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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Guest Post & Giveaway with Lou Slyvre

Oh My Shelves welcomes Lou Slyvre to the blog with Holiday Cheer and A Giveaway. Her newest release Falling Snow on Snow is out December 23rd. Don’t forget to follow the blog tour, comment below and enter the Giveaway!

 

Falling Snow On Snow: by Lou Sylvre
Release Date: December 23rd, 2016
Pages: 79 • Format: eBook
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonBarnes & NobleKoboIndigo Books

Beck Justice knows holiday sparkle and snappy carols only mask December’s cruel, black heart. He learned that lesson even before he landed on the streets eight years ago, and his recent step up to a tiny apartment and a busker’s permit for Seattle’s Pike Place Market has done nothing to change his mind. But one day in the market, Oleg Abramov joins his ethereal voice to Beck’s guitar, and Beck glimpses light in his bleak, dark winter.

Oleg, lucky to have a large and loving family, believes Beck could be the man to fill the void that nevertheless remains in his life. The two men step out on a path toward love, but it proves as slippery as Seattle’s icy streets. Just when they get close, a misunderstanding shatters their hopes. Light and harmony are still within reach, but only if they choose to believe, risk their hearts, and trust.

Hi! Lou Sylvre here, very happy to have a spot on Oh My Shelves for the first time ever! This is stop two on my “official” tour for Falling Snow on Snow, a holiday novella releasing in three days from Dreamspinner Press. I’m excited about this book—mostly because I admittedly love the characters. I interviewed MC Beck Justice over at MM Good Book Reviews on December 16, so today I thought we might like to get to know Oleg. He was a little reluctant to talk, so I got some other people involved, too.

Character Interview

I’ll start with the only question Oleg would answer. Do you think the romance you and Beck Justice have will last? I mean, it’s brand new. Is he your one and only, and if so, how do you know?

Ms. Sylvre, don’t pretend you don’t know. You’ve seen me with Beck. You know how hard I’ve fallen for him. And yes, I think it will last. Remember what you wrote about my mom and dad’s example?

Oleg’s mother had done her best to instill in her children a belief in the miracle of love at first sight. It had happened for her. She’d been a rising star at the Moscow Conservatory of Music when she’d seen his father perform at a wedding. They’d become devoted to each other within days, married within months, and through all their years—and despite all she’d let go of for a poor Jewish boy—she’d never once regretted her choice.

And it’s almost like it was fate for us to meet anyway. That day in the market, it was only chance that led me past while he was playing, and maybe I wouldn’t even have noticed if it hadn’t been that particular song, “In the Bleak Midwinter” is one of the winter songs I love best—to sing, I mean—and his music, the chords and patterns yes, but mostly the depth of it, the… I guess it was loneliness, or longing I heard. I felt compelled to join him. And it was all like that, chance meetings. It could have gone so wrong. But… anyway. Yes. I believe our love will hold true.

After that, Oleg thought he’d said more than enough, so I found his oldest sister, Lara, in her photography studio, which is at the family home in Greenwood—a middle class neighborhood in Seattle. I asked her what she would want the world to know about Oleg, particularly since she’s always been protective of him.

Ah, well… yes. I’ve always tried to look out for him. He is so much younger than the rest of us, you know. Such a little boy when we came from Russia. The rest of us, we all still keep our roots in culture from our home—not because we choose that, so much as because we can’t help it. It is who we are. But Olejka, he’s different. He’s in two worlds, you might say. And sometimes I think he’s two people. (She laughs, and it is a delightful sound!) No, no. I don’t really mean that, but always, even when he was little, he was quiet and thoughtful, but with a wild streak.

I know you wrote about how I tried to hide him so he wouldn’t have to go to kindergarten when he was a boy. I was so silly, but I was just a kid too. Even so, I worried for him, going to school. I was afraid the kids would be mean because he’s so… soft, in a way. But then I worried too what if that wild streak comes out? Then he would really get in trouble. It was not useful, my “helping,” and he did fine in school most of the time. But even after he grew up… You know, going out, he called it. Men… strangers. I’m so glad now he has Beck, because, well I don’t want to speculate on their private lives, but I imagine that tall, strong guitar player might give him an outlet for that wild streak, if you know what I mean.

Lara has to tend to her work, so I leave her in the darkroom and am on my way out of the house when I run into Andrei Abramov, Oleg’s father. He seems a rather self-contained man, and studious, with glasses and an absent-professor look to him. He’s just shown one of his music students to the door, and when he turns, he looks surprised to see me. After a greeting, he surprises me when he just starts talking. Lara’s accent was mild and musical, but Andrei’s is thick, though subtly different from what I think of as a Russian sound. I listen carefully, and after just a few words, I’m able to understand him without trouble.

You’re here to talk about my son, Oleg, yes? He is very precious to us, you know. He was always small, not so robust as a babe, and in Moscow we struggled to keep him healthy. We didn’t have much. It was very hard on the children and my wife, whom I miss so much. Mostly, it was hard because of me, because I’m Jewish, and she gave up everything to marry me. We came here to America, and it got easier, after a while, though many of our fellow refugees didn’t fare so well. Oleg grew strong, and that was a blessing. Then we learned he was gay, as you say, and again we gave thanks we were here, not in Russia. Not long after we came here, my brother, both gay and Jewish disappeared from Moscow—or at least we’ve been unable to find him. Possibly he’s in prison, or dead. Oleg, he is so much like that brother of mine, one who loves men, looks like him, too. But Oleg, he has been safe here—free to be the person he was born to be. But now I worry, these politics, these changes I see all around. I know Beck is a good man, and he will do good by my son. But I worry for their future. Do you not?

I tell Andrei that yes, I do worry, yet I have hope, and encourage him to hold on to the same. I’m very surprised when he sees me to the door and then hugs me in farewell. I step out into the rain—it’s a cold pelt today, coming down hard enough to feel like ice. As I step out on the paved walkway heading for the street, Beck comes striding toward me, and when we meet, he greets me warmly, with that great big smile of his. We chat about weather and such for a moment and then I ask him, “What are four of your favorite things about Oleg?”

Four! Hard to choose, but I’ll try.

  • His smile—it’s never the same, it says so much without him having to add words, and it’s always from the heart.
  • His voice, of course. My god, there could not possibly be an angel who could sing more wondrously.
  • I love the way he’s so very practical, always sees the way to get something done, but it never gets in the way of the part of his fun-loving side.
  • This is a little personal. (He blushes.) But when we make love, he gives himself so… consciously, yet with complete abandon, and I always know it’s me, he’s loving. Nothing random or habitual about it. Every moment, every motion, every look and word and touch, they each matter to him more than anything else in the world—and so it’s that way for me, too.

But there’s so much more to Oleg than I could put in a list. You just have to know the man, Lou. Then you love him. That’s just the way it is.

I thank Beck, but we’re both freezing, standing out in the winter rain, so he trots up to the door, and I run out to the curb where my car awaits. I’m glad I got to talk to Oleg’s family. He’s a guy worth getting to know, I think—and I hope you agree! If you haven’t read Falling Snow on Snow and you’d like to, it’s up for preorder now. And don’t forget the rafflecopter giveaway, with a couple of chances to win the book, and more.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks, Tamika, for hosting me, and thanks, everybody, for reading! I’ve got a number of stops coming up on the tour, and I hope you’ll join me. Here’s the schedule and links.

 

Author Bio

Lou Sylvre lives and writes on the rainy side of Washington State, penning mostly suspense/romance novels because she can’t resist giving her characters hard times but good love. Her personal assistant is Boudreau, a large cat who never outgrew his kitten meow, and he makes a point of letting her know when she’s taken a plot tangent too far. Apparently an English major, he helps a lot, but Lou refuses to put his name on the byline. (Boudreau invites readers to give their feedback as well!) When Lou isn’t writing, she’s reading fiction from nearly every genre, romance in all its tints and shades, and the occasional book about history, physics, or police procedure. Not zombies, though—she avoids zombies like the plague unless they have a great sense of humor. She plays guitar (mostly where people can’t hear her) and she loves to sing. She’s most often smiling and laughs too much, some say. Among other things and in no particular order, she loves her family, her friends, the aforementioned Boudreau, his sister George, and their little brother Nibbles, a chihuahua named Joe, a dachshund named Chloe, and a slew of chihuahua/dachshund puppies. She takes pleasure in coffee, chocolate, sunshine, gardens, wild roses, and every beautiful thing in the world. You can contact here at any of these spots:

Blog:http://www.sylvre.rainbow-gate.com
Facebook:https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLouSylvre
Twitter:https://twitter.com/Sylvre
Goodreads:http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4873260.Lou_Sylvre
Email:mailto:lou.sylvre@gmail.com

Law (Scandals, #3) by Jess Buffett

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.

law-evernightpublishing-JayAheer2015-finalimage (1)Law by Jess Buffett
Release Date: February 29, 2016
Pages: 63 • Format: eARC
Published By: Evernight Publishing
Purchase Links:
EvernightAmazonARe

Scandals, 3

Law 

Being in the internationally successful boy-band Right Time had been everything I had ever wanted and more. Well, except for one thing, or should I say one person? But I had long ago acknowledged that I couldn’t have both the life and the person and I should be happy with what I had. That worked until he showed up in my life again. And then nothing made sense.

Byron 

For years I had pretended I didn’t care. Ignoring my feelings had become second nature to me. That was until my niece begged me to take her to see her favorite boy-band, Right Time, for her birthday, and I came face to face with him. In all fairness, she had no idea the can of worms she’d be opening. And to tell the truth, neither did I.

three-half-stars

Okay, I might have to check this author out from here on out. I really enjoyed this. This is part of a series with other authors, but you can read it as a stand alone. I love the age-gap trope. This was nicely done. I’m not really a fan of boy bands in my books, or the teacher-student trope. I think Jess Buffett did a really good job with both tropes. The teacher/student was done appropriately when they were both consenting adults. I loved Law’s vulnerability. He was such a sweet character. The author definitely made the reunion between him and Bryon seem genuine as far as Law’s reaction to seeing him. Ha!! I think Bryon was just the person for Law. His maturity worked well for Law, and I think he kinda needed someone older to ground him with everything that was happening in his life. I liked Law’s band mates a ton. They were good guys as well.

I wanted this to be so much longer. I’m a sucker for kids in stories, and them throwing that little tidbit in had me yearning for more. I think the relationship between the two definitely worked, but I wish I could have seen more to it. We had them coming together, and then a year later being married. I wanted to know how their relationship was working. How did the family get along? What did they think about Law dating a man almost 10 years older? Even still with all that missing, I really enjoyed the story.


~Excerpt~

“OMG. He knows your name, Uncle Byron?”

Byron flushed, glancing down at his niece before he flicked his gaze back to mine. “Ah … yeah, Emma, I do.”

The girl began to ramble while her friends stared on in awe. “How? Why? When did you become so cool?”

“Hey, I’ve always been cool.” I chuckled at Byron’s offended expression, grateful that he was momentarily distracted. The man’s gaze had always left him feeling open and exposed.

“Well, I mean sure, you are the cool Uncle Byron who bought my friends and me these really awesome tickets, but this…”

“But this is like a whole new hemisphere of awesomeness,” another one of the young girls finished, almost breathless in her shock.

I had honestly never felt so self-conscious before that moment. Not because of the girls. As shallow as it sounded, I was used to the lust filled expressions on women’s faces of varying age groups. Byron was another story. I wondered what he must be thinking, of me, of the situation. Even after all these years the man still had it in him to make me second guess myself. A nervous tension I felt only in his presence. It was ridiculous. I was ridiculous.


 

Tour Dates & Stops:

Parker Williams, Divine Magazine, A.M. Leibowitz, Bayou Book Junkie, Oh My Shelves,

Open Skye Book Reviews, BFD Book Blog, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews, Alpha Book Club,

Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, MM Good Book Reviews, Full Moon Dreaming, Unquietly Me,

Gay Book Reviews, Happily Ever Chapter, Up All Night, Read All Day, Making It Happen, Nephy Hart,

The Hat Party, Charley Descoteaux, Outrageous Heroes, MM Book Escape, Inked Rainbow Reads,

Velvet Panic, Havan Fellows

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About Jess Buffett

Jess Buffett was born and raised in New South Wales, Australia. She is a mum of two, married to her high school sweetheart.

Jess is a hopeless romantic who is a huge fan of M/M and M/F romance with a happy ending—anything with hunky men in all their glory, whether they be Shifters, Vampires, Cowboys, or the boy next door.

A caffeine addict who shamefully can’t make a decent cup of coffee to save her life, Jess believes in soul mates, happily ever afters, and in love at first sight, but that sometimes people need a second or a third for the brain to catch up.