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.

The Impossible Boy 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.

The Impossible Boy: by Anna Martin
Release Date: January 16, 2017
Pages: 204 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Pres
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonKobo

This is not your average love story.

Ben Easton is not your average romantic hero. He’s a tattooed, badass, wannabe rock star, working in a perfectly horrible dive bar in Camden Town. His life is good, and he’s totally unprepared for how one man will turn it upside down.

Stan isn’t your average heroine. As a gender-fluid man, he proudly wears his blond hair long, his heels sky-high, and his makeup perfectly executed. A fashion industry prodigy, Stan is in London after stints working in Italy and New York City, and he quickly falls for Ben’s devil-may-care attitude and the warm, soft heart Ben hides behind it.

Beneath the perfect, elegant exterior, Stan has plenty of scars from teenage battles with anorexia. And it only takes the slightest slip for his demons to rush back in while Ben is away touring with his band. With the band on the brink of a breakthrough, Ben is forced to find a way to balance the opportunity of a lifetime with caring for his beautiful boyfriend.

four-stars

This book was on its way to becoming a 5 star book for me. What stopped it was an incident in the story. I don’t feel like it was authentic enough and it happened out of nowhere. That pissed me off more. I guess I was looking for signs to point out this, and then thought signs weren’t needed. It’s something one of the MC’s has dealt with most of his life. Even after knowing this, I’m not happy. The joy I was feeling throughout reading this was dwindled down to nothing. I worried, and angst over these two. Didn’t see how they were going to come out on the other side, but no worries I think Anna Martin prevailed. The Impossible Boy is a lovely story. Told through dual pov’s from the mc’s. They both come from different walks of life and fall in love.

I truly adored Ben. Ben is super amazing. I think I feel in love with Ben from the very start. He was kind, and its a word I would describe most people in life. He was kind to a person whom he didn’t know. He should Stan a kindness that he wasn’t sure he would get. Ben is automatically intrigued upon seeing Stan for the first time. Stan walks in looking like a million buck and Ben sees his prey in sight. Ben is working two jobs and being in a ban. He loves his life, doesn’t see reason to change it, and sees Stan and immediately taken by him. Ben is who he is. He doesn’t change, apologize for being who he is or liking what he likes.

Stan is fabulous. Left home at 15 to explore the world and never looked back. For being so young, and independent Stan has it together better then most people. I love Stan’s definition of who he is. He isn’t trying to conform to anyone’s society and love what he represents. He has some past issues and is learning to cope with them each day. I do love how he stays his ground and is firm on what he knows his body, soul, and mind needs.

Ben & Stan together is pure magic. I truly think the love at first sight thing works here. Both guys are drawn into one another very easily. They just fit into one another life like a missing puzzle piece. Ben with his nurturing personality, and Stan with his kindness work well. It’s not wonder that things moved fast for these two. I can see them falling in love on page, and I was so happy.

While I’m not happy with a certain part of the story, I still loved this. I can definitely see myself re-reading this. Anna Martin did a really great job with this gender-fluid story. I think she handled it with care. This is a definite recommend for me, and the cover is amazing!!!

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.

Off Base by Annabeth Albert

ouI 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.

Off Base: by Annabeth Albert
Series: Out of Uniform #1 
Release Date: January 9, 2017
Pages: 304 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon• Kobo • Barnes & Noble

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

four-stars

This was way more angstier then I like, but it was really good. It brought out plenty of emotions from me, and I’m glad I was able to finish it. It was a point of time in the story where I wanted to punt Zack’s ass through the field goal range. I wanted to shake him, and hurt him for not realizing what he was doing to himself and Pike. It took me a while to put Zack from Connection Error together with this Zack. I mean, he was a douchebag in Connection Error, and a little bit docuhy here, but the man was hurting internally. Gah!!! I really dislike when authors force me to like the A-Holes. I fell for Zack after a while. I adored Pike! I thought he was amazing, and I just wanted to wrap him up and never let him out my sight. *Le Sigh*, here goes my thoughts.

Poor Zack, this man is the epitome of The River D-E-N-I-L-E. He’s in denial about his sexuality and his love for Pike. He is SEAL who is intensely lonely, and really buried deep in the closet. Well not buried, but he’s not owning up or accepting of his sexuality. I really love how Albert makes these guys who I find myself disliking really make it up to me at the end. Zack has this internal angsty thing going on. When work like becomes to much for him, then he ventures out on his own living by himself. Well not entirely, because while he’s immediately against the idea of having Pike; out and proud Pike as a room mate there’s something there for Zack to convince himself to let it happen.

It’s a slow burner for sure with the romance. While Pike is realizing he’s falling for Zack, he knows it isn’t reciprocated at the least by Zack. I really enjoyed Pike’s character. He was super sweet and understanding. I hate what he went through with his first love, but I think it definitely put into perspective of his future romances. For characters like Pike who I feel get shafted in stories it enables my mama bear features and I automatically want them to dump or hurt the one that causes them pain. I’m so happy Pike didn’t listen to me lol. It definitely hurt Pike a multitude of rejections from Zack. The one thing I continuously have to realize is, you can’t force anyone to except their sexuality. It has to be on there own personal time, and I’m uber grateful that Albert writes things this way.

I cannot wait until the next book in the series. Hopefully its’ the LT with the kids, and I wouldn’t mind seeing more of Harper. Yeah, I got my eye on him. Albert has been winning lately with all her release, and I’m telling you she’s becoming such a favorite of mine. If you haven’t read her #gaymers series then you best get to it. This is a definite read and hopefully you enjoy it as much as I do!

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.

Ezi & Mika Dual Review: Block and Strike by Kelly Jensen

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.

Block and Strike: by Kelly Jensen
Release Date: January 6, 2017
Pages: 266 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

Jacob Kendricks is three months out of prison, estranged from his daughter, and ready to get his life on track. Taking care of the bum curled up on his doorstep isn’t part of the plan. When he realizes the man has been assaulted, Jake takes him to the hospital, where he learns that Max is his downstairs neighbor… and that he could really use a friend. Keeping Max in the friend-zone would be easier if he wasn’t so damned cute.

Maxwell Wilson has been bullied for years, and the only person who ever cared lives too far away to come to his rescue. Now his upstairs neighbor is offering support. Max remains cautious, suspecting he is little more than a project for the handsome Jake. When he learns Jake has had boyfriends as well as girlfriends, Max has to reevaluate his priorities—and muster the courage to take a chance at love.

Just when a happy future is within their grasp, life knocks them back down. A devastating blow leaves Max lower than ever and Jake wrestling with regret. They both have to find the strength to stand on their own before they can stand together.

four-stars

It’s rare for Ezi and I to want to read the same book. We have completely different taste on books. She wants the angst, and I want to kick it for a punt return. Hell we wanted this book for different reasons. Ezi immediately stated that the blurb was angsty, I wanted it for the child mentioned and the hurt comfort it seemed to be throwing out there. He’s our first dual review ever on Oh My Shelves. Hope you guys enjoys it.

Ezi’s Review

I liked this story because this is a love story that the author took time to develop. This story was well written and the main characters were constructed methodically.

Jacob “Jake” Kendricks was a man who let his temper get the best of him at times, which resulted in a stint in prison. When he was released, Jake resolved to lay low and piece his life back together starting with rebuilding his relationship with his nine-year-old daughter Caroline.

Jake finds his neighbor Gareth Maxwell “Max” Wilson on the steps of their apartment building, beaten to a pulp. After Jake takes Max to the hospital, Jake’s kind heart makes him take pity on a young bullied guy. A sweet friendship developed ensued and later blossomed into love for Jake and Max.

This story was not a fast insta-love type of romance. It was a layered story where the author took her time to build up the characters. I felt invested in both Jake and Max as individual struggling with their various issues as well as their budding romance which was wrought with trust issues. Both characters had to learn to depend on the other as well as heal their own hearts from past hurts.

I haven’t read this author before, but I enjoyed the story-telling. I empathized with all the characters and couldn’t help but root for them. My only issue was the slow pace of the story. I understand it was necessary to really focus on individual struggles of both Jake and Max, but I was hoping for the romance to get underway a lot faster. It also took a while for the author to reveal why Jake spent in prison and I got impatient. Still, at the end I was left very satisfied with the ending. Jake and Max healing each other made everything worth it.

Mika’s Review

Talk about a slow burner! Goodness, my add wasn’t going to allow me to participate any longer if things didn’t happen at the correct time. It’s my third book by Kelly Jensen, and I really love how relatable and realistic her stories make me feel. This book was no different. Jake & Max are two individuals who needed a Win in life. They both have struggled with various issues that has happened to them.

I really adored Jake’s character. I loved how he wanted to protective Max, teach Max, and love Max in a way that he hasn’t been yet. Jake struggles seems minuscule compared to everything Max goes through in this story, but Jake has a way to go. He has to deal with his actions that lead him to prison. In the blink of an eye his life change, and the person who suffered the most was Caroline his daughter. I think Max is good for Jake because being with him teaches Jake patience, and makes Jake want to keep his temper in check.

Max, oh max. Goodness, he pulled at my heart strings continuously. I am so surprised that I didn’t cry. I didn’t shed not one tear, but I really empathized with his character. Max didn’t have any hope for his future. He seems so despondent about life, and yeah life has completed effed him over. No parents to love him, no family to cherish him, and he’s only 22 but seems so much older. I am uber grateful for Jake. Yeah, Jake’s issues is what caused Max pain unbeknownst to both guys, but it also allowed Max to see what real love is. Jake’s love, teaches, friendship and family allowed Max to open up and be confident. It allowed Max a glimpse of a future that is obtainable if he wanted it.

This redemption story on both parts was equally good. It’s a slow burner for sure. The romance is in the background and while it plays a major role, I’d like to think both guys have healing and growing to do separately and together was more important. I will tell you from the books I’ve read by Jensen, that I’ve come to really appreciate her take on the realistic fiction trope in Gay Romance. I love how relatable and normal they are. These are everyday people in her stories, they could be your spouses, brothers, fathers, uncles, and cousins. This is a definite recommend for me. I really liked it!

About Kelly Jensen

If aliens ever do land on Earth, Kelly will not be prepared, despite having read over a hundred stories of the apocalypse. Still, she will pack her precious books into a box and carry them with her as she strives to survive. It’s what bibliophiles do.

Born in Australia and raised everywhere else, Kelly now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, daughter and herd of four cats. After disproving the theory that water only spins counter-clockwise around drains north of the equator, she turned her attention to more productive pursuits such as reading, writing, writing about reading and writing stories of her own. She also enjoys volunteering at her local library, playing video games and holds a brown belt in Kiryoku, a martial art combining Shotokan, Aikido and Tang Soo Do. Her family is not intimidated by her.

Kelly is the author of a number of novels, short stories, and this bio. She does not consider this bio a seminal work. Her books are much more interesting (and definitely sexier). You can view a list of them here. She has been writing reviews of books and video games for web and print magazines for nearly fifteen years. Her book reviews can be found at SFCrowsnest, Goodreads and here, on her blog.

Currently, she is working on several projects, including a science fiction romance series co-authored with her best friend and writing partner, Jenn Burke. The first three books of the Chaos Station series are available now, with the fourth due in January 2016 from Carina Press.

When Forever Ended by Cara Dee

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.

when-forever-endedWhen Forever Ended: by Cara Dee
Series: Camassia Cove #2
Release Date: November 30, 2016
Pages: • Format: eARC
Published By: Self-Published
Purchase Links:
Amazon

At ten years old, Kelly and I were two rambunctious boys who carved our initials into a tree in the forest. We promised to be best friends forever and bumped our fists to seal the deal. I never should’ve kissed him that summer before college. It was a day that buried me in shame, a day I spent the next twenty-four years regretting, a day I never told anyone about.

At forty-three, depression was suffocating me. Not even my wife and two children could lift the heavy fog. I was riddled with guilt and self-hatred, and I was starting to realize that I would slowly fade away until nothing remained. Then one day, Kelly was back in town.

10% of the proceeds will be donated to Hope For Depression.

(All novels taking place in Camassia Cove are standalone.)
four-stars

I literally need to tip my hat off to Cara Dee. I really am a fan of her writing style. I don’t want to use the word plain, but maybe it’s more homey and realistic. I am always able to connect with her characters. I don’t necessarily have to be in their shoes, but she makes it to easy to relate to their struggles. I do like the way Cara tackled depression. I think we all know someone living with depression, and this book was such an eye opener for me. Its so easy for me to tell someone to get over things, but I’m not in their shoes and I don’t feel like they do. This book was completely different then book one. I loved book, and I really enjoyed this one as well. I do feel slighted in the sense that I would have liked to see more with Will & Kelly. It was nice for the two different p.o.v’s but because the focus on the story was for them more then anything I would have like them to have more screen time together. This wasn’t some quick fix for Will, he had to want it, and adjust to life differently then what he is used to.

Cara has written some of my favorite comfort read books, and this series is definitely gaining group to add to the list. I really like the simplistic way of life that her characters have. For me, I feel like they are relatable is so many ways. I adored Kelly. Oh my gosh, did I? I looked how he treated Will, and was so forthcoming with his past history with depression. It must have been really hard to walk away from someone that you love because of your fears. Kelly doesn’t have it easy. He’s adjusting to life with his sexuality and accepting it.

Will is 43, married with two kids, and severely depressed. The one thing that I would have liked was some prologue and a glimpse in the life of Will before Kelly came back into his life. I don’t think it was real clear on his reason for depression. I believe so many things that can have caused his depression, but its certain things that the characters speak on a past event that I felt like maybe it should have been included in the story. It was emotional to say the least, I felt all Will’s vulnerabilities, and his heartbreak.

Word to the wise for all those HEA people, there is cheating in this book. Don’t lose sleep over it, cheating happens in real life here folks. This series is realistic fiction so real life situations happen here. I really would be so much happier if this book had 100 more pages. I never wanted it to end. I wanted to see the progress of everyone by the end of the story. Was Will’s depression cured? Hell no, it is manageable by the end of the story. That’s all I can ask for. This definitely made me want to go back and re-read book 1 and this again. I love this writing, and can’t wait for the next in the series!

About Cara Dee

here aren’t many things better than picking up my Kindle and getting completely sucked into a whole new world—where words morph into images and characters’ moods suddenly reflect my own. Aside from good plot and writing, for me, it boils down to relatable characters.

As a writer, I’m not finished until the men and women in my books come to life, until I can see them as real people, until I can connect with them. Which means I write what I want to read: everyday heroes and heroines who have the same struggles we all do. They evolve, have flaws, make mistakes and amends, learn, and find the endings they fight for.

Those are the characters who take the readers on a journey away from work, laundry, grocery shopping, and to-do lists.

When I’m not writing, researching, or brainstorming, I’m either planning my next trip (never-ending bucket list!), reading, watching hockey, or spending time with family and friends

Dark & Dazzling 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.

Title: Dark & Dazzling by Elizabeth Varlet
Series: Sassy Boyz #2
Release Date: November 7, 2016
Pages:262 • Format: eARC
Published By: Carina Press
Purchase Links:
AmazonGoogle PlayKobo

Z doesn’t need a hero…

Azariah “Z” Hayes is a diamond. Equal parts strength and sparkle, he’s more than capable of standing on his own stilettos. So if waiting tables and stripping at The Vibe are what it takes to keep a roof over his head, well, there are worse ways to earn a living.

Connelly is a white knight with a badge…

For NYPD detective Connelly Reid, to serve and protect is just another day at the office—even if that means protecting himself from his own true desires. He’s been curious about Z, his waiter, for months, but it’s not until he sees him in his makeup and heels that the curiosity becomes a fierce attraction. Z, despite all his over-the-top dazzle, might just be the man Connelly has been waiting for his entire life.

But when Connelly investigates underground porn and drug activity with ties to The Vibe, one thing becomes very clear—acting on what he knows is going to hurt Z, financially and emotionally. And though Connelly would love nothing more than to fix all of Z’s problems, no amount of mind-blowing sex can make Z comfortable becoming dependent on his lover. Yet if there’s one thing Connelly knows from his years on the force, it’s this: when things go bad, you need a trusted partner to have your back.

four-stars


Alot more angst then I’m willing to read. Jeez, it was hard to wade through at times.

Hmmm…. This book was a lot to take in. Z and Connelly were two completely different guys from Ansel & Fitch. I like that they were different, but goodness I would have rather the romance to just have been the focal point. You have Azariah,  who will never except a handout or help. Connelly is constantly helping out. It’s a clash waiting to happen. For Azariah, he’s never depended on anyone and will refuse help just to not look weak or needy. That’s all Connelly knows. He is the person who will help until its not fair to him anymore. They don’t call him Boy Scout for nothing. I wanted him to be a lot more selfish earlier in the story. He has so much on his shoulders that he’s not living life to me.

It wasn’t fall in love fest like book one. I wasn’t immediately smitten with these two. It took time, and work for them to payoff. I think because the plot played such a heavier influence on these two, that it was barriers put up between the two. I hope you get what I meant. Connelly’s job played a bigger role in who he was. All his life he’s had to help out, and be the surrogate man in his family’s life since his father passed, that it is no wonder he goes for the fixer upper guys. Every single one of his ex’s needed help and after getting any form of help from Connelly they bounced. I don’t know if Connelly liked it that way, but he wasn’t able to ever see a future with anyone because of his loyalties elsewhere. I think the chemistry between these two were electric. I like that Azariah wasn’t so passive when it came to Connelly. They just seem to mesh well with one another. Azariah is a hard nut to crack. When it actuality he isn’t. He’s used to be on his own, and to be so young he’s super cynical when it comes to love. This is a man who’s only form of love died when he was 12. His mother is the only person ever in his life to see him shine, accept him, and love him unequivocally.

“I’m a realist all the way. Reality is dark and gritty and completely fucked–up.”

There was a few moments that Azariah completely pissed me off. I thought he was completely selfish, but I had a hard time staying angry because Connelly was super accepted. I think he accepted it shows more to his nurturing side as well. I do felt like the plot was a bit to much at times. I wish it could have been toned down so we got more time for these two to grown and love.

It was a really good story. I enjoyed seeing more of the Sassy Boyz and can’t wait to read Lirim’s book next. That boy is just asking to be held and protected. I liked these two together and yeah they haven’t been together that long by the end of the book, but I can see these two together for a while. Their personality just meshes well together.

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.

Interborough, by Santino Hassell

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.

tinoInterborough: by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs, #4
Release Date: October 24, 2016
Pages: 249 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

The Raymond Rodriguez from a few years ago wouldn’t recognize the guy he is today. He’s left his slacker ways far behind him and is now juggling two jobs and school. But the balancing act doesn’t allow much time for the man he loves.

David is doing his best to be supportive, but problems at work and his own insecurity leave him frustrated—in more ways than the obvious—whenever he goes to bed before Raymond gets home. The heat and affection between them is still there, but they barely have the time or energy to enjoy it. And it doesn’t help that Raymond is still hiding David from his colleagues.

The stress mounts so high that a vacation in paradise is filled with turmoil instead of harmony, and culminates on their return to the five boroughs with broken promises and heartache. They have to figure out how to stop allowing their differences to overshadow their love. It’s the only way they’ll make it to forever.

four-half-stars


Don’t even look Raymond’s way. I got this.

Listen up folks, when Sunset Park came out, I saw all the negative comments about the couple. I didn’t argue with anyone, everyone had a right to their own opinion. I’m okay with you not liking Rayvid together. Perfectly fine in my world. It takes alot of emotions for me to fall in love with a character. I literally will read their story a bajillion times throughout the year. My list is 5 guys. It’s never changed for the last 5 years maybe. It’s always Zsadist, Zane, Reyes, Vadim, and Cole. It’s been these 5 forever. When I read Sunset Park, Raymond literally crawled under my skin. He imprinted on my soul. That’s the only honest way to describe the feeling I get when I talk about Ray and read about him. I have to tip my hat to Santino Hassell. The man can write. It’s beautifully flawed. His story telling, his realism, and his emotions are so powerful that you can do nothing but show the man some damn respect. It’s only a handful of authors who can read series and all be high 4 and 5’s. It’s not easy and you might get bored with the same story just regurgitated. I’ve had this book for a while, and it took everything in me not to crack it open. I wanted it to be fresh for release day, and get to openly discuss with my peers all the growth we see in these characters.

It’s been almost 2 years since David and Ray got together. There’s been growth that we can see on page for both guys. I loved Ray’s transition to being “an adult”. He went from everyone providing for him to holding down two jobs and going to school. I loved seeing his passion about being his own man. David is still there, going through the motions with his career that left him feeling uncertain. I really like David. He’s someone who lives in his head, and I know plenty of people like that. David needs constant reassurance about their relationship. I actually felt David was right. He had plenty of reasons for why he felt the way he did. The biggest problem in their relationship was the lack of communication. It’s authentic. Sure having sex feels good for that moment of time, and afterwards but you problems come back big time. I feel like the stress of life got to these two.

Hassell wrote a book that everyone should be able to relate to. Hell I had these problems in the beginning of my relationship. Going to school and work, leaves your love life feeling destitute. I really enjoyed seeing all the different cast of characters. Loved seeing more of Ray’s friends, and even Michael and Nunzio. This was an appropriate representation of a relationship in the real world for me. Can I say it was perfect? No. I wanted to throttle both of them on numerous times, was I happy with the outcome? Yes!! Did I cry? Fuck yes. Was it another baby makers? Check back with me in 9 months for certain.

All in all, I truly loved this book. It’s possible my love for Raymond overlooks everything. I can see myself re-reading it that’s for damn sure. I had some good times with this crew, and how about that epilogue? Oh my goodness, I definitely cried. It was amazing. I highly recommend this series. I think you’ll find yourself enraptured by these characters from book 1 up until now.

About Santino Hassell

Santino was raised by a conservative family, but he was anything but traditional. He grew up to be a smart-mouthed grunge kid, then a transient twenty-something, and eventually transformed into a guy who spends his days and nights writing romance with an edge.

Santino is a dedicated gamer, a former fanfic writer, an ASoIaF mega nerd, a Grindr enthusiast, but most of all he is a writer of queer fiction that is heavily influenced by the gritty, urban landscape of New York City, his belief that human relationships are complex and flawed, and his own life experiences.

What It Looks Like by Matthew J. Metzger

matthewWhat It Looks Like: by Matthew J. Metzger
Release Date: August 20, 2016
Pages: 264 • Format: Kindle Edition
Published By: JMS Books LLC
Purchase Links:
JMS BooksAmazonARe

Eli Bell is the only son of a police chief inspector and a forensic scientist. He’s grown up wonky in a world that only deals with the straight and narrow — and his new boyfriend isn’t helping.

Rob Hawkes is six feet of muscle, tattoos, and arrest warrants. A career criminal and a former tenant of Her Majesty’s Prison Service, he’d rather hit Eli’s parents than sit down to dinner with them. One wrong move, and Rob could destroy Eli — and his family — without a second thought.

But this isn’t what it looks like.

Rob’s not in control here — and Eli’s the one to blame.

 

four-stars

I want to start off saying bravo Metzger!!! This was my first book by him, and I learned so much and really enjoyed it as well. I mean, my first props goes to the realistic feelings that I felt the author was able to get across the pages. This was also my first Transgender book. I didn’t even know it was the case, because I just brought and read it on the strength of the cover. I was a little surprised, but then I learned so much and a lot of my questions were answered when reading this. I loved Rob’s criminal ass. Haha, he is a bad boy, but so what? He has literally given Eli that life that he’s only dreamed of.

Rob is literally every parent’s worse dreams for their kids. Ha!!! I would literally fight him over my child. I don’t even care to deny it, but for someone’s else kid he’s amazing. Sure he’s had a rocky life, and things weren’t handed to him. He had to grow up fast, and take care of his youngest brother by any means necessary. Yeah he’s tattooed, doesn’t have the best of jobs, fights, and fucks like a beast, but he’s also there. When I say there, I mean he listens. It might not have been what you want for a potential mate, but after reading this then I definitely want Rob for my kid. Rob understood Eli when no one in his whole life got it. He accepted it as a gay man, and as a partner for someone he cares about big time. I was literally team Rob all the way. He deserved better treatment from Eli and his family. I mean, he did put up with a lot, but that made me like him even more. I liked the softer side of Rob that we were able to see. I like seeing Rob vulnerable and unsure of himself, because it was a humility that I wasn’t sure if he had or not. Well, that’s not exactly true because only a person with a heart and conscious would give Eli the $700 pounds needed for his surgery. Only a kind-hearted man would jump in front of a knife to protect his lover and his sister. Only a kind hearted man would encourage his partner to achieve their dreams and not to let his fears dominate his life. I mean if Rob is that bad, then I want me one. He just needs a little love, and encouragement. I know, I just gushed over Rob, and I literally don’t do that to new characters but this book was super impactful to me.

Eli, Eli, Eli. I have a love/hate relationship with you. Sweetie, you were just to angry for me. Argh, so many times, I was on your side. I got why you had these feelings, and were mad at your family. I just thought it was completely unfair at times to not hear them out. I do think it was maybe childish to throw these temper tantrums so much. I get it, they never accepted your transition. Call it being ignorant to the cause. I thought you were great for Rob, but then you went and decided to be your parents. The one time Rob needed you, you switched teams and automatically thought he was guilty. I was with Rob on he needed space. I mean, he was going out his way time and time again for you. To prove himself to your family, out of love and respect but you weren’t their for him that one time. I mean, I liked Eli as a flawed character. This was his first major relationship. He was dealing with a lot. He was dealing with finally finding someone who accepted him, and enjoyed his kink as well. He was dealing with not having the close relationship to his family. He had to deal with hearing all these bad things about Rob, and trying to see if it was all worth it.

When it’s all said and done I think it was very well put together story. I loved the pacing of the story. I enjoyed the ups and downs of everyone in here. I think it’s super cool to see all different facets of life. I learned alot, and this story was super insightful. I think these characters were so realistically done. I loved the genuine feelings that I get while reading these. I liked knowing that someone out there can relate to these characters. I thought the writing was very good. One of my favorite things were the crassness of the story. Gosh, potty mouths were everywhere. It was vey British and very me. I look forward to reading more from this author. Very enjoyable and highly recommend it!!!!

About Matthew J. Metzger

Matthew J. Metzger is the front for a British author currently living in Bristol. As much a character as those in his books, Matthew is a good-for-nothing layabout masquerading as a productive and useful member of society. It’s not working.

Both Matthew and his author are queer as they come, a little screwed up in the head, and thoroughly British and blasé about pretty much everything. Matthew may write romance, but it’s romance with the gritty bits in!

Where We Left Off by Roan Parrish

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.

roan-parrishWhere We Left Off: by Roan Parrish
Series: Middle of Somewhere, #3
Release Date: September 26, 2016
Pages: 260 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova … and then was gone just as quickly.

For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny … though Will certainly tries.

But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairytale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

four-stars


First thing first: It’s a little bit of Will & Leo in all of us.

I just had to get that out. Let’s just be honest friends, Monogamy isn’t for everyone. There I said it. Initially, I had a feeling that this was going to be the one people didn’t connect to. I mean, everyone wants to read the grand love story. They want the magic of finding someone and falling in love. They want to read about love, need, wants, and passion. I’m one of those people as well. But I do live in the real world, where shit ain’t sweet as much as we’d like to thing. Some folks don’t do monogamy, and it’s nothing wrong with it. Some people prefer the benefits of a relationship with no title and strings attached. I don’t see anything wrong with it. I liked Will. I know, put your pitchforks away. Will came off as a jackass. I don’t think that’s wrong. He is an a-hole, but his reasons and his walls are rock steady baby. Leo, sweet baby Leo. I swear he was giving me Carrie Bradshaw this entire book. I wanted to protect sweet Leo, but Leo came to his own realizations at his own time. Yeah he went through his mini heartbreak, but it was for his own good.

I think Roan did a fantastic job with these two. This might have been the most light hearted out of the trilogy so far put it packed a punch for real. I think I like this book so much because it dealt with people’s feelings and talking. The one thing that these two did was talk. I respect Will so much for being so open about his limitations. They might not have been how he felt at the end, but at that time it was so truthful that it was hurtful for poor Leo. Goodness, I bookmarked so much on my kindle about these two. Let’s be very clear hear folks. Leo wants romance, love and commit. I can see why. It’s something that he isn’t getting or had ever. He wants to be someone’s only love. Will doesn’t want it. He is frank, a little jaded, and super sure of himself.

“If you know that I don’t want a relationship, and you wouldn’t just be thinking of it as sex, then where does that leave us? Because it kind of seems like it’s leave us someplace where you end up feeling like I’ve betrayed you, and I end up losing my best friend.”

That’s the crux of it all folks. I can’t seem to put down all the words that I want to. I have so many thoughts on this story, but the one thing I can say is I loved it. I enjoyed it a lot. The supporting cast is amazing. I love this series so much. It’s realistically done, and features every day people. I like to think that from this we learn that romance and hearts and kisses isn’t everyone’s wishes. I won’t spoil the book for you, but I do think you should give it a shot. You might be surprise. Leo is super smart, and he realizes he worth. Will is super complex and his reasons for not wanting a relationship is so clear once you get into the book. I highly recommend this. I think I’ll read anything by this author. Her writing gets me so much. Love it.

**If you read the book, then the Sex & City gifs are self-explanatory**

About Roan Parrish

ROAN PARRISH is currently wandering between Philadelphia and New Orleans. When not writing, she can usually be found cutting her friends’ hair, meandering through whatever city she’s in while listening to torch songs and melodic death metal, or cooking overly elaborate meals. She loves bonfires, winter beaches, minor chord harmonies, and self-tattooing. One time she may or may not have baked a six-layer chocolate cake and then thrown it out the window in a fit of pique.

The Weight of It All by N.R. Walker

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.

nrwalkerThe Weight of It All: by N.R. Walker
Release Date:September 16, 2013
Pages: 244 • Format:eARC
Published By:Blueheart Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon

After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.

He joins a gym.

Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.

As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.

Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.

three-half-stars

Going into this book, I was on a constant high from the Spencer Cohen Series. I loved it, and was super happy for something else so soon from this author. I liked it, but it was definitely a low-angst story. A feel good kind for the realistic people. I did find that after a while I missed the mark with the humor. It was okay, but after so many jokes I was bored. Reed did get on my nerves about working out. I am on this journey and don’t whine this much. It was a complete turn-off to hear him constantly whining about it, and all the self doubts. I wonder if he would have these doubts if He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named ever left him.

I enjoyed Reed. He was such an amazing coach and guy. I wish I had him as a personal trainer. Good Lord, it’s hard and to see him make these changes in his life and talking to Henry from experience made my day. I truly liked him as a character. I loved that he was positive to Henry. Very motivating as well.

All in all, I liked the story. It was low on the steam side, and I had more then a few of eye rolls, but it was realistic. Everything that each of the mc went through was understanding. I look forward to more from this author as usual.

About N.R. Walker

N.R. Walker is an Australian author, who loves her genre of gay romance. She loves writing and spends far too much time doing it, but wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is many things; a mother, a wife, a sister, a writer. She has pretty, pretty boys who live in her head, who don’t let her sleep at night unless she gives them life with words.

She likes it when they do dirty, dirty things…but likes it even more when they fall in love.

She used to think having people in her head talking to her was weird, until one day she happened across other writers who told her it was normal.

She’s been writing ever since…