New Author Alert: Midlife Crisis by Audra North

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.

Midlife Crisis: by Audra North
Release Date: August 28th, 2017
Pages: 205 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Cam McGhee grew up like any other small-town Texas farm boy: he played football, went to church every Sunday, and married his high school sweetheart. But thirty-five years after he said “I do,” Cam finds himself nursing a beer in a gay bar, thinking about what might have been.

Dave Montoya is confident, self-assured, and cautiously single. But when he meets shy, uncertain, and clearly-still-not-out Cam in a coffee shop in Austin, his reservations about getting seriously involved again disappear. Cam is everything he’s looking for in a partner . . . almost, anyway.

No matter how much Dave wants him, and how good they are together, Cam can’t bring himself to fully embrace the life he was meant to live. After all, when his secret finally gets out, he faces the very real possibility of losing everything that kept him going for the first fifty years of his life, just like he’s feared for so long. But with a little faith—and a lot of love—his dream of living fully, truly, as himself might finally be within reach.

four-stars

Well, North certainly surprised me. I’ve never read anything by her before. After reading this, I saw she is a MF romance writer. I have skeptical feelings about them, but I don’t let it cloud too much of my judgment. More surprised at myself for finishing it. This was not only a slow burn, but the pacing was snail at best. I didn’t find myself bored so I guess its a win for me. Its very detailed, and everything is written in a way that molasses pours faster. I was really drawn to it because of the older mc’s. They are in their 50’s well off, and established wanting different things in their lives.  North’s writing was real, emotional, and such a sweet romance. It doesn’t focus on the physical side but more emotional. Cam was such a character that touched my spirit. I teared up at plenty of the hard facts that he had to face. Dave is such a sweetheart. Super understanding to the cause and patient.

Cam’s character made my feelings come out through this story. I don’t know what was happening at the time of my reading it, but he resonated so much to me. Maybe its because he’s a black man, and all his loyalties, duties, and reservations about his family is so common in the community, even more in the south. My family is from the south, so I could understand all his thoughts, dreams, fears, hurt when it came to being happy. Or lack thereof in his case. He sacrificed his happiness for the community, the way of life in Bitter, Texas. He was a drowning man, until his wife died. It was heartbreaking and I know it was emotional because it kept an egg shape size of despair in my throat. He tried to do right by what was expected of him, he tried to be the best father, and husband he could be. It only took 51 years of living to realize that he wanted something for himself. In walks Dave, in his biker workout clothes, and friends. With his smile, easy on the eyes, and friendly manner its no wonder Cam falls for him. Its not an easy romance. While Cam does come to terms about being gay, its another to act on it. Its something that he’s never thought of. Of course being happy with Dave, does nothing to dis spell all his responsibilities back home or with his children. No matter his orientation, his children are his. Cam shows so much vulnerability with his kids, Dave, and his knitting crew. Dave is trying to get back on the horse as well. Being single for a few years after being in a long term relationship, Dave has reservations about being with someone as closeted as Cam. Its something that he can’t help since he’s falling just as much as Cam.

I am still kinda shocked at how much I’ve enjoyed this. I look forward to North writing more gay romance if its going to be real like this. If you like older guys, interracial romance, hurt comfort, out for you, tears, and extremely slow burns then this book is for you. I quite like the pacing, and writing myself. I would recommend this read.

 

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About Audra North

Audra North is a contemporary romance author of more than twenty romances, including the Stanton Family series from Entangled Publishing, the Hard Driving series from St. Martin’s Press, and the Pushing the Boundaries series from Samhain Publishing. She is the owner and publisher of Pink Kayak Press, which focuses on the publication of diverse romance works. Winter Rain, a Pink Kayak Press anthology, won a gold medal in the 2015 Independent Publisher Awards.

Audra enjoys speaking to writing groups and at industry conferences. She is also an avid jogger and loves running marathons. She has three children and lives with her family outside of Boston.

Out in the Field by Kate McMurray

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.

OutInTheFieldLGOut in the Field by Kate McMurray
Release Date: May 16, 2016
Pages: 216 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner • Amazon • ARe

2nd Edition

Matt Blanco is a legend on the Brooklyn Eagles, but time and injuries have taken their toll. With his career nearing its end, he’s almost made it to retirement without anyone learning his biggest secret: he’s gay in a profession not particularly known for its tolerance.

Iggy Rodriquez is the hot new rookie in town, landing a position in the starting lineup of the team of his dreams and playing alongside his idol, Matt Blanco. Iggy doesn’t think it can get any better, until an unexpected encounter in the locker room with Matt proves him wrong.

A relationship—and everything it could reveal—has never been in the cards for Matt, but Iggy has him rethinking his priorities. They fall hard for each other, struggling to make it through trades, endorsement deals, and the threat of retirement. Ultimately they will be faced with a choice: love or baseball?

First Edition published by Loose Id LLC, 2012.

four-half-stars

Okay. I am so lost with this book. I can tell you that right now as my fingers fly over my laptop keyboard I have tears streaming down my face. That was one of the best endings I have read lately and I honestly was not ready for the story to be over.

So this turned out better than I expected. Early on in the story I was beginning to get irritated at the inference of the romance with Matt’s age. We know he is older than Iggy but I didn’t need a constant reminder, even during sexy times. Let me just say; 39 is not as old as the book leads you to believe, *looks at birth certificate with 1977 on it * just saying. Though I struggled with the nagging of acknowledged years between the MC’s and almost gave up on the book, I am so very glad I stuck with it.

I will try to keep this short as my current emotions will totally lead to rambling.

I loved that Iggy idolized Matt as a baseball player and got to meet him. I loved that Iggy was able to separate first baseman Matt Blanco from the Matt he was getting to know and falling for. I love that Iggy was at times the voice of maturity in the relationship and pushed for what he wanted and knew Matt wanted too.

Matt was beyond remarkable. The fact that he kept his sexuality hidden for so long yet finally found the one person he could be himself with, the one person who could and would get where he was coming from at every angle was gorgeous. Watching Matt accept that he was falling for Iggy was a pure joy to witness. Watching Matt decide on where his career would go just about broke this ginger.

I hate this… At the end of the day, I just want to be honest. I think a little part of me dies every time I have to lie like that. But I just don’t see any other way.

Goodness. I hate that this book was a portrait of realism for gay athletes. Though the times are slowly changing, it can still be a threat to ones career to come out. We’ve seen it happen but it makes me angry and at times my personal anger over the injustice blacked out the romance between Iggy and Matt. For me, I will never understand what your sexuality has to do with your ability to do your job, whatever you job is.  I hate that this reality for men like Matt exists and they have to struggle with staying in the college or risk losing what they love to do or play. I hate that finding love and wanting to be open in public with that person, even to hold hands, is denied out of again fear that rebuttal from your employer could lead to dismissal. It just plain sucks and hurts my heart deeply. Everyone should be able to love who they choose… period.

*hops off micro soapbox*

So yeah, there is that but even though that is a major part of the book, this was still so good. I hated it when the men were forced to be apart but Matt’s new ritual with the card and the moment on third base was worth it. I hated that Matt was forced to make a decision but loved that Iggy was the deciding factor. I adored the teammates on the Eagles from the first to last page. I loved Iggy’s mom and Matt’s parents. I really liked that the focus moved from simply Matt’s age to the fact that he is at the end of his career as a ball player and Iggy is just starting out. The contrast of their career stages was perfectly done as the storyline progressed and it made me a happy reader. Man, I just loved the holy hell out of this book.

Out in the Field… this book was amazing. It truly was an epic romance that begins on the bejeweled diamond field of the Brooklyn Eagles as two men on opposite ends of their baseball careers meet, fall in love and finally do what is right in their hearts to be together.

About Kate McMurray

Kate McMurray has been writing stories since she could hold a pen. She picked up her first romance novel when she was thirteen and has loved the genre ever since. She started writing gay romance after reading a book and thinking there should be more love stories with gay characters. Her first published novel, In Hot Pursuit, came out in February 2010, and she’s been writing feverishly ever since. She likes stories that are brainy, funny, and of course sexy, with regular guy characters and urban sensibilities.

When she’s not writing, Kate works a nonfiction editor. She also reads a lot, plays the violin, knits and crochets, and drools over expensive handbags. She’s maybe a tiny bit obsessed with baseball. She lives in Brooklyn, NY, with a pesky cat.

She is currently serving as president of Rainbow Romance Writers, the LGBT romance chapter of Romance Writers of America. She’s also active in RWA NYC, the local New York City RWA chapter.