Audio Review: Shelter the Sea by Heidi Cullinan

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.

Shelter the Sea: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: The Roosevelt #2
Release Date: June 12th, 2017
Pages: • Format: Audio
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
Amazon Audible

Some heroes wear capes. Some prefer sensory sacks.

Emmet Washington has never let the world define him, even though he, his boyfriend, Jeremey, and his friends aren’t considered “real” adults because of their disabilities. When the State of Iowa restructures its mental health system and puts the independent living facility where they live in jeopardy, Emmet refuses to be forced into substandard, privatized corporate care. With the help of Jeremey and their friends, he starts a local grassroots organization and fights every step of the way.

In addition to navigating his boyfriend’s increased depression and anxiety, Emmet has to make his autistic tics acceptable to politicians and donors, and he wonders if they’re raising awareness or putting their disabilities on display. When their campaign attracts the attention of the opposition’s powerful corporate lobbyist, Emmet relies on his skill with calculations and predictions and trusts he can save the day—for himself, his friends, and everyone with disabilities.

He only hopes there isn’t a variable in his formula he’s failed to foresee.

 

four-stars

 

This is the second book in the Roosevelt series and it catches us up with Emmet and Jeremey two years down the road. The two men are still a couple and are still living together in their assisted living.

As this book starts we find two things are going on. Jeremey is having a difficult time with his depression and anxiety. He’s going through a very rough patch which he is attempting to hide from Emmet. In addition, the Roosevelt is struggling with funding and all of the residents are concerned that it may close down.

I really loved how the author portrays these two men going through hard times together. I think there is a belief that two very with serious issues can not be there for their partner but I think this book shows how that’s not true. Both Emmet and Jeremey push through their comfort zones to be the help the other needed and I found some of these scenes very emotional.

The other part of the story was not as enjoyable for me but that is due to a personal reason. I’m a social worker and the current health care/mental health care crisis in our country is staggering and it’s something that I deal with every single day. I read for a break from real life stress and this didn’t do it for me. Just got me all angry and worked up. I’m glad the author went down this road though because I imagine the average reader knows nothing about the mental health care systems in our country and I hope it was eye opening for them.

This audiobook was narrated by Iggy Toma and I think he did just as great a job in this one as he did in the first book. The two main characters have very different voices, with Emmet’s being very distinct due to his Autism. There are also a bunch of side characters in this one and they were all done very well.

Although I didn’t enjoy this one as much as I did book one, that was more on me than the actual quality of the writing/storytelling. I think this is a must read for fans of the series.

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About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Audio Review: Carry the Ocean by Heidi Cullinan

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.

Carry the Ocean: by Heidi Cullinan
Series: The Roosevelt
Release Date: May 29th, 2017
Pages: • Format: Audio
Published By: Heidi Cullinan
Purchase Links:
Amazon Audible

Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The young man with a double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he has autism.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When Jeremey’s untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility.

As Jeremey and Emmet find their feet at The Roosevelt, they begin to believe they can be loved for the men they are beyond their disabilities. But before they can trust enough to fall head over heels, they must trust their own convictions that friendship is a healing force and love can overcome any obstacle.

 

five-stars

I am in general a fan of this authors but I think this may be her best work. This was extremely well written. This is an unconventional love story about two young men who are a bit different and have a host of challenges to over come in their lives.

The story begins one summer when the two guys meet at a neighborhood block party. Jeremey is struggling with depression and anxiety and he gets no support from his parents. Due to his personal struggles he is oblivious to Emmet’s existence. Emmet on the other hand has been watching Jeremey across their yards for months. Emmet is on the Autism spectrum and he’s been practicing daily for what will happen when they finally meet. When Emmet approaches him, Jeremey is unsure of him at first. With gentle persistence from Emmet the two of them become friends and then they eventually fall in love.

Their story is not an easy one. The two of them have very different ways of perceiving things which makes them struggle to understand each other sometimes. They are also both different from what mainstream society says they should be and they have to deal with a bunch of outside pressure. Their lives are a roller coaster and things are very hard for them in a few places in the story.

I thought the author did a fantastic job writing this story and dealing with both boy’s conditions. It was obvious she did a lot of research and I think she really presented these characters as real people. She did not sugar coat anything or make it one of those “love heals all wounds” type of stories, but she also did not paint them as people who were less than or who were incapable of having a love story of their own. It may not have been traditional but I think that made it even more beautiful.

My favorite part of the story was Emmet and his parents. I loved all three of them. On the flip side I could barely contain my anger for Jeremey’s parents. Every mother instinct I had came out over his character and I swear I raged every time his parents were on page. My emotions were all over the page. One minute I was laughing and the next I was crying. That, too me, is a testament to a really well written story.

I did these on audio and they were narrated by Iggy Toma. I feel like he also did an excellent job. He does two very different voices for both Jeremey and Emmet. I think Emmet’s was probably a bit challenging as he is described as having a flatter affect and not being able to modify his tones like others do due to his inability to read emotions. The narrator really did a good job with this aspect. There were also multiple side characters and I think those were also all done really well.

I’m sure there a lot better written reviews out there that describe this beautiful story but I will end this is saying that I definitely recommend this audiobook. It is not only a great story but it is narrated extremely well and the narration adds another level of emotion to this story.

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About Heidi Cullinan

Heidi grew up in love with story. She fell asleep listening to Disney long-playing records and read her Little House On The Prairie books until they fell apart. She ran through the woods inventing stories of witches and fairies and enchanted trees and spent hours beneath the lilac bush imagining the lives of the settlers who had inhabited the homestead log cabin and two-story late 1800s home on her family farm. She created epic storylines for her Barbies until it wasn’t satisfying enough to do so any longer (age ten), and then she started writing them down. Her first novel, The Life and Times of Michelle Matthews, was published when she was twelve in the school anthology and took up nearly half of it.

Though Heidi continued to write novels through high school (and still has the Rubbermaid tub full in her bedroom), she stopped in college, deciding it was time to grow up and do something meaningful with her life. When the specifics of that didn’t pan out, Heidi ended up in grad school to become a teacher, and through one of the courses rediscovered her love of romance novels. She began to write again on the side, continued to do so while she taught seventh grade language arts and reading, and when she quit teaching to have her daughter, she took up writing with more seriousness, both as a stress relief and as a potential means of bringing in money.

Many million pages later, Heidi has learned a lot about writing, more than she ever wanted to know about publishing, and most importantly, finally figured out that writing IS the meaningful something she wants to do with her life. A passionate advocate for LGBT rights, Heidi volunteered for One Iowa during the fight for marriage equality and donates with her husband as a monthly partner to the Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal. She encourages you to support your own local and national LGBT rights groups, too

Heidi enjoys reading, watching movies and TV with her family, and listening all kinds of music. She has a husband, a daughter, and too many cats. Heidi is an active social networker, and of course has good old-fashioned email.

Guest Review: Chasing Destiny by Megan Erickson

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.

Chasing Destiny: by Megan Erickson
Series: Silver Tip Pack #2
Release Date: July 21st, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Some live on memories…

Almost dying during a pack uprising has a way of shaking things up. I’m no longer Mr. Laid Back now that there’s an itch under my skin I can’t scratch.

On a volunteer mission that goes beyond the walls of our compound, we enter the territory of a pack long thought dead, and find ourselves on the business end of their spears.

What I’m not prepared for is what I find within their walls—The one shifter I never thought I’d see alive, the one I’d mourned twice, the one I’d always loved. He is alive, and if I have anything to do with it, he’ll stay that way. But he’s got secrets, and exposing them could lead us to an enemy worse than the bloodthirsty undead shifters wanting to kill us all…

four-stars

 

I really liked this second book in the Silver Tip Pack series. This one had a different feel to it than book one but was just as good.

This story focuses on Bay who is Dare’s brother. He’s the wise cracking and good natured one in their family but he’s struggling at the beginning of this story. Bay is grieving his second loss of Nash and he’s feeling restless. His were wants him to leave and look for something but he’s not sure what it is. As a result he offers to visit another pack to see if they can set up a trade pact. What Bay finds there turns his world upside down.

This story was more fast-paced and full of action than Daring Fate was. This one kept me on the edge of my seat from almost the beginning of the story. Bay and his pack mates are fighting other pack members as well as the zombie weres. (Can I just take a minute to tell you how much I love the fact that there are zombie werewolves in this series? Zombie! Werewolves!) All kinds of things happen and there are some shocking surprises.

The love story was also good. I love a good second chance story. I also love a good hurt/comfort story. Combine them together and I’m in reader bliss. Bay and Nash are just wonderful together and Bay is full of swoon worthy moments. Some of the stuff he says… *dreamy sigh*. These two are not fated mates as the couple in book one were, but they know they’re meant to be mates and their romance development was lovely.

I don’t have anything negative to say about this series other than the writer is not releasing them fast enough for me. This one hasn’t even been released and I’m already itching to get my hands on the third one. Looks like we know who the next book will be about but I’m not going to tell you. It’s going to be a big surprise.

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About Megan Erickson

Megan Erickson is a former journalist who switched to fiction when she decided she liked writing her own endings better. She likes to pretend she has control now, but usually her characters are the ones who hold the reins. Her romance novels have a touch of humor, a dash of nerdy, and always a happily ever after.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids, and two cats named after John Hughes characters. She’s still waiting for the party she was promised when she grew to five feet… maybe because she never got there.

Guest Review: A Kind of Home by Lane Hayes

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.

A Kind of Home: by Lane Hayes
Series: A Kind of Stories #4
Release Date: June 23rd, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

A Kind Of Story

Isaac Dalton is the guitarist for Spiral, arguably the biggest rock band in the world. The band’s meteoric rise to superstardom has its perks, but fame and fortune aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Nonstop touring and performing exhaust him, and when an overzealous fan makes it imperative that Isaac travel with a clingy bodyguard, he is ready for a break from the madness. More so when his newly single first crush shows up on his doorstep. The man is strictly off-limits. He’s a memory from a place Isaac would rather leave behind. And he’s straight.

Fun-loving former athlete slash construction worker Adam McBride desperately needs a new beginning. And New York City is the perfect place to start over and think about how to rebuild his life. A short stint as roommates with his brother’s best friend from high school seems like a mutually beneficial arrangement. However, when friendship gives way to fierce attraction, both men find themselves in uncharted and possibly dangerous territory. Isaac has to decide if he’s willing to take the ultimate risk for a kind of love and a kind of home he never dreamed possible.

four-stars

In previous books of this series we have gotten to know the guys from the rock band Spiral. By the time this book begins the band is huge. They’re one of the most famous bands in the world and the long hours, traveling and lack of privacy has begun to wear on guitarist Isaac. He loves the music but he’s growing weary of everything else. What he wants most is to be left alone. Unfortunately for Isaac he’s picked up an odd fan who seems like they might be obsessed with him. As a result he has also picked up a body guard he doesn’t want.

Imagine Isaac’s shock when he gets home from a tour to find that the old friend he said could use his apartment for a week or so is still there a few months later. Adam is the older brother of Isaac’s best friend from high school. Isaac always had a crush on the older boy and hasn’t seen him since his wedding a few years earlier. Despite his annoyance at finding Adam at his place he agrees to let him stay a bit longer. Adam is getting divorced and is looking to make some changes in his life.

As the two men begin to get reacquainted Isaac finds that all the things that attracted him to Adam in the past are still there but now there are even more things to like about him. Adam is in New York to make big changes in his life and apparently he’s not as straight as Isaac always thought he was. The two can’t deny their chemistry and soon friendship turns into something more.

I liked both of these MC’s individually and I really loved them together. They were a perfect compliment to each other. Their chemistry jumped off the pages and the book was filled with both sweet, romantic scenes and some super hot bedroom scenes. The grand gesture at the end was especially lovely.

Extra kudos to the author for not making the ex wife the stereotypical shrew and for not making Adam’s bisexuality an issue or problem within the marriage. I thought the entire divorce part of the plot line was well thought out and executed perfectly.

This book can be read as a standalone. Because of both band work and their friendships we see a lot of some of the previous characters (especially Rand) so if you’ve read the others you’ll probably appreciate that. So whether you’re an existing fan of the series or new to it, this is a book I would definitely recommend.

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About Lane Hayes

Lane Hayes is grateful to finally be doing what she loves best. Writing full-time! It’s no secret Lane loves a good romance novel. An avid reader from an early age, she has always been drawn to well-told love story with beautifully written characters. These days she prefers the leading roles to both be men. Lane discovered the M/M genre a few years ago and was instantly hooked. Her debut novel was a 2013 Rainbow Award finalist and subsequent books have received Honorable Mentions in the 2014 and 2015 Rainbow Awards. She loves red wine, chocolate and travel (in no particular order). Lane lives in Southern California with her amazing husband and the coolest yellow Lab ever in an almost empty nest.

A Guest Review:Arrows Through Archer by Nash Summers

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.

Arrows Through Archer: by Nash Summers
Release Date: June 14th, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By:Self-Published
Purchase Links: Amazon

After the loss of his parents, Archer Hart is consumed by grief. Each day, he struggles his way through classes, parties, and trying to put on a good front for the sake of his best friend. But at night, he falls asleep to the sound of gunshots ringing in his ears.

Mallory is a man fighting a war of emotions all his own. When his son invites his best friend back home to Banff over a college break, he’s happy for the company.

Some time during the late-night talks, subtle smiles, and long, long silences, the two men begin to find solace in one another.

But love isn’t always easy, especially when it strikes you straight through the heart.

 

five-stars

 

I read a lot of books. Sometimes I can go months before a book really jumps out and catches my attention. This is that book. I was looking forward to this because I’m already a big fan of this author’s other works. I’m excited to say that this was everything I was hoping it would be.

Archer is a college student who is really struggling. He’s had some major losses in his life and has some internal issues that he struggles with. He goes to classes and parties and tries to pretend everything is alright but inside he’s drowning in grief. His best friend Danny though, is aware of everything and keeps a constant eye on him.

Over a holiday, Danny takes Archer home with him and there he meets Danny’s father Mallory. Despite their age gap, the two men find they have a lot in common. They’re both quiet and reserved and they’re both stuck on losses in their lives they can’t seem to move past.

A series of incidents bring the two men together for an extended amount of time and they begin to find solace and healing in each other. There are a lot of extenuating factors though and things aren’t easy.

I don’t want to say much else about the plot (& I know I have been super vague about everything so far) because I really think this is a book you should go into not knowing much about. You need to experience how the story unfolds. I think the author set the format up in a unique manner. The way she handles the point of views and the time periods was brilliant and had a powerful impact on the reader. (I believe my reading update accused her of being an “evil genius”)

The writing style really drew me in. It had a lyrical quality to it and it set the atmosphere so well. I could feel Archer’s grief and sadness from the very first page. And later, when he’s in the mountains with Mallory, you feel like you’re right there with them as they stare into the fire or gaze into the night sky.

I think this is the most believable age gap story I’ve read. These two feel so right for each other from the very beginning. The growth of their relationship was quiet and slow and I think even more beautiful as a result. It all felt realistic and was something I could really see happening.

The story is interesting in the fact that there are very few other characters in the book. The ones that are there are only seen in short glimpses but they have important roles. Most of the story though is just Archer and Mallory. At one point Mallory asks what’s happening and Archer thinks “We’re falling in love”, and really that’s what this is about. This is a story about two men falling in love and working through their own issues so they can love themselves and be the best they can be for the other one.

I really can’t fan girl enough about this book. I would love to see everyone read this. Realistically though, you should note the triggers in regards to grief, depression etc. This is not a light read and may not work for some. I personally didn’t think it was too bad but I’m a big fan of angst and realism in my books. For the rest of you though, run get this right now. The author’s going to tear your heart out, but she’s also going to put it back together and it’s going to be beautiful when you get there.

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About Nash Summers

Nash Summers rarely has any idea what she’s doing. But when she likes to pretend, she pretends by writing stories at the pace of drying paint. As if that wasn’t exhilarating enough, Nash also enjoys absolute silence, general politeness, and waiting her turn in line.
Needless to say, she’s a bona fide hell raiser.

A Guest Review:Back to You by Chris Sully

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.

Back to You: by Chris Sully
Release Date: June 12th, 2017
Pages: 266 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishling
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Journalist Alex Buchanan has come home to the remote British Columbia town he grew up in, but only because his estranged father is dying. For Alex, the homecoming holds a mix of memories, mostly bad. The only bright spot is reconnecting with Benji Morning, the childhood friend he never truly forgot. As boys, the strength of their bond had frightened Alex. But now that he’s confident in his bisexuality, he’s drawn back to quiet, soft-spoken Ben.

Ben isn’t the same boy Alex left behind, though. His life has been overshadowed by the disappearance of his sister two decades earlier, and now a new break in the case threatens to undo the peace he’s worked so hard to attain.

As Alex struggles to repair the relationship with his father before it’s too late, he finds himself caught up in a twenty-year-old mystery, a story he never expected, and a shocking truth that could affect his and Ben’s future together.

 

four-half-stars

 

I loved everything about this book. The story itself is fiction but the back drop is set in a real life story. Since the 1970’s a series of young women have gone missing along an isolated stretch of highway in British Columbia, Canada. This is referred to as the Highway of Tears and as of this time they still do not know who is responsible for the disappearances.

Alex Buchanan and Ben Morning had been best friends since they were little boys. When they were teens a crisis had hit both of their families at the same time. Ben’s sister turns up missing and Alex’s parents get divorced and move away. The boys promise to keep in touch but they don’t.

Twenty years later, Alex goes back to see his dying father. He has a bunch of unresolved issues with the man and he’s writing a series of articles about their tumultuous relationship. Also, Alex has never forgotten Ben. In retrospect he knows Ben was his first love but his lack of acceptance about being bisexual prevented him from every admitting that.

Ben still lives in town and is weighted down caring for a mother who never accepted her daughter’s disappearance. She’s spent the last twenty years being obsessed with what happened. The police find the girl’s car right as Alex is getting to town and breaks the case open and causes Ben and Alex to get caught up in it all over again.

The writing was so good. It was atmospheric and had an almost dreamlike feel to it. The world building was so well done that I felt like I was right there with them in this isolated, gloomy, little town.

I really enjoyed the mystery part even though I figured out who did it early on. I think the real life facts weaved into the fiction story added a unique level to the storytelling. I also enjoyed the romance. It was very romantic in parts and I found myself rooting for these two from their first one page together scene.

I enjoyed every aspect of this story and I highly recommend it. I have only read one other book by this author (which I also enjoyed) but after this I am a big fan. I can’t wait to go back and read her back catalogue.

 

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About Chris Scully

CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada where she grew up spinning romantic stories in her head. When the tedium of a corporate day job grew too much, she took a chance and found her creative escape in writing. Always searching for something different, she has discovered a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve.

Chris would love to hear from readers at: cscully@bell.net.

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.

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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