Pins and Needles by A.J. 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.

Pins and Needles: by A.J. Thomas
Release Date: August 25th, 2017
Pages: 300 • Format: eARC
Published By:Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

The truth is rarely seen on the surface, and getting to it might mean digging deep….

After a devastating accident and a long stay in the hospital, the last thing petroleum engineer Sean Wilkinson wants to deal with is the settlement the oil company tries to force on him. He’ll never be able to work in his field again, his education is all but useless, and his surgeons are pessimistic about whether he’ll ever walk again. He needs someone in his corner, but most lawyers take one look at his tattoo-covered foster father and turn their backs. It’s just Sean’s luck that the one attorney willing to give him a chance is also the hottest guy he’s ever seen.

As a trial lawyer, Nate Delany has a lot to prove—to his father, the world, and himself. Sean intrigues Nate, and he struggles to reconcile the gifted tattoo artist he can’t stop fantasizing about with the quiet, brilliant engineer. His investigation reveals facts left out of the accident report—including an illicit affair, greedy coworkers, and a vicious corporation that will do anything to protect its bottom line. When Sean’s life is threatened, winning Sean’s case, and his heart, becomes a lot more dangerous.

four-stars

 

I enjoyed Pins and Needles a lot. I’m kinda shocked because it was a true slow burn with the romance. It was minimum at best, and the plot was really informative. To be honest, what first drew me to the story was the blurb. Felt very real, and something that I haven’t read a billion times over now. I deserve a cookie of some sort because whenever I hear the word FRACKING my eyes usually glaze over and I become distracted by something else. I’ve heard it on countless political shows, movies, court shows and everything else. Never would have imagined it to be in my reads but this was good. It was different and I loved the buildup for the romance.

Nate and Sean together were very good for one another. Each guy is lacking in the personal romance and real life feels. I like that they were so different from one another, but totally compromising and interesting to the other. Nate made me fall for him so much more. Always been the outcast from his uber conservative family decides to take a stand, and be his own man. Not caring what his father thinks, he branches out on his own. His very first case is against a multimillionaire company and their employee. Sean’s life hasn’t been easy at all. Never having the love he’s had from parents he’s like a lost boy. Not realizing the entire time he’s had all the love from Hawk that he could ever want. We really don’t know the real Sean. I think because he’s always been second choice to his mother the only way he can survive is by adapting to his surrounding. That’s heartbreaking in itself.

The plot for this story was so thoroughly researched and written really well. I learned some new things, and loved how it was intertwined with the romance. Yes the plot was more then the romance, and normally it would be an issue for me, but every single piece was important for the story. It made complete sense in the end. I really enjoyed the side characters. Hawk & Tonya were really good for Sean’s soul. I love how tattooing brought Sean & Nate on another level. Loved seeing Nate’s ruthlessness come out when he turned his professional face on. Sean was spectacular in himself as well.

All in all, I thought this was a really good solid story. Excellent writing and story telling. A definite slow burn with the romance. I mean really, really, really slow burn. If you can’t handle it then skip it. The story actually has substance so be prepared to actually be wow’d. I look forward to more books from Thomas.

 

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Absolutely, Almost, Perfect by Lissa Reed

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.

Absolutely, Almost, Perfect: by Lissa Reed
Series: Sucre Coeur #3
Release Date: August 3rd, 2017
Pages: • Format: e-ARC
Published By: Interlude Press
Purchase Links:
Interlude PressAmazonSmashwords

Craig Oliver and Alex Scheff lead a charmed life. Craig is part owner of Sucre Coeur, the bakery he’s loved and managed for years. Alex is an up-and-coming Seattle photographer. Their relationship has been going strong for a year, and everything is absolutely perfect—right up until Craig receives a wedding invitation from his long-estranged brother.

As Craig grows tense over seeing his brother for the first time in years, Alex can’t control his anxiety over meeting Craig’s family. At the wedding in an English hamlet, boisterous Scottish mothers, smirking teenage sisters, and awkward ex-boyfriends complicate the sweet life they lead.

 

four-stars

I really don’t know where to start. I honestly read book 1 yesterday just to get a feel of these guys again, and I still enjoyed it. I really enjoy the realistic feeling of Reed’s writing. It seems so easily written, but that might not be how to describe it. 2 souls who couldn’t be more good for each other than these two. You can see the love between Craig & Alex.

Absolutely, Almost, Perfect is a great follow up to Craig & Alex. I really adored Craig in book one. He was the essential gentleman. Everything about him was amazing, and still is. Its the first time he’s flustered to this extend. I was weary about Alex. Weary enough that I didn’t think he was good enough for Craig. That’s me wanting Craig to be with someone easier to deal with. Alex has a lot of hangups, and they don’t get fixed over night, but this book shows what a year can do for a person. He’s grown tremendously, and he’s learned to love and trust Craig.

“The Most fundamental truth of his life is that Craig is home, Craig is refuge, Craig is a place for Alex to catch his breath.”

This was by far my favorite line in the book. Going back home to Craig is a double edged sword. He wants to see him family and support a close friend, but Craig has all the reservations in the world. His older brother whom he’s never gotten along with is marrying said close friend. As much as he tries to run away from this problem once home, he can’t get far. Alex for all intentions and purposes is right there holding Craig up. He’s there adulting, and being the support system that he never thought he could be. It was a breath of fresh air reading about these two. I loved Craig’s family a lot. I loved the ending, the compromises, the laughter and tears. Goodness, that scene at 90% had me looking towards the ceiling because I didn’t want my tears to fall.

This series is so eloquently written. I feel like I can close my eyes, and picture Lissa’s words in my head. I don’t do audios very much, but this is a series I’m looking forward to listening to. If you haven’t read book 1 then you don’t know what you are missing. This is a true love story. It doesn’t have the physical steam that I like, but I love reading about the coupling of them together more then the act itself. Its a definite recommend from me, and I look forward to more from this author.

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About Lissa Reed

Lissa Reed is a writer of fiction, blogs, and bawdy Renaissance song parodies. She traces her early interest in writing back to elementary school, when a teacher gifted her with her first composition book and told her to fill it with words. After experimenting with print journalism, Reed shifted her writing focus to romance and literary fiction and never looked back. She lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Absolutely, Almost, Perfect is the third book in her Sucre Coeur Series.

Trust With A Chaser 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.

Trust with a Chaser: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Rainbow Cove #1
Release Date: August 1st, 2017
Pages: 255 • Format: eARC
Published By: Annabeth Albert
Purchase Links:
Amazon

One hot cop. One bar owner out for redemption. One smoking-hot summer fling destined to leave scorch marks…

Mason Hanks has returned to Rainbow Cove, Oregon with one goal in mind: turn the struggling coastal community into a thriving LGBTQ tourism destination. Step one is transforming an old bar and grill into a gay-friendly eatery. Step two? Don’t piss off Nash Flint, the very hot, very stern chief of police who’s not so sure he’s on board with Mason’s big plans.

Nash Flint just wants to keep his community safe and enjoy the occasional burger in peace. He’s not big on change nor is he a fan of Mason’s troublemaking family, especially his rowdy older brothers. But Mason slowly wins him over with fantastic cooking and the sort of friendship Nash has been starving for.

When their unlikely friendship takes a turn for the sexy, both men try to steer clear of trouble. Nash believes he’s too set in his ways for Mason, and Mason worries that his family’s reputation will ruin any future with Nash. Burning up the sheets in secret is a surefire way to crash and burn, and discovery forces a heart-wrenching decision—is love worth the risk of losing everything?

four-stars

This book! ZOMG!!! It brightened up my day big time. I read this in one sitting, and couldn’t move or put it down. I need Albert to push this series out big time! Rainbow Cove is so my comfort read. I really enjoyed everything about this book, my only downfall is that I never wanted it to end! Guh!!!! Why??? I needed to see Mason, Lilac and Nash after that statement. Annabeth, you had to know we would want to see them, and read about them for at least another 100 pages. Is that so hard to ask?

Probably so. LOL. Don’t worry folks, this doesn’t end in a cliffhanger. Its more a HFN until I get a finale from these two. It has a lot of my favorite tropes, the age-gap, out for you, small quaint town settings, children. Its a definite winner. Mason Hanks comes from a family of people whom representation isn’t that upstanding. They are kinda known as criminals, and people who don’t up-stand the law. Not that Mason things he’s better then his family, but he just wants different in life. Coming back to Rainbow Cove isn’t something he planned but with 2 of his friends having the opportunity to open a tavern in his home town is a dream come true. Being closer to his niece who he adores, and a wayward brother and okay father. Never in Mason’s wildest dreams did he think Police Chief Nash Flint would be somebody he falls in love with. Flint isn’t easy to deal with at all. He’s so far in the closet, he’s practically in Narnia. Not really for fear of what others thing, but the fear of not living up to the job title and perception of folks all around him. Falling in Love with Flint isn’t easy. He’s grumpy, monosyllabic at times, and stubborn. Think that’s a common trait in the y chromosome folks. I liked the they were able to trade off on compromising for each others wants and desires. They didn’t have the best of communication but definitely made it for best for them.

One of my favorite things is when the writing feels real. This is a really good realistic fiction. With everyday problems and every day people. I enjoyed the other characters a lot. Can’t wait for Curtis & Logan’s book, I can only dream of where it goes. No idea on who Adam will end up with, kinda don’t want it to be Brock because I want him to end up with this burly lumberjack guy in my head. Proper Brock and Lumberjack dude is so hot. ARGH!!! Focus Tamika! I can’t wait for more, and loved the pacing of the story. There were some really steamy scenes, and I found the pillow talk to be truly endearing. I think fans will really appreciate and enjoy this series a lot. Annabeth, totally rocked this! Definite recommend from me!

 

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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.

Audio Review: 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 Roosevelt #2
Release Date: June 12th, 2017
Pages: • Format: Audio
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
Amazon Audible

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.

He only hopes there isn’t a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.

 

four-stars

 

This is the second book in the Roosevelt series and it catches us up with Emmet and Jeremey two years down the road. The two men are still a couple and are still living together in their assisted living.

As this book starts we find two things are going on. Jeremey is having a difficult time with his depression and anxiety. He’s going through a very rough patch which he is attempting to hide from Emmet. In addition, the Roosevelt is struggling with funding and all of the residents are concerned that it may close down.

I really loved how the author portrays these two men going through hard times together. I think there is a belief that two very with serious issues can not be there for their partner but I think this book shows how that’s not true. Both Emmet and Jeremey push through their comfort zones to be the help the other needed and I found some of these scenes very emotional.

The other part of the story was not as enjoyable for me but that is due to a personal reason. I’m a social worker and the current health care/mental health care crisis in our country is staggering and it’s something that I deal with every single day. I read for a break from real life stress and this didn’t do it for me. Just got me all angry and worked up. I’m glad the author went down this road though because I imagine the average reader knows nothing about the mental health care systems in our country and I hope it was eye opening for them.

This audiobook was narrated by Iggy Toma and I think he did just as great a job in this one as he did in the first book. The two main characters have very different voices, with Emmet’s being very distinct due to his Autism. There are also a bunch of side characters in this one and they were all done very well.

Although I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did book one, that was more on me than the actual quality of the writing/storytelling. I think this is a must read for fans of the series.

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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.

Hush by Tal Bauer

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.

Hush: by Tal Bauer
Release Date: July 12th, 2017
Pages: 672 • Format: eARC
Published By: Tal Bauer
Purchase Links:
Amazon

A federal judge running from the truth.
A U.S. marshal running from his past.
A trial that can plunge the world into war.

Federal Judge Tom Brewer is finally putting the pieces of his life back together. In the closet for twenty-five long years, he’s climbing out slowly, and, with the hope of finding a special relationship with the stunning Mike Lucciano, U.S. Marshal assigned to his DC courthouse. He wants to be out and proud, but he can’t erase his own past, and the lessons he learned long ago.

But a devastating terrorist attack in the heart of DC, and the subsequent capture and arrest of the terrorist, leads to a trial that threatens to expose the dark underbelly of America’s national security.

As Russia beats the drums of war, intent on seeking revenge, and the United States struggles to contain the storm before it races out of control, secrets and lies, past and present, collide in Judge Tom Brewer’s courtroom. With the world’s attention fixed on Tom and this case, he suddenly discovers he may be the only person who can put everything together in time to stop the spark of a new world war.

four-stars

 

HA! Looks like I did like it more then Enemy Within. Its nothing like The Executive Office series, and that’s a great thing. Both guys were super sweet, and while it was action packed the romance was such a sweet balm to my soul. Bauer is very detailed oriented when writing. He explains things to clearly that you can learn so much about each position, branch of office, or civilian duty. I watch a lot of Law & Order: SVU and the prosecution office doesn’t explain nothing like this. Tom & Mike seem to awaken something in one another that they didn’t know they wanted. 

The first half of the story was really slow paced, a lot of buildup between the two characters, and the plot was pretty straightforward. I enjoyed Tom rebirth if you can say. He’s been along for so long that coming out for someone is extremely terrifying. Actions in his younger life impacted his future, and it allowed him to close himself off to love, people, and companionship. It was a little heartbreaking reading to be honest. To think of someone going so long without a hug, laughter, love, and friend. That’s lonely. I loved how Tom made the reference to not being only lonely but being lonesome. He’s basically lived a reclusive life for fear of him being gay getting out. Besides his lovely dog, his career is everything. He didn’t want to take a chance on that until his feelings for Mike couldn’t be ignored and they were reciprocated. Poor sweet Mike! He picks the losers, part of it is his fault seeing as he’s always been afraid to go after who he really wants. He wants the fairy tale and its nothing wrong with it. It was so sweet watching these two fall in love. So many things in common, and their love was genuine and showed across the page.

The plot was interesting. I figured out some of the deception, but didn’t see that ending come by a mile. Bauer does like to write his surprises. Everything was really well thought out and planned. Loved seeing the different facets to the story. A lot slow downed then his previous series, but still good. The ending was really good. Such a solid story, and definitely no cliffhanger. Not to say I wouldn’t mind seeing these two again in the future, and maybe a Kris story. Him and Villegas definitely seemed to know one another. A recommend from me! Bauer does a good job as usual!

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About Tal Bauer

Tal Bauer writes LGBT fiction and romance, bringing together a career in law enforcement, trauma medicine, and international humanitarian and disaster relief work to create dynamic, strong characters, intriguing plots, and unique, exotic locations. Tal’s stories weave together pulse-pounding adventure, cunning intrigue, and sweeping romance. Tal is a member of the Romance Writers of America and the Mystery Writers of America.

Guest Review: A Kind of Home by Lane Hayes

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.

A Kind of Home: by Lane Hayes
Series: A Kind of Stories #4
Release Date: June 23rd, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

A Kind Of Story

Isaac Dalton is the guitarist for Spiral, arguably the biggest rock band in the world. The band’s meteoric rise to superstardom has its perks, but fame and fortune aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Nonstop touring and performing exhaust him, and when an overzealous fan makes it imperative that Isaac travel with a clingy bodyguard, he is ready for a break from the madness. More so when his newly single first crush shows up on his doorstep. The man is strictly off-limits. He’s a memory from a place Isaac would rather leave behind. And he’s straight.

Fun-loving former athlete slash construction worker Adam McBride desperately needs a new beginning. And New York City is the perfect place to start over and think about how to rebuild his life. A short stint as roommates with his brother’s best friend from high school seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement. However, when friendship gives way to fierce attraction, both men find themselves in uncharted and possibly dangerous territory. Isaac has to decide if he’s willing to take the ultimate risk for a kind of love and a kind of home he never dreamed possible.

four-stars

In previous books of this series we have gotten to know the guys from the rock band Spiral. By the time this book begins the band is huge. They’re one of the most famous bands in the world and the long hours, traveling and lack of privacy has begun to wear on guitarist Isaac. He loves the music but he’s growing weary of everything else. What he wants most is to be left alone. Unfortunately for Isaac he’s picked up an odd fan who seems like they might be obsessed with him. As a result he has also picked up a body guard he doesn’t want.

Imagine Isaac’s shock when he gets home from a tour to find that the old friend he said could use his apartment for a week or so is still there a few months later. Adam is the older brother of Isaac’s best friend from high school. Isaac always had a crush on the older boy and hasn’t seen him since his wedding a few years earlier. Despite his annoyance at finding Adam at his place he agrees to let him stay a bit longer. Adam is getting divorced and is looking to make some changes in his life.

As the two men begin to get reacquainted Isaac finds that all the things that attracted him to Adam in the past are still there but now there are even more things to like about him. Adam is in New York to make big changes in his life and apparently he’s not as straight as Isaac always thought he was. The two can’t deny their chemistry and soon friendship turns into something more.

I liked both of these MC’s individually and I really loved them together. They were a perfect compliment to each other. Their chemistry jumped off the pages and the book was filled with both sweet, romantic scenes and some super hot bedroom scenes. The grand gesture at the end was especially lovely.

Extra kudos to the author for not making the ex wife the stereotypical shrew and for not making Adam’s bisexuality an issue or problem within the marriage. I thought the entire divorce part of the plot line was well thought out and executed perfectly.

This book can be read as a standalone. Because of both band work and their friendships we see a lot of some of the previous characters (especially Rand) so if you’ve read the others you’ll probably appreciate that. So whether you’re an existing fan of the series or new to it, this is a book I would definitely recommend.

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About Lane Hayes

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions in the 2014 and 2015 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow Lab ever in an almost empty nest.