Darkest Hour Before Dawn by Charlie Cochet

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.

Darkest Hour Before Dawn: by Charlie Cochet
Series: THIRDS #9
Release Date: April 25th, 2017
Pages: 224 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

THIRDS Team Leader Sebastian Hobbs and Chief Medical Examiner Hudson Colbourn are as much in love now as they were nearly seven years ago when a tragic event on the job destroyed their relationship. The two drift together only to be pulled apart time and time again. When Hudson draws the interest of dangerous enemies, both within and outside the organization, Seb wants nothing more than to protect the man who still means everything to him.

As life and death events, an uncertain future, and startling truths draw Hudson and Seb to each other yet again, they must make a choice: trust their love and take strength from what they share, or lose what matters most for good this time.

 

four-half-stars

 

So close…..

Oh Charlie, you don’t know how close I was to parting ways with your series. I got so tired of Dex & Sloane taking over everyone’s stories, tired of the cliffhangers and tired of the other couple playing side characters in their stories. I was just tired. It would have been sad for me, but I would have no other choice. Along the way, the series has gotten so big that at times I forgot who is who, and what is what.

But Ms. Cochet, you’ve redeemed yourself to me. Big time. I’m not an easy series reader to please, and this felt like one of the beginning books in the series. I really liked this. It was an actual story with no cliffhangers, the minimalist of Dex, and Seb & Hudson finally gets to tell their story.

A really big reveal comes into play. I mean, I kinda figured it out, but I definitely like the direction it went in. Hopefully this means Seb & Hudson gets to play a bigger role in this series as well as a potential spin-off series. I did forget the reason for the breakup, but I did like seeing an established couple work through their problems. Is was very up and down at one point, but I understand both points of views.

This is not a standalone, and reading the series helps a lot. We get to see the main characters in their everyday lives, and how well they are able to work to one another. I got a feeling that the series is almost over for some of these people, but its a couple of people that I’d like to see have a story or novella before we leave. Zachary first and foremost, didn’t forget about him. Austen, Dom, and Alfie ;). Have to read the story to find out about that last name folks.

All in all, I think this was a really good story. Nice plot, decent amount of heat, passion, love, and angst. Yes it was a bit angsty in my opinion, but it had me sucked in from the very beginning. Charlie has redeemed herself in my eyes. Can’t wait to see what’s next for this crew.

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About Charlie Cochet

Charlie Cochet is an author by day and artist by night. Always quick to succumb to the whispers of her wayward muse, no star is out of reach when following her passion. From adventurous agents and sexy shifters, to society gentlemen and hardboiled detectives, there’s bound to be plenty of mischief for her heroes to find themselves in, and plenty of romance, too!

Currently residing in Central Florida, Charlie is at the beck and call of a rascally Doxiepoo bent on world domination. When she isn’t writing, she can usually be found reading, drawing, or watching movies. She runs on coffee, thrives on music, and loves to hear from readers.If you’d like to connect with Charlie, just drop her an email, or find her on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Google Plus.

A Coal Miner’s Son by T.A. Chase

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

The Coal Miner’s Son: by T.A. Chase
Series: States of Love 
Release Date: January 4, 2017
Pages: 104 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner PressAmazon

James Callahan is the only son of Nicholas Callahan, owner of the Willow Hollow mine in West Virginia—but he’s never considered himself any better than the miners. He’s best friends with Owain Rees, one of the miners’ kids, and he’s been attracted to Cai, Owain’s older brother, for years. James gets the feeling he might not be the only one sensing the tension between them, but Cai avoids him religiously.

Cai has been working the mine since he was sixteen. He acknowledges James is cute, but he’s grown up privileged while Cai’s family has always been working class, and Cai fears that chasm is too wide to cross. When family drama pushes them together, will Cai and James see they’re more alike than they realized?

Take a leap of faith as two men from different worlds, employer and employee, rich and poor, discover that love transcends social barriers.

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

four-stars

My first T.A. Chase book, and it was a sweet fluffy romance! I really enjoyed this story and loved the romance between the two. This series continues to be really sweet and good. Cai and James are kinda enemies. James is the rich son of the boss in Willows Hollow. Cai’s family is a founding family of Willow’s Hollow and he doesn’t take kind to strangers and people who are hoyty toyty. He thinks James is exactly like his father. Well they both come to learn the other isn’t what they same.

I really liked James character in this story. He was the complete opposite of what anyone could expect of him. He is the only child, and he’s super down to earth. He kinda wishes he wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He’s so nice, comforting, and realizing now he wants to be in love. Except he’s in love with Cai, his best friend’s brother. Cai who ignores him constantly and thinks the worst of him.

I really don’t get why Cai disliked James so much. He never really had a conversation with him outside of work. He’s never seen him socially, and never gotten to know him. I honestly think Cai disliked him to be a petulant child. I did like Cai, he was a overall good guy. He seemed a little high strung at times, but that can be attributed to the town he stays in and the people he deals with.

After a stressful event, Cai ends up at James house. It’s unexpected for both guys, but the invitation was out there. They realized after much debate how much they are interested in one another. The was a bit of a slow burn, but I really liked the two together. I thought they were cute how they handled one another. All in all, I think this was a really good story. It had a few hiccups along with the way with names in the wrong places, and a mixed up paragraph or so. Overall, I’d recommend this story. Two guys who are meant to be but don’t know it comes together beautifully.

About T.A. Chase

There is beauty in every kind of love, so why not live a life without boundaries? Experiencing everything the world offers fascinates me and writing about the things that make each of us unique is how I share those insights. I live in the Midwest with a wonderful partner of thirteen years. When not writing, I’m watching movies, reading and living life to the fullest.

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.

Override (The Underground Club #1) by S.J.D. Peterson

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.

OverrideOverride by S.J.D. Peterson 
Release Date: August 31, 2016
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

Don’t judge a book by its cover….

At over six feet, with a body honed in the gym, auto worker Donavan Gregory is used to people assuming he’s a dominant top. Unfortunately, they’re wrong, and Donavan’s desire to explore his submissive side goes unfulfilled.

Smaller and older than Donavan, Doctor Seth Manning might not look like a typical dominant, but when the two men meet at Pride, Donavan realized Seth might be his perfect counterpart. The trouble is, Donavan doesn’t have as much experience with the BDSM world as he’d like. What could an educated, handsome, and confident man like Seth possibly see in someone like him? Seth must convince him that despite the differences on the surface, when it comes to kinky fun and discovery, they’ll fit together just fine.

three-stars

This was sugary sweet fluff. I keep referring to it as BDSM Lite!!! It’s not a bad thing, it was the opposite of what I was expecting that’s all. Super sweet, low angst, feel good story. Nothing here to complain about folks just keep it pushing!

Sure we got the vice versus switch of the mc physical stands on BDSM. We have Donovan who from all appearances looks like a top, a Dom and wouldn’t have a submissive bone in his body. This is where looks clearly are deceiving folks. He’s craving to submit to someone but clearly scared. A golden opportunity is given to him at Pride one day. There he meets Seth. At first glance Seth doesn’t look the part of what Donovan things a Dom should.

From here on it it’s smooth sailing for the couple. It’s no miscommunication, and they clearly speak about what they both want and feel for each other. I didn’t think it was BDSM. It’s basically sex but rougher then what some would want. I think that aspect could been dismissed from the tags and it’s just a contemporary story.

I don’t think I know Seth that well as a character as Donovan. We have multiple interactions with Donovan at his job and with his friend, and in his head alot. I kinda labelled Seth as coming off mysterious because outside of what he says about his family and friends we only see him.

This is a pretty straight forward sugary sweet mess. The end features cast from upcoming books I’m sure. We’ll see more of these guys I’m sure. If you are in the mood for a low angst, fluffy book then this is right for you!

About S.J.D. Peterson

It’s been an amazing journey since DSP first contracted Lorcan’s Desire in January 2011. I’ve published 2 free reads with the M/M Romance group, my back list is growing, met some great people and have made some amazing friends.
I’m still in shock that I’m listed among the many talented authors at Dreamspinner Press! The little voice in the back of my head is screaming, “You are so out of your league.”
Shhhhh I won’t tell them if you don’t 🙂

You can call me Jo, everyone does 🙂

Don’t Twunk With My Heart (Loving You, #2) by Renae Kaye

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

Title:Don’t Twunk With My Heart by Author Renae Kaye
Series:Loving You
Release Date:August 26, 2016
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinerAmazonAre

Kee Smith isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows who he used to be—the ignored gay son who chose a blue-collar job just because no one expected it, the submissive bottom who enjoyed large, masculine jocks who put him in his place, the sleek, fashionable twink who partied all night. But after his ex-boyfriend hit Kee and called him names, Kee retired from the social scene.

Back after a year’s hiatus, Kee still doesn’t know where he fits. His friends say he’s a twunk—a twink who put on muscle and turned into a hunk—but Kee is searching for somewhere to belong. Instead of going back to his usual type, Kee hooks up with twink Tate Stevens—a fashion-industry professional who works the image hard. It proves to be the best decision he’s ever made, and not just because he’s starting to regain his sexual confidence.

With Tate, Kee can open up about his fears and confusion without ridicule. Tate has his own fears about putting on weight and getting old. It will take work to make a relationship of opposites succeed, but they begin to realize the compromises will be worth it if they can be together.

four-stars

This is my impressed face. A few things first, it didn’t have the romanticism that Loving Jay did. I was looking for it and didn’t see it anywhere. Don’t be alarmed, it was still very much good. Besides the abrupt ending which perturbed me alot, and the little update from Jamie I thought it was solid. I do hope that because the information about Liam & Jay was written that we do get some follow-up novella about their situation. Don’t want to spoil it. I am looking forward to book three’s couple.

When I first read Loving Jay, I was so amazed at the story. I loved every single minute of it. I haven’t had the same luck with Kaye’s books so I was super super hesitant to request this book. I was scared that it wasn’t going to live up to the hype of the first in the series. Well I’m disappointed at all. I liked this book for very different reasons.

I love Kee. I like everything he stands for, and his voice at 24 is far more maturer then I think I really was. I liked how he portrayed himself, and yeah I kept looking at the cover to see who was who. LMAO. I’m pretty sure, I know which guys is which now. I do like the age-gap element of the story. It showed Tate in a different lite. I really enjoyed the humor, the comradery, the love, and the realistic feeling of the story. I like that Kaye showed their relationship blossoming at a steady pace. From the meeting of friends & families, to the adventurous sex. I like seeing the spiciness that we do as a beginning couple. I enjoyed seeing the difference between the two guys. I think they were able to learn from each other, and expand and grow as well. The one thing that I would have enjoyed more was Tate’s eating issues. I felt like they were introduced, but maybe not spoken or touched on in further detail. I think if it was more in his pov then it would have felt more real I guess.

Between Tate’s eating issues, and yeah he explained why, and Kee’s past abuse I felt like it was just enough angst regarding it. I loved the pace of the story. I think it was well written and nicely flowing. Again, I would have like to see more after the I love you and then the ending. The ending was told matter of factly and it messed up my thoughts. All in all, I truly enjoyed this story, definitely low angst, realistic fiction, and a good telling of the evolution of a relationship. I thought these two were perfect for one another. It’s definitely renewed my thoughts on Renae Kaye, I might go back to read the books that I skipped.

 

About Renae Kaye

Renae Kaye is a lover and hoarder of books who thinks libraries are devilish places because they make you give the books back. She consumed her first adult romance book at the tender age of thirteen and hasn’t stopped since. After years – and thousands of stories! – of not having book characters do what she wants, she decided she would write her own novel and found the characters still didn’t do what she wanted. She believes that the world is too complicated for her, so she loses herself in stories. The only thing that keeps her going are her children who are the delight of her life.

Renae lives in Perth, Western Australia. She is a survivor of being the youngest in a large family and believes that laughter (and a good book) can cure anything. Which is why it’s a pity laughter is sometimes scarce on the ground.

You can contact her at renaekaye@iinet.net.au.

Rhythm & Blues by Shae Connor

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.

30069163Rhythm & Blues by Shae Connor 
Release Date: June 20, 2016
Pages: 70• Format: eARC
Published By: Shae Connor
Purchase Links:
AmazonARe • B&N

When life tears apart your dream, build a new one.

After a knee injury ended his career, Broadway dancer Pate Hawkins limped his way back from New York to Atlanta to implement Plan B: open a dance academy to train the next generation of song-and-dance dreamers. When model-gorgeous contractor Ace Samson answers his request for an estimate on renovating his studio space, Pate hits pay dirt in more ways than one. As construction gets underway, the red-hot attraction between the two men flares, and soon they develop a fledgling relationship. Then the siren song of the stage calls Pate back, and he has to choose between the dream he left behind and the new life he’s building—with his studio, and with Ace.

three-half-stars

This was a really light and sweet read from a new to me author.

Novella’s are tough read for me though tough isn’t a bad thing. I know it’s a good story when I want more from it and I definitely wanted from from Pate and Ace, so the tough thing was only the number of pages.

Told from the POV of one injured dancer named Pate, we meet him as he is touring the new space that will be a dance academy where he can not only teach but continue to dance in a way after his injury. When Pate meets the first contractor who will be submitting a bid for the studio, he feels an instant attraction to the sexy Ace Samson with his muscles and man bun and wants to put in a bid of his own.

I felt the way the men feel the instant attraction and Ace being kinda someone from Pate’s past was sweet. You know they both wanted to see how well the acoustics in the studio would sound with them getting it on but they took as much time as needed to get along and not go full force into a relationship that could get messy with work involved.

Ace was adorable, super sexy and oh so romantic. Plus, you gotta dig a guy who takes his shoes off at the door.

Pate had a couple tough decisions to make about his future and while he should have been more honest about his trip back to New York, it did give him a chance to grovel and really show Ace what he wanted.

At the end of this, it was short and maybe too short to really get a feel for the men but what I got I liked and I intend to look for other books by the author.

About Shae Connor

About me: I live in Atlanta, where I’m a lackadaisical government worker for a living and write sweet-hot romance under the cover of night. I’ve been making up stories for as long as I can remember, but it took me a long time to figure out that maybe I should start writing them down. I’ve conned several companies into publishing my work, and I add a new notch on my bedpost each time another story is unleashed onto an unsuspecting universe.

I started out writing fanfic well over a decade ago, and in 2010, I moved into writing original fiction—gay contemporary erotic romance, to be exact. I’ve since branched out a little (pirates, spaceships, and ninjas, oh my!), but contemporary romance is still my favorite thing to write and to read. When I manage to tear myself away from my laptop, my main hobby is cooking, and I’m a big baseball fan.

I’m a Rainbow Award winner (with my three co-authors) for the anthology Playing Ball, and I’m a member of Romance Writers of America and the Rainbow Romance Writers chapter. I’m currently published by Dreamspinner Press, Wilde City Press, MLR Press, and Amber Allure.

I’m part Jersey, part Irish, and all Southern, which explains why I never shut up. Exhibit A: just follow me on Twitter @shaeconnor. I’m also on Facebook, rarely on Goodreads, and nonexistent on other social media. Generally, the best way to reach me is to email me at shaeconnorwrites@gmail.com.

Always Another Side by Annabelle Jacobs

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.

30138933Always Another Side by Annabelle Jacobs
Release Date: June 3, 2016
Pages: 167 • Format: eARC
Published By: Annabelle Jacobs
Purchase Link:
Amazon

Starting over at forty is hard work for landscape architect Jack Bowman. His long-term partner hurt him badly. With his self-esteem dented by the break up, trusting a new lover is going to take time.

Tyler Freeman is equally unlucky when it comes to love. Now that he’s over thirty-five, he’s tired of getting played. All he wants is someone special. How hard can it be to meet a man who’s honest, with no hidden surprises?

Being set up on a blind date might be a classic cliché, but it’s a stroke of good luck for Jack and Tyler. They have a lot in common, including previous relationships steeped in deceit, but it’s worth navigating their trust issues if it means laying those ghosts to rest.

Making it work finally seems possible—until an accidental discovery threatens their newfound happiness.

three-half-stars

About time we got a really good book with mature men that know how to communicate with each other. Annabelle Jacobs delivered on the second chance love story. Both guys have been burned by their lovers. Jack significantly more because they spent almost 2 decades together. I liked that Jack took time after the break-up to spend some times by himself. I’m never one to push or force a friend to move on because we all grieve differently. But in this instance I think Zena made the better choice. By setting up a blind date with with multiple couples it takes the pressure off of Jack. In walks the younger by 4 years Tyler. I really enjoyed Tyler. I get him so much. I loved that by society’s standards him falling in love quickly makes him reckless, but I think he’s the opposite. I love knowing that when he falls, he falls hard and he’s all in. I don’t think putting a limit on when you can be in love should matter. I don’t think Tyler does as well.

Both guys start off well. It’s put out there by Jack that he’s not ready for a relationship, he’s looking for a friendship. Sure Tyler seems a little discourage but I think he realizes this might be what he needs. It’s slow burn from here. It’s them learning how to date, or be interested in someone after nurturing a broken heart. The story focuses on rebuilding, trusting, and communicating again. They both realized that they’ve fell into a false sense of security that’s not always guaranteed when you are in love or love someone. I like that Annabelle Jacobs, created a romance story with mature adults and was able to treat them within the same regard. Like I said above, it’s a slow burn, but it’s okay because the adults handled it well. Well done mate.

About Annabelle Jacobs

Annabelle Jacobs lives in the South West of England with her three rowdy children, and two cats.

An avid reader of fantasy herself for many years, Annabelle now spends her days writing her own stories. They’re usually either fantasy or paranormal fiction, because she loves building worlds filled with magical creatures, and creating stories full of action and adventure. Her characters may have a tough time of it—fighting enemies and adversity—but they always find love in the end.

Review Tour & Giveaway – Always Another Side by Annabelle Jacobs

Copy of Graphic1 (1)

 

~Excerpt~ 

Everyone said their goodbyes, and Jack tried not to notice the blatant, knowing looks being passed around. He had no doubt he’d be getting some nosy texts later. On the plus side, at least he wouldn’t be the only one.

Now it was only the two of them, they wandered into the bar area and snagged a small table by the fireplace. It wasn’t lit—the late-April weather had been far too mild to warrant an open fire. The Saturday-night crowd from earlier had clearly moved on to somewhere else, and the room had quietened considerably.

“Thanks for offering me a lift.” Tyler smiled and took a sip of his drink. “I wasn’t ready to leave yet.”

“Me neither.” Jack had bought another Coke, and he ran his finger down through the condensation on the outside of the glass. “I have to admit I was a bit—a lot sceptical about whether or not this was a good idea.”

Tyler glanced up and met his gaze. “Meeting me?”

Jack’s smile was wry. “I was talking about the whole blind date thing, but yeah… I guess it was meeting you in general.” He cringed as he said it, perhaps not the best thing to say to someone whom you were hoping to go out with again. And despite Jack’s misgivings and preconceptions, he liked Tyler.

Tyler cocked his head to one side and frowned, as though he wasn’t sure how to feel about that. Jack had probably offended him, because no one liked to hear that sort of thing. But then, he’d offered to drive Tyler home so they could spend more time together—alone—so Tyler must realise Jack wanted to get to know him better. Or maybe not. If Jack had learned one thing from his breakup with Simon, it was that communication was key. Never assume someone knew what you meant or what you were thinking.

“I know that sounds bad, and it’s nothing personal. Christ, I’m pulling out all the clichés tonight, but it really was a case of it being me and not you.” Jack laughed and scrubbed a hand over his face. “Shit. Just when it was going so well. I’ve managed to fuck it up, haven’t I?”

 


30138933Always Another Side by Annabelle Jacobs
Release Date: June 3, 2016
Pages: 167 • Cover Artist: Natasha Snow
Published By: Annabelle Jacobs
Purchase Link:
Amazon

Starting over at forty is hard work for landscape architect Jack Bowman. His long-term partner hurt him badly. With his self-esteem dented by the break up, trusting a new lover is going to take time.

Tyler Freeman is equally unlucky when it comes to love. Now that he’s over thirty-five, he’s tired of getting played. All he wants is someone special. How hard can it be to meet a man who’s honest, with no hidden surprises?

Being set up on a blind date might be a classic cliché, but it’s a stroke of good luck for Jack and Tyler. They have a lot in common, including previous relationships steeped in deceit, but it’s worth navigating their trust issues if it means laying those ghosts to rest.

Making it work finally seems possible—until an accidental discovery threatens their newfound happiness.


 

~Giveaway~

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me and One Time I Kissed Him First by Anna Martin

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

FiveTimesMyBestFriendKissedMeLGFive Times My Best Friend Kissed Me and One Time I Kissed Him First by Anna Martin
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

When you realize you want to marry your best friend at age six, life should follow a pretty predictable path, right? Maybe not.

As a kid, Evan King thought Scott Sparrow was the most amazing person he’d ever met. At seventeen, his crush runs a little deeper, and nothing seems simple anymore. Scott is more interested in football and girls than playing superheroes, and Evan’s attention is focused on getting into art school. A late-night drunken kiss is something to be forgotten, not obsessed over for the next ten years.

When life suddenly brings them back together, it doesn’t take much for the flame Evan carried for Scott nearly all his life to come roaring back, and Evan discovers that life sometimes has a strange way of coming full circle.

three-stars

See, I loved the title and the concept of the story. I really do think friends to lovers is one of my favorite tropes. I still the high rating and kinda want to slink away unnoticed. This didn’t really do anything for me. Honestly, once I started reading and didn’t feel a drop of emotions in my heart I was just trying to make it until the end. I think it might have been better if we had Scott’s point of view. Reading it from Evan’s pov with the time jumps in different places didn’t give me the passion and emotion that I thought it would In fact, I found myself rolling my eyes at Evan. I couldn’t understand if he really had these feelings for Scott, then the gap in communication didn’t make sense. I mean it’s not all on Evan, but again I didn’t hear from Scott.

I did enjoy certain areas of the story. I love the relationship that each guy had with their respective families. I loved Evan’s relationship with his mom. My favorite moments out the book is when it’s the time of meeting Scott for the first time. At 7 or 8 and it’s a fantastic story being told. Of meeting Scott, and him and his mom’s love for each other is shown. I really appreciated that. I liked Scott’s family dynamics as well. They are a little more well off then Evan’s family, but they aren’t bourgeois, and don’t come off stuck up. They are lovable members in his family and they treat Evan and his mom with the utmost love and respect. Those were my favorite parts.

I won’t go on and on with my dislikes. I think it’s a very low maintenance friends to lovers story. It’s low angst, and kinda easy pacing to get through. It’s an easy book that we can appreciate.

About Anna Martin

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

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

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

Guest Post: Anna Martin

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Oh My Shelves welcomes author Anna Martin to the blog to celebrate the release of her newest book, Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me and One Time I Kissed Him First, releasing from Dreamspinner Press – Friday, May 20, 2016 – and share with us an excerpt from the story as well as a recipe for a fun and colorful cocktail.

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Hello! Thank you for joining me at Oh My Shelves where I’ll be talking about my new book, ‘Five Times My Best Friend Kissed Me, and One Time I Kissed Him First’.

This book is set in Virginia Beach where one of my good friends grew up, and she gave me some great information about the area. One of my favourite scenes in the book is where the two main characters—Evan and Scott—make a drink called an ‘orange crush’ for a house party. These cocktails are a classic at a bar called Waterman’s along the boardwalk on the beach, so I just had to make them as research for the story! Funnily enough, I don’t remember too much about what happened after we started the taste testing…

Though the orange crush is undoubtedly delicious, my own personal favourite cocktail is one of my own invention, that I call a Sailor’s Ruin. It involves Sailor Jerry’s rum, apple juice, fresh lime, and crushed ice. It’s become a party staple—every time I invite friends over I need to make sure I stock up on the apple juice!

Although I don’t make a habit of writing underage drunken teenage house parties, I can’t deny that it’s definitely fun to throw some hormones and repressed lust into the story and see what happens. Here’s the recipe for how to make an orange crush for yourself, and a little clip from the story to enjoy while you drink it!

1 shot orange vodka

1 shot triple sec

Half fill the glass with freshly squeezed orange juice

Top off with a splash of Sprite

 

~Excerpt~

 He found Scott in the kitchen, surrounded by a huge crate of oranges, a knife, several bottles of vodka, and a family-sized bottle of Sprite.“We’re making orange crushes,” Scott said.

“Seriously? Do you know how to make orange crushes?”

“Nope. But they put the ingredients on the menu at Waterman’s. How hard can it be?”


Scott was wearing his “trust me” face. Evan knew the expression well. It had gotten him into plenty of trouble over the years. Scott was wearing a pair of shorts almost identical to the ones Evan had pulled on, and a denim shirt rolled up at the elbows and unbuttoned most of the way down his chest. His feet were bare, and as Evan watched, he lifted one and used the heel to scratch at an itch on his calf.

“You look nice, by the way,” Scott added.

“Thanks,” Evan said, rolling his eyes. “Okay. So we have to squeeze all of those to start with, right? Does your mom have a juicer?”

Scott gave him a blank look. “A what?”


“A fucking orange juicer, Scott. Seriously.”


“Maybe? I don’t know!”


It took nearly half an hour to find the food processor with a juicer attachment, set it up, and try to figure out how to work it without removing one of their fingers.

“What?” Scott said, pushing at Evan’s shoulder.

“Read the fucking instructions!” Evan practically yelled at him. His patience, usually an infinite thing, seemed to have taken a leave of absence. “They put instructions in the box for a reason, Cap.”

“Where’s your sense of adventure?” Scott teased, his eyes sparkling, the dimples in his cheeks flashing. “I thought you were an artist. Artists don’t need instructions.”

“We do to operate machinery,” Evan said.

“Aw, come on.” Scott hip-checked him, then pulled him back into a hug. “We can do this.”

Evan sighed. “Look. That little thing there needs to line up with the slot there. Then it has to click into place before the Go button will work.”

“Are you sure? Insert slot A into tab B?”


“You have a dirty fucking mind.”


Scott laughed again, then screwed up his face in concentration as he affixed the juicer attachment, which was really too fiddly for a basic kitchen appliance.

“There?”


“Move your fingers.”


Evan pressed the button, and the machine whirred to life. Scott whooped and started to dance around the kitchen.


“Don’t celebrate too soon,” Evan said, unable to stop the grin spreading over his face. “Now we actually need to juice the fucking things.”

“Let me put some music on.” Scott went into the family room to put a CD into the sound system that hooked up to most rooms in the house. A few minutes later, the familiar opening track of By The Way filled the kitchen.

Evan had introduced Scott to the Chilis when they were younger, and Scott’s dad had scored them tickets when they played Atlanta a few years back. To Evan, it had always felt like the band was their band, the one that cemented their friendship as they progressed into adulthood.

“Good choice,” Evan said as Scott sauntered back in.

“Thanks.”


“You wanna cut or juice?”

Scott looked between the big pile of oranges and the juicer, frowning a little.

“Juice.”


“Sure?”


“Yeah.”


“Okay.”


After a few songs, they found their rhythm. Evan could halve the oranges fairly quickly, and Scott had to transfer the juice to the enormous punch bowls at regular intervals, so it wasn’t surprising Evan finish

“You tricked me into this,” Scott grouched as he licked sticky orange juice from his wrist.

“I gave you a choice!”


“Yeah, yeah. How much vodka do you think we should put in?”

“On the understanding that everyone is going to try and spike it? Not much?”


“And keep the rest of the vodka for ourselves,” Scott said, throwing a juiced orange half to Evan.

“You’re a genius.”


“I try,” Evan said, turning the orange inside out to scrape the stringy flesh from the skin with his teeth.


 


FiveTimesMyBestFriendKissedMeLGFive Times My Best Friend Kissed Me and One Time I Kissed Him First by Anna Martin
Release Date: May 20, 2016
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

When you realize you want to marry your best friend at age six, life should follow a pretty predictable path, right? Maybe not.

As a kid, Evan King thought Scott Sparrow was the most amazing person he’d ever met. At seventeen, his crush runs a little deeper, and nothing seems simple anymore. Scott is more interested in football and girls than playing superheroes, and Evan’s attention is focused on getting into art school. A late-night drunken kiss is something to be forgotten, not obsessed over for the next ten years.

When life suddenly brings them back together, it doesn’t take much for the flame Evan carried for Scott nearly all his life to come roaring back, and Evan discovers that life sometimes has a strange way of coming full circle.


~Giveaway~

 

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About Anna Martin

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

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

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