Mascara & Bandages by Brandon Witt

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.

Mascara & Bandages: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #3
Release Date: July 12th, 2017
Pages: 121 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Ariel Merman is a new drag queen who’s already finding a family at Hamburger Mary’s. After a performance as Ariel, Zachary Cooper walks home in his makeup and is assaulted by homophobes. Zachary’s worry that the attack has thrown a wrench in his good fortune is eased when he looks into the eyes of his doctor.

Dr. Teegan Chau is a little lost after divorcing his wife and coming out of the closet, but he can’t deny the pull he feels toward the young man he patches up. Luckily, Zachary takes the initiative and asks Teegan out. But attraction is the easy part of their blossoming relationship—as they deal with an ex-wife and child, being a drag queen in a heteronormative culture, Zachary’s lingering trauma from his attack, and Teegan acclimating to life as part of an out-and-proud gay couple.

The challenges seem daunting at the start of a romance. Can Zachary and Teegan make it through the rough patches and take a chance on the love that’s been missing from both their lives?

three-half-stars

Left wanting more. That is my initial thought after reading this. I didn’t feel like it was finished at all. Felt like it left off in the middle of the story except it ended. I enjoyed this a little bit more then book 2 in the series. It starts off with a brutal attack. Both guys kinda deal with heavy life choices in this book. I do enjoy reading Witt’s writing because I always get the most vulnerable and realistic feelings while reading his work. I love that he puts so much emotion into his writing and character development. My only downfall is that this book ended about 50 pages to short.

Zachary is alone. He’s young, both parents are gone, and his own redemption is being Ariel Merman. While being Ariel Merman, Zachary’s insecurities and self-esteem is completely gone. He doesn’t have to think of his life, he doesn’t have to think of his future, he just has to let Ariel take over and enjoy it for the time being. He’s attacked and its left all his doubts, fears and insecurities come swimming to the surface. The only plus is meeting Dr. Teegan Chau. He’s a gay man, but not out and proud. Instead he’s swimming through murky waters since coming out to the people that matter a few years ago. The plus side is a boulder is lifted off his shoulders. He can live his truths and care for the people most important in his life.

I did like the two of them together. It was nice to see the relationship grown on page. I liked the nervous energy that each guy had. It is super new for the both of them, and I liked the realness of it. I could see these two being something in the future. I think with each other’s personality they work well together.

Its really no surprise that I liked this story. I do enjoy Witt’s writing alot. I love the series and can’t wait for more. I think if you love reading about real problems, guys persevering, and falling in love then picking up the Mary Boys books shouldn’t be an issue. Its a recommend for this series.

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About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Who We Are by Nicola Haken

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.

Who We Are: by Nicola Haken
Release Date: March 9th, 2017
Pages: 271 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

four-half-stars

 

 

I did not expect this amount of emotions

 

Nicola!!!! Goodness, warn us! Would you??

I was a wreck after reading this. No scratch that I was a hot ass mess while reading this, and up until I finish. I mean, it’s a HFN in the contents of a realistic fiction. This was my second Nicola Haken book, and I’m rethinking why I haven’t read anything else by her. I love British stories, the humor, love, tears and the feelings that I’m able to convey with these characters. Can I say I’m not an animal lover at all, but I loved Marvin Daye. Oh my goodness it left me in tears every interaction between Sebastian & Marvin. The humor was such a great aspect to this love story.

I like being able to relate to characters I read about. In any way, shape or form it’s nice to see some comparisons between fiction and real life. I think Nicola has the perfect antidote on writing realistic fiction. Her characters can be you, your family, spouse, and friends. Its the same reactions through all the tears, joys, love and laughs. I knew next to nothing about this book when I requested it. I saw the cover and a little of the blurb and wanted to read it. Did I expect the read it in one sitting? Absolutely not, but I did. I might not have the best words to describe the story, but I really thought it was a love story between two guys who were each hiding something about themselves to the world. Sebastian has seem to given up on love when we meet him. He’s sure of himself and being bi-sexual but none of the past partners or future to him were able to be okay with it. It has left him cynical and not really looking for love. Oliver hasn’t been himself in years, his love life sucks. His personal life doesn’t seem to be much better. Left custody of his younger brother at a young age himself hasn’t left Olli time to experiment with dating and love. Every little minute is left is dedicated to his brother Tyler who is at the age when he’s a little shit. Oliver’s only freedom is when he’s able to turn into Miss Tique, his drag persona who he evolves into, and lets all his inhibitions a loose while performing. A chance meeting between these two guys turns into something magical. The physical attraction is right their on the page and its not hard to see the love grow & blossom. I love both of these guys for all their faults & flaws. Both guys are hesitant to tell each other about the children in their lives. For different reasons they are scared to show each other their true selves.

I really didn’t expect this book to pack so many emotions. I couldn’t believe where it went with the plot, it was times in the story that I had to stop because the tears were following so heavy. I fell in love more and more with Olli & Seb. I think people will appreciate Haken’s canny sense of realism. I thought the pacing, the length and gradual increases of tone were perfect for the tone of the story. I think fans of the M/M Genre will be surprised by how great this is. I think you should give it a try, and great job Nicola. I so look forward to more of your work. A definite recommend from me!

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About Nicola Haken

I live in not-so-sunny Rochdale, England (true northern girl!), and when I’m not playing with my imaginary friends I can usually be found being a slave to my four adorable (sometimes!) children (five if you include the dog, six if you include the hubby!) or binge watching Netflix.

All in all I’m just an ordinary gal with an addiction to reading about hot book guys, writing about hot book guys, tattoos, and Pepsi Max! Oh, and if my kids ever ask… I moonlight as the Pink Power Ranger 😉

Bad Dogs and Drag Queens (Rose and Thorne #1) by Julie Lynn Haynes

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.

BadDogsandDragQueensLGBad Dogs and Drag Queens by Julie Lynn Haynes
Series: Rose and Thorne, Book One
Release Date: May 25, 2016
Pages: 138 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon • ARe

Vinnie Delarosa and Ethan Thorne are partners—on and off the clock. Federal undercover detectives, they’re part of a covert task force designed to promote goodwill between the feds and local authorities. They lend an unobtrusive helping hand wherever it’s needed. No credit required.

Vinnie and Ethan work primarily in the Southeast region of the United States and live together in Richmond, Virginia. A mugger problem brings them to Roanoke, where Vinnie is thrown out as bait to catch the man who’s been snatching purses in a city park, but they end up with more than they bargained for. Why is Vinnie always the one who has to wear the dress? Ethan says it’s because Vinnie looks much prettier in a skirt. How can he argue with that?

Expecting to return to Richmond afterward, Vinnie and Ethan find themselves assigned a new case instead. They are to go undercover at The Stroll, one of the biggest gay nightclubs in Roanoke. Someone is terrorizing both the customers and the performers. Could they be dealing with a hate crime? Someone has to protect the drag queens of Roanoke, so it’s Vinnie and Ethan to the rescue!

The author is donating 10% of the royalties from this book to No Kid Hungry. Visit nokidhungry.org for more information about this organization.

two-stars

Why do I keep doing this to myself??

So maybe note to self should be: Every book with the words drag queen in the title or blurb is not for me. I really wanted to like this story. I wasn’t able to put the OTT and the disbelief aside. I have no problems with co-workers being together, being out and open without a care in the world, I’d say BFN. Nope not believing it?

Especially in the alphabet agencies, let’s be clear about that. I was able to believe it if they were regular detectives in some Podunk town in the country. I couldn’t get over the two man team, and the drag impersonation for minor crimes against humanity. I mean, they weren’t drag queens for terrorist, or to capture human traffickers. It was B-Level crime with a D-List cast. It started off fine, and then the make believe just grew and out went any enjoyment for me. Either character didn’t move me, and at times Vinnie seemed to be emasculated by Ethan. I mean, constantly saying he has the legs for the skirt, or I’d buy you a new purse didn’t sit well with me. Yeah, that was disappointing for me, but their relationship was kinda good. I mean obviously they cared for one another, and if it was strictly a contemporary romance I would have enjoyed it more.

I was confused most of the time. We didn’t get any past history, or a prologue. Being thrown into the middle of a crime and not knowing left me unsettled. Explanations still weren’t clear throughout the rest of the story. I’m going to leave you with this, besides the relationship( Which Vinnie kept second guessing after being together for 5 years) it was the only thing worth reading and it’s still meh for me.

Between the Lies by Draven St. James

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.

Club Syn 1 - Between the Lies-FINALBetween the Lies by Draven St. James
Series: Club Syn
Release Date: April 4, 2016
Pages: • Cover Artist: Karrie Jax
Published By: Draven St. James
Purchase Link:
Amazon

Professor Graham Darrius leads a double life, everyday he enriches the lives of students, but at night he struts the stage as Ebony Powers at Club Syn. The two personas cannot mix, which is an easy rule to follow until a sexy man from Iowa stumbles through the door.

Spencer Neil has never stepped foot into a gay bar and holy shit did he get more than he’s ever imagined. What did he know about drag queens, go-go boys and heated exchanges in dark corners? The world he lives in is academic and predictable. At least until he meets Graham, and sees that sometimes all is not what it seems.

Beneath the shock of discovery, misunderstandings, silk stockings, and wicked instruction Graham finds himself falling for Spencer and Spencer finds he’s getting a whole different kind of education.

three-stars

This was my first book by this author. I really enjoyed the concept of the book. I loved the age-gap stories as well as interracial romance. It started off really strong and Ebony/Graham and Iowa/Spencer had good passion towards one another. I loved Spencer’s vulnerability when he first stepped into the club. I enjoyed Ebony’s treatment of him upon first meeting. You can see the sexual energy between the two. I would have loved for the story to be longer, to me it didn’t have time for each character to have any feelings outside of physical towards one another. I don’t really like the route that Spencer felt he needed to take, I understand the author’s setup for the plot. I would love to see them get to know each other outside of their common places. I will say the physical part of the book was super hot, and it was written really well. It packed a little punch for 98 pages. I enjoyed the writing alot, and look forward to more from her.

About Draven St. James

I’m a born and raised Oregonian. I’ve traveled extensively in search of mischief and mayhem to fill my books. My ventures have been quite successful in inspiring a wealth of stories both sexy and humorous. It gives me a great excuse to do some crazy stuff in the name of research. Of course at the end of the day, coffee within reach, laptop at the ready is where I find my peace.

Taylor Maid by Tara Lain

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.

TaylorMaidLG

Taylor Maid  by Tara Lain
Series: Dreamspun Desires
Release Date: March 1, 2016
Pages: 218 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press 
Purchase Links: DreamspinnerAmazon ARe

He’ll marry the maid to get $50 million but a secret could queer the deal.

Taylor Fitzgerald needs a last-minute bride.

On the eve of his twenty-fifth birthday, the billionaire’s son discovers that despite being gay, he must marry a woman before midnight or lose a fifty-million-dollar inheritance. So he hightails it to Las Vegas… where he meets the beautiful maid Ally May.

There’s just one rather significant problem: Ally is actually Alessandro Macias, son of a tough Brazilian hotel magnate. But if Ally keeps pretending to be a girl for a little while longer, is there a chance they might discover this marriage is tailor-made?

four-stars

I am in love with the Dreamspun Desires series. Seriously, each book I read from it tickles and tantalizes me in the best way and I simply swoon over the stories.

Taylor Maid was totes adorbs. As the blurb implies, Taylor is set to inherit a cool 50 million from his late grandfather on his twenty-fifth birthday but upon overhearing his father on the phone, he checks the fine print on the will and sees that he must have a love match marriage… to a woman… by his 25th birthday to get the money. In a panic, Taylor flies to Las Vegas to marry and escort when plans go south. Escort is a no show but there happens to be a stunning ginger maid bringing him fresh towels with the voice of an angel. In a last minute ditch effort, Taylor asks the maid, Ally to marry him, and she agrees.

“And when they ask about why you’re marrying a woman?”

“I’ll just say I was straight for you.”

Now… the fun part of this whole story is the wait for Taylor to either figure out that Ally is a man or for Ally to reveal himself as a man and I loved the wait. It was total foreplay watching Taylor wonder if he was truly gay or just straight or bi for Ally. I loved it as he got turned on with Ally, I loved watching him watch Ally and when they have their first kiss??? Oh Taylor!

So, Taylor marries Ally and the form a plan to show his family that he had a blip in his sexuality and married a woman for love. It’s a good thing that Ally is such a fantabulous actress because she makes everyone fall in love so quickly.

Totally androgynous and absolutely devastating.

Now, I won’t go into much with the story because the deception and reveal is part of the fun. You do get both POV’s so you know how Ally feels about Taylor and the deception but I have to say I adored the story. It was fun and I had theories and my theories were right and I love that they were.

There are a few musical numbers and songs mentioned in the book that just help nail the story. The scene at Coco’s was my favorite and I could see Coco and Ally dueling as they fought like Sisters over their men and the song Ally sings for Taylor at his father’s house… *sigh* The Music Man is one of my favorite musicals and I absolutely loved the addition of that song.

Taylor Maid was a fun and yes over the top story of boy meets girl who happens to be a boy and the boys fall head over heels in love. It’s a story of grumpy fathers, amazing friends and the true testament of the heart wanting what the heart wants, even if the heart doesn’t know it wants it.

 

About Tara Lain

Tara Lain, like so many novelists, wrote her first book at five. Writing ability got her through college when there wasn’t enough time in the day, and, shortly thereafter, it became a marketable skill. Very early in life, people started paying her to write — scripts for industrial films, brochures, magazine articles on semiconductors. She became a really successful non-fiction “ghost-writer”.

When you’re being paid well to write non-fiction, it’s tough to spend time writing fiction that nobody pays you for for a long time. But then Tara found EROM (erotic romance). Always a lover of fantasy, she got hooked on the beauty, emotion, and happily-ever-after of these books (to say nothing of the great sex) and was finally inspired to write one of her own. But writing fiction is different than non-fiction. There was so much to learn, and after writing her first book she went back to school (via online workshops) and got down to learning the craft. A year later, she had rewritten that book, and created another one, and a very supportive publisher said yes! Today, she’s an established writer of romance fiction with 25 books to her credit.

Married to her soul mate, a wonderful man who surprises her every day, and living with her honey and her soul dog in Laguna Niguel, CA., Tara continues to love semiconductors and software and medical devices — all with a little touch of romance.

The Queen & the Homo Jock King by TJ Klune

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

Queen&theHomeJockKing[The]LGThe Queen & the Homo Jock King by TJ Klune
Series: Tell Me It’s Real
Release Date: February 29, 2016
Pages: 350 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmzaonARe

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Sanford Stewart sure doesn’t. In fact, he pretty much believes in the exact opposite, thanks to the Homo Jock King. It seems Darren Mayne lives for nothing more than to create chaos in Sandy’s perfectly ordered life, just for the hell of it. Sandy despises him, and nothing will ever change his mind.

Or so he tells himself.

It’s not until the owner of Jack It—the club where Sandy performs as drag queen Helena Handbasket—comes to him with a desperate proposition that Sandy realizes he might have to put his feelings about Darren aside. Because Jack It will close unless someone can convince Andrew Taylor, the mayor of Tucson, to keep it open.

Someone like Darren, the mayor’s illegitimate son.

The foolproof plan is this: seduce Darren and push him to convince his father to renew Jack It’s contract with the city.

Simple, right?

Wrong.

three-half-stars

Once again we are introduced to the crew from Tuscon, Arizona. We met Sandy/Helena & Darren in the first book Tell Me It’s Real. I thought book one was okay. I was interested in the history and the enemies to lovers trope these too have going on. Or I should say The Queen + The Homo Jock King. I really liked the title and cover. It was definitely a step up from book one cover-gadden. This one picks up shortly after book one. I really liked Sandy’s character. I get why he and Paul were friends. Lord have mercy can these boys tell a story. It’s long-winded and heavily dramatic. I think Sandy found the perfect guy to be with him though. Darren gives and tosses back out everything that Sandy does.

Right from the beginning I was laughing. That’s one thing T.J. guarantees for his audience. You will laugh, sure you might cry but you will always smile and laugh. The story starts with how Sandy become Helena Handbasket. I loved the journey Sandy showed us from his early days to the cause that he was fighting towards the end. Sandy is a very colorful person. Helena scenes stole the show darling. I loved her scenes. She was so fierce, powerful, protective and down right nasty. I loved it though. She reminded me of a man-eater. Darren & Helena epicness between the two. I kinda figured out the problems between the two in the past, so it makes sense that Sandy would have reservations about him.

The story was okay for me, but it lacked something that I couldn’t put my finger on. It was funny at times, and down right nasty, but the passion that T.J. writes with wasn’t there for me. I was happy to see some familiar characters and some new characters. I pride myself on not spoiling books, so I can’t give the plot away but seeing the enemies to lovers play out was my highlight of the story. Maybe that’s it, I didn’t feel like the main couple had enough screen time to me. It’s a pretty long book, but I wanted more of Sandy & Darren together. I love T.J. and will continue to read anything he writes.

About TJ Klune

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

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