Nachos & Hash by Brandon Witt

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

Nachos & Hash: by Brandon Witt
Series: Mary’s Boys #1
Release Date: January 25th, 2017
Pages: 105 • Format:eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Darwin Michaels is living his dreams in the Mile High City. While Denver offers the perfect job, scrumptious dining, and whirlwind dating options, Darwin is losing hope he’ll find the right man to spark his interest for more than a one-night stand—until he sets eyes on Cody Russell.

Cody has just accomplished his life’s goal—get the hell out of Kansas. In one fell swoop, he lands a job at Hamburger Mary’s and gets a newfound family and the chance to be with other gay people! All that’s missing is someone special. But when Darwin shows his interest, Cody is sure it’s too good to be true. After all, what can Darwin possibly see in the high school dropout serving him nachos?

As Darwin falls in love, Cody struggles to realize his worth. When his past threatens the fragile life he is building, Cody spirals into a moment of dark desperation. But Darwin is determined to show Cody that love and family and home are there for him… will Cody accept what is offered?

four-stars

 

Nachos & Hash is a really good start to a series. Feel like this is one of Witt’s more lighter reads, but the tears were still there. He didn’t go to far. It was light-hearted I guess because of the MC’s being so young. 21 & 24 and trying to navigate what they both want out of one another. Nachos & Hash brings both guys from small Midwestern cities together at place in their life when they need someone.

Darwin & Cody were really adorable together. I really liked them a lot. Cody!!! I just want to re-brain him. Show him what love looks like, feels like, and what it means to be cared for. His parents did him no favors in life. They didn’t show him any love, care, or compassion. I really just wanted to hug him, and take him refugee into my home. Well, I didn’t really need to. Darwin did a great job with his patience, his teachings, and his love for Cody.

Of course its hardships in this book, it wouldn’t be a Witt book without be blubbering crying somewhere. Instead, it was as real as it can be. Darwin wants to settle down, and he’s young but he’s ready. Cody doesn’t have any idea what a relationship is or pertains. His entire sexual experience is one-offs, cars, trucks, rest stops. He has no idea about intimacy, cuddling, and just being around someone for the heck of it.

At the worst of times when his happiness is threaten he does a bad thing. It was heartbreaking to see that that was his only way out. It was hard to see him hurt like that, and instead of reaching out to the family that he has made for himself in Denver he decided to let his inner thoughts and demons get the best of him. It hit me harder then I expected it. I mean throughout the book it was kinda carefree, and sweet that Cody needed all this reassuring on what to expect out of a relationship. His self esteem was basically low, and he put on this facade to other people so they won’t notice the pain. Here’s where Witt’s talent truly comes into play. He knows how to craft a scene and evoke these emotions out of us. I loved the cast of characters in this story, I love the outcome of the story. I would have really liked to see Darwin’s family make a visit or some epilogue with them just so Cody can realize what he had wasn’t normal.

It was rapid them falling in love, but when you are that age it’s easy. Trust me, your inhibitions are lowered, and its easy to fall super hard and super fast. Nothing wrong with wanting forever at this age. Just make sure you put forward your best effort if you expect the same to you. The characters were great, and loved seeing Mandonna again. Ooh wait until Vahin’s book is up. I truly Brandon’s work and he’s a super sweet person. Definitely a recommend!

About Brandon Witt

Brandon Witt is many things. Above all, he is living the dream. After years of writing and reaching for the stars, he is a published author through Dreamspinner Press. Thus far, his novels include The Shattered Door, Then the Stars Fall, and three installments of the Men of Myth series. Also, he has short stories published in various anthologies.

For the first eighteen years of life, Brandon lived in a small Ozark town, El Dorado Springs, Missouri before moving with his family to Colorado. There he got degrees in Youth Ministry and Special Education and worked as a counselor and special education teacher for fifteen years.

The tension of his religious upbringing and being a gay man finds its way onto nearly every page in his novels, as does experiences that over a decade of loving children who have faced much abuse and many struggles. Reflecting what he has discovered to be true in life, Brandon’s writing does not shy away from challenges and conflict but also revels in the joy that can only happen when truly embracing and loving all that life has to offer.

Audiobook Review: Deathless & Divided (The Chicago War, #1) by Bethany-Kris

Audiobook Review: Deathless & Divided (The Chicago War, #1) by Bethany-KrisSeries:
Narrator: Roberto Scarlato
(Website, Blog, Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads)Source: IndieSage PR

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: Deathless & Divided by Bethany-Kris
Series: The Chicago War, #1
Release Date: September 7th, 2015
Pages: 245 • Format: Audiobook (10 hrs and 24 mins)
Published By: Bethany-Kris  
Purchase Links:  Amazon USAudibleBarnes & Noble Author’s Page

Lies and love. This is how a war starts.

A life for a life. That’s the mafia way. Damian Rossi owes his life to a man who is ready to collect. That payment comes in the form of an arranged marriage to the daughter of another leading family in the Chicago Outfit. He’s ready to follow through, even if that means making sure Lily knows she’s his.

Lily DeLuca isn’t being given a choice. Forced home to marry a man she doesn’t know and back into a life she’d rather forget, her world is full of half-truths, buried pain, and uncertainty. But Damian is nothing like she expects. His motives aren’t clear. Her beliefs are being tested.

When it comes to this world, no man can be trusted. Someone is ready to flip the Chicago Outfit on its side all for the promise of something better. But no one runs a clean game and these men play for keeps. When blood begins to paint Chicago red, four families will be divided by loyalty, hatred, and revenge. There is no hiding. There is no safety.

No one is deathless.

No one.

goodreads-badge-add-38pxfour-stars

This was one of the lowest angst Mafia romance stories I’ve listened to in a while. The plot was just as front and center as the romance. Bethany-Kris did a really good at intertwining the character’s plight with the Outfit (the mafia) with the love story. The narrator Robert Scarlato did a great job with the various voices. His accent and intonation was authentic and entertaining. I felt eased into the story by the way he chronicled the character’s journey.
Lily DeLuca had been kept out of the mafia spotlight by her brothers Dino and Theo. Unfortunately, Lily was born into the family and eventually had to take her place as a mafia princess. Lily was so resentful when she discovered that her brother Dino has arranged for her to marry The Outfit’s enforcer Damian Rossi.

Damien was an orphan like Lily, but his allegiance was to the outfit. This marriage was just another task he was willing to accomplish for the outfit…or was it?
I liked Damian the most in the story. He worked and kept his head down. He wasn’t overly ambitious and he was loyal. Though he was a deadly assassin, he had a soft spot that was hidden to almost all. He was sexy, faithful and steadfast.

I love that the author allowed Damian to win Lily’s heart. He didn’t just go all alpha male and insist Lily will marry him to fulfill the contract. Bethany-Kris added a layer of cultivation to Damian by making him appear more compassionate about Lily’s reservations. They were a well-suited couple and I enjoyed how they were able to bond to each other outside of mafia politics and hidden agendas.
The mafia side of the plot was also very intriguing. This book had the usual crime, murder, takeovers and betrayals we have come to expect in such novels. I found myself trying to figure out the puppet master and their game. I am hoping audiobook 2 will be available soon.

*Special Thanks to IndieSage PR for the audiobook given in exchange for an honest review.

Ezi

About Bethany-Kris

Bethany-Kris is a Canadian author, lover of much, and mother to three young sons, one cat, and two dogs. A small town in Eastern Canada where she was born and raised is where she has always called home. With her boys under her feet, snuggling cat, barking dogs, and a hubby calling over his shoulder, she is nearly always writing something … when she can find the time.

I See You by Molly McAdams

I See You by Molly McAdamsSource: LibraryThing
three-stars
I See You Book Cover I See You
Molly McAdams
William Morrow Paperbacks
November 1st, 2016
paperback
352
LibraryThing

Futures are uncertain, unpredictable—like ink spilled across the purest surface. Nearly imperceptible ripples move and flow until a unique stain is formed. The ink is permanently embedded in the surface…

During one wild night in college, Jentry Michaels is a tidal wave of ink that brands Aurora Wilde’s soul. An unparalleled stain she can’t forget despite the many months that have passed—and despite the distraction she’d hoped she would find in her new relationship with Declan, the charmer who captured her heart soon after. Jentry has irrevocably touched her soul, and he is intertwined in her present and future in ways she never fathomed. Now Aurora is faced with keeping that night hidden though it feels as if the ink has indelibly etched their story across her skin.

When Declan is confronted with his own personal demons, Aurora must decide if she will continue to hold tight to their relationship and a safe, reliable future with him, or if she will turn to Jentry—the guy she can’t forget no matter how hard she tries.…

The blurb and cover alluded to a more intriguing love Triangle than the actual story ended up delivering. It was okay but I have read a very similar new adult plot so I knew the ending at the very beginning.

It started off with a wild night between two strangers and then had them officially meet after a year. Unfortunately, Aurora “Rorie” Wilde was living with Declan, the brother of her one night stand, Jentry Michaels. Except Rorie had already met Jentry, but they had been Aurora and Jay that scandalous night over a year ago.

I feel like the author had already positioned and continually maneuvered the reader towards the brother Aurora ended up with. First of all, it’s hard to root for a man who lets his mother treat his girlfriend the way Declan’s mom treated Aurora. The fact that the whole family, father and sisters, stood quietly by observing such vile behavior already poisoned them in my mind. It was telling that Jentry was the one who addressed the elephant in the room.

Also, there wasn’t enough interaction between Aurora and with Declan to really show the chemistry and intensity to rival the passion she shared with Jentry. I am convinced that Declan knew from that first day he introduced Aurora to Jentry that there was something going on. It just became a matter of time and what would be the casualties when Jentry and Aurora claimed each other.

This story would be stronger if the author developed the characters much more. The The writing was okay but I didn’t like the time jump, 13 months ago, present time, That night, 2 months ago etc. The flow of the story felt disrupted with the back and forth with the characters. I was expecting more of a love triangle than it ended up being.

The last scene with Declan’s mother and Aurora was such BS. No way would that be sufficient. I don’t see why Aurora never stood up for herself then or at the end. I would have respected Aurora if she told her to get out.

Overall, this book was underwhelming. The characters and overall story was too undercooked to truly move me.

*Special Thanks to LibraryThing for the book given in exchange for a review.

Ezi

The Next Competitor by Keira Andrews

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 Next Competitor: by Keira Andrews
Release Date: December 4, 2016
Pages: 220 • Format: eARC
Published By: KA Books
Purchase Links:
Amazon

If he risks his heart, can he keep his head in the game?

To win gold, figure skater Alex Grady must train harder than the competition morning, noon, and night. He’s obsessed with mastering another quadruple jump, and due to the lack of filter between his mouth and brain, doesn’t have a lot of friends. As for a boyfriend, forget it. So what if he’s still a virgin at twenty? The Olympics are only every four years—everything else can wait. Relationships are messy and complicated anyway, and he has zero room in his life for romance.

So it’s ridiculous when Alex finds himself checking out his boring new training mate Matt Savelli. Calm, collected “Captain Cardboard” is a nice guy, but even if Alex had time to date, Matt’s so not his type. Yet beneath Matt’s wholesome surface, there’s a dirty, sexy man who awakens a desire Alex has never experienced and can’t deny…

Note: This gay romance from Keira Andrews features opposites attracting, new adult angst, sexual discovery, and of course a happy ending.

First published as a YA novel in 2010. This new version has been extensively rewritten, updated, and expanded

DNF @ 33%

This is an absolute first for me!!! I’ve never DNF anything Keira has written. I’m a little disappointed that I couldn’t get through this book. It started from the very beginning for me. I didn’t like the tone of the story, didn’t like the character right away. That’s a big problem to me, and it took me days to make it that far. I’ve put off reading this book because I didn’t like it. I did try to make it to 50% but I was not going to force myself to do it.

There’s nothing much I can say I enjoyed, well maybe seeing Matty Marcus name in another book featuring Figure Skating. There’s nothing more that interested me. I’m going to keep this short since I didn’t get far. From what I did try to digest, the main character was a self-centered, unlikable character to me and fellow skaters. I didn’t enjoy his no mouth to brain filter. It got old after a while, and I didn’t like the information dump on figure skating. I didn’t care to much about that. All in all, this was a complete bust for me by this author. Don’t let this book deter you, Keira Andrews pen game is way stronger then this. I can’t love them all, but this was one I didn’t expect to not even finish.

About Keira Andrews

After writing for years yet never really finding the right inspiration, Keira discovered her voice in gay romance, which has become a passion. She writes contemporary, historical, paranormal and fantasy fiction, and—although she loves delicious angst along the way—Keira firmly believes in happy endings. For as Oscar Wilde once said, “The good ended happily, and the bad unhappily. That is what fiction means.”

Leo Loves Aries by Anyta Sunday

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.

Leo Loves Aries: by Anyta Sunday
Series: Signs of Love, #1
Release Date: December 4th, 2016
Pages: 268 • Format: eARC
Published By: Anyta Sunday
Purchase Links:
Amazon

A new person will enter your life in the early year, Leo. Look past any moments of frustration they might bring and laugh—this could be the start of a thriving friendship.

Theo Wallace usually laughs at the horoscopes his mom sends. Still hung up on his ex-girlfriend and practically friendless, this one begs him to reconsider. Because a friendship that stuck, that thrived…

Well, that would be a reason to leave past pains behind and look to the Bright Future.

When his sister Leone challenges him to find her the perfect date for a spring wedding, Theo uses it as a chance to make new friends. Theo’s ex economics tutor and newest roommate Mr Jamie Cooper seems to be a possible and convenient match. Real convenient. Like written in the stars, convenient.

All he has to do is make sure this Jamie is good enough. Could really be the one for her, and the friend for him.

But watch out, Leo, the stars have a surprise in store…

four-half-stars


This is the best reaction to 67%. I do not like angst of any kind, and this just took to long to happen, but when it did it was freaking magical.

Brace yourself ladies and gents, this is my first Anyta Sunday book. **Duck & covers**, I know. I honestly do not know how this happened.

Leo Loves Aries was such a witty, romantic, feel good story. I really enjoyed the easiness of the reading style. Everything was well written and flowed perfectly. Yes, it didn’t happen 13% in the book like I wanted to. Talk about Chemistry!!! I’ve started signing things like #CancerlovesPisces. These guys were super relatable. I honestly think Theo was the blind one here, he couldn’t see what was directly in front of his eyes, but when he did…. Boy, he went right in and went full throttle. It was no playing around for him. I am so in love with Jamie. Gosh my husband is the SHIT, but a Jamie is a needed necessity for 2017. He’s the type of guy who just wants to see you succeed, be happy and healthy. What more can you ask for?

This book made me happy. I love the little illustrations and factoids at the beginning of each chapter. I adore the parents alot. It shows what good parenting and upbringing produces. These were so responsible young adults. I love the relationship that each had with their counterpart. I adore Leone parts as well. Loved that her disability didn’t stop her from doing anything. She’s such an inspiration, and dare I say I would be interested in a Leone & Sam novel some day.

Gotta say, after reading this; the next day I went and read my horoscope and it said 2018 was my year. I got super excited. I use to be a big horoscope reader in my early twenties, I’ve gradually stopped, but I think I might go back to reading them. I do agree about compatibility when it comes to zodiac signs. I was involved with an Aries and we didn’t work out at all, but the Pisces and Cancer go together like fat girls and chocolate cake. Speaking from experience now folks. LOL. I am rambling, because I can go on, and on about how awesome they both are, but you read it! You don’t get to live vicariously through my fangirling, just know it made my Best of 2016 list and will leave you smitten and happy. I want to leave you with this quote because it means so much to me, it’s a line I used in my wedding vows, and to hear you say it to someone special means the world to them. It’s endearing and all encompassing when it comes to love.

Theo:You are not the best part of my day, you make my day.

About Anyta Sunday

Anyta Sunday – New Zealand writer in Berlin, Germany.

A born and raised New Zealander from Wellington, I’ve been exploring the literary world since I started reading Roald Dahl as a kid. Stories have been piling up in my head ever since. Fast forward to my mid-twenties and jump a few countries (Germany, America, and back again), I started to put them to paper.

My genre of choice is romance, both adult and YA, gay and straight. You can take a closer look at my books, available as e-books for download in many formats!

When I’m not pushing my characters deeper into adventure, I chase my sons around the house and fight my two comical cats for the desk chair.

Up in Flames (Rosemary Beach #13) by Abbi Glines

Series:
Narrator: Jeremy York, Sophie Eastlake
Up in Flames Book Cover Up in Flames
Rosemary Beach #13
Abbi Glines
Romance; New Adult
Atria Books
June 28th 2016
e-book
256

Spoiled. Selfish. Rich girl. Villain. Slut.

As the Prada-clad bad girl of Rosemary Beach, Nan Dillon has been called every vile name under the hot summer sun. Some of her reputation is deserved—she’s never had to worry about anything but maintaining her perfect figure and splitting Daddy’s private jet with her brother, Rush.

But Nan is far from happy. Rush has another kid on the way and doesn’t have time to catch up with his sister. Grant, the last guy she truly cared about, chose to be with her half-sister, Harlow, instead of her. And Harlow, who has never gotten over the way Nan treated her when she first moved to town, remains distant.

So when Major asks her out, she jumps at the chance to date the gorgeous charmer. Though she doesn’t know much about the sweet-talking Texan, and though it’s clear he doesn’t want to be exclusive, dating him beats hanging out with vapid socialites or watching Netflix alone at home.

For a while, Nan deals with Major’s playboy ways, but after he burns her one too many times, she takes off for an impromptu wild weekend in Vegas. There, she meets Gannon, a darkly seductive and oh-so-dangerous businessman who knows exactly how to handle her.

With Major asking for a second chance and Gannon haunting her dreams, Nan has to decide who to give her heart to. But what she doesn’t realize is that these players are involved in a much bigger game—and they’re already two moves ahead of her.

Finally, Nan Dillion gets her day in the sun and I have been waiting a long time for it. However, Nan herself summarized her character best by saying

“I wasn’t Blaire or Harlow. I didn’t inspire men to want to change for me.”

You’re damn right Nan. You lacked the goodness that those girls had and it was a disappointing series ending book. After reading this book, I still don’t like you one bit. We met Nan, Rush’s awful little sister in book 1 and I was ready for Abbi Glines to redeem this character and show the readers why Nan wasn’t the uber witch I had believed her to be for this entire series. I can say this author’s effort in showing Nan in a more favorable light didn’t work at all.

On top of this Nan’s unrepentant ways, the reader got a major dose of Major, who had an unsavory job as well as a large appetite for the ladies. *Eye roll*

I find the triangle with Nan, Major and Cope to be a red herring. The copious amounts of sex were intended to camouflage a shallow plot. I just didn’t feel genuine affection between Nan and these guys, not like the other couples. I think if Nan had that earth moving love, she would have been changed and truly understood the women she wronged along the way in this series.
I had to ask myself if the author even intended to redeem Nan because for the prior 12 books, Nan has been a conniving mean girl. Is it even possible to redeem such a villain after such long period of parading their schemes and plots? Unfortunately, the author for waiting for long for me.

Plus, there was nothing that Nan did take showed contrition. This one really lacked substance and frankly speaking I am shocked at how everyone seems to have forgiven Nan when I don’t recall her asking for forgiveness. I am glad she seemed to grow some and feel like she has some worth as a person. But I cannot point to anything I enjoyed about this story at all. It just was a huge disappointment for me.

*Special Thanks to Atria Books via Netgalley for the e-book given in exchange for an honest review.

Ezi

Release Day Blitz & Giveaway: You Are Not Me by Leta Blake

You Are Not Me Banner

Title: You Are Not Me

Series: ’90s Coming of Age, #2

Author: Leta Blake

Publisher: Leta Blake Books

Release Date: 11/28/2016

Heat Level: 3 – Some Sex

Pairing: Male/Male

Length: 100,000 words

Genre: New Adult, coming of age

Add to Goodreads

you-are-not-me-high-res

Synopsis

Follow Peter into the summer following his senior year to face new beginnings, new friends, and old baggage.

After a tumultuous final year of high school, Peter Mandel needs a break. It’s the summer of 1991, and his secret relationship with his ‘best friend’ Adam Algedi is put on hold as Adam goes away to Italy for the summer. On the cusp of adulthood, Peter has a couple of months to explore who he is without Adam at his side.

Enter Daniel McPeak, a slightly older, out, responsible college guy with a posse of gay friends and an attraction for Peter. Drawn into the brave new world of the local gay club, Peter embarks on a whirlwind of experiences—good and bad—which culminate in a hotel room where he has to make the ultimate choice.

But Adam will come back eventually, and there are promises that have to be kept. As autumn draws near and college awaits, can Peter break free of the binds of twisted first love? And what exactly is Daniel’s role in his life – a brief temptation, or something more?

Join Peter in the second book of this four-part coming of age series as he struggles to love and be loved, and grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

***

This new series by Leta Blake is gay fiction with romantic elements.

Book 2 of 4.
Length: 100,000 words, 328 pages

These books contain aspects of: New Adult fiction, ‘90s gay life, small city homosexual experiences, Southern biases, sexual exploration, romance, homophobia, bisexuality, and twisted-up young love. Oh, and a guaranteed happy ending for the main character by the end of Book 4.

Excerpt

The stool next to me wasn’t empty for long. Minty dropped onto it, his purple tutu rubbing against my chinos and his thin, white arms curled up to rest on the bar. He stared at me for a long, curious second. “I’ve met you before, right?”

“Yeah.” I shook off my disappointment and gave him my attention. “Last spring, up on campus.”

“Did we fuck?”

I almost choked on my soda. “No.”

“Right.” Minty frowned. “Did I suck you off?”

I stared at him.

“Well?”

“My car was broken down,” I said slowly. “Daniel helped me.”

Minty grinned. “Oh, right! I remember now. You looked amazing that night. Made of moonbeams. Everyone was made of moonbeams.” He tilted his head. “You look all right now too.”

“Thanks?”

Minty laughed and fluffed his tutu. He turned away from me to hammer his fists on the bar. “Jolly Zima, Barry! Watermelon! Hit me!”

Barry rolled his eyes, but he pulled a Zima out from the fridge and popped the lid, then reached under the counter and came out with a watermelon Jolly Rancher, unwrapped it, and dropped it into the drink. Minty slapped three dollars down and took a dainty sip.

“Ah! Perfection!” He turned to me with his eyelashes lowered flirtatiously. “Anyway, back to what you were saying. We haven’t fucked yet?”

Startled, nervous laughter bubbled out of my mouth.

“Minty,” Barry said. “Drink your Zima and leave Peter alone.”

“Sure thing. You’re the boss.” Minty sighed and leaned toward me conspiratorially. “He won’t fuck me either. What’s a girl gotta do these days? I mean, I look good, don’t I?”

I looked him over—white, though scuffed, ballet slippers, purple tutu, toned, pale, lithe arms, and his made-up face. “Sure. You look really pretty.”

Minty grinned. “Aw, you know how to make a girl feel nice.”

“Didn’t I just see you downstairs with two guys, though?”

“Two? Please. That’s just a warm-up.” He sniffed.

Renée appeared at my side, dropping an arm around my shoulder. “Minty, doll baby, I need you backstage in an hour. You’re my naughty boy tonight.”

“Okay, but I want to wear my tutu.”

“You’ll be gorgeous.” Renée grabbed hold of Minty’s face and looked him over. “We need to put some eyelashes on you too.”

“And red lipstick.”

“Yes! Every man in this room will ache to be in that pert ass of yours.” She glanced at me and then back at Minty. “Except Peter here.”

“He catches?” Minty asked.

“Like Johnny Bench, baby.”

I didn’t like my positional preferences being discussed like it was any of their business, but I was mystified that Renée seemed so certain about it. Was there something about me that screamed loves it up the ass?

“How do you know who Johnny Bench is, woman?” Barry handed Renée a milky-looking drink topped with brown liquor.

“I listen!”

“I’ve never mentioned baseball to you and you know it.”

“Of course not. You’d never do that to me. Earl at Ringo Comics, though, he babbles on and on about it when he’s trying not to come. Earl says I catch like a pro.” She patted her ass.

Daniel was right last spring when he said Robert and Renée were the same but different people. Robert could be sassy and forthright about his sexual shenanigans, but raunchy details rarely left his mouth. My face burned.

“Hear, hear!” Minty cried, throwing back his head to draw a long swig from his Zima.

Barry frowned. It was the first time I’d seen Barry look even moderately unhappy about Renée—or Robert’s—indiscretions.

“What?” Renée asked defensively.

“Earl’s positive.” Barry’s gaze bore into her. “You used a condom?”

“Of course!” Renée licked her lips and shifted nervously to her other foot, her hip cocking out. “I always do. You know that.”

Minty bit his purple-painted thumbnail, eyes going distant. “I’m probably positive. I should get tested. My mom wants me to get tested.”

Barry nailed Minty and Renée with a frustrated glare. He reached under the counter and pulled out two condoms. Then his gaze shifted to me and he pulled out a third. “For fuck’s sake, use these. Every time. Every damn time.”

Renée stuffed the condom in her bra. Minty held it up in front of his face and then gave it a kiss before lifting up his tutu to tuck it into the waistband of his white briefs. Nodding, I pocketed the one Barry handed to me, even though I wasn’t going to need it. Adam was in Italy and the casual sex Minty and Renée played with was something I’d never risk.

Breaking the tension, the two guys Minty and Daniel had come upstairs with shoved into the space between us, ordering beers from Barry and slinging their arms around Minty’s shoulders or Renée’s waist.

“Who’s this?” asked the muscular, olive-toned one, dropping a kiss on Minty’s upturned cheek.

“Peter,” Minty said sweetly, like I was a cat he was fond of. “He knows Renée, Barry, and Daniel.”

“Ah.” The guy was handsome with bedroom eyes. Dark circles smudged beneath them, as if he’d just left a fistfight or he’d been crying his eyes out. Both thoughts twisted something up in me, a hand grabbing my heart and squeezing for a second. He looked like he needed a hug.

Minty caught me staring up at his friend. “He’s smarter than he looks,” he said, out of the blue, and I blinked in confusion. “And he likes to kiss more than fuck.”

“Okay?” I had no idea why Minty was telling me this.

“Oh, and he’s a big pussy cat when he’s in love.”

“Is he your boyfriend?”

“What?” Minty looked scandalized. “Of course not. That’s gross.” He grinned slyly. “He could be your boyfriend, though.”

I shook my head, and Minty laughed.

“Name’s Antonio,” the guy said, sticking out his hand. “Ignore him. He’s always trying to set me up with pretty bottoms. I keep telling him I’m not a top.”

Minty rolled his eyes. “You have to be a top. Have you looked in the mirror? Those eyes? That mouth? Your tough-guy pout? C’mon. Fuck me.”

Antonio sighed. “I only like to stick it in chicks. I’ve told you.” He tugged their Asian friend a little closer. “This one’s the top.”

I gulped club soda, unsure how to deal with a conversation with complete strangers about who liked what about butt sex.

“I forget you’re bisexual,” Minty said archly to Antonio. “You never bring girls around.”

Antonio snorted. “I love eating pussy, but nothing beats a cock up my ass.”

“Cheers!” Minty cried, toasting the sentiment.

Antonio went on. “Sometimes a man’s gotta make a choice about what he wants to pursue in life, and, well, I’m chasing dick.”

“Can’t blame you for that, man,” Barry said, nodding.

Minty grabbed their Asian friend’s tie and pulled him down close, saying to me, “This is Windy. With an ‘i’ in the middle and a ‘y’ on the end. And he tops like a champ.”

Windy kissed Minty’s cheek and winked at me.

Minty’s eyes narrowed. “Don’t ask where he’s from, it pisses him off.”

“Why would I ask him that?” I said, confused.

“People always want to know. ‘Are you from Japan? Or China?’” Minty rolled his eyes. “He’s from Vietnam.”

Windy shoved Minty hard enough to unseat him from his stool. “I’m from Kentucky, asshole.”

I sipped my club soda. “Kentucky’s nice. Horse farms. Bluegrass.”

Windy laughed.

Once Minty had righted himself, he gripped my shoulder and whisper-yelled into my ear, “Windy’s basically my best friend besides Daniel. We only fucked once.”

Windy corrected him again. “Twice, actually.”

“That’s how I know for sure he’s a great top. You should try him.”

“Um, no. Thank you. I’m good,” I babbled.

Windy laughed at me and then swept in and gave Minty a wet kiss on the mouth. I wasn’t sure if there was tongue or not. Breaking away, Windy grabbed Minty’s Zima and took a swallow from it.

“So, Minty and Windy, are those your real names?” I asked.

“Is your real name Peter?” Minty asked, his eyes narrowed.

“Yes?”

“Well, aren’t you lucky then?” He tossed head, lifted his hand dramatically, and Windy pulled him up from the stool. “To the dance floor!” He grabbed hold of my arm and tugged me up too. “Let’s show this crowd what gorgeous bitches we are!”

Purchase

Amazon

you-are-not-me-promo

Meet the Author

13692795_844330439030507_6696756781889257564_o

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and fan favorite Training Season, Leta Blake’s educational and professional background is in psychology and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S., Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads | eMail

Giveaway

Two lucky winners will win an ebook copy of Pictures of You, ’90s Coming of Age #1

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Button 2

Save

A Family for Christmas by Jay Northcote

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.

afamilyforchristmasA Family for Christmas: by Jay Northcote
Release Date: November 16, 2016
Pages: 136 • Format: eARC
Published By: JayBird Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Zac never had a family of his own, but Rudy has enough to share.

Shy, inexperienced Rudy has a crush on Zac from the moment his new colleague walks through the door. On an office night out before Christmas, Rudy finds the courage to make a move, and they form a tentative bond. When he discovers Zac will be alone at Christmas, he invites Zac to come home with him.

Zac prefers to keep people at arm’s length. Yet when Rudy offers him a family Christmas it’s impossible to resist. With no parents of his own, Zac is pleasantly surprised to be welcomed by Rudy’s. The only drawback is that everyone assumes they’re a couple. Unwilling to disappoint Rudy’s mum and make Christmas awkward, they decide not to deny it.

It’s not a chore for Zac to pose as Rudy’s boyfriend, but the pretense makes him want things that scare him—things like a real relationship with Rudy. Zac’s suffered enough rejection in his life already and is afraid to risk his heart. If he can get over his past rejection and let Rudy inside his armour, he might get more for Christmas than he ever imagined.

four-stars

YAY, the perfect book to get me into the holiday mood!

This was a really solid Holiday read! Its really one of my favorite seasons to read. I love Holiday stories, and this had the perfect combination of sweet, heat, and yearning that I needed! Really enjoyed the characters in this book alot. Rudy & Zac were definitely opposites attract, but I think being able to communicate with each other is what won this book over for me. Rudy is this sweet, awkward, inexperienced guy who has the biggest crush ever on his co-worker Zac. Rudy is a hopeless romantic in his head, and he fantasizes about all the ways that Zac will treat him. I thought it was adorable of Rudy. He showed some vulnerability when all of his co-workers went out, and expressed his feelings to Zac.

Zac is jaded about relationships of any kind. I can see that, when he has no one who’s ever cared or loved him. He’s a loner by default and I think he liked being that way. Being lonely has forced him to not open up to anyone about his past or force him to want to fall for someone outside of the parameters that he has set. Thrown away as a a infant, and living in group homes and foster care has left him close-off from people. He prefers the solidarity life, but once he starts working at the same company as Rudy then he’s left with no chance but to interact with people.

Really loved Rudy’s family. I love how welcoming they were to Zac. The connection between two steadily progress as the book goes. I think Jay did a really good job with the authentic feelings that were in this book. Both guys were able to benefit from being together. Deciding to start things slowly and progress worked just fine with me. I’m so excited to get to the rest of my holiday reads, but this goes on the Holiday 2016 shelf. Recommendable for sure!

About Jay Northcote

Jay lives just outside Bristol in the West of England, with his husband, two children, and two cats. He comes from a family of writers, but he always used to believe that the gene for fiction writing had passed her by. He spent years only ever writing emails, articles, or website content.

One day, he decided to try and write a short story—just to see if she could—and found it rather addictive. He hasn’t stopped writing since.

Jay writes contemporary gay romance about men who fall in love with other men, usually set in or near her home town of Bristol. He enjoys the challenge of bringing the men in his head to life through his words. Jay has five books published by Dreamspinner Press, and he also publishes his own titles under the imprint Jaybird Press. Some of his books are now available as audiobooks.

Jay is a transgender man and was formerly known as she/her.

Pictures of You (’90s Coming of Age #1) by Leta Blake

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: Pictures of You by: Leta Blake
Series: ’90s Coming of Age, #1
Release Date:Sept. 19, 2016
Pages: 316 • Format: eARC
Published By: Leta Blake Books
Purchase Links:
Amazon

Growing up gay isn’t easy. Growing up gay in Knoxville, Tennessee is even harder.

Eighteen-year-old Peter Mandel, a private school senior—class of 1990—is passionate about photography. Peter doesn’t have many friends preferring to shoot pictures from behind the scenes to keep his homosexuality secret.

Enter Adam Algedi, a charming, worldly new guy who doesn’t do labels, but does want to do Peter. Hardly able to believe gorgeous Adam would want geeky, skinny him of all people, Peter’s swept away on a journey of first love and sexual discovery. But as their mutual web of lies spins tighter and tighter, can Peter find the confidence he needs to make the right choices?

Join Peter, in the first of a four-part coming of age series, on his search to love and be loved, and, most of all, how to grow into a gay man worthy of his own respect.

four-stars

The main thing I would tell readers!!!

Pictures of You is about heartbreak, sadness, love, and understanding. It’s about two young men falling in love in the early 90’s in Knoxville, Tennessee in their senior year of High School.

I am so shocked at myself, it was emotional at many different of times, but I didn’t cry as much as I thought I would. I’m also a fan of Adam!!! Don’t throw anything at me. I think I understand Adam so much, and his reasoning. He made me what to kidnap him and take him somewhere where he can be free. He also made me want to eviscerate him time and time again. **Big Sighs**, Oh Peter, Peter the Eater! I love you. I don’t know if I was this smart at 18. Peter was smart, but stupidly in love. I really enjoyed this story. The first time I picked it up, I cried at the beginning. I decided to pick it up at a later date, and now that I decided to give it a second chance, I was just blown away at the level of writing. Leta Blake is a definite auto-buy author for me. I love how her characters resonates with her readers. We might not be able to personalize with each character, but I guarantee you that we will be able to point out a detail on why they are just like me.

There was so many moments that I wanted Peter to open your eyes hun, he isn’t going to choose you moments. I don’t know if it was a relief when Peter came to that conclusion himself, because in doing so Peter excepted anything that was thrown at him. I loved Peter’s thought process. I thought he was such a splendid character. I really loved the time that he was around his Dad. Oh, that was super emotional for me as well. I’m one of the few people in romance that is okay with Cheating. Yeah, I know some people get ragey crazy mad, but cheating is normal. It happens daily, and in this story it was no better. Peter accepted the cheating and that hit me in the throat. Being in love with Adam had to be to hard. I know what its like to be in the love for the very first time. Its like sunshine, daisies and hearts galore. Its like feeling on top of the world. Adam!!!! **Grr**, I have to grr when I speak his name. I don’t want to say he was leading Peter on, but I do want to say he didn’t have to give up anything. Let me be clear, I understand Adam. His background, home life is as acceptable as Peter’s is. I don’t think Adam got the guise that he can end up leaving Knoxville at any time, and Peter is left broken and hurt. Sure Adam is going to be hurt, but I do think he was selfish enough to be in love with two people. That part hurt-ed me the most.

This is a 4 part series, and I can only imagine the level of emotions that I’m going to go through from each book. I will do this because Leta Blake proves to be amazing, and I love her writing. Sure this books leaves us with no HEA. I am happy with that, but I am so scared of whats to come. I only hope that Peter decided to put himself as a priority this go around. College is on the horizon, and both guys will be experiencing new things. Bravo, Mrs. Blake.

About Leta Blake

Author of the bestselling book Smoky Mountain Dreams and the fan

favorite Training Season, Leta Blake's educational and professional background is in psychology

and finance, respectively. However, her passion has always been for writing. She enjoys crafting

romance stories and exploring the psyches of made up people. At home in the Southern U.S.,

Leta works hard at achieving balance between her day job, her writing, and her family.

A Thousand Boy Kisses by Tillie Cole

Narrator: Katie Schorr, P. J. Ochlan
two-stars
A Thousand Boy Kisses Book Cover A Thousand Boy Kisses
Tillie Cole
Romance; New Adult
March 15th, 2016
audiobook
316 pages

One kiss lasts a moment. But a thousand kisses can last a lifetime.One boy. One girl. A bond that is forged in an instant and cherished for a decade. A bond that neither time nor distance can break. A bond that will last forever. Or so they believe.When seventeen-year-old Rune Kristiansen returns from his native Norway to the sleepy town of Blossom Grove, Georgia, where he befriended Poppy Litchfield as a child, he has just one thing on his mind. Why did the girl who was one half of his soul, who promised to wait faithfully for his return, cut him off without a word of explanation?Rune's heart was broken two years ago when Poppy fell silent. When he discovers the truth, he finds that the greatest heartache is yet to come.

A stand-alone young adult tearjerker romance, recommended for ages fourteen and up.

This book is up as a finalist for the Best Young Adult Fiction in 2016 Goodreads Choice Awards. So I decided to listen to it as I already bought it a few months ago.
This was NOT a feel good story. Nor was it a happy ending in my opinion. It definitely a tear jerker for those who love a good messy cry.

From the beginning, this story was was overly dramatic and their actions didn’t feel like that of young children. Honestly, I didn’t shed a single tear. I felt bad because I know I should feel bad for the characters. But I didn’t truly connect or engage with this story. From the beginning, this story was overly dramatic and their actions didn’t feel like that of young children. I didn’t enjoy any aspects of this story unlike the other Tillie Cole books I’ve read.

First of all, the narration was just terrible. I often wondered if I would enjoy the book better if I had just read the kindle edition. Second, the character’s dialogues felt strange and weird for kids. Imagine a five-year-old Poppy talking about Norway and Vikings to eight-year-old Rune talking about infinity love. It felt odd that they wanted to spend every waking moment with each other and never with a single other friend even when they were teenager. Something about their interactions didn’t feel like normal and genuine representation of little kids. Kids often have a best friend, but not to where no one, nor family existed outside this person.

Second, I never felt like I knew the Poppy nor Rune. The author Tillie Cole didn’t develop the character and thus it didn’t allow me to really connect with them individually nor as a couple. Instead, we were told how thy just were so mushy about themselves without us seeing them evolve.

Third, Rune’s treatment of his parents, specifically his father was over the top and disrespectful. It showed such a spoiled and thoughtless young teenager and I never witnessed a remedial action towards his father for those behaviors. Also, Poppy’s secrecy was surprising considering the infinity connection she claimed she had with Rune. It also was just too contrived for me.

The big twist didn’t feel so twisty because I suspected it having read other YA books with similar twists. It didn’t endear the couple to me either but I do suspect touched all the readers that rates the book so high. Personally, the Fault in our Stars struck those emotional chords much stronger for me. It was definitely the writing in this story and that’s why I am glad I have read her other series and know that Tillie Cole can deliver compelling stories.