Auguries of Summer by Mel Bossa

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.

Auguries of SummerAuguries of Summer by Mel Bossa
Release Date: April 24, 2016
Pages: 193 • Format: eARC
Published By: JMS Books
Purchase Links:
JMSAmazonARe

Easy-going Sebastien divides his time between working as a cleaning technician, caring for his widowed father, and running off to the park for soccer practice. Coasting through his existence, he’s convinced he doesn’t have much going for him.

That isn’t what his best friend Jack thinks. Quick-witted and passionate, Jack is fascinated by art and history, but the greatest book or painting could never compare to how he feels when he’s alone with Sebastien.

In the last five years, Seb and Jack have shared everything, sometimes even a bed. Yet though their chemistry is smoking hot, Sebastien keeps Jack at a safe distance. But when the two move in together to lower their living expenses, that distance gets smaller and smaller, until Sebastien and Jack are standing so close, they can’t see what’s right in front of their eyes … the love of their life.

five-stars

I am drained now. Totally drained and totally satisfied from this book, my first from the author. I am going to try to review this but when books leave me strung out, I find it hard to put words together to make sense.

I am a huge fan of the friends to lover’s trope and when you make it best friends with wonderfully squirmy and gooey UST to full blown swoon central throughout the story, it’s like it was written just for me.

Tell me a story, Jack. Tell me about one of those great love stories you’ve read about.

I adore the way the story is told. I love that we meet them in the now, that the story starts with Sebastien’s present POV and the situation of him moving into a new apartment over the summer to share expenses with his best friend Jack. We learn that these two have a history, that they were lovers briefly in the past but them being friends is what mattered most. But we also quickly learn that Seb has it bad for Jack but is terrified of what it all means.

Let me get this out, the UST is off the charts with these two and the confessions were so overwhelmingly romantic I was hooked before I had a read a quarter of the book. I wanted Jack to spill his guts and for Seb to let down his walls and accept that he is truly in love with his best friend. I wanted them to create gorgeous meals together and listen to Jack tell Seb stories and Jack to soak up all that Jack offered. I wanted it so much it hurt and it was the best kind of hurt.

Ugh.

This book is so rich and by rich I mean with emotion and the perfect blend of storytelling that sucked me in so fast I had no choice but to marinate in it until my fingers are pruny. I love books that make me look things up and nearly every time Jack opened his mouth to tell one of his stories, I was googling to catch up and to simply be in the scene with them.

So, we know the boys are best friends and they have feelings for one another but Seb, he holds Jack at arm’s length and won’t allow himself to let go and be fully in love. It was heartbreaking to be in Seb’s head and deal with his perpetual struggle of accepting that his “Heteronormative straight acting” self was so turned on by Jack and effeminate men like Jack. There is so much internalized angst with Seb that I was so damn thankful the author took us back five years to see when he and Jack met.

Jack was something else. I’d never known a man so alive and turned on by everything. His mind sped all the time. He had thoughts and opinions on everything.

I was jonseing for this meeting between the boys but this whole back story is filled with the self-loathing of Sebastien’s need to feel masculine and not so “gay “while fighting his feelings for being turned on my effeminate men like Jack. They are what turns his crank and gets him off but he’s terrified to admit it, even to himself. He falls hard for Jack the first night they spend together but doesn’t know how to fit Jack into his world without hurting him and that his the last thing Seb wants to do. Keeping Jack at arm’s length is the only way he can assure they stay friends and Jack doesn’t get hurt. But Jack, he wants Seb and will go to remarkable lengths to show it though it often falls on Seb’s deaf ears and heart. Boy oh boy, the whole past part of this book was heartbreaking and yet brilliant with how it was laid out and where it was placed in the story. It gives the reader so much insight to Seb and you learn that Jack is everything to Seb and everything he wants to be; free and completely himself regardless of what the masses think or the judgment they pass. I cannot express how much I loved the Batman and Robin story and how Seb had always known the type of guy that did it for him though he tried the opposite and then… Jack came into his life.

From the moment I’d first seen Sebastien… I’d known he’d make me suffer, but that the highs would be worth every low.

After we learn what happened five years ago, we get back to the present and I have to say thank you so very much to the author for ending the story with Jack. I needed to know his thoughts on Seb and what better way than when it all gets so real for the two of them for us to be in the POV of the man who is Seb’s rock and who rocks his world. Phew. Yeah, this was a great read and I am in love with the story.

The issues of the child being the adult to a parent was here along with a few social and mental health issues and they were dealt with well. Seb’s relationship with his parents wasn’t the easiest though he adored his mom. He tried so hard to be a good son and help, even with his dad after his mother passed away. It was just so hard for him, he’s been this kid in an adults body for so long, he doesn’t quite know how to adult but then again, how many of us really know how to do the proper adulting thing. I thoroughly enjoyed the side characters as they never distracted from the story but added depth and character to Seb and Jack. But the boys, they are front and center and their romance, their love story was gorgeous.

Auguries of Summer is a lovely tale of best friends to lovers who give in and give it all to be happy. It’s a story about seeing the signs you may miss out on what could make your life full of love, of checking off those boxes of happiness not everyone gets to experience and savoring them. It’s a tale about being able to move on from grief and accept that you can be happy with a loved one’s passing and it’s simply, at the heart of it all, a love story of two young men who were made to love each other.

 

 

About Mel Bossa

I’m the author of numerous novels featuring LGBT characters. I live in Montreal’s beautiful gay village with the love of my life, a bisexual man who contributes a lot to my writing and has also designed some of my covers. As a queer (bi) woman, I’ve often been misunderstood or judged, so I try to find peace in dreaming up worlds where grace wins over fear and ignorance.

Close to You by Skylar M. Cates

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.

CloseToYouLGClose to You by Skylar M. Cates
Series: Sunshine and Happiness
Release Date: March 28, 2016
Pages: 248 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner Amazon ARe

Sunshine and Happiness: Book Three

It’s hard to recover from a first love. Some people never do.

How hard would you fight to keep your best friend? Marc Lucas and Tomas Santos have been best friends forever, but now their friendship is in a crisis. When they were boys, betrayals ripped their world apart. They thought it was fixed, but some parts remained broken. Ever since he saved him from a humiliation at school, Marc has loved Tomas. The last thing he expects is for Tomas to love him back. To keep his best friend, Marc revisits an abusive past he’s tried to forget.

For Tomas, loving Marc has been anything but easy. His upbringing told him it was wrong, so why did it feel so right? Accepting who he is as an adult, Tomas decides he needs a committed relationship. To his deep sorrow, he can’t seem to find it with Marc.Sunshine and Happiness: Book Three

When the two find themselves alone and in the grip of a hurricane, long-buried feelings emerge. Being “just friends” is no longer an option. They must risk it all on love.

four-half-stars 

I had ridiculously high hopes going into this book. Tomas and Marc with their tumultuous relationship or lack thereof has been talked about through books one and two. We know these two are in love but won’t let it happen. We’ve seen the downfall of their friendship and of Tomas moving out to take care of his grandfather and how it has wrecked both men. We know they have been friends since middle school… but we didn’t know the whole story… until now.

Told in the dual (TF for that!) POV of Tomas and Marc, we begin with a middle of the night call for help. Tomas needs Marc and Marc will never say no to Tomas, unless it has to do with his heart. So he rushes off to help find his grandfather who has left home in the middle of the night and ease the anxiety and pain that his best friend is going through.

I want to be with you. Why can’t you be with me? I fell when we were only kids. With all my heart and soul.

Immediately we get into the back story of these two; how they met and when they first see one another and I was so happy for that. We been told how long they have been friends but I was desperate to see it and going back tens of years with Tomas and Marc was not disappointing at all.

Marc, you have always intrigued me from the first time I met you in Here For You. Your rough childhood had been mentioned but when we get the first glimpse of it, I was a bit of a mess. I am so sorry you dealt with that but then I think all things happen for a reason and it all led you to Tomas, even when you wanted it not to.

Tomas, you sir wear your heart on your sleeve and it has always bled for Marc. Knowing that you would give all if he would just let you love him, even from the first two books, tore my heart out. Seeing you as a young man, stole my heart and my respect. Speaking up to be Marc’s partner was so sweet, even though you had no idea what you were getting yourself into.

…but once, they loved each other. Love in the way best friends only can – fully and completely, without borders.

Marc and Tomas are an amazing couple who have been through so much together and even more when they were so horribly parted. I love that we get a back and forth time jump of them so we know where it all went wrong, how the boys were hurt and how it shaped them into them men they are today. I had a love/hate issue for the back stories because they were bittersweet but so damn worth it. Getting the bits of their past up to the reunion and how it became a reunion? Ugh. I get why Marc did what he did to try and protect himself when he sees Tomas after all those years apart and I LOVE what he did when he finally decided to put it all on the line to get the man he has always loved.

I have one small gripe with the story and that is the tense it’s told in; third person present tense. For me, knowing HOW MUCH these two want to be together and HOW MUCH we know this from the first two books it bummed me out that the tense made it feel more mechanical when all I wanted was the feelings. Though it bugged me, it wasn’t enough of an issue for me to stop reading because I couldn’t stop reading this story, no matter what.

Close to You, was a gorgeous story of first love, of true love told in only the way it could be for Marc and Tomas, with everything – heart, body and soul. This story will take you on a ride of emotional angst that will have you begging to be hurt by these two over and over again because everything in this book is worth it.

 

 

About Skylar M. Cates

Skylar M. Cates loves a good romance. She is quite happy to drink some coffee, curl up with a good book, and not move all day. Most days, however, Skylar is chasing after her husband, her kids, and her giant dog, Wasabi. Skylar dreams about spending her days writing her novels, walking along the beach, and making more time for her good friends. On a shoestring budget, Skylar has traveled all over in her early years. Although, lately, the laundry room is the farthest place she has visited, Skylar still loves to chat with people from all around the globe.

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.

Charade (Games #1) by Nyrae Dawn

Charade (Games #1) by Nyrae DawnSeries: Games #1
on October 22nd 2012
Pages: 213
AmazonNarrator: Macy Sterling
Nineteen-year-old Cheyenne tries to portray the perfect life to mask the memories of her past. Walking in on her boyfriend with another woman her freshman year in college threatens that picture of perfection.

Twenty-one-year-old Colt never wanted college and never expected to amount to anything, but when his mom's dying wish is for him to get his degree, he has no choice but to pretend it's what he wants too.

Cheyenne needs a fake boyfriend to get back at her ex and Colt needs cash to take care of his mom, so they strike a deal that helps them both. But what if Cheyenne’s past isn’t what she thought? Soon they’re trading one charade for another—losing themselves in each other to forget about their pain. The more they play their game, the more it becomes the only thing they have that feels real.

Both Cheyenne and Colt know life is never easy, but neither of them expect the tragedy that threatens to end their charade and rip them apart forever.
four-half-stars

I really enjoyed this one. It was sweet, and a little sad but so full of hopeful moments.
Cheyenne just broke up with her boyfriend Gregory for cheating on her. She asks the local bad boy, Colt, to pretend to be her boyfriend, to make Gregory jealous and also get Gregory to leave her alone. What started out as a charade became much more as these two lost college students found out they had much more in common, and they became an anchor for the other as they faced their fears.
In the end, the charade ended up making them stronger and better people as they learned to rely on each other and find new reasons to persevere.

It wasn’t too painful or angsty, it wasn’t overly drawn out. It was sweet, and well written. Colt and Cheyenne were really strong and trying to deal with the hand life dealth them. I liked how they let the guard down around each other and showed vulnerability. I really liked Colt’s mom and her words to Chey about Chey’s mom. Very sweet and thoughtful of her to leave those lasting words to a young woman who need to hear that so badly. Really good book.