Darkness by Kate Sherwood

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.

Darkness: by Kate Sherwood
Series: Common Law #3
Release Date: March 6th, 2017
Pages: 189 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

A murdered prostitute. An obvious suspect. Clear evidence. For once, Jericho Crewe has a straightforward crime to investigate, and Wade Granger isn’t involved.

It all seems so simple, but Jericho’s instincts won’t let him rest. As he investigates, he finds troubling suggestions that the murder is a part of something larger and more sinister. But working within the boundaries of the law may keep him from finding the truth. If Jericho doesn’t break the rules, an innocent man may rot in jail while a killer remains free to strike again.

Inevitably, it all comes back to Wade. Because who else knows as much about breaking rules? And who else knows Jericho the way Wade does—not wisely, but far, far too well?

 

four-stars

GRRRRRRR…… My frustration is so out of here with this series. I might have blue balls reading this series. You know what I hate more then no sex in my books, I hate FADE TO BLACK SEX. I’m not one to need the sex, the romance might suffice enough for me, but the motherf***** UST has been off the rails so far. Goodness, I made a promise to myself if it isn’t any on page sex in the next book then Sherwood and I are done. I can’t keep up with the frustration levels that she gives me.

Book three picks up right along with the events from the previous two books with the same shady characters, crimes, Alphabet agencies around, and Wade Granger. I can’t wait to dive into the last book, because I hope my thoughts about him are proved true. Jericho acted really green during certain scenes in this book. My frustration with him almost costing the case was small compared to my reaction to the fade to black action. I knew Will was innocent, there was no freaking way he did it.

Jericho has finally pieced information together surrounding his father’s death. He has come to the realization about his career and his feelings for Wade. Wade who bothers me with his smarmy face and kindness at times!! Ugh, I totally wanted to strangle both of them. I liked the case alot, it was interesting enough, but I do feel like it wasn’t answered in the how. I know who the killer was, but I wanted it laid out, and it kinda ended abruptly on that front.

Despite my rage and feelings, it was still a good story, and I enjoyed seeing these together. Hopefully by next book I’ve read enough smut to last me over while reading this. Another good installment of the Common Law Series. A definite recommend.

About Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Ezi & Mika Dual Review: Block and Strike by Kelly Jensen

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.

Block and Strike: by Kelly Jensen
Release Date: January 6, 2017
Pages: 266 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Jacob Kendricks is three months out of prison, estranged from his daughter, and ready to get his life on track. Taking care of the bum curled up on his doorstep isn’t part of the plan. When he realizes the man has been assaulted, Jake takes him to the hospital, where he learns that Max is his downstairs neighbor… and that he could really use a friend. Keeping Max in the friend-zone would be easier if he wasn’t so damned cute.

Maxwell Wilson has been bullied for years, and the only person who ever cared lives too far away to come to his rescue. Now his upstairs neighbor is offering support. Max remains cautious, suspecting he is little more than a project for the handsome Jake. When he learns Jake has had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, Max has to reevaluate his priorities—and muster the courage to take a chance at love.

Just when a happy future is within their grasp, life knocks them back down. A devastating blow leaves Max lower than ever and Jake wrestling with regret. They both have to find the strength to stand on their own before they can stand together.

four-stars

It’s rare for Ezi and I to want to read the same book. We have completely different taste on books. She wants the angst, and I want to kick it for a punt return. Hell we wanted this book for different reasons. Ezi immediately stated that the blurb was angsty, I wanted it for the child mentioned and the hurt comfort it seemed to be throwing out there. He’s our first dual review ever on Oh My Shelves. Hope you guys enjoys it.

Ezi’s Review

I liked this story because this is a love story that the author took time to develop. This story was well written and the main characters were constructed methodically.

Jacob “Jake” Kendricks was a man who let his temper get the best of him at times, which resulted in a stint in prison. When he was released, Jake resolved to lay low and piece his life back together starting with rebuilding his relationship with his nine-year-old daughter Caroline.

Jake finds his neighbor Gareth Maxwell “Max” Wilson on the steps of their apartment building, beaten to a pulp. After Jake takes Max to the hospital, Jake’s kind heart makes him take pity on a young bullied guy. A sweet friendship developed ensued and later blossomed into love for Jake and Max.

This story was not a fast insta-love type of romance. It was a layered story where the author took her time to build up the characters. I felt invested in both Jake and Max as individual struggling with their various issues as well as their budding romance which was wrought with trust issues. Both characters had to learn to depend on the other as well as heal their own hearts from past hurts.

I haven’t read this author before, but I enjoyed the story-telling. I empathized with all the characters and couldn’t help but root for them. My only issue was the slow pace of the story. I understand it was necessary to really focus on individual struggles of both Jake and Max, but I was hoping for the romance to get underway a lot faster. It also took a while for the author to reveal why Jake spent in prison and I got impatient. Still, at the end I was left very satisfied with the ending. Jake and Max healing each other made everything worth it.

Mika’s Review

Talk about a slow burner! Goodness, my add wasn’t going to allow me to participate any longer if things didn’t happen at the correct time. It’s my third book by Kelly Jensen, and I really love how relatable and realistic her stories make me feel. This book was no different. Jake & Max are two individuals who needed a Win in life. They both have struggled with various issues that has happened to them.

I really adored Jake’s character. I loved how he wanted to protective Max, teach Max, and love Max in a way that he hasn’t been yet. Jake struggles seems minuscule compared to everything Max goes through in this story, but Jake has a way to go. He has to deal with his actions that lead him to prison. In the blink of an eye his life change, and the person who suffered the most was Caroline his daughter. I think Max is good for Jake because being with him teaches Jake patience, and makes Jake want to keep his temper in check.

Max, oh max. Goodness, he pulled at my heart strings continuously. I am so surprised that I didn’t cry. I didn’t shed not one tear, but I really empathized with his character. Max didn’t have any hope for his future. He seems so despondent about life, and yeah life has completed effed him over. No parents to love him, no family to cherish him, and he’s only 22 but seems so much older. I am uber grateful for Jake. Yeah, Jake’s issues is what caused Max pain unbeknownst to both guys, but it also allowed Max to see what real love is. Jake’s love, teaches, friendship and family allowed Max to open up and be confident. It allowed Max a glimpse of a future that is obtainable if he wanted it.

This redemption story on both parts was equally good. It’s a slow burner for sure. The romance is in the background and while it plays a major role, I’d like to think both guys have healing and growing to do separately and together was more important. I will tell you from the books I’ve read by Jensen, that I’ve come to really appreciate her take on the realistic fiction trope in Gay Romance. I love how relatable and normal they are. These are everyday people in her stories, they could be your spouses, brothers, fathers, uncles, and cousins. This is a definite recommend for me. I really liked it!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Born in Australia and raised everywhere else, Kelly now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and herd of four cats. After disproving the theory that water only spins counter-clockwise around drains north of the equator, she turned her attention to more productive pursuits such as reading, writing, writing about reading and writing stories of her own. She also enjoys volunteering at her local library, playing video games and holds a brown belt in Kiryoku, a martial art combining Shotokan, Aikido and Tang Soo Do. Her family is not intimidated by her.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, short stories, and this bio. She does not consider this bio a seminal work. Her books are much more interesting (and definitely sexier). You can view a list of them here. She has been writing reviews of books and video games for web and print magazines for nearly fifteen years. Her book reviews can be found at SFCrowsnest, Goodreads and here, on her blog.

Currently, she is working on several projects, including a science fiction romance series co-authored with her best friend and writing partner, Jenn Burke. The first three books of the Chaos Station series are available now, with the fourth due in January 2016 from Carina Press.

Being Brooke by Emma Hart

Source: InkSlinger PR
Being Brooke Book Cover Being Brooke
Emma Hart
Contemporary Romance
Smashword Publishing
December 13th, 2016
e-arc
283
InkSlingerPR

My name is Brooke Barker...

And I'm a freaking disaster.

No, seriously. I’m a college drop-out working a dead-end job, my best friend Carly’s dog gets more action than I do, and I have more bad dates in my diary than there are movie remakes.

Not to mention I'm completely and utterly in love with Cain Elliott.

The problem? He’s in a relationship. With a girl who’s so plastic she makes Barbie cry herself to sleep with jealousy.

The second problem? He's my best friend.

My shut-up-and-put-on-Harry-Potter, yes-this-is-your-shirt, help-I-have-no-power, crap-I’m-out-of-tampons, kinda best friend.

And that’s all he can be, right?

Right.

(Being Brooke is a standalone romantic comedy. Hilarious, super-sexy, and possibly highly inappropriate at times, this is the perfect feel-good read!)

 BOOK EXCERPT

Cain’s phone begins to buzz on the table. The screen lights up, and the short name on the screen makes me have to fight a frown.
I know it’s Nina. It always is. It’s like she has a Brooke-dar. She can sense whenever Cain and I are alone and hanging out.
My heart sinks, slowly but heavily, and I school my expression into one of not caring. I refuse to look away from the TV now.
Cain hands me his pizza box, which I take, begrudgingly, then he leans forward and grabs his phone. He waits for the buzzing to stop, then unlocks it and turns it off vibrate.
Then? Then he shoves it under the table, screen down.
Ho. Lee. Shit.
I gape at him. I can’t help it.
A piece of pepperoni drops off the slice of pizza in my hand—the same one that’s frozen halfway to my mouth as I stare at him in total disbelief. Did he really just do it?
“What?” Cain shrugs and takes his box back, grabbing a piece of half-eaten, meaty pizza and shoving the end in his mouth. The crust crunches as he bites down.
I swallow and glance at the coffee table. “I don’t think you’ve ever not taken a call from her.” I can’t help the derogatory way I say ’her’. It’s not intentional—honest. It’s ingrained in me to be vicious to other women. I think it’s a female thing. Self-preservation and all that.
“I don’t think I ever haven’t either.” Cain tilts his head to the side and meets my gaze, a suspicious glint in his green eyes. “But the point is, we haven’t done this in weeks, and I’m having too much fun to leave. Besides, we have all this junk food. If I don’t help you eat it, you’ll eat it all, then it’ll be my fault when your pants don’t fit.”
Oh my god.
“Does she know you’re here?” I smirk slyly and raise my eyebrows.
He shifts uncomfortably. With a cough, he puts his pizza down and grabs his beer bottle to swig from it.
Oh. My. Shitty. Life.
“She doesn’t, does she?” I sit up straight, throwing my half-slice back into my box and shoving his shoulder. “Cain!”
“No,” he mumbles, scratching the back of his ear. “She doesn’t know.”
I laugh. I can’t help it. It’s totally immature of me to delight in the fact he hasn’t told the Prissy Princess where is he and he’s ignoring her calls, but I do. It’s hilarious.
And, okay. I’m smug. Totally smug. There’s only one reason he hasn’t told her, and that’s because she hates me too.
Bitchy Best Friend Mission: Level Up!
“And tell me.” I snicker, just about holding back the volcano of laughter threatening to erupt. “Where does Nina think you are?”
“She thinks I’m at Mom’s.” He looks at me, his lips flattening into a thin line. “Stop laughing, B. No, don’t shake your damn head. I fucking mean it. She’s a little insecure over my friendship with you and Carly, that’s all. Sometimes it’s easier to just tell a... little white lie.”
“A little white lie? She thinks you’re at your mom’s!” I laugh harder and wipe at my eyes because they feel a little too wet.
“I just want the best of both worlds right now, all right?”
“What is the best of both worlds? Pizza with me and blow jobs from her?”
“She chooses not to eat gluten. Until she finds a gluten-free recipe she likes, I can’t eat pizza when she’s around.”
Which is a lot.
I raise my eyebrows again. “Your girlfriend won’t eat gluten but she’ll happily put your dick in her mouth?”
“Brooke. Don’t be a bitch.” He chucks a piece of chicken from his pizza at me, his eyes narrowing.
I’m dying. I think this is it—this is how I die, laughing at Cain’s lame excuses for lying to his girlfriend about spending time with me.
“Oh my fuck. This is hilarious. Seriously. Someone call Comedy Central.”
“Brooke.” He says my name again, this time quieter.
I stop laughing. Just about.
“I’m sorry. I just think it’s funny. You want me to be nice to her but you lie to her about spending time with me.” I shrug a shoulder and peel a piece of pepperoni off my pizza. I’m not even that hungry anymore.
He sighs, putting the top down on his box, and sits back. “She thinks there’s something going on between us.”
I laugh even harder because I might cry if I don’t.
Hi, breaking heart. Grab the tissues, yo.
There’s an awkward silence hanging between us now. It’s not the first time someone has thought that, but given that the more time I spend with Cain, the more I seem to fall for him, it’s awkward. Especially since he’s lying to her just to hang out with me.
I clear my throat and look up at him. “That’s ridiculous. You’re my best friend. Like anything would ever happen between us. I can’t put up with your shit taste in music, for a start.”
“Exactly,” he replies in a quieter voice, scratching behind his ear again. “It’s fucking stupid. I can’t stand your taste in music either. Who the fuck likes Justin Bieber?”
“People who think Kanye West should retire.”

availablenow99c

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00027]

My name is Brooke Barker…

And I’m a freaking disaster.

No, seriously. I’m a college drop-out working a dead-end job, my best friend Carly’s dog gets more action than I do, and I have more bad dates in my diary than there are movie remakes.

Not to mention I’m completely and utterly in love with Cain Elliott.

The problem? He’s in a relationship. With a girl who’s so plastic she makes Barbie cry herself to sleep with jealousy.

The second problem? He’s my best friend.

My shut-up-and-put-harry-potter, yes-this-is-your-shirt, help-I-have-no-power, crap-I’m-out-of-tampon, kinda best friend.

And that’s all he can be, right?

Right.

Being Brooke is a standalone romantic comedy. Hilarious, super-sexy, and possibly highly inappropriate at times, this is the perfect feel-good read!

 iBOOKS / B&N / Amazon US

beingbrooke-availablenow99c

Ezi3.5 STAR REVIEW

I have mixed feelings about this one. Brooke was a quirky heroine and was amusing at times, but after awhile, those quirks grew annoying. In fact, Brooke reminds me of a goofy young actress.
  Yes, I thought of Jennifer Lawrence a lot during this book.

24 year old Brooke Barker had a crush on her best friend Cain Elliot but she hid her real feelings because she didn’t want to risk messing up their relationship. Cain, unaware of Brooke’s feelings, was also nursing a silent crush on Brooke. So the goofy pair of besties continued to circle around each other until Cain reveals his feelings to Brooke.
That’s when the book starts getting dicey for me. Brooke’s insecurities suddenly get the best of her and she cannot fathom how a great guy like Cain could truly want her. This somewhat comical story begins to have those “miscommunications” that drag out stories.

I will say that I vacillated between finding Brooke entertaining and immature. Cain, on the other hand, I really liked him. He made a good hero and cared for Brooke idiosyncrasies and all. Cain and Brooke actually should have moved from friends into a romantic relationship much more seamless than they did. Unfortunately the writing got redundant and a tad far-fetched. But Brooke and her other best friend Carly reminded me of friends that I have. I enjoyed that aspect of the story. Another funny character was joyed Carla’s grandfather, who managed to rename his alcoholic drinks with sexual positions. I would have loved to have him as a bartender.

The story made me smile at times, and I suspect that many people will chuckle throughout their reading. If you enjoy sassy heroines with self deprecating humor and zany one-liners about sexual parts, you will probably enjoy this story.

*e-ARC provided by InkSlingerPR in exchange for an honest review*

beingbrooke-lifetip5

emma-hartBy day, New York Times and USA Today bestselling New Adult author Emma Hart dons a cape and calls herself Super Mum to two beautiful little monsters. By night, she drops the cape, pours a glass of whatever she fancies—usually wine—and writes books.

Emma is working on Top Secret projects she will share with her followers and fans at every available opportunity. Naturally, all Top Secret projects involve a dashingly hot guy who likes to forget to wear a shirt, a sprinkling (or several) of hold-onto-your-panties hot scenes, and a whole lotta love.

She likes to be busy—unless busy involves doing the dishes, but that seems to be when all the ideas come to life.

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His Needs by Kris T. Bethke

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.

His Needs: by Kris T. Bethke
Release Date: December 14, 2016
Pages: 113 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Prss
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAReAmazon

When State Trooper Travis Kinslow is injured right before Thanksgiving, the only positive is that for once he won’t be working during the holidays. Since he has no family, Travis was absorbed into his best friend, Joe’s, and he considers them as good as his own. Everyone except Joe’s brother Noah. Travis has been in love with the younger man for much of his life, but he’s always kept his distance.

As an ER nurse, Noah is a caretaker by nature. When his brother’s best friend is hurt, he’s happy to help Travis while he heals. He’s only ever allowed himself to think of Travis as the next best thing to an older brother, but by the light of the Christmas tree, Noah finally sees Travis’s true feelings. And in that moment, everything changes.

When faced with opposition and a Christmas nothing like they imagined, will their hopes for the future be enough to carry them through?

 

four-stars

I’ve been on a Holiday high lately. It’s only being Holiday reads with the exception of the Warden’s newest book. I usually have a major issue with first person narrating, but surprisingly I was okay with this one. I think it was because it was telling a story regardless of the page count. It’s how I perceived it. Travis gets the man of his dreams and I like seeing them buildup towards something. I’m a little shocked at how long it’s taken Noah to realize that Travis has been in love with him for a long time. I questioned it, but I guess Travis was able to put aside him wants and desires to maintain a platonic friendship for all these years.

Travis didn’t bet on getting injured and being invalid for up to 6 weeks, but when his surrogate mother barges into the room and dictates his well care then he knows its all over. Travis is sent home in the care of the family that took care of him when his family decided they didn’t care enough for a kid. I wouldn’t say care enough, more like his mother was a drunk and his father was an abusive prick. Travis is not to surprised when Noah shows up to care and check up on him. He is after all a ER Nurse and its his job. I enjoyed seeing Travis trying really hard to not let his unrequited love show through to Noah. He’s been in love with Noah since he was 17, and he thinks Noah doesn’t like him back in the same capacity. In fact Travis has grown up with Noah’s family since he was a kid so he’s treated like a brother & son of the family.

Noah is the baby of a big family, and knowing that he’s the baby he can possibly get his way. He convinces his mom that he can take care of Travis. Noah realizes that Travis is in love with him, and he’s super happy about. He gets to have a lover and his best friend. I do think the phsyical side went a little fast, but that’s only my take. I can see why it did, they’ve only be knowing and lusting each other their whole life.

I thought this was a cute holiday read. Both guys deserved some happiness. I did love the big family setting, and found myself smiling and laughing at times. This is so recommendable folks.

About Kris T. Bethke

Kris T. Bethke has been a voracious reader for pretty much her entire life and has been writing stories for nearly as long. An avid and prolific daydreamer, she always has a story in her head. She spends most of her free time reading, writing, or knitting/crocheting her latest project. Her biggest desire is to find a way to accomplish all three tasks at one time. A classic muscle car will always turn her head and weekend naps are one of her greatest guilty pleasures. She lives in a converted attic with an aquarium full of tropical fish and the voices in her head. She’ll tell you she thinks that’s a pretty good deal.

Wrapped Together by Annabeth Albert

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

wrapped-together-coverWrapped Together: by Annabeth Albert
Series:Portland Heat #5
Release Date: December 6, 2016
Pages: 112 • Format: eARC
Published By: Lyrical Shine
Purchase Links:
AReAmazonKobo

In the bustling restaurants, shops, and cafés of Portland, Oregon, things really heat up for the hard-working men behind the scenes when the holidays come into town . . .

For a stationery store owner, the holidays are great for business. But for Hollis Alcott, Christmas reminds him of the tragic events of three years past, and the last thing he wants to do is take part in Portland’s over-abundance of festive cheer. But Sawyer Murphy, a hunky gift shop owner whose brother is married to Hollis’s sister, has made it his mission to pluck Hollis out of his holiday blues. And his plan is beginning to work. Wrapped in the warm glow of newfound passion, the former business rivals hit up Portland’s finest holiday traditions—and Hollis’s icy attitude begins to melt like snowflakes on his tongue. But he isn’t sure he can trust anyone with the only gift he has—his heart—without breaking it like an antique ornament. Unless he can find the courage to take a leap with the one lover he never expected . . .

four-stars

My favorite Holiday read so far. Annabeth never disappoints me! This was such a cute story. It was really good. I loved the tone of the story, and ZOMG Hollis was Kinky Boots big time. This is a Christmas Story part of her Portland Heat Series. (Which I adore big time).

Hollis isn’t a fan of Christmas, he’s still grieving over the death of his parents. He’s anti-Christmas at this point, and doesn’t want to be forced to celebrate or be cheery. Wrapped Together is a friends to lovers story. Someone he’s know most of his life Sawyer seems to be the bane of his existence. I loved how meticulous Hollis was. I like seeing different qualities to different characters. He was suffering from being guilty about his parent’s death so he’s punishing himself. Along comes Sawyer, who’s so tenacious and won’t take No for an answer.

Sawyer is fun, flirty, open, and easy going. I really liked him. I liked him a lot for Hollis. I love the pacing of the story, and seeing them open up to one another. Albert doesn’t disappoint with the writing or the heat level in this book. No matter if Hollis tries to run away from Sawyer, in the bedroom they are super duper compatible. Hollis had some passion inside him. He just needed Sawyer to ease it on out. (Note to self: NEVER GOOGLE KINKY GIFS) You are going to see somethings that you shouldn’t. Gross. LOL.

Back to the story at hand, I really enjoyed this, and can see myself re-reading it again. Every time I finish a Portland Heat book, I always say I wish it was full length. This was no different. I want to see every milestone that they take as a couple. I think these two guys were damn near perfect for each other. They bring out the best in one another. Highly recommend this book. Really great holiday read, and Albert never disappoints!

About Annabeth Albert

Annabeth Albert grew up sneaking romance novels under the bed covers. Now, she devours all subgenres of romance out in the open—no flashlights required! When she’s not adding to her keeper shelf, she’s a multi-published Pacific Northwest romance writer.

Emotionally complex, sexy, and funny stories are her favorites both to read and to write. Annabeth loves finding happy endings for a variety of pairings and is a passionate gay rights supporter. In between searching out dark heroes to redeem, she works a rewarding day job and wrangles two children.

Hanging The Stars 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.

hanging-the-starsHanging The Stars: by Rhys Ford
Series:Half Moon Bay #2
Release Date: December 5th, 2016
Pages: 206 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAReAmazon

Angel Daniels grew up hard, one step ahead of the law and always looking over his shoulder. A grifter’s son, he’d learned every con and trick in the book but ached for a normal life. Once out on his own, Angel returns to Half Moon Bay where he once found…and then lost…love.

Now, Angel’s life is a frantic mess of schedules and chaos. Between running his bakery and raising his troubled eleven-year-old half-brother, Roman, Angel has a hectic but happy life. Then West Harris returns to Half Moon Bay and threatens to break Angel all over again by taking away the only home he and Rome ever had.

When they were young, Angel taught West how to love and laugh but when Angel moved on, West locked his heart up and threw away the key. Older and hardened, West returns to Half Moon and finds himself face-to-face with the man he’d lost. Now, West is torn between killing Angel or holding him tight.

But rekindling their passionate relationship is jeopardized as someone wants one or both of them dead, and as the terrifying danger mounts, neither man knows if the menace will bring them together or forever tear them apart.

four-stars

I might be a teeny tiny tad biased. I love Rhys Ford, so I’m always going to fangirl over her writing and books. Hanging the Stars is book 2 in the Half Moon Bay series. This book started off with a bang, and definitely ended with one. I sometimes tell myself that I wish Rhys could write a straight contemporary story with no mystery heavy plot. Well, I do believe she did that with Fish Stick Fridays which I love. But to me Hanging the Stars is so much more contemporary then anything she’s every written in my opinion. I mean, I feel all gooey inside with these two. It was like BAM with the love, romance, and feelings. I’m not complaining, because it’s what I want constantly from her, but I’m shocked. West and Daniels start a relationships after not seeing each other for 10 years. They are each in different places in their lives, but past grievances seems to put them right back where they left off.

“What makes you think I’m not already in love, Just?” Angel whispered. “Because I’ve been in love with him before I even knew his damned name.”

Do you see what I’m saying? That quote was so romantic to me. Angel surprised me the most. I swear, when I started reading this that I didn’t expect him to be so warm & loving. I expected plenty of angst from these two based on how it ended. I mean of course West was a hard ass and didn’t disappoint. My opinion of his has definitely changed from book 1. He’s had years now to form some sort of relationship with Lang, Deacon and Zig. He seems to be a less bitter man. Angel is taking care of his younger brother and trying to show Rome that nothing or no one can come between them or take him away from him either.

It wouldn’t be a Rhys book without an explosion, shooting, or action packed car crash. This one didn’t disappoint. I kinda guessed who the bad guy was after a while. It was a pretty easy process of elimination. I mean, they both went through blood, sweat, and tears in this book. I did have a minor issue with after not seeing, or hearing from one another for so long that as soon as they are in direct contact with one another the passion ignites. I’m not bad at it, but it didn’t seem real. If I didn’t see my first love after ten years, or talk to them but seen them again. I think anger, tears and frustration would be my first reaction. Everyone is different so I digress on this point.

Ford is still able to produce the best side characters as well. Frank, Marzo, and Justin were amazing. I truly loved them, and liked what they were able to do for their respected counterparts. Justin definitely needs a novella or a book soon. I was crushing on him by the end of the story.

West and Angel decide to give this a relationship a go. It’s not the best of times, but waiting seems dumb when someone is trying to kill them obviously. Sure some of these events were a tad bit over the top. But it didn’t stop Angel & West from being together. There relationship moved fast on the page to me, but I do like how Angel & Rome made West a better person. They actually gave him a heart, or something similar that he’s never got. Also liked Lang & West brotherhood progressing. These two are different as night and day, but the love is still there. All in all, I thought this was a pretty enjoyable book. I find myself having super grabby hands when it comes to a Rhys Ford novel. I can never say no, she’s a favorite author of mine for a reason. It can be read as a standalone, but why would you? Fish Stick Fridays is awesome, and everything is better in pairs!

“The truth is, Lang,” Angel whispered, ” your brother hangs the stars in my goddamn sky. It sounds stupid and maybe corny, but when he’s around me, it’s like the night’s full of light. So yeah, I love him. I love him pretty hard.”

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.

The Swap by Devon Rhodes

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.

drThe Swap: by Devon Rhodes
Release Date: October 26, 2016
Pages:64 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

2nd Edition

When layoffs hit Jim LaRue’s company, his first concern isn’t for his own job, it’s for his friend and coworker, Tommy Graves. Tommy’s going through a bitter divorce, and he’s closing on a new home. Losing his job would mean losing the house—and the fresh start he desperately needs. Jim can’t let that happen to the man he’s secretly in love with, so he proposes a swap: his job for Tommy’s.

Now out of work, Jim reluctantly agrees to help Tommy remodel. He needs the income, but he can’t stand being a charity case—especially not when things between them start heading in a direction he hardly dared hope for. The strain drives a wedge between them, and a confrontation might spell the end of their relationship.

First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2010.

three-stars

Can I first just say how much I dislike the cover models. Eww they don’t really match the two guys that are in my head. I don’t really like them. As far as the story goes, I think it had alot more potential then this. I think the author could have explored more on Tommy’s divorce. What happened? I really would have liked some backstory on Jim and his shenanigans. For a friends to lovers trope I thought it was okay. I would have liked to see them talk more about what they each want. I mean, once Tommy found out certain things, he kinda just let it all go because of Jim and his swooning. I did appreciate the history between the two, and maybe I’m more of a let’s talk a couple of things out kinda girl, but Jim just went in with the kill time and time again. The blurb is pretty much self explanatory. I did like it well enough and look forward to more from this author.

About Devon Rhodes

At 39 and holding, Devon finally figured out the best way to channel her midlife crisis was to morph from mild-mannered stay-at-home mom to erotic romance writer.

She lives in Oregon with her family, who are (mostly) understanding of all the time she spends on her laptop, aka the black hole.

Counting Daisies 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.

Counting daisiesCounting Daisies by Nicola Haken 
Series: The Counting Series, Book One
Release Date: July 24, 2016
Pages: • Format: eARC
Published By:
Purchase Link:
Amazon

Dylan Roberts and Cameron O’Neil were good kids. Growing up together, they shared everything. By the age of fourteen they were more than best friends – they were in love. They dreamt of their future, of success, marriage…happiness. They were going to grow old by each other’s side.

But… “Kids are stupid.”

When tragic circumstances forced them apart, Dylan discovered that life wasn’t the fairytale he dreamed of; it was dark, difficult, saturated with pain and shame. Life wasn’t meant to be enjoyed, merely survived, but even that became a challenge.

Damaged, worthless, and disgusting, he saw no point to his pitiful existence…

Until he came face to face with the boy he used to love.

Successful, honourable, and happy, Cameron had achieved the future they planned. He was good, positive, popular…everything Dylan would never be. What would happen if Dylan let him back into his world? Would he destroy Cameron too? Would his poison push him away like everyone else?

“Everybody leaves.”

“They leave or they die.”

But what if…what if Cameron didn’t?

Counting Daisies is book one in The Counting Series, but can be read as a standalone novel.

four-stars


So this was my first read by this author. I have Broken and started it, but put it down because I got sidetracked. I love the realistic portrayal of someone who is a drug addict. I’ve read a few books, but this one was hands down the most authentic. Counting Daisies resonated in my heart, because I’m someone who knows what Cameron feels like. Only it was a parent and not a lover. I can hands down 100% tell you, I’d never be with a drug addict. I don’t have the strength or the resolve to do it. The romance fades in the background to me. I didn’t connect with them on that level. Some part of me wishes that they relationship didn’t work. I would love to see them go their separate ways as far as being in love. Anyone who knows anything about addiction knows it isn’t wise to be in relationship for the first year of recovery.

My heart went out to Cameron, because he had this idea of his first love, and what he got in return was a junkie. Dylan’s voice in the story was eerily familiar in my years of growing up with an addict of a mother. He talks about Heroin as if it’s his life force. Nothing is more important then the drug. No one will ever be able to give him the same euphoria as Heroin. I’d like to think this story as a second chance at life for Dylan. I think Haken wrote with such sincerity that at moments I found myself crying. It’s a scene where Cameron asks Dylan, “Why wasn’t he enough?”. At that moment, I had an emotional break down. It was like being 9 years old again, at a therapy session and me asking my mom that. Dylan’s answer was so spot on.

Cameron did the basic thing when you love an addict. You believe that you can fix them. You believe that you can help them on your own. In his mind Dylan’s love for him was so bigger, that at any day he would recognize that Heroin wasn’t important. Well being letdown is probably the top most feeling that you get when you love an addict. He was right to have his anger, sadness, and despair. This is the life of an addict. I don’t believe in ever being sober. I think most addicts live day to day with hope that they are stronger for the next. Recovery is a daily thing. I liked Paul. Oh my goodness he was so realistically spoken. Very blunt and honest, as well as Derek. I think the author did a good job with the subject. The romance side didn’t really work. The relationship seemed one-sided, and how will I ever know if Dylan actually loved Cameron.

I look forward to more from this author. This was a really good story, with addiction being the forefront of it all, and the people it takes down with you. Looking forward to reading more from this author.

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 😉

Diary Dates by T.J. Masters

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.

diary-datesDiary Dates by T.J. Masters
Series: Christmas in July
Release Date: July 23, 2016
Pages: 52 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Link:
Dreamspinner  • Amazon •  ARe

Postgraduate student Andrew Chin arrives in London not only to study, but to explore life away from his traditional family in Singapore. His adventure begins at the airport, where he finds the diary of a wealthy British businessman and endeavors to return it.

James Howard is twice Andrew’s age, and he’s not used to selfless youngsters. Despite a rocky first meeting, the two develop an unlikely friendship as James introduces Andrew to the city. James is looking forward to the festivities leading up to Christmas in London and maybe a celebration with Andrew. But will a nasty bout of the flu ruin their romantic holiday?

Not if Andrew has anything to say about it.

three-stars

I enjoyed this story alot for the amount of pages that we were given. It was a cute novella. Definitely a slow burn between the two. It was more friends to lovers then expected. Andrew moves to London from China wanting to experience everything great about it and go to school. He is such a kind soul, and you get that right from the beginning when he finds a diary of some sort. His decision to locate the owner tells you the kind of person he is. I liked that he seemed so shy and timid around abrasive and bold James. It’s kind of a facade for James because he is a successful business man, and expects everyone who comes in contact with him in some regard to want something from him. Well Andrew didn’t and I think it blew James away. This started a really sweet friendship between the two. I loved seeing them go on their outings together and experience different things. This was a breath of fresh air and I felt like them being together was very organic to the soul. This was a first for me by this author and I really enjoyed it. Looking for more from this author.

About T. J. Masters

T.J. Masters is a fifty-six-year-old author and life coach living in Hertfordshire just to the north of London, England. T.J. has shared thirty years of suburban life with his civil partner Ian, and they enjoy the love and support of T.J’s large Irish family who all live nearby. In 2009 T.J. took early retirement from a thirty-three-year school teaching career and decided to follow a new path. After qualifying as a life coach, T.J. found that he was coaching a couple of authors who were going through the process of giving birth to the book which “had always been inside them.” This rekindled T.J’s long-held desire to write and get published.

With a lifelong passion for books, learning, and the sharing of knowledge, T.J. woke up to the realization that he had stories to tell, books to write, and less than half a lifetime left to do it in. As for the kind of books he is writing… well, let’s just say that he decided to channel over thirty years of experience in the gay BDSM lifestyle into a genre where it would be most appreciated!

Alongside this passion for books and writing, T.J. also found an outlet for his inner geek and has become a great advocate for social media in various forms. Blogging has become a great outlet for T.J’s many interests including the writerly ones. The author has a website where he blogs regularly and he loves to interact with his readers and followers a

Last Mechanic Standing by L.A. 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.

last-mechanic-standingLast Mechanic Standing by L.A. Witt
Series: Wrench Wars, Book One
Release Date: July 6, 2016
Pages: 80 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

Everyone at Jim Irving’s garage is gung ho about Wrench Wars, a new reality show featuring mechanics. Everyone, that is, except talented mechanic Chandler Scott, the sole employee who has refused to sign the contract. The rest of the mechanics are pressuring him too, because without Chandler—and his volatile interactions with his boss—no one’s getting on the show.

Chandler’s one ally is Jim’s son, Mark, who’s being forced to work for his dad until he pays down his student loans or finds a better job—and who’s been Chandler’s secret lover for a while.

Then a playful tryst in the garage blows up in their faces, giving the network ammo to blackmail Chandler by threatening to out Mark to his father. Now Chandler is backed into a corner, and Mark needs to decide how far he’s willing to go to protect the man who’s been sharing his bed… and may have stolen his heart.

four-half-stars

Good lord. This. Was. Good.

I am a huge sucker for boys in the closet and when the closeted boys find someone who will do just about anything for them, including snuggling in that closet… I am a goner who has melted into a big puddle of goo. And goo, if ya don’t know, is good.

This is a short story so I’ll keep the review a short as possible.

Chandler and Mark are childhood friends and recently friends with benefits. Chandler works at Mark’s dad’s shop as a mechanic and Mark also works there as he attempts to crawl out of his student loan debt. What dear old homophobic and assholish daddy doesn’t know is, his son is gay and doing the horizontal mambo with the dude he butts head with on a daily basis. That right there is angst enough for me to love a story but throw in a reality TV series that pins auto shop against auto shop with camera’s everywhere every second of the day and you gave a ginger who may be drooling.

The odd thing is, I cannot stand watching reality shows and yet I love it when romances include them. There is something about the forbidden romance that gets ramped up another level when you have the chance of camera’s catching that which should not be seen and this… yeah, it’s good.

So, Chandler and Mark have an understanding of casual sex but for Chandler, it has gone way beyond that for some time. Mark, he’s good with getting it on with his best friend and knows that Chandler will keep his secret, but Mark is fooling himself with his feelings. Only, he hasn’t figured that out yet.

This wasn’t about the physical anymore. Orgasms would happen or they wouldn’t. Mark didn’t care as long as Chandler didn’t let go.

When the shop signs up to be on Wrench Wars, Chandler is the only one holding back from  being on the show but the tension between Mark’s dad Jim and Chandler is the drama the producers want to air and they will do anything to get Chandler to sign on the dotted line. That anything comes from a beautiful, albeit risky move by Mark and Chandler that leads to blackmail and even more drama.

I hated what the producers did to Chandler and what the rest of the shop guys that they turned on the boys too. I hated that the drama was pushed and almost scripted but what comes out of the ugly was emotional and really tender. The moments of stress that give Mark and Chandler the intimate time together was so gooey I was sighing and hugging my Nook. It was lovely to see Mark work through his feelings and come to terms with them and do what’s needed. When he becomes oh so brave in front of the camera’s I gave a yelp and a fist pump for him. It was so damn good and I would have loved to watch that moment on TV. *sigh*

Yeah, so totes normal for me I have rambled but this was good. I loved seeing the boys all hot and bothered but seeing the smaller moments that became huge to their relationship was what really did me in.

Last Mechanic Standing was super sweet and sexy book about doing anything for the one you love and not accepting losing them. This was a fun start to the series and after the sneak into the next book? Bring. It. On.

About L.A. Witt

L.A. Witt is an abnormal M/M romance writer who has finally been released from the purgatorial corn maze of Omaha, Nebraska, and now spends her time on the southwestern coast of Spain. In between wondering how she didn’t lose her mind in Omaha, she explores the country with her husband, several clairvoyant hamsters, and an ever-growing herd of rabid plot bunnies.

She also has substantially more time on her hands these days, as she has recruited a small army of mercenaries to search South America for her nemesis, romance author Lauren Gallagher, but don’t tell Lauren. And definitely don’t tell Lori A. Witt or Ann Gallagher. Neither of those twits can keep their mouths shut…