The Layover by Roe Horvat

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.

The Layover: by Roe Horvat
Release Date: July 19th, 2017
Pages: 104 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
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Eight years ago, Ondro Smrek fled Slovakia and the bigotry that drove his first lover to take his own life. The demons proved impossible to outrun, though, and now, desperate for somewhere to belong, Ondro is returning to start over. During a layover in Basel, Switzerland, he meets Jamie, an American living in Scotland who is as brilliant as he is beautiful.

Jaded Ondro never would have guessed he could fall in love during a brief layover—until now. When he is put in a position to offer Jamie comfort without hope of recompense, Ondro doesn’t hesitate. Soon, he catches a glimpse of the home he longs for. But with their separation looming, confessing his feelings would only lead to pain and humiliation. Life has taught Ondro not to hope, but then, he never believed in love at first sight either….

 

four-half-stars

 

Stop. Whatever you are doing stop and go grab this book.

New Author Alert!!!! Roe Horvat is a bloody good writer.

We all know I’m a fickle reader. I’m loyal to my authors to a fault, even when they are write less then my expectations. Sadly, I’ve had a few of those happen in the last year and its only 2 authors at the #1 stop. Stop distracting me. Last year I read a book by a new author on the recommendation by Josh Lanyon, and loved it. If you haven’t picked up Dal Maclean’s Bitter Legacy then you’ve been sleeping under a damn rock or just stupid. Either option is fine with me. What I’m trying to state is this author came out of nowhere with a big recommendation by a really big named author in the genre for support, and her work was brilliant. When I requested this book I had no idea what I was getting. I had no idea what to expect, and honestly I was dreading reading it. I had all these thoughts in my head about how bad it would be. Well color me surprised when it was the EXACT opposites of those thoughts. It was beautiful, endearing, inspiring, and lovely. It was about pain, fear, real life and love. It was eloquent and I wish it would have been a full length novel. I mean you can’t give me this scrumptious morsel, and cut me off. I need more woman. Roe Horvat came so left field for me, that I was gobsmacked at how much I would like this book. I literally just finished and haven’t reviewed a book  in 2 weeks, and this got me back on the horse so pleasantly.

The first thing that I realized that I love was the setting. I don’t read too many books in this part of the world. I enjoyed the authenticity feeling  I get while reading this. I can close my eyes and picture parts of the book. I really liked the cultural difference that each guy has. Its easy to fall for someone in a similar situation, but from a different walk of life is hard. Its hard to compromise, to explain, to enjoy, and to try to mend worlds. Trust me, I’m married to an Irish man who morals & values are just as important as my African American Baptist roots. Its hard, its invigorating, and scary. 

I don’t know which character I’ve enjoyed more Ondro or Jamie. Both were really good, and I’m going to beg the author for another update with these two. 128 days later wasn’t enough. I’d like to see them 529 days later or more & more. Ondro, poor sweet Ondro. He’s kind, cynical, fearful and brave. He’s from Slovakia, a place that isn’t kind to him based on his sexuality. Not on the place but his family. Leaving at 22 was the one way that he thought he would gain some semblance of happiness. Years later he realizes that running has done nothing but let me win. Running has not helped in his love life, and some part of him wants to come to terms with his past there. Jamie is the sweetest ever. He’s fiery once meeting him, and I thought his stands & values were so endearing. Ending up together longer then their expected layover wasn’t in their plans but they made due with it. I don’t want to go to much into the plot, but I got this feeling while reading this book. It wasn’t about the physical aspect of the book, but all the emotions, tears, fears and hope. My favorite trope ever, realistic fiction is the best. The circumstances that they both go through can be someone you know, love, spouse, brother, father, or friend. Right now I feel like I’m rambling because I can’t put in words what made this book magical. It just felt raw, it felt real. It felt like people still have morals, dreams, and people don’t know the difference between lonesome or lonely. 

I’m going to end my review now, and say just buy the book. I’m looking forward to more writing from this author. If you want to try a new author, with a brilliant love story then try this. Try this for love, try this for Ondro & Jamie. Highly recommended!

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About Roe Horvat

Queer fiction author Roe Horvat was born in the post-communist wasteland of former Czechoslovakia. Equipped with a dark sense of sarcasm, Roe traveled Europe and finally settled in Sweden. They love Jane Austen, Douglas Adams, and daiquiri, with equal passion. When not hiding in the studio doing graphics, Roe can be found trolling cafés in Gothenburg, writing, and people-watching.

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.

Blue by B.G. 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.

Blue: by B.G. Thomas
May 15th, 2017:
Pages: 240 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Blue McCoy has lived on the streets for a long time, surviving by his wits and doing what he must, and he’s not above using his youthful appearance and air of innocence to his advantage. It’s not an easy life, but he’s happy. He has everything he really needs: the clothes on his back, a house to squat in, a sweet dog. Everything except that special someone to love him.

Six months ago, John Williams’s wife left him because she was bored. “Even your *name* is boring” were her last words to him before she walked out. Now he’s by himself in a big house, trying to figure out what direction his life should take. He’s never been so alone.

A chance encounter sets John on a new path, a path that becomes clearer when loneliness sends him to a local animal shelter to get a dog—and he finds an angel instead. An angel named Blue. A crisis brings them together, but it is something else that keeps them there. Could it be love? A love that can forever end two men’s deep loneliness and bring them the support and sense of belonging they’ve searched for all their lives?

three-stars

This book should be read with caution. I didn’t know what I expected when I started it, but it definitely wasn’t this. I liked the idea & trope of the story a lot, but I felt like I should be reading this with a tiara on my head and tripping on acid. That’s the easiest thing I can come up with. I believe I’ve read one other book by this author, but can’t recall it at all. I didn’t like the breaks in pov. It was to constant and I found myself going back to see who said what. That was annoying. It had alot of internal dialogue. It is a job to be in Blue’s mind. I didn’t like how we don’t have an absolute knowledge on why Blue is homeless. I know there could have been tons of reasons on why he is, but it wasn’t even alluded to. It was more of Blue happily telling a tale of all the wonderful things going on in his life. I get John, and I liked him but his story wasn’t completed at all. He had a lot of personal triumphs to go through that were discussed in this book, but we don’t see an outcome either. Maybe it wasn’t the author’s intentions of seeing it play out at the end, but I think it would have given the story a little bit more substance.

I did enjoy Blue’s outlook on life. After everything he has been through and continuously going through nothing seems to bring him down. He’s young and squatting at an abandoned house with other guys. John is newly single, and kinda numb to everything. He’s recently separated from his wife of 20 something years.  He’s finally able to think about the think that has stopped him from all of his life. Told through dual pov’s we see what each other means to one another, what they go through on a daily basis and the warped speed of them insta-loving all of the pages. Yes they moved incredibly fast, and I definitely suspended copious amounts of beliefs based on the author’s prose of writing. It was disgustingly sweet. I mean, I almost turned into the Grinch. We all know how I like over the top cheesy, but at times this was a bit much. I felt like we should have had an extended epilogue. Certain things were brought up but no closure what so ever. I hate filler information. I know it played on shaping the characters on who they are, but it was completely selfish of the author to do that to us.

This wasn’t the worst book, and I was gracious with the 3 stars because man you need some protective gear on with all the things going on in this book. I think people who like sweet romances featuring age-gaps, cheesy goodness, out for you tropes then this is right up your alley.

 

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Olive Juice by T.J. 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.

Olive Juice: by T.J. Klune
Release Date: April 26th, 2017
Pages: 121 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

It begins with a message that David cannot ignore:

I want to see you.

He agrees, and on a cold winter’s night, David and Phillip will come together to sift through the wreckage of the memory of a life no longer lived.

David is burdened, carrying with him the heavy guilt of the past six years upon his shoulders.

Phillip offers redemption.

 

four-stars

 

Olive Juice is as real as any story. It’s about love, forgiveness, and facing the odds with one another.

I don’t know how to categorize this story. Its to be noted that I would not classify this as a Romance. It’s not a romance in the general sense of word. At the ending I felt a little bereaved on their part, and a little aggravated. These are my feelings, and I expected for the content to leave me in a blubbering mess. I expected to be so overwhelmed with grief and agony that i couldn’t do anything but lay in a ball on the bed.

I did not cry. Not one iota of a tear escaped these ducts. I didn’t see the big reveal coming. I liked the twist. What I didn’t like was the one pov, and it felt a little repetitive at times. I’m a Klune fan, and I ride hard for him. With that being said sometimes his books don’t work well with I. In this case, with the punch that it packed it just didn’t move it. I don’t even know if I like it or not. I like the story line, and I liked the outcome, but don’t know if I like the characters that were here.

This is a book that you will have to read on your own. Form your own opinions, because I can see people loving this and crying, and I can also see people liking the writing, but not really the story. My rating is all about the writing, and the plot. Not really the characters or the overall feel of it.

 

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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.

Rainbow Sprinkles by Anna Martin

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.

Rainbow Sprinkles: by Anna Martin
Series: States of Love
Release Date: March 29th, 2017
Pages: 77 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

Cooper Reed has a fairly relaxed life for someone who lives in LA. He’s no celebrity—just the guy who makes sundaes at the Dreamy Creamery, and that’s the way he likes it. The highlight of every week is the beautiful guy who turns up and orders a sundae with rainbow sprinkles. Cooper still isn’t sure if that’s a code, because he has a huge crush and the hot guy is terrible at flirting.

Drew Tanner, it turns out, is an original California dreamer. He’s as wholesome as apple pie and twice as sweet, a real-life Disney Prince at Disneyland. But while Drew’s head is in the clouds, Cooper’s feet are firmly on the ground, and their different outlooks might be more than their new relationship can take.

 

three-stars

 

 

Meh.

That is my overall feeling of it. You can really take it or leave it at this point. I’ve read it close 2 weeks ago and hardly remember anything. I do remember that I felt nothing for it. Both guys are kinda unforgettable. I find myself with Anna Martin’s books either really loving them or this Meh feeling.

Unfortunately it was the latter feeling. The biggest problem to me was that it lacked spark. It was not steam, spark or passion to the story. I enjoyed the playfulness in the first half, but the second portion to a nose dive. Signals definitely got crossed. The little disruption between the two took up a significant portion that could have went towards being together. We all know I hate miscommunication for no reason and I felt like it was just through in here for the sake of it.

I’ve been hit or miss lately with the States of Love series. I mean its a cute, potential HEA but I’m still unsure of the two together. Fans of Martin will most likely enjoy it, but I need more funk in my stories.

 

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About Anna Martin

Anna Martin is from a picturesque seaside village in the south- west of England and now lives in the slightly arty, slightly quirky city of Bristol. After spending most of her childhood making up stories, she studied English Literature at university before attempting to turn her hand as a professional writer.

Apart from being physically dependent on her laptop, Anna is enthusiastic about writing and producing local grassroots theater (especially at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, where she can be found every summer), going to visit friends in other countries, baking weird and wonderful sweets, learning to play the ukulele, and Ben & Jerry’s New York Super Fudge Chunk.

Anna claims her entire career is due to the love, support, pre-reading, and creative ass kicking provided by her best friend Jennifer. Jennifer refuses to accept responsibility for anything Anna has written.

Breaking the Ice by Tali Spencer

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.

Breaking the Ice: by Tali Spencer
Series: States of Love
Release Date: April 19th, 2017
Pages: 86 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

For Matt Wasko, February in Wisconsin is the best time of the year, and ice fishing on Lake Winnebago is his idea of heaven. With shanty villages cropping up, barbeques on the ice, monster sturgeon to spear, and plenty of booze to keep everybody warm, things couldn’t be better — until a surprise storm hits and an uninvited guest shows up at his frozen doorstep.

Matt’s not happy to see John Lutz, a coworker who cracks lame gay jokes at Matt’s expense. But John’s flimsy new ice shelter got blown across the lake, and it wouldn’t be right to leave even a jerk outside to freeze. Would it?

In the close quarters of Matt’s fabulous ice shanty, between stripping off wet clothes, misadventures with bait, and a fighting trophy-sized walleye, the two men discover creative ways to keep the cold at bay. And when John confesses his long-running attraction, Matt must decide if he can believe in John’s change of heart — and crack the ice for a chance at finding love.

States of Love: Stories of romance that span every corner of the United States.

three-stars

 

Breaking the Ice is a cute enemies to lovers story. Heavy on the ice fishing, low on the steam, and plenty of sass. I loved Matt’s sass. Being the poster boy for out & proud in this small Wisconsin town doesn’t even matter to Matt. He likes what he likes, does what he does and isn’t going back in anyone’s closet for anybody. John is new to town, and with all new people they find the popular people and try to fit it. Its what he did here, regardless of the homophobe taunts could have been aimed back at him, he just wanted to fit in.

I know next to nothing about fishing. Its not in my wheel house and I’m okay with that. Matt explained enough for the both of us. I really enjoyed his style and delivery on such things. He was a forgiving person even though he didn’t want to. I don’t really know if I liked John personally. I feel like we got to see the glimpse of him in a bad way, but post making up and setting amends it kinda flew passed. I didn’t get a feel of him like I would have liked to. This book is very much low on steam, which was another downer for me. They did move pretty quick together for my liking, or it could have been the second half of the book was rushed in my opinion.

It wasn’t a bad story, but it wasn’t as exciting as I would have liked it to be. The relationship growth was all on page, and majority of the book was spent talking about Ice Fishing. I would have liked too see them work things out together and definitely on page. It kept me interested enough to finish so there’s that. I think people would like it.

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About Tali Spencer

Tali Spencer delights in erotic fantasy and adventure, creating worlds where she can explore the heights and shadows of sexual passion. A hopeful romantic and lover of all things exotic, she also writes high fantasy and science fiction. If you would like to see inspiration pictures for her characters, or glimpse how she envisions her worlds, check out her Pinterest boards.

Thanks to a restless father, she grew up as a bit of a nomad and still loves to travel whenever she can. Her longest stint in one place was Milwaukee where she went to college, enjoyed a series of interesting careers, and raised three surprisingly well-adjusted sons. She later married her true love and put down new roots in Philadelphia, where she lives in an ongoing Italian American family sitcom. At least she’s learned how make good pasta. When not writing, Tali reads everything from sweet goofy romances to medical research, manages her fantasy football team—go Gekkos!—and takes long walks with her loving, if slightly neurotic, poodle.

Tali’s other books include the three preceding Uttor books: Captive Heart, Dangerous Beauty, and Adored, all with Resplendence. Her gay male high fantasy stories, Thick as Thieves, Sorcerer’s Knot, and The Prince of Winds, are published by Dreamspinner Press. She often posts free stories and excerpts on her blog.

A Guest Review: Bonfires by Amy Lane

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.

Bonfires: by Amy Lane
Release Date: March 24th, 2017
Pages: 280 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Ten years ago Sheriff’s Deputy Aaron George lost his wife and moved to Colton, hoping growing up in a small town would be better for his children. He’s gotten to know his community, including Mr. Larkin, the bouncy, funny science teacher. But when Larx is dragged unwillingly into administration, he stops coaching the track team and starts running alone. Aaron—who thought life began and ended with his kids—is distracted by a glistening chest and a principal running on a dangerous road.

Larx has been living for his kids too—and for his students at Colton High. He’s not ready to be charmed by Aaron, but when they start running together, he comes to appreciate the deputy’s steadiness, humor, and complete understanding of Larx’s priorities. Children first, job second, his own interests a sad last.

It only takes one kiss for two men approaching fifty to start acting like teenagers in love, even amid all the responsibilities they shoulder. Then an act of violence puts their burgeoning relationship on hold. The adult responsibilities they’ve embraced are now instrumental in keeping their town from exploding. When things come to a head, they realize their newly forged family might be what keeps the world from spinning out of control.

 

three-stars

 

I was really excited when I read the blurb for this book. I am so tired of reading books about 20 year olds, and the idea that both MC’s were in their 40’s and were single parents really appealed to me. Unfortunately the story itself didn’t turn out to be what I was hoping for.

The story follows Aaron, a local police officer and Larx the local high school principal. Both have been married before and both have teenage children still at home. The two men have known each other in a casual way for years. They start running together each morning and their friendship soon turns into something romantic.

In addition to their romance, there is a murder mystery and a related side story about homophobia within the high school. This is where the story lost me. I went into this looking for a romance novel but found the romance was only a small part. More of the book was focused on the mystery and the town drama and I could not get into those parts at all. They just didn’t interest me.

The story itself was well written and I have no complaints about that aspect. It’s really one of those cases of “It’s not you, it’s me.” This wasn’t a bad book but it wasn’t what I wanted to read and therefore did not draw me in.

If you go into it knowing it is more mystery focused you might really enjoy it. I will say again, that I’m very happy the author did a book around older MC’s and I hope this is not a one off. I would love to see her go down this road again.

 

 

 

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About Amy Lane

Amy Lane has two kids in college, two gradeschoolers in soccer, two cats, and two Chi-who-whats at large. She lives in a crumbling crapmansion with most of the children and a bemused spouse. She also has too damned much yarn, a penchant for action adventure movies, and a need to know that somewhere in all the pain is a story of Wuv, Twu Wuv, which she continues to believe in to this day! She writes fantasy, urban fantasy, and m/m romance–and if you accidentally make eye contact, she’ll bore you to tears with why those three genres go together. She’ll also tell you that sacrifices, large and small, are worth the urge to write.

There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford

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:There’s This Guy by Rhys Ford
Release Date: March 17th, 2017
Pages: 220 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

How do you save a drowning man when that drowning man is you?

Jake Moore’s world fits too tightly around him. Every penny he makes as a welder goes to care for his dying father, an abusive, controlling man who’s the only family Jake has left. Because of a promise to his dead mother, Jake resists his desire for other men, but it leaves him consumed by darkness.

It takes all of Dallas Yates’s imagination to see the possibilities in the fatigued Art Deco building on the WeHo’s outskirts, but what seals the deal is a shy smile from the handsome metal worker across the street. Their friendship deepens while Dallas peels back the hardened layers strangling Jake’s soul. It’s easy to love the artistic, sweet man hidden behind Jake’s shattered exterior, but Dallas knows Jake needs to first learn to love himself.

When Jake’s world crumbles, he reaches for Dallas, the man he’s learned to lean on. It’s only a matter of time before he’s left to drift in a life he never wanted to lead and while he wants more, Jake’s past haunts him, making him doubt he’s worth the love Dallas is so desperate to give him.

three-stars

 

 

This was extremely difficult for me to read, get through and wait two months to review. Let’s review here: In my head I have a really close relationship with Rhys Ford, and this rating or review won’t seem like it. In fact, I’ve dreaded writing this review since I finish reading it. I haven’t felt this letdown in a long time. She’s one of my favorite authors, and I couldn’t understand why I didn’t like it.  I was finding it hard to get my words out without stabbing myself in the heart during the first place. If this was Rhys idea of a contemporary romance, then I prefer her murder mystery books. This was angsty, slow burn on the romance, and difficult to read for me.  The relationship was completely one – sided for me, and it never felt like a romance. Hell, the story felt like I was wading through quick mud while reading it. While I did like Jake & Dallas as characters, I still didn’t quite like the story as much as I would have liked.

Jake comes from a super abusive childhood. The abuse is so deeply twined into his soul, that he is not able to see the good in people. He’s so scarred from his childhood, and even worst that his tormentor is his father. A father is who sick, but still is able to keep his hooks into Jake. Dallas is the complete opposite, yeah he knows what love lost is, but he is more free spirited and able to open up at love. Their careers is what leads them to a chance meeting. Soon after it’s like fate stepped in and interceded.

This point on their was an excessive about of literary things happening that my brain wasn’t able to understand. Plenty of times, I had to step back and think why?? We all know how I feel about angst. A little is okay, I like people to work for it, but too much throws the story completely off. I really wanted the book to end at those points, I didn’t care if they did or did not get together. Dallas had these grand gestures for Jake about love, and friendship, but they were NEVER reciprocated. I literally hate with a passion, a one-sided relationship. I’m all for being someone’s backbone, but I was really waiting on Jake to open his eyes and realize what he wasn’t doing. How do we get this grandiose love story where I didn’t feel anything. At best a friendship is started and Jake can start healing, at worst nothing. I felt Nada, zip, zilch, NOTHING. In fact by the 75% I was waffling on calling it quite. Its something that I never felt while reading a Rhys Ford book. After reading it, I was straddling the fence on my rating.

The only thing that saved me was Celeste. She was a fun character, and the writing. Ford knows how to write, but the overall product was not something that I enjoyed personally. It had its moments, but they were very small and far in few in the story. I think fans of slow burn romance, angst, and heartbreaks will most likely like this.

 

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About Rhys Ford

Rhys Ford was born and raised in Hawai’i then wandered off to see the world. After chewing through a pile of books, a lot of odd food, and a stray boyfriend or two, Rhys eventually landed in San Diego, which is a very nice place but seriously needs more rain.

Rhys admits to sharing the house with cats of varying degrees of black fur and a ginger cairn terrorist. Rhys is also enslaved to the upkeep a 1979 Pontiac Firebird, a Toshiba laptop, and an overworked red coffee maker.

Sophie by J.P. Barnaby

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.

Sophie: by J.P. Barnaby
Series:Survivor Series #5
Release Date: March 15th, 2017
Pages: 108 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

It’s amazing how a single word from a tiny girl can change your life.

Spencer Thomas’s world turns upside down when his beloved Nell dies and leaves custody of her three-year-old daughter to him. Her “Spenna” comes when Sophie needs him most, but his boyfriend, Aaron, can’t be a parent. He just can’t. Neither of them expected a baby to fall into the lives they’d finally just settled.

When Nell’s ex comes to claim Sophie, Aaron needs to make a decision: man up or walk away as Spencer faces the fight of his life.

 

 

four-stars

 

I don’t want to say goodbye to Spencer or this series. I am smitten with the man that Spencer has become. From the very beginning in Aaron’s book I adored this series. I fell in love with the writing, the trauma, the characters, and the will to overcome everything that has been thrown at the Downing & Thomas family. It’s bittersweet that I’m writing this, because while its the end of a great series (minus book 2, sorry that’s how I feel) its also the end of J.P. Barnaby’s writing career. I don’t know what she’s going to do, but I want her to know readers will definitely miss her voice, her talent, and her characters. Thank you for writing so many books, but for me this series resonate so clearly within myself.

I thought book 4 was a dozy in the emotions department, but I was not ready for this short book to hammer at me so hard. We see all of the characters come together to help Aaron & Spencer at their most critical time. Told from both guys pov’s, but I feel like Spencer didn’t have enough page time to me. I really enjoyed seeing Anthony, and his family. We have followed this family from the hardest of times to the joyous of occasions. Spencer has a huge responsibility now that he has custody of his 3 year old cousin Sophie. He didn’t realize until it was there in his face how much he wanted kids.  Of course a dilemma occurs between Aaron & Spencer. One wants kids, and the other doesn’t. They don’t really have time to talk this through because an accident happens and leaves Sophie with Spencer. There is happiness in the story between the two guys, we see them come full circle and its a beautiful thing.

If I had to talk about the downside is that it felt rushed. It didn’t seem like Spencer got enough screen time for me. I want issues and things to be talked through on page, and instead it shoots to another scene. I’m left feeling unsettled because it doesn’t seem complete. Listen if it was up to me, I’d have a Spencer book each year. I love him that much.

All in all it’s still a really good story. An okay conclusion for me, but fans of this series will definitely be happy regardless. I wish JP all the best in her next journey in life, and thank her from the bottom of my heart for this incredible series. A definite recommend from me.

 

 

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About J.P. Barnaby

JP Barnaby, an award-winning gay romance novelist, is the author of over two dozen books, including Aaron and the Little Boy Lost Series. She recently moved from Chicago to Atlanta to appease her Camaro who didn’t like the blustery winters. JP specializes in recovery romance, but slips in a few erotic or comedic stories to spice things up. When she’s not hanging out with hot guys in leather, she binge watches superheroes and crime dramas on Netflix. A physics geek, she likes the science side of Sci-Fi, and wants to grow up to be Reed Richards.

Guest Reviewer: Lickety Split by Damon Suede

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.

Lickety Split: by Damon Suede
Release Date: March 13th, 2017
Pages: 286 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Lickety Split: Love won’t wait.

Patch Hastle grew up in a hurry, ditching East Texas for NYC to make his name as a DJ and model without ever looking back. When his parents die unexpectedly, he heads home to unload the family farm ASAP and skedaddle. Except the will left Patch’s worst enemy in charge: his father’s handsome best friend who made his high school years hell.

Tucker Biggs is going nowhere. Twenty years past his rodeo days, he’s put down roots as the caretaker of the Hastle farm. He knows his buddy’s smartass son still hates his guts, but when Patch shows up growed-up, looking like sin in tight denim, Tucker turns his homecoming into a lesson about old dogs and new kinks.

Patch and Tucker fool around, but they can’t fool themselves. Once the farm’s sold, they mean to call it quits and head off to separate sunsets. With the clock ticking, the city slicker and his down-home hick get roped into each other’s life. If they’re gonna last longer than spit on a griddle, they better figure out what matters—fast.

four-stars

This book is a hard one to review. I thought the writing and storytelling was really good but there were things I didn’t like about it. Most of those things though are personal preferences so…on one hand I didn’t like this book but on the other, I liked it a lot (yes, helpful I know).

Patch heads back to the small town in Texas where he grew up to settle his parent’s estate. His dad’s best friend Tucker still lives on the property and is caretaking. Patch had a crush on Tucker as a teen but the older man was always mean to him so he’s dreading seeing him again. For the first 30% of the book I didn’t like Tucker. Not at all. He has had a life of running around on women, stealing from an ex and leaving a bunch of kids all over that he never took care of. (the kid thing is a hard limit for me) By 60% I found myself warming to him a bit. I think the thing that stands out about this for me is the author never makes excuses for him or tries to pretty up his past. Tucker is what he is. As the story goes on both Patch and the reader see this and learn to accept it. The good in him slowly unfolds and I have to say he treated Patch wonderfully and with the utmost care. By the end there is no doubt in your mind he loves Patch and he’ll anything he can for him. 

The whole thing made me think a lot as I was reading this. I didn’t necessary like Tucker and I wouldn’t in a million years get involved with someone like him but at the same time I could see the beauty in their relationship. I think that it is a great piece of storytelling when the author can make you care about a character you don’t actually like. I had spent the first 60-70% hoping Patch would go back to his life in New York but somehow as the story unfolded I found that I had somehow bought into this relationship hook, line and sinker. All the things I had been worried about (the age gap, the lifestyle differences, the life experience differences) all just melted away and I found myself rooting for these two to get a hea. On a side note, I also liked how the author handled the age gap and their past. Super realistic imo and not something you see often in romance stories.

Two of my biggest issues though were the slang and the crudeness of the story. They, especially Tucker, talk in heavy Southern slang and there were entire passages where I didn’t know what the heck he was talking about. In fact, there is this huge pivotal moment in their relationship towards the end and I literally don’t know most of what was said. I read it 3x and then just decided to go with it. I got the general idea. I found this frustrating because it did impact my overall enjoyment. I think I missed some of the emotions by not understanding scenes. 

And my biggest complaint…..the crudeness. Gah….it was horrible for me. A sex scene would start off and it would be kind of hot or kind of romantic and then Tucker would open his mouth and it would shoot straight into gross territory for me. This is a really personal preference though so this may not be an issue for other readers. Some examples were: “releasing his meat”, “You got a big load stored up for me? You carrying a lotta squirt in them balls?”, “the fat rammer”, “his fat branch”, “he kissed the juice of Tucker’s knob”, “He bent to suck the sauce off”. These were just never ending and I swear the word “dick” was never used and “cock” only once. It was constantly his “meat” (which I find so, so gross) and a million other euphemisms. (euphemisms are a pet peeve of mine which didn’t help). SO……..different strokes for different folks and all that. I’m including these examples because I know a lot of people told me they didn’t like Hot Head due to the crudeness. I had no issue

with that book, in fact I loved it, so be prepared. If it was too crude for you this is probably not going to work. (I’m just giving little examples….the sex scenes were all pretty crude.) On another note, there was a Hot Head easter egg which made me smile. I love when author’s do those.

I have really mixed feelings about this. Huge portions of it I didn’t like and even by the end I didn’t love Tucker but, I really felt the love between these two men. I felt their emotions so strongly and there’s a scene towards the end where Tucker lays his feelings out that was really beautiful. I think the author did a really good job on making this relationship feel real and turn out good. Big kudos to him for doing this and for writing a romance outside the box.

 

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