Long Shadows by Kate Sherwood

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.

Long Shadows: by Kate Sherwood
Series:Common Law, #1
Release Date: January 2, 2017
Pages: 184 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
Riptide

LA cop Jericho Crewe got the hell out of Mosely, Montana, when he was seventeen. Fifteen years later, he’s back, and everything is just as messed up as when he left. He planned a quick visit to deal with his injured father, but of course things are never that simple. Family complications, police complications, social complications—and, as always, Wade Granger complications.

Jericho and Wade had been so close, once upon a time. First friends, then more than friends—and then, after Jericho’s escape, nothing. Wade’s magnetism hasn’t been lessened by a decade and a half apart; even when Jericho learns that Wade is the prime suspect in the death of Jericho’s father, the old connection still sparks.

When Jericho’s newly discovered half siblings are kidnapped, he needs to trust someone to help him find them. Wade’s a terrible choice, but Jericho’s never been known for his good judgment. Anyway, he’d rather make a bad decision with Wade than a good one with anybody else.

three-half-stars

I’ve read a few books by this author, and always felt like her and I don’t get along. I can never mesh well together when I read her books. When I saw the cover for this book on Netgalley, I immediately wanted to click it. I did click it, and was super happy. I had to tell myself it doesn’t matter how I feel about her past books, but only this one. I’m not a fan of the romantic suspense genre. It just doesn’t work for me. I prefer mystery/thriller and the romance doesn’t even have to play a part. I should not have been worried, because I liked this story. There is no romance in this first book, I’m sure book two will probably see something but Jericho and Wade have a lot of soul searching to do by then.

Jericho left Mosely 15 years ago and never looked back. I liked Jericho as a character. He had his little flaws, but he wanted to prove to people and himself that leaving Mosely was the best thing he could do for himself. He’s successful in his own way, but one can never forget their first love. Enter Wade Granger. All around criminal and bad guy. Yet, by the end of the story I’m not so sure about Wade’s character. He seems to good hearted to be a full blown criminal and bad enough to want to hurt Jericho for leaving him behind. I’m still trying to figure them out.

I did enjoy the pacing of the story. I really liked the mystery element to the story. I’m not so sure about everyone’s motives at this point, but it was only book 1 and I’m sure by book 4 everything will be much clearer. I’m proud that I allowed myself to give Kate Sherwood another try. This goes to show you that every book doesn’t have to work for you, but you never know what might be good for someone else. If you like suspenseful stories, and a good love connection/background between two characters then this is your book. Definitely recommend this book.

About Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins

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.

glass-tidingsGlass Tidings: by Amy Jo Cousins
Series: 2016 Holiday Charity Bundle
Release Date: December 5th, 2016
Pages: 226 • Format: eARC
Published By:
Purchase Links:
RiptideAmazon

Eddie Rodrigues doesn’t stay in one place long enough to get attached. The only time he broke that rule, things went south fast. Now he’s on the road again, with barely enough cash in his pocket to hop a bus south after his (sort-of-stolen) car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Midwest, USA.

He’s fine. He’ll manage. Until he watches that girl get hit by a car and left to die.

Local shop owner Grayson Croft isn’t in the habit of doing people any favors. But even a recluse can’t avoid everyone in a town as small as Clear Lake. And when the cop who played Juliet to your Romeo in the high school play asks you to put up her key witness for the night, you say yes.

Now Gray’s got a grouchy glass artist stomping around his big, empty house, and it turns out that he . . . maybe . . . kind of . . . likes the company.

But Eddie Rodrigues never sticks around.

Unless a Christmas shop owner who hates the season can show an orphan what it means to have family for the holidays.

 

three-stars

 

You guys, I really tried! So much angst, and I can’t live for this.

 

This was suppose to be my second take with Amy Jo Cousins, I have stayed CLEARED away from her since Off Campus. Off Campus was way too angsty for my taste. I’m a chicken. I don’t deal well with angst. Glass Tidings was so hard for me to get through. I kinda got defeated midpoint through the story. I LOATHED the non communication between these two. It was so much internal dialogue, and not enough dialogue between the characters. This is no way in shape form against Cousins, since its her style and people rock with it. It’s just me and my taste doesn’t sway that way.

Because of so much internal monologue going on, I don’t know if I really like Eddie & Gray. I mean, overall I think them enough, but it could be because I wanted the story to be over. Both guys are dealing with internal measures. Eddie is basically a grifter and meets Gray because of witnessing a accident. Gray is a loner, and is okay being a loner. Eddie is a products of the system and for him he doesn’t believe that people do anything for the goodness of their heart. Gray is still reeling from being left from a past lover.

This was definitely a slow burn romance. It took a long time for them to take any step towards romance. It was a lot of walking around each other in circles and the copious amount of internal monologue. It was a bit emotional and so freaking intense, but I think that has to do with the angst. I can’t recommend this for my reading pleasure, because I didn’t like it as much as I expected. It might be perfect for people who enjoy this writing style, and the way the author weaves a story.

About Amy Jo Cousins

Amy Jo Cousins lives in Chicago, where she writes contemporary romance, tweets more than she ought, and sometimes runs way too far. She loves her boy and the Cubs, who taught her that being awesome doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with winning.

Friendly Fire by Cari Z.

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.

cariFriendly Fire: by Cari Z.
Release Date: October 17, 2016
Pages: 252 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Elliot McKenzie is the king of reinvention. Five years after losing his job and his lover and almost going to prison, his self-help program, Charmed Life, is more successful than he’d ever dreamed. He thinks he’s put his sordid past firmly behind him, until he starts receiving cryptic threats . . . and realizes it might not be as over as he’d hoped.

Security expert Lennox West has been lost since a deadly skirmish in Afghanistan led to his forced retirement from the Army. His PTSD makes helping his ex raise their daughter a challenge. When his ex’s sister asks him to set her boss up with a security system, Lennox isn’t expecting anyone like Elliot McKenzie—a man who captures his attention and makes him feel relaxed for the first time since leaving the service.

But Elliott is dangerously stubborn. Even as the threats against him escalate, he refuses to involve the police, and Lennox fears that stubbornness could kill him. A battle of wills ensues that brings them closer to each other than either man expected. But if the threats turn real, they might not live long enough to get their future together.

three-half-stars

The only thing that saved me from DNF the book was my need to see the end through. I liked the first half of the story, the two bad people were obvious, or at least one of them was. I enjoyed the writing a lot. It pushed me through the end. At the end of the story, I don’t know if I like the relationship. They didn’t really bond for me. I guess I wanted more passion from the couple and that’s what I found that was seriously lacking! I liked Lennox a lot and kinda loved his name. (It went on my future’s children name list)! I like Elliot for the most part, but I hated his job. It bothered me more then the story. I felt like we were leading up to this amazing story line and it wasn’t apart of the story. I didn’t like his career from the get go, but it became the focal point of why these two guys were together and I don’t get a glimpse of what Elliot does to make it special. Another thing was the getting to see him and Vanessa together. That bothered me. I wanted that scene for myself since Elliot cared so much about letting things happen to him just so Vanessa career wouldn’t get hurt.

I can’t speak for other readers but I look for things I can relate to in novels. I like the realistic idea that Elliot screwed up in life so he is atoning for his mistakes by not being a burden to his sister. Yeah, he had some really crazy things happen to him, but he was so worried about messing up Vanessa’s life that we get word of mouth instead of the actual scene. I’m greedy, I guess I wanted to be able to relate to him in some sort of fashion. I wasn’t to thrilled about the outcome.

Lennox was the type of person that you need to warm up to. He kinda comes of stand offish, but I like to call that “gentlemanly stoic”. He seems like to be in a difficult head space in life. I don’t really know the time frame from him being out the military to present day now. He seemed to be atoning for mistakes he things he’s made, but that’s one thing we don’t get to see about Lennox. I feel like his story wasn’t finished. He didn’t get enough personal screen time to me, and I wanted him to come to terms with his own grievances. It’s a part in the book where he is telling Elliot about his reassurances and atoning for prior mistakes. I don’t know if that was a light bulb moment for Lennox, but it didn’t seem he got the closure to me.

All in all, this was an okay read. I enjoyed the writing way more then the execution of the story. I don’t think it gelled well after the 50% mark. I really would have liked one trope to have been the main focus. Instead, I feel like the mystery/suspense as in competition with the romance side of the story. I will definitely check out more from this author though.

About Cari Z.

Cari Z. is a Colorado girl who loves snow and sunshine. She has a wonderful relationship with her husband, a complex relationship with the characters in her head and a sadomasochistic relationship with her exercise routine. She feels like Halloween should happen every month, which is why you get this picture of her, and hopes that you enjoy reading what she’s put out there as much as she enjoyed writing it in the first place.

Rented Heart by Garrett Leigh

(Website, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)three-stars
Rented Heart Book Cover Rented Heart
Garrett Leigh
Gay Romance
Riptide Publishing
September 10th 2016
e-book
228

Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for.

Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

This book didn’t stimulate any feelings of empathy in me or draw me in on any level. The writing was easy to follow but the story felt shallow and ordinary. Rich man Liam Mallaney was in mourning since his husband Cory passed away and he was lonely. After about a year of celibacy, Liam went out to a club. The man he met turned out to be a sex worker Zac Payne and after incredible sex, they found that they couldn’t stop thinking about each other.

There was baggage on both sides, but it was kind of dull Pretty Woman/man story.
Though more time was spent on Zac’s background, I didn’t find that the author really developed both characters that well. Given this author’s prior work, I was surprised with the slow pace of the story and the lack of emotional connection I felt.

*Special Thanks to Riptide Publishing via Netgalley for the e-book given in exchange for an honest review.

About Garrett Leigh

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

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

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

Interborough, 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.

tinoInterborough: by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs, #4
Release Date: October 24, 2016
Pages: 249 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.

four-half-stars


Don’t even look Raymond’s way. I got this.

Listen up folks, when Sunset Park came out, I saw all the negative comments about the couple. I didn’t argue with anyone, everyone had a right to their own opinion. I’m okay with you not liking Rayvid together. Perfectly fine in my world. It takes alot of emotions for me to fall in love with a character. I literally will read their story a bajillion times throughout the year. My list is 5 guys. It’s never changed for the last 5 years maybe. It’s always Zsadist, Zane, Reyes, Vadim, and Cole. It’s been these 5 forever. When I read Sunset Park, Raymond literally crawled under my skin. He imprinted on my soul. That’s the only honest way to describe the feeling I get when I talk about Ray and read about him. I have to tip my hat to Santino Hassell. The man can write. It’s beautifully flawed. His story telling, his realism, and his emotions are so powerful that you can do nothing but show the man some damn respect. It’s only a handful of authors who can read series and all be high 4 and 5’s. It’s not easy and you might get bored with the same story just regurgitated. I’ve had this book for a while, and it took everything in me not to crack it open. I wanted it to be fresh for release day, and get to openly discuss with my peers all the growth we see in these characters.

It’s been almost 2 years since David and Ray got together. There’s been growth that we can see on page for both guys. I loved Ray’s transition to being “an adult”. He went from everyone providing for him to holding down two jobs and going to school. I loved seeing his passion about being his own man. David is still there, going through the motions with his career that left him feeling uncertain. I really like David. He’s someone who lives in his head, and I know plenty of people like that. David needs constant reassurance about their relationship. I actually felt David was right. He had plenty of reasons for why he felt the way he did. The biggest problem in their relationship was the lack of communication. It’s authentic. Sure having sex feels good for that moment of time, and afterwards but you problems come back big time. I feel like the stress of life got to these two.

Hassell wrote a book that everyone should be able to relate to. Hell I had these problems in the beginning of my relationship. Going to school and work, leaves your love life feeling destitute. I really enjoyed seeing all the different cast of characters. Loved seeing more of Ray’s friends, and even Michael and Nunzio. This was an appropriate representation of a relationship in the real world for me. Can I say it was perfect? No. I wanted to throttle both of them on numerous times, was I happy with the outcome? Yes!! Did I cry? Fuck yes. Was it another baby makers? Check back with me in 9 months for certain.

All in all, I truly loved this book. It’s possible my love for Raymond overlooks everything. I can see myself re-reading it that’s for damn sure. I had some good times with this crew, and how about that epilogue? Oh my goodness, I definitely cried. It was amazing. I highly recommend this series. I think you’ll find yourself enraptured by these characters from book 1 up until now.

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.

Rented Heart by Garret Leigh

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

Title:Rented Heart by Author: Garrett Leigh
Release Date:Sept 12, 2016
Pages: 228 • Format: eARC
Published By:Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Ex-surfer-turned-businessman Liam Mallaney moved back to Holkham, Norfolk, to mourn the loss of his husband. Grief and loneliness keep him a solitary figure, and he likes it that way. There’s no room in his broken heart for anything else.

Rentboy Zac Payne left London and most of his demons behind, but he still only knows one way to make a living. When he spots Liam in a club one night, it seems he’s found his mark. But Liam proves nicer—and their connection far deeper—than he’d bargained for.

Their arrangement quickly becomes too complicated for Zac, who has other things on his mind: namely his BFF and wayward flatmate, Jamie. Zac owes Jamie the world, and even as Jamie’s drug addiction destroys all they have, Zac won’t leave him behind.

Besides, Liam knows nothing of Zac’s home life, too caught up in his own head to think much beyond the crazy heat he and Zac share. But when trouble comes to Zac’s door, putting his life in danger, Liam must set his grief and anger aside to pick up the pieces of Zac’s shattered heart and his own.

four-stars

 

This was a really good solid story from Garrett Leigh. I enjoyed it alot, and I thought it was the right amount of angst, love, redemption and acceptance.

I requested this book off the author’s writing ability and this beautiful cover. I adore the story. Rented Heart is the story of two lonely guys who aren’t looking for love, but happen to fall in love. Liam is dealing with the death of his husband. He’s lonely and doing everything in his power to stay to himself. He’s grieving and decides to relieve himself of some stress and loneliness and meets Zac. Rentboy Zac who is just trying to survive another day and not think about the past of his old life in London.

Leigh’s writing is truly magical, and the one thing that I’ve noticed in this book that we don’t see in a lot of gay romance is Kindness. They were both nice to each other. It wasn’t the same ole be mean to the rent boy, or the rent boy doesn’t need saving. Liam didn’t try to save Zac not one iota. He wanted a friend, who happens to need help. I appreciated the generosity that Liam had, and I appreciate the way Zac was with them. It was almost timid like in manner, but them being nice was a breath of fresh air. I liked that Liam saw Zac, not as a whore but as a person.

“..there’s not much I wouldn’t pay for the privilege of spending a few hours with you.”

This quote damn near did me in. Liam might have been lonely, but he wasn’t bitter. He was focused now that he got a burst of freshness being around Zac. I don’t even think it was the sex. I think it was having someone around for him to be himself, and to be there for someone else. This story being told about rent boy redemption was uplifting and about self-worth. Liam kept reminding Zac that he wasn’t a whore. I think for Zac he was really worried if Liam’s feelings for him can be true or be because of him being lonely. This is why I’m super proud of the age-gap. I think Liam was mature enough to teach Zac certain things, and be a friend then try to change him. I am gushing over Liam that’s all. I damn near fell in love with him all over.

Zac also has his fair sure of issues. He is enabling his best friend. They’ve been in this lifestyle so long that boundaries get crossed and friendships get blurred. I wouldn’t change a thing between Zac and Jamie. They are who they are for a reason, and if all of this had to occur just for them to get an ounce of happiness then I’m game.

This is a must read for people. I liked it alot, and always seem to get a get read from this author. It was the right about of angst, and love for me. I even was able to not cry! I know, me who cried at everything she writes. I recommend this to everyone!

“Don’t rent your heart out for nothing when I reckon you’ve both been through enough to deserve a hell of a lot more.”

About Garrett Leigh

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

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

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

Risk Aware by Amelia C. Gormley

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.

RiskAware_500x750Risk Aware by Amelia C. Gormley
Release Date: May 9, 2016
Pages: 323 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Link:
Riptide

Tattoo artist Geoff Gilchrest is convinced his life is some sort of cosmic joke. Why else would a hemophiliac also be a masochist? He’s given himself more than one elbow bleed since puberty just doing what guys do when alone and bored, so forget about whips and chains. How many partners would contemplate playing with someone even a mild flogging could kill? 

Gallery owner Robin Brady knows he can deliver what Geoff needs: to be taken to the edge of danger but never beyond. But Robin came to Saugatuck to get away from the leather scene and heal from a betrayal by his former sub, so he’s not sure he should get involved with Geoff. His ambivalence isn’t helped by the fact that Geoff’s unwillingness to communicate about his well-being hits Robin in some very raw places.

Geoff’s hemophilia isn’t the obstacle he thinks it is. Instead, a lack of trust—on both their parts—is what could end them before they have a chance to begin.

 

three-stars

I went into this book sorta blind. I wasn’t familiar with Hemophiliac as a disorder. It wasn’t what my caught eye it was the cover more so, and me liking the author’s writing. She’s a great writer. I don’t know if I did or did not like the story, but after reading it I was bored. Aside from the BDSM scenes and the discussion on Geoff being a hemophiliac there was little content for me. Halfway through I was bored, and skimming.

For me when I finally understood the term, I was more worried about the Geoff and is this really more important then your health. I get it, Geoff wanting something so bad, but being unable to grasp it because of a medical condition. I work in the Medical Field as Health Care Administrator and the scene where he is injured and is requires medical attention kinda resonated more with me. With him being hemophiliac and into BDSM I get why the social worker and police would have been called in. I think the author’s response was thorough on that because so many things could have been taken account just because of how he looked.

I never connected with either character. The momentum was pretty fast from initial meeting to them hooking up and everything else. I get Robin’s reservations seeing as his past is still sensitive and his trust issues with his ex, but Robin to me falls on the waste side when it comes to relationship outside of them playing. I thought it was great stuff in here for everyone to learn, but this was just meh for me. I am looking for more of her work though.

About Amelia C. Gormley

Amelia C. Gormley published her first short story in the school newspaper in the 4th grade, and since then has suffered the persistent delusion that enabling other people to hear the voices in her head might be a worthwhile endeavor. She’s even convinced her hapless spouse that it could be a lucrative one as well, especially when coupled with her real-life interest in angst, kink, social justice issues, and pretty men.

When her husband and son aren’t interacting with the back of her head as she stares at the computer, they rely on her to feed them, maintain their domicile, and keep some semblance of order in their lives (all very, very bad ideas—they really should know better by now.) She can also be found playing video games and ranting on Tumblr, seeing as how she’s one of those horrid social justice warriors out to destroy free speech, gaming, geek culture, and everything else that’s fun everywhere.

You can find her self-published Impulse trilogy almost anywhere ebooks are sold, and check out her catalog of Riptide Publishing releases at their website.

Manties in a Twist (The Subs Club #3) by J.A. Rock

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.

MantiesInATwist_600x900Manties in a Twist by J.A. Rock
Series: The Subs Club
Release Date: April 2, 2016
Pages: 283 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
Riptide • •

Look, I’ll never stop missing Hal, but this Subs Club my friends started to review suck-ass doms isn’t gonna bring him back or give him justice. For me, it’s just another chance to hang out with my friends, even if they think I’m too dumb to understand the important work we’re supposedly doing.

But maybe I’m not as dumb as they think—at least I know when I’ve got a good thing going. Which is why I just moved in with my dom. Ryan’s awesome possum. He’s really short, never makes me feel stupid, and is up for anything. One word: costumes. Two more words: women’s underwear. We’re all about the lace, no leather.

Except when we do pony play. We first tried it as a joke, but turns out I’m ballin’ at it. Now PetPlayFest is coming up, and I wanna take down the Subs Club’s archrival, Cinnamon the ponygirl, in the horse show.

My friends think I’m spending too much time with Ryan and ignoring my obligations to the group. But since when is friendship an obligation? Ryan’s my first serious relationship, and I want to take it . . . seriously. At some point I need to think about my future, not my past.

—Kamen

 

three-half-stars

I’d like to think that nothing else surprises me with this series, but I need to remember I have one more book after this one. In my mind Kamen’s story was suppose to be whimsical since he was already in an established relationships. The relationship wasn’t a bummer for me. I liked that they supported each other, and were able to find peace being together. I like how Kamen came to his moments about Hal. He decided that everyone was able to grieve differently and it’s okay. I like how defensive he got when protecting Ryan from his friends. Goodness, I love Kamen, but it just felt like something was missing for me. Maybe it wasn’t as emotional as the other two, but he didn’t seem like the profound type. Well, no can’t really say that because when the man puts his mind to it he really gives it what he got. The whole conception regarding pony play was amazing. I do think he was facing his fears but doing something so out of the box for him.

I think my confusion comes with the exploration of kink. This is the lightest of the book, and his two kinks to be weren’t explored as much as book one and two was. I mean, the manties is the biggest selling point. I think only it being a factor in the minimum way was discouraging for me. I really wanted it explored, maybe something profound could come from it, or who knows maybe he wears them everyday in lieu of briefs. I don’t know, but I wanted to know. The pony play is happenstance for me. It wasn’t something Kamen ever seemed interested in, and only got interested to take down the world’s biggest Bish. I get it compete in something to throw her off. He did kind of put alot more focus into this then I thought he would. I enjoyed reading from his view points on this experience. I liked doubtful Kamen because it showed his serious side.

As usual, the Subs Club appearance is needed. I finally got my kid time!!! Thanks J.A, Zac was amazing. Loved Kamen’s and D conversations. They were hilarious. I loved Kamen’s viewpoint on Hal, and his innate ability to focus on Gould unlike the others would do. His relationship with Miles is so much more then one can expect. Sure he isn’t the brightest bulb but he the glue that definitely keeps these 4 together. I will say that I do love that everything isn’t traditional for either one of these guys. This is an eclectic group of people, but it works.

About J.A. Rock

J.A. Rock is the author of queer romance and suspense novels, including BY HIS RULES, TAKE THE LONG WAY HOME, and, with Lisa Henry, THE GOOD BOY and WHEN ALL THE WORLD SLEEPS. She holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Alabama and a BA in theater from Case Western Reserve University. J.A. also writes queer fiction and essays under the name Jill Smith. Raised in Ohio and West Virginia, she now lives in Chicago with her dog, Professor Anne Studebaker.

Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn

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.

PatchworkParadise_600x900Patchwork Paradise by Indra Vaughn
Release Date: March 28, 2016
Pages: 275 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
Riptide • Amazon • ARe

Oliver and Samuel’s relationship is fairy-tale perfect. They share a gorgeous house in Antwerp, go out with their friends every weekend, and count down the days to their dream wedding. But their happy ending is shattered one late night, and just like that, Ollie is left bereft and alone.

The months that follow are long and dark, but slowly Ollie emerges from his grief. He even braves the waters of online dating, though deep down he doesn’t believe he can find that connection again. He doesn’t think to look for love right in front of him: his bisexual friend Thomas, the gentle giant with a kind heart and sad eyes who’s wanted him all along.

When Thomas suddenly discovers he has a son who needs him, he’s ill prepared. Ollie opens up his house—Sam’s house—and lets them in. Ollie doesn’t know what scares him more: the responsibility of caring for a baby, or the way Thomas is steadily winning his heart. It will take all the courage he has to discover whether or not fairy tales can happen for real.

four-half-stars

I cannot believe I enjoyed this as much as I did when it had so much ANGST. I’m against anything angsty. I loathe it if it’s too much, and I always end up mad. What happened? I do not know, all I know is I started reading it at midnight and by 3 a.m. I was drunk on angst, tears, and happiness. I had a serious conniption. It was so heartbreaking, but so freaking good by the end of it. I was able to get over my grief of Samuel. My grief was really Ollie’s grief, it was so cloying and thick. I could never imagine going through what he did, but he was such a champion for me. He never gave up or gave him. I loved that he wasn’t sticking to anyone’s time table on when to move on, or when to stop grieving. It’s no realistic time table at that. I’m a sucker for a friends to lover story, and Indra Vaughn knocked this book out of the part. This was respectfully done and beautifully written.

I am so swoony over Thomas. I mean everything he did left me star eyed. I like that his friendship with Ollie was very important. I also enjoyed the fact that he didn’t pressure Ollie to be in a relationship so early. I like how Thomas was able to put aside his feelings for Ollie, and he traveled to give Ollie some space. Thomas traveling and finding someone special left me so confused, but as usual the author wrote at such a realistic pace that everything worked out. Thomas finding out he was a father was a realistic reaction to me. I mean, I would be terrified and questioning if I could do this. I love how quickly Oliver decided on his feelings and what he wanted. I liked that Thomas having a baby wasn’t a deterrent for him, and he realized this is everything he always wanted. But once everything clicked into place with this group of people. I would have love to see a bit more of the physical romance, I mean it’s little to no sex in the book. I’m okay with it because the emotional connection shined so brightly that I didn’t notice the lack of sex until the very end. All in all, this was such a good book, and I’m happy that I picked to read it. I am so looking forward to more from this author.

About Indra Vaughn

Indra Vaughn moved from Belgium to Michigan in 2008, leaving everything behind that wouldn’t fit in a single suitcase. She now lives in the suburbs of Detroit with a dog who thinks he’s a toddler and a toddler who resembles Bam Bam in more ways than one.

Indra’s professional background is in nursing and Chinese medicine, but she prefers to spend time making up stories about mysterious men and their unrequited love.

If you ever meet her, ask her about that teenage angst-infused poetry collection. That’ll break the ice for sure.

Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton

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.

TrailerTrash_400x600Trailer Trash by Marie Sexton
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Pages: 340• Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
Riptide Amazon • ARe

It’s 1986, and what should have been the greatest summer of Nate Bradford’s life goes sour when his parents suddenly divorce. Now, instead of spending his senior year in his hometown of Austin, Texas, he’s living with his father in Warren, Wyoming, population 2,833 (and Nate thinks that might be a generous estimate). There’s no swimming pool, no tennis team, no mall—not even any MTV. The entire school’s smaller than his graduating class back home, and in a town where the top teen pastimes are sex and drugs, Nate just doesn’t fit in.

Then Nate meets Cody Lawrence. Cody’s dirt-poor, from a broken family, and definitely lives on the wrong side of the tracks. Nate’s dad says Cody’s bad news. The other kids say he’s trash. But Nate knows Cody’s a good kid who’s been dealt a lousy hand. In fact, he’s beginning to think his feelings for Cody go beyond friendship.

Admitting he might be gay is hard enough, but between small-town prejudices and the growing AIDS epidemic dominating the headlines, a town like Warren, Wyoming, is no place for two young men to fall in love.

 

four-stars

This is definitely one of my favorite covers of the year. I loved the cover model, and the way the script is written.
When I read the blurb I was all like yes this is for me!!! Then I started reading it and it’s YA. At first, I got mad or a little perturbed because YA isn’t my genre of choice, but since I have it I was going to read it. I’m super happy that I did read it. I enjoyed it. I loved the way the author gave us the authenticity of the time, the people, the events in the world and the clothes. I literally googled so many things. Hell I was born in June of 1987. So everything they were listening to was something I wasn’t familiar with. I’d like to say that the story was about two boys from different sides of the tracks who fell in love. It’s a little more then that. It’s Aids unfolding in their eyes and the worlds. Seeing Nate trying to get answers about Aids, or just reading about it at this time in the world was eye opening. Gay Men didn’t have any resources to find out about anything in Warren, Wyoming.

As far as the characters were written I think Cody & Nate were really well written characters. I loved Cody so much. He was so resilient about the things that were thrown at him. I hated how the freaking town treated him. It’s one thing to be poor, and yeah everyone gets social class and high school status. I understand that, but Cody didn’t do anything to anyone. He is content to be by himself in his last year of high school. In walks Nate with his mustang car, Texas drawl, upturn collar on his polo shirts and bright blonde hair. Nate stormed into his life, and made Cody want. He made Cody want things that he wasn’t sure he deserved or even if he could want it. I liked Nate as well. Nate wanted everyone to be, sure he was acclimating to a new town after having to move from Austin, Texas. Nate not being use to the small town, no MTV, small high school and complete boredom. I liked how their friendship came to be. They were trying to make due with what they had in the world.

No matter what year it is, it still is High School. I can say I never had bullying or outcast issues in high school. Every cliche thing you can find in high school it was here. I mean in a small town, how the hell is it still this many cliques? Well amongst all the douchebags there was Logan Robertson. He might be one of the best friends ever. The straight jock, most popular in high school and the town decided to befriend the outcast. I love Logan, and he is such a good thing to Cody’s spirit.

Both boys had to come to terms with their sexuality in different ways. I couldn’t wrap my mind around them having no one to talk to, and no one to relate to. It pulled at my heart strings to see them so alone with this subject. It was basically forced to come out after some bad things happened. Seeing both parent’s reaction to their son’s sexuality was so emotional. Cody’s mom hasn’t had the perfect life. She’s barely scraping by and has to do unsavory things, but the one thing she does is accept her son. I cried, and then Nate’s father put the icing on the cake. I think I respected him so much more when his first priority was to make sure his son was okay.

All in all, I think this was a such a good story. I liked the ending alot. I’m a little uncertain since I would say it’s a HFN. I would have liked to know what happens after Iowa. Or maybe Marie wanted us to be content with their finding their happiness.

About Marie Sexton

Marie Sexton lives in Colorado. She’s a fan of just about anything that involves muscular young men piling on top of each other. In particular, she loves the Denver Broncos and enjoys going to the games with her husband. Her imaginary friends often tag along. Marie has one daughter, two cats, and one dog, all of whom seem bent on destroying what remains of her sanity. She loves them anyway.