why not 5 stars? Because its not a series. Why the f*** not? I feel like Rain & Danny’s story isn’t done. Harmon, you have to give us more.

I was really hesitant reading this book, seeing all the high rating and reviews. I put it off to this weekend when I can have time to read sink my teeth into it. I get the high rating, reviews and best of list. I couldn’t tell you the last great book I’ve read this year. This book is definitely going on my Best of 2017 list!

Not only did it feature amazing ghost parts, and the humor was on point. I loved the energy between Rain & Danny. They had some smutty and lovely moments together. It was filthy and I enjoyed every single detail. I loved Rain’s quirky family, but I’m upset we didn’t get to meet the dad. Its why we need a book 2. I need to see what the S.U.C unit is up too. LOL.

Rain sees ghost. He doesn’t want to, but he can’t help it. Coming from a medical sabbatical the only thing he wants to do is jump right back into work as a B.A.U profiler for the F.B.I., instead his boss has him working on cold cases and a case of his choosing. He never had a chance seeing as he chooses a case that puts him back at home where his family is at and his lost love. Danny is everything I love in my broody men. The Alpha dude who is possessive, protective, passionate and a damn sweetheart behind closed doors. They mesh so well together. I loved the arguments, the laughter, the steamy smutty times, and I wanted more. Why did you have to end?

 

I have to figure out a way to get more of these guys into another story. The writing was really solid, the case was good, the criminals were creepy. I laughed alot and found myself re-reading scenes. That’s how amazed I was. I won’t talk about the dirty, filthy, steamy scenes, but yeah read with caution or a partner next to you.

I really liked Harmon’s work. She’s a strong story teller and writer. I look forward to more work by her, and this is highly recommended! Go get the book people!

 

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About S.E. Harmon

S.E. Harmon has had a lifelong love affair with writing. It’s been both wonderful and rocky (they’ve divorced several times), but they always manage to come back together. She’s a native Floridian with a Bachelor of Arts and a Masters in Fine Arts, and now splits her days between voraciously reading romance novels and squirreling away someplace to write them. Her current beta reader is a nosy American Eskimo who begrudgingly accepts payment in the form of dog biscuits.

Blue by B.G. Thomas

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.

Blue: by B.G. Thomas
May 15th, 2017:
Pages: 240 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Blue McCoy has lived on the streets for a long time, surviving by his wits and doing what he must, and he’s not above using his youthful appearance and air of innocence to his advantage. It’s not an easy life, but he’s happy. He has everything he really needs: the clothes on his back, a house to squat in, a sweet dog. Everything except that special someone to love him.

Six months ago, John Williams’s wife left him because she was bored. “Even your *name* is boring” were her last words to him before she walked out. Now he’s by himself in a big house, trying to figure out what direction his life should take. He’s never been so alone.

A chance encounter sets John on a new path, a path that becomes clearer when loneliness sends him to a local animal shelter to get a dog—and he finds an angel instead. An angel named Blue. A crisis brings them together, but it is something else that keeps them there. Could it be love? A love that can forever end two men’s deep loneliness and bring them the support and sense of belonging they’ve searched for all their lives?

three-stars

This book should be read with caution. I didn’t know what I expected when I started it, but it definitely wasn’t this. I liked the idea & trope of the story a lot, but I felt like I should be reading this with a tiara on my head and tripping on acid. That’s the easiest thing I can come up with. I believe I’ve read one other book by this author, but can’t recall it at all. I didn’t like the breaks in pov. It was to constant and I found myself going back to see who said what. That was annoying. It had alot of internal dialogue. It is a job to be in Blue’s mind. I didn’t like how we don’t have an absolute knowledge on why Blue is homeless. I know there could have been tons of reasons on why he is, but it wasn’t even alluded to. It was more of Blue happily telling a tale of all the wonderful things going on in his life. I get John, and I liked him but his story wasn’t completed at all. He had a lot of personal triumphs to go through that were discussed in this book, but we don’t see an outcome either. Maybe it wasn’t the author’s intentions of seeing it play out at the end, but I think it would have given the story a little bit more substance.

I did enjoy Blue’s outlook on life. After everything he has been through and continuously going through nothing seems to bring him down. He’s young and squatting at an abandoned house with other guys. John is newly single, and kinda numb to everything. He’s recently separated from his wife of 20 something years.  He’s finally able to think about the think that has stopped him from all of his life. Told through dual pov’s we see what each other means to one another, what they go through on a daily basis and the warped speed of them insta-loving all of the pages. Yes they moved incredibly fast, and I definitely suspended copious amounts of beliefs based on the author’s prose of writing. It was disgustingly sweet. I mean, I almost turned into the Grinch. We all know how I like over the top cheesy, but at times this was a bit much. I felt like we should have had an extended epilogue. Certain things were brought up but no closure what so ever. I hate filler information. I know it played on shaping the characters on who they are, but it was completely selfish of the author to do that to us.

This wasn’t the worst book, and I was gracious with the 3 stars because man you need some protective gear on with all the things going on in this book. I think people who like sweet romances featuring age-gaps, cheesy goodness, out for you tropes then this is right up your alley.

 

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

Series:

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

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

Two men.

One night of passion.

They never expected to see each other again.

They were wrong.

Tobias Bennett is a quiet and unassuming man who teaches yoga and enjoys parkour. Though he is proud to be gay, an abusive relationship with a domineering man has left Tobias wary of romance, and he keeps to himself in his tidy Los Angeles apartment.

Pro football player Sullivan Archer is Tobias’s complete opposite: loud, brash, fond of the spotlight… and deep in the closet. When a hamstring injury sends Van to Tobias as part of his therapy, neither of them is expecting to come face-to-face with his one-night stand. Now they’re stuck together throughout Van’s healing process, and the close proximity will force them to deal with some hard truths. For Tobias, it’s realizing his hookup is a celebrity. For Van, it means accepting that he likes Tobias more than he wanted. They’ll both have to acknowledge that if they choose to pursue a relationship, their lives will change in big ways.

*The Players of LA Series are standalones, but characters from each book to appear in subsequent novels. It is recommended to read in order to maximize the reading experience*

two-stars

This was a big miss for me.

This book featured a yoga instructor, Tobias Bennett and an injured football player Sullivan Archer as they first met as an anonymous hookup, and then later as a part of injury therapy. Toby was out and Sullivan wasn’t, so there was the secrecy thing as they sought to protect Van’s successful football career. I had to put this one down several times because it just didn’t engage me at all. I really hate the non-communication thing between grown people. Seriously, people can’t be this averse to talking or asking for what they want. Instead of talking, they humped each other silly.

The writing just didn’t flow, the characters weren’t developed enough for me to feel a connection, and there was way too much sex in it.

I didn’t read book 1, but I was expecting more substance than I got in this book. Van and Toby were nice guys but the actual story is didn’t impress.

Audiobook Review: Never Lose Your Flames (New Canadiana #1) by Francis Gideon

Series:
Narrator: Kevin Chandler
(Website, Twitter, 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: Never Lose Your Flames by Francis Gideon
Series: New Canadiana #1
Release Date: August 1st, 2016
Format: Audiobook (11 hrs and 9 mins)
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links: Dreamspinner Press Amazon USAudible

Cop-turned-bounty-hunter Gabe Dominguez is hired to capture firestarter Nat Wyatt. For a dragon-shifter like Gabe, apprehending Nat is easy, but transporting him involves more time, energy, and blood loss than he envisioned. An attack from a band of fairies, an out-of-control forest fire, and a showdown at an auction don’t faze Gabe, but Nat’s innocence might stop him entirely.

Since discovering his abilities, Nat’s lost a best friend, a boyfriend, and trust in his brother. Only his love of concerts and card games get him through life without a home. Rumors of the Judge, a giant dragon who once destroyed half of Canada avenging those he loved, provide Nat with hope of vindication. When Nat discovers his captor is the Judge, he thinks he’s finally caught a break. Through late-night conversations and a shared love of music, Nat tries to convince Gabe he’s not guilty.

Can Gabe continue his cutthroat lifestyle, or will he run away with his dragon hoard like he’s always longed to do? Can Nat escape his legacy, or will his be another spark snuffed out by people who don’t understand? The Oracle, the most powerful wizard in Canada, might be the only one who can provide answers.

two-stars

This one was a pretty dry audiobook. The narrator’s voice wasn’t engaging enough to save this plot or make it interesting.

Gabe Dominguez was a bounty hunter hired to capture Nat Wyatt for his crime of arson. Gabe at first seems like a stoic character but clearly certain things about Nat chipped away at Gabe’s façade. As Gabe made his way with his captured prisoner in tow, Nat revealed more and more truths to where Gabe began questioning his sponsor’s intel.  There was a lot of world building as well as various supernatural characters but I didn’t feel the romance enough amongst the plot. I was hoping to “feel” instead of being told about their attraction. There were too many creatures and the author could have gradually introduced them in subsequent books.

I liked Gabe more than Nat but both characters were likeable. The story just wasn’t smooth and engaging enough and I had to really push myself to finish the audiobook. The premise was interesting but execution was a fail for me.

About Francis Gideon

Francis Gideon is a writer of m/m romance, but he also dabbles in mystery, fantasy, historical, and paranormal fiction. He likes to stay up late, drink too much coffee, and read too many comic books. He credits music, especially the artists Patti Smith, Frank Iero, Gerard Way, Florence + the Machine, and The Pixies as his main sources of inspiration, but the list grows every day. Since age twelve, he’s been trying to figure out what genre is best suited for a strange, quiet kid like him and so far, he’s happy to be where he’s ended up.

When not writing fiction, Francis teaches college English classes while he studies for his PhD. He has published several nonfiction and critical articles on everything from the Canadian poet and artist P.K. Page, transgender identity in the YouTube community, using fanfiction as a teaching tool, and character deaths in the TV show Hannibal. Those are all under different his “real” name, though. He writes his novels using his middle name, Francis, so that his students don’t Google him and ask too many questions.

Both Francis and his partner live in Canada, where they often disagree about TV shows and make really bad puns. To talk more about books, bad horror movies, LGBT poetry, or anything else, please drop him a line!

Every Breath You Take by Robert Winter

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.

Every Breath You Take: by Robert Winter
Release Date: May 5th, 2017
Pages: 240 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

When Zachary Hall leaves Utah for a job in Washington, it’s finally his chance to live as a gay man and maybe find someone special. In a bar he meets Thomas Scarborough, a man who seems perfect in and out of the bedroom. But Thomas never dates. He never even sleeps with the same man twice. Despite their instant connection, he can offer Zachary only his friendship, and Zachary is looking for more.

Thomas is tempted to break his own rules, but years before, he became the victim of a stalker who nearly destroyed his life. Even though his stalker died, Thomas obsessively keeps others at a distance. Despite his fascination with Zachary, he is unable to lower his barriers. Frustrated, Zachary accepts he will never have what he wants with Thomas and soon finds it with another man.

But young gay men in Washington, DC are being murdered, and the victims all have a connection to Thomas. Once again someone is watching Thomas’s every move. Can it be a coincidence? When the depraved killer turns his attention toward Zachary, Thomas must face the demons of his past—or lose his chance to open his heart to Zachary forever.

three-stars

 

Awww. I really wanted to love this. I read the author’s debut book September and loved it from beginning to end. I think my biggest issue was the tone of the story. It seemed very procedural and lacked any form of emotion when I was reading it. I liked the idea of the story and plot a lot. I knew it wasn’t for me by day 2 reading it. If I’m all in with a book then I’m usually done in the first day. Its the speed I read. With this book, I was super disconnected and just keep putting it down.

I finally pushed through reading it, and certain areas are forgettable for me. I didn’t really buy Zachary’s attraction to Thomas either. That seemed forced. I guess there was nothing in the dialogue of their first meeting to encounter to warrant this level of attraction. It seemed off. I could never get passed them. Even after the who one night stand spew that Thomas does, it seems out of his character that this one guy has the ability to change 20 years of sex for him. Umm not believable in my eyes.

I did like the stalker side of the story. Didn’t need his creepy point of view, but I understood where the author was coming from. Like some of the supporting characters a lot. Overall it wasn’t a bad story. It was decent in parts and while I didn’t love it. Thought it was okay work for a follow up for the author’s work. I am looking forward to more work from this author.

 

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About Robert Winter

Robert Winter is a recovering lawyer who likes writing about hot men in love much more than drafting a legal brief. He left behind the (allegedly) glamorous world of an international law firm to sit in his home office and dream up ways to torment his characters until they realize they are perfect for each other.

Robert divides his time between Washington, DC, and Provincetown, MA. He splits his attention between Andy, his partner of fifteen years, and Ling the Adventure Cat, who likes to fly in airplanes and explore the backyard jungle as long as the temperature and humidity are just right.

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).

Olive Juice by T.J. Klune

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

Olive Juice: by T.J. Klune
Release Date: April 26th, 2017
Pages: 121 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:

I want to see you.

He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.

David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.

Phillip offers redemption.

 

four-stars

 

Olive Juice is as real as any story. It’s about love, forgiveness, and facing the odds with one another.

I don’t know how to categorize this story. Its to be noted that I would not classify this as a Romance. It’s not a romance in the general sense of word. At the ending I felt a little bereaved on their part, and a little aggravated. These are my feelings, and I expected for the content to leave me in a blubbering mess. I expected to be so overwhelmed with grief and agony that i couldn’t do anything but lay in a ball on the bed.

I did not cry. Not one iota of a tear escaped these ducts. I didn’t see the big reveal coming. I liked the twist. What I didn’t like was the one pov, and it felt a little repetitive at times. I’m a Klune fan, and I ride hard for him. With that being said sometimes his books don’t work well with I. In this case, with the punch that it packed it just didn’t move it. I don’t even know if I like it or not. I like the story line, and I liked the outcome, but don’t know if I like the characters that were here.

This is a book that you will have to read on your own. Form your own opinions, because I can see people loving this and crying, and I can also see people liking the writing, but not really the story. My rating is all about the writing, and the plot. Not really the characters or the overall feel of it.

 

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About TJ Klune

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

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