Brave & Beautiful by Elizabeth Varlet

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.

Brave & Beautiful: by Elizabeth Hunter
Series: Sassy Boyz #3
Release Date: October 9th, 2017
Pages: 249 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

There’s only one relationship that matters to Tameron “Tam” Kis—his love affair with dance. Life’s been pretty shitty, but dance got him through it and now he’s ready to focus on what he loves. He doesn’t have the bandwidth for any distractions—especially not his sexy, not-quite-straight new neighbor.

Driver Ellis doesn’t need anything but his bike and the open road. He wouldn’t trade his drifter lifestyle for anything…until his friend calls in a favor and Driver suddenly finds himself pet-sitting. Driver isn’t thrilled being stuck in one place, though things start to look up when he sets eyes on the gorgeous girl next door.

There’s just one problem… She isn’t a girl at all.

All it takes is one spontaneous dance to turn both Driver’s and Tam’s worlds upside down. They might not have been looking for love, but as things heat up between them, it’s clear life has very different plans.

 

four-stars

 

Tam and Driver had all my feels people. I really loved this book, and my rating was on the way to a full 5 stars but I needed more of an ending, epilogue or something else. Basically, I didn’t want their story to end. Tam, the introverted was so stellar in this book, his story really showed him in a different light. He’s a fighter, he’s a survivor, he’s a dreamer, and a believer. I really felt for Tam, but not pity at all. I felt pride for him. He took his life and fought for everything he’s wanted. Then poor Driver enters Tam life and its over. Driver who isn’t able to stay put for long. He’s running from a past and doesn’t want to face any of his fears.

Both guys were equally amazing on their own. Both had similar thoughts and feelings but different experiences. I really enjoyed their gradual buildup to a semblance of any kind of relationship. I loved how they were getting to know one another with a friendship and their feelings escalated to a physical relationship. With both guys being so emotionally stunted, it was a wonder to see them grow to care, to learn and fall in love with each other.

This book made me have all the feels. I really enjoyed the character building. I don’t do angst at all, and it was alot of it to go around but it didn’t feel overshadowed by the other events in the story. I hope we’ll get to see the newer sassy boys with books. I look forward to Lirium’s story next. I think fans of this series will enjoy this installment alot.

 

signature-fonts

About Elizabeth Varlet

Elizabeth Varlet is a nerd at heart and spends way too many hours binging on episodes of her favorite television shows. If you love Doctor Who, Supernatural, Stargate, Star Trek, Sherlock, or Firefly you are already her best friend.

She started writing stories in high school and hasn’t stopped. Now, her characters like to get frisky under the covers – or the stars, they’re not picky. She’s a thirty-something, newly married, world traveler who devours books like they were candy.

To contact Elizabeth, send her an email to elizabethvarlet@gmail.com. Or follow her on any of her social media sites.

Until You by T.J. Klune

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

Until You: by T.J. Klune
Series:At First Sight #3
Release Date: February 27, 2017
Pages: 149 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner • AmazonKobo

Sequel to The Queen & the Homo Jock King

Together with their families and friends

Paul Auster

and

Vincent Taylor

request the honor of your company at the celebration of their marriage.

 

four-stars

 

Well now, this is the end of an era. Not really. Atleast I don’t think so. LOL. What can I say? I first want to say thank you to T.J. Klune for writing these amazing stories with these amazing characters. Thanks for the tears, the laughter, the emotionally eating, and for the swoon that comes after. I really am a fan of your craft, and I sincerely thank you.

Sexy Paul is ah-mazing! I don’t think I laughed this hard in a very long time. He was hilarious, and I swear I could picture every bit of those shenanigans in my head. The time has come for Paul & Vince to get married, and well it would be this crew without OTT situations happening. Paul & Vince are more in love then ever. I loved the opening sequence of Paul pov. It was funny. I can’t say that enough.

Vince is Vince, until Vince blows you away. His vows were spectacular and I didn’t think he had them so eloquently in him. I was surprised, but I should not have doubted him. I loved his little speech to Paul’s family, and year it brought a few tears to my eyes. Loved seeing the growth of each character in this series. It has come full circle for most of them. I really hope a certain couple get a story, I mean I think that little nugget at the end wasn’t enough. I definitely need to see what happens next.

All in all, I think this was a really good story. I laughed and really enjoyed seeing them all again. I think they are at peace with themselves and have all the happiness that they could. T.J. did a really good job, and I can’t wait for more of his work. A definite recommend for fans of this series!

About TJ Klune

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

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

Made (Forever 0.4) by J.M. Darhower

Made (Forever 0.4) by J.M. DarhowerSeries: Forever 0.4
on October 27th, 2014
Pages: 530 pages
Amazon
Corrado Moretti.

The world knows the notorious Kevlar Killer, but few have ever seen what lies beneath his armor. The abused child. The neglected teenager. The broken man. He always did whatever he had to do in order to survive.

It's kill or be killed.

Throughout his life, he has been there in the shadows, a witness to everything from beginning to end. Bound by loyalty and honor, there's only one thing he would sacrifice it all for: family.

Never get close. Never get attached. It's a lesson that has been brutally pounded into him since childhood, but they're words the DeMarcos make it difficult for him to follow. Through them he finds love and grieves loss, realizing the world isn't quite as black and white as it's made out to be.

Made.
five-stars

Sempre and Sempre Redemption part of of my favorite series and Corado Moretti was my favorite character. Honestly, I already fell in love with Corrado in Book 1 so I didn’t even need his background to see the gold man behind the Kevlar Killer. It does help though to understand the man who would be King. To get this insight to the man who seemed to be so brutal and cause terror in the hearts of many, was quite a thrilling ride.
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I enjoyed it immensely. It was sad, it was happy, it was nerve racking and it was kind of redemptive. Most of all, it was cathartic. I really enjoyed seeing the role he played in Vincent and Maura’s life from his perspective. I loved watching the evolution of his relationship with Velia. Most of all, I really appreciated his journey through life from his awful parentage to his rise in La Costra Nostra. Seriously, with his upbringing, it was almost a given where he would end up.
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It was the life of Corrado Moretti, the nitty gritty of such a complex character. This dude was a bad guy, but he was also good in a way. He is probably one of the best developed characters that I ever read in a series. I love how a cold hearted Don is one minute to a soft teddy bear with Celia. This is a man who was student of the life because he knew when to be a soldier and when to a Boss.
La Costra nostra photo LCN2_zpsdijmvdzq.png

If you are fan of this series, then this book is a MUST read…but you have to read if after you read Sempre and Sempre Redemption.

One Dom to Love (The Doms of Her Life #1) by Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob & Isabella LaPearl

One Dom to Love (The Doms of Her Life #1) by Shayla Black, Jenna Jacob & Isabella LaPearlSeries: The Doms of Her Life #1
on 2012-12
Pages: 236
AmazonNarrator: Christian Fox
Raine Kendall has been in love with her boss, Macen Hammerman, for years. Determined to make the man notice that she's a grown woman with desires and needs, she pours out her heart and offers her body to him-only to be crushingly rejected. But when his friend, very single, very sexy Liam O'Neill watches the other Dom refuse to act on his obvious feelings for Raine, he resolves to step in and do whatever it takes to help Hammer find happiness again, even rousing his friend's possessive instincts by making the girl a proposition too tempting to refuse. But he never imagines that he'll end up falling for her himself. Hammer has buried his lust for Raine for years. After rescuing the budding runaway from an alley behind his exclusive BDSM Dungeon, he has come to covet the pretty submissive. But tragedy has taught him that he can never be what she needs. So he watches over her while struggling to keep his distance. Liam's crafty plan blindsides Hammer, especially when he sees how determined his friend is to possess Raine for his own. Hammer isn't ready to give the lovely submissive over to any other Dom, but can he heal from his past and fight for her? Or will he lose Raine if she truly gives herself-heart, body, and soul-to Liam?

*Special Thanks to Tantor Media for the advance book (audiobook).
three-half-stars

3.5 stars.

I was surprised at how engaging this audiobook was. The narrator did a good job with the voices and I never had difficulty differentiating the main character. The emotions were conveyed well and I couldn’t stop until I finished. Warning: This book ends in a cliffhanger.

The main character Raine Kendall has been in love with Macen Hammerman for over six years. He is the boss and a Dom at BDSM club Shadow. He saved her from being homeless and helped pay her way through university. He has been her protector and her champion, encouraging her to build a life for herself after the abuse she lived through as a child. Macen knows that Raine has a crush on him but Macen is unsure whether Raine’s “crush” is gratitude and hero-worship or if it’s genuine attraction. Either way, Macen is determined that he will not allow anything to develop with Raine as he believes she deserves someone better than him.

*Special Thanks to Tantor Media for the advance copy.

Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Home Front by Kristin Hannahon 2012-01-31
Pages: 400
AmazonNarrator: Maggi-Meg Reed
In her bestselling novels Kristin Hannah has plumbed the depths of friendship, the loyalty of sisters, and the secrets mothers keep. Now, in her most emotionally powerful story yet, she explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war. All marriages have a breaking point. All families have wounds. All wars have a cost. . . .Like many couples, Michael and Jolene Zarkades have to face the pressures of everyday life---children, careers, bills, chores---even as their twelve-year marriage is falling apart. Then an unexpected deployment sends Jolene deep into harm’s way and leaves defense attorney Michael at home, unaccustomed to being a single parent to their two girls. As a mother, it agonizes Jolene to leave her family, but as a solider she has always understood the true meaning of duty. In her letters home, she paints a rose-colored version of her life on the front lines, shielding her family from the truth. But war will change Jolene in ways that none of them could have foreseen. When tragedy strikes, Michael must face his darkest fear and fight a battle of his own---for everything that matters to his family.At once a profoundly honest look at modern marriage and a dramatic exploration of the toll war takes on an ordinary American family, Home Front is a story of love, loss, heroism, honor, and ultimately, hope. 
five-stars

This is a book people who are not acquainted with anyone in the military should read. It really tugged at my heart strings. So believable. So Real. So Emotional. I had forgotten how Kristin Hannah creates such vivid imagery. My eyes watered at several instances in this book, but Hope was always there.

This book featured Michael and Jolene Zarkade who had gotten into a routine where their life revolved around work and kids, losing the “couple” in the marriage. Jo because the everything with the kids and home duties and Michael buried himself at work, only coming home late. Soon, resentment built up and their marriage suffered as both Michael and Jo felt unfulfilled. To add insult to injury, Army reservists got called up to serve their country so Jo, a flight specialist, had to go to Iraq.

The transition changed both Jo and Michael, and when Jo returned with PTSD, it became the ultimate test of their marriage and love, with the kids also feeling the effects of the changed mommy. This book did an excellent job of highlight the reality of soldiers who have returned battle scarred and how hard it is for them to transition back into their lives.

The genius of the book was writing the PTSD from the perspective of a woman. It gave it an extra emotional kick and it got me to think about things that I normally don’t consider–Women in combat situations. It also got to reflect on what it must be like for the soldiers to worry about the military family as well as their families back in the U.S.
I didn’t realize they had to write letters in case they didn’t come back, prepare their families etc. I guess I just didn’t think about their sacrifice in depth. But after this book, I am even more humbled and in awe. Next time I see a vet, I will look them in the eye and make sure they see how much respect I have for them and I honored I feel.

Second Chances (Second Chances #1) by by T.A. Webb

Second Chances (Second Chances #1) by  by T.A. WebbSeries: Second Chances #1
on October 17th 2012
Pages: 200 pages
AmazonNarrator: John Solo
Mark Jennings is at a crossroads. His finance job in the Atlanta nonprofit scene stresses him out, his mother is dying, and his relationship with Brian Jacobs has crashed and burned. He needs a distraction, some way to relax, and a massage seems like just the thing. He never expected his massage therapist, Antonio Roberto, to become his best friend.

Despite their differences—Antonio is a divorced single father—the two men forge a firm friendship that weathers Mark’s reconciliation with Brian and Antonio’s questionable taste in women. Over the years, Antonio remains constant in his support, though others in Mark’s life come and go through a revolving door.

When a young boy runs away from the group home where he works, Mark finds another door opening. Through it all he holds on to the things his loved ones taught him—about family, about friends and lovers, about life and death. Most importantly, he realizes that sometimes the greatest gift of all is a second chance.
four-stars

In this book, Mark Jennings seemed to be barely making it emotionally. His mom is dying in the hospital of liver disease, his boyfriend Brian Jacobs left him for another man and his nonprofit job was about to go belly up.
His only stress relief was getting a bi-monthly massage by a guy named Antonio Roberto.

During these massage therapy sessions, Mark and Antonio got to know each other. Antonio was going through a divorce with his wife and was scared to loss his son in a custody battle. Mark was dealing with the loss of his mom and the return of his boyfriend Brian.

Both were overwhelmed. Its no wonder both started feeling a little attracted to each other. But Antonio was straight and Mark would never cheat as he knows how that betrayal felt. But life has its own plans and Mark, Brian and Antonio’s lives begin to mesh and we see that despite Mark’s uncomfortable place, both guys genuinely care for him. Who will be Mark’s HEA?

This book had a roller coaster of emotion. This Mark really needed a hug. It had sad parts and happy parts. I also really liked the family angle as well as the non-profit Hope home addition to this story. It still touches me that family can discard their own children because of who they love.

The writing was paced well, but the narrator wasn’t quite right for this story. His faux southern accent grated my nerves at times, but then he’d forget he was supposed to have a southern accent and we were cool again. Over all, it was a good story. Little to no angst.

The Island by Lisa Henry

The Island by Lisa Henryon January 9, 2012
Pages: 331 pages
Amazon
Shaw is in Fiji to sell a stolen painting to the crime boss, Vornis. It will be the deal of a lifetime, if Shaw can pull it off. But then Vornis has to parade his latest toy around in front of him--a captured DEA agent whose time is running out. It's none of Shaw's business, and it doesn't matter that under any other circumstances Lee would be exactly Shaw's type: he's young, he's hot, and he might even have a personality if they hadn't beaten it out of him. Too bad there's no way Lee is getting off the island. Too bad there's nothing Shaw can do for him. And too bad there are some lines that even Shaw won't cross.

Keeping his hands off Lee proves harder than he thinks, but Shaw's not stupid enough to fall for the tortured captive of a dangerous crime boss, is he? If he did, it wouldn't be just his job he would be risking--it would be his life.

Publisher's Note: This book contains explicit sexual situations, graphic language, and material that some readers may find objectionable: male/male sexual practices, violence, flashback to sexual violence.

Publisher's warning: Readers with a history of rape or sexual abuse may find elements of this story disturbing.
four-stars

This book is not for those who have triggers related to sexual abuse and torture. I found it a little painful to read. It involved non-consensual sex and torture. I wouldn’t have read it had I know but I actually enjoyed it.

Adam Shaw was a fencer for many things, stolen paintings, weapons, drugs etc. He was the middle man who discretely helped people with the right funds find whatever they were wanted. Of course Shaw’s help would require a finder’s fee, but he was one of the best.

Shaw came to Fiji to sell a stolen painting to Vornis, a rich criminal, who was currently staying on the island. But it was immediately clear Vornis was after something else. Vornis wanted Shaw and figured he would tempt Shaw by showing Vornis’ sexual prowess.
Vornis was a sexual sadist, who had sex slaves, and his recent boy toy was an undercover DEA agent named Lee Anderson. For reasons unknown to him, Shaw was attracted to Lee, but he was aware that Vornis was using the boy toy to gauge what kind of man Shaw is. One thing is for sure, Vornis wants them both and he usually disposes of his toys 6 feet under. Can Shaw save himself before Vornis gets to him, what about Lee?

It’s so disturbing to think of predators like Vornis using an island paradise as his own hell on earth headquarters. He was sick and evil. I felt bad for the position Shaw was in, but I was happy that he felt Lee was worth it. I loved their chemistry and how tender Shaw was with Lee. The writing was gripping and I just had a hard time putting this story down. I wanted to know more about Irina and her past. I also want to know who betrayed the crew Lee came with. I like this one better than When all the Worlds sleeps, but this subject matter was disturbing.

Review: Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love, Book 1) by Jessica Park

Review: Flat-Out Love (Flat-Out Love, Book 1) by Jessica ParkSeries: Flat-Out Love
on April 11th, 2011
Pages: 389
AmazonNarrator: Julia Whelan
Flat-Out Love is a warm and witty novel of family love and dysfunction, deep heartache and raw vulnerability, with a bit of mystery and one whopping, knock-you-to-your-knees romance.

It's not what you know--or when you see--that matters. It's about a journey.


Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.

And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable. That's because Finn is traveling the world and surfacing only for random Facebook chats, e-mails, and status updates. Before long, through late-night exchanges of disembodied text, he begins to stir something tender and silly and maybe even a little bit sexy in Julie's suddenly lonesome soul.

To Julie, the emotionally scrambled members of the Watkins family add up to something that ... well ... doesn't quite add up. Not until she forces a buried secret to the surface, eliciting a dramatic confrontation that threatens to tear the fragile Watkins family apart, does she get her answer.

Flat-Out Love comes complete with emails, Facebook status updates, and instant messages
four-half-stars

It was not what I was expecting and it wasn’t the usual, run of the mill romantic comedy. What a pleasant surprise. I loved it.

This books starts off with Julie Seagle, leaving home in Ohio, arriving in Boston Massachusetts to attend Whitney College. Upon arrival, she found out the apartment she rented on Craigslist, didn’t really exist and she had no where to go. Luckily, her mother’s college roommate Erin Watkins lived in Cambridge, so Erin offered Julie a place to stay until she found accommodations.
Erin’s son Matt came and picked her up, and thus began Julie’s introduction to the Watkins Household.
This family was definitely a circus and it takes the entire book to unravel. see Erin was an attorney and also a scholar. Her husband Roger was another scholar who researches ecosystems involving algae etc. Oldest son Finn wasn’t there but was supposed to be gallivanting the globe during humanitarian work. Matt was a double major at MIT and youngest sister Celeste carried around a cut-out of her older brother Finn because she missed him so much.

This family was really smart and really strange, and soon Julie’s arrival began having profound changes in the family dynamics and forced the family to confront issues long swept under the rug.

This book was layered yet so enjoyable. It seemed that Finn was the family connector when I started the book because he was the golden child. But as the book progressed, it became clear that Matt was the glue that held the Watkins family together. I loved the individual as well as the family growth as everyone had to face the issues they were running from. By the end of the book, everything made more sense and I was blown away. I loved it. The narrator was awesome. This was definitely YA-NA with a bite.

If you want a YA book with some substance and was more about familial love than romantic love, then give this book a whirl. It has romantic love but this book was about personal growth and continuing a journey.

Review: Mexican Heat (Crimes & Cocktails, Book 1) by by Laura Baumbach & Josh Lanyon

Review: Mexican Heat (Crimes & Cocktails, Book 1) by by Laura Baumbach & Josh LanyonSeries: Crimes & Cocktails #1
on October 26th, 2008
Pages: 272 pages
Amazon • (Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)
A new romantic crime series from the combined talents of popular award winning authors Laura Baumbach and Josh Lanyon. Tough, street-smart SFPD Detective Gabriel Sandalini is willing to do whatever it takes to bring down West Coast crime boss Ricco Botelli -- including a dangerous, deep undercover gig as one of Botelli's hired guns. But Gabriel's best laid plans may come crashing down around him when he falls hard for the sexy, suave lieutenant of a rival Mexican drug lord. Turns out his new love interest may have a few secrets of his own: secrets that could destroy both men and the fragile bond between them.
three-half-stars

I liked this book, but I didn’t love it. There were some pacing issues for me. Also, I liked the characters, well I liked Lorenzo, and I am ambivalent about Sandalini.

This book featured an SFPD detective, Gabriel Sandalini, and an FBI agent, Antonio Lorenzo who went deep undercover to bust a mexican drug cartel. From the beginning, Lorenzo & Sandlini were drawn to each other, but they were unaware that the other was one of the good guys.
So they fought their attraction because 1) it was disturbing being attracted to such a bad character and 2) there would be no future as betrayal and arrests were inevitable.
Unfortunately, one of them got their cover blown. Now they are in the fight of their lives. It’s hard to even focus on love, when you have to watch your back against everyone.

I never connected with Sandalini. He was a reckless smart mouth kid. He wasn’t as tough as he thought he was. He was annoying. then I didn’t understand how a hardened agent like Lorenzo could be so sensitive when he comes to Sandalini. I like them together but something was missing for me. I think it was the writing. It was too sterile for me. the only real show of emotion from Sandalini was a prelude to sex or during sex or post sex. Whereas Lorenzo wore his heart on his sleeve. I don’t know how the heck Lorenzo made it as an FBI undercover agent. He is too nice. I would have liked him to be vocal with Gabriel. I will read book 2 to see they are progressing.

Ezi

About Josh Lanyon

Bestselling author of over sixty titles of classic Male/Male fiction featuring twisty mystery, kickass adventure and unapologetic man-on-man romance, JOSH LANYON has been called “arguably the single most influential voice in m/m romance today.” Granted, that was yesterday.

Today Josh’s work has been translated into nine languages. The FBI thriller Fair Game was the first male/male title to be published by Harlequin Mondari, the largest romance publisher in Italy. The Adrien English series was awarded the 2nd Annual All Time Favorite Male Male Couple by the Goodreads M/M Group. Josh is an Eppie Award winner, a four-time Lambda Literary Award finalist for Gay Mystery, and the first ever recipient of the Goodreads Favorite M/M Author Lifetime Achievement award.

Josh is married and lives in Southern California.