Private Truths by C.B. Lewis

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.

private-truthsPrivate Truths: by C.B. Lewis
Release Date: December 2, 2016
Pages: 264 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon

For two role models with their reputations on the line, privacy might be a luxury they can’t afford, and love might be impossible.

After returning from service, Army veteran Jack McCall fought his way back from addiction and joined a charity supporting homeless veterans in London, where he became an inspiration to others. He approaches Edward Marsden, Viscount Routhsley, a known playboy and philanthropist, about sponsorship for his charity. To his surprise, Edward isn’t the shallow pleasure-seeker everyone assumes, and he and Edward share many interests. Little by little, they are drawn together in spite of the different worlds they come from.

But for two men in the public eye, happiness won’t be so easily achieved. Edward fears coming out as gay will shift attention from his charity work, and Jack worries his relationship with the aristocrat will undermine the integrity of his foundation. They come under intense scrutiny, leading to an inevitable clash between Jack and the press who won’t stop harassing them. As what they’ve built comes crashing down, Jack and Edward must make a choice: continue presenting the facade the public expects, or expose the private truths in their hearts so they can be together.

four-half-stars

Okay C.B. Lewis this is 3 for 3 from you. I am in love with your writing and stories. You are so close to being a favorite author for me. Definitely an auto-buy for me. Time Lost is on my Best Books of 2016.

Private Truths is a contemporary romance novel set England. It’s slow paced and methodical in plot. I’ve been dreaming of you writing a contemporary novel and you have blown my expectations. This romance was steady paced with an actual plot. I loved the Nobelman and the Ex-Army guy falling in love. You can see the moment both guys start falling in love. Their relationship was purely sex at a point, but after an unfortunate event they care thrust together and the love, trust and devotion gradually makes an interest. Told from Jack’s pov and brilliant done, I really got to see the starting point of Jack’s interest in Edward and his love for his job.

Jack works at Those Returned a charity for veterans. Jack is uber passionate about his job. He loves making the nightly runs whether its feeding his brother in arms, or clothing them, or just checking up on them. Jack talks about his past sparingly. We know he suffered injuries while in the military. Certain incidents happen when events from 5 years ago becomes public. He’s closed himself off to his best friend because of an accident. I would call him a loner. Outside of his job and co-workers he doesn’t do much. That’s until he meets Viscount Routhsley. A blond bombshell with enough money to sponsor Those Returned. Jack makes it his mission to get Edward to invest into his charity. What starts as shameless flirting leads to other things.

I think Edward surprised me the most. When we read about Nobelman or people of nobility its always seem like they are bourgeois type, high handed type, or the looking down on folks kind. Edward and his parents were the opposite of all of this. I think he might be my favorite Nobelman. He was super down to earth, sweet, compassion and generally cared about Jack’s well being. I loved the chemistry that they both had with one another. The joking, laughing, gentleness was so much needed in my reading. I needed a real romance and I think this fit the bill on anything that I can ever ask for.

Jeez, this is what I asked for. Now, I’m sitting here thinking on what next can C.B. right for me. Idk. I love her science fiction, and obviously her contemporary novels. I don’t care at this point, I just want her to write and produce a novel every 3 months for me. I need more from her. I highly recommend this book. I highly recommend her Out of Time Series. You will not be disappointed in any of these books.

About C.B. Lewis

A book-lover from infancy, C.B. has been writing and telling stories for as long as she can remember. Based in Edinburgh, she has diverse tastes and will quite happily attempt to write any genre, but always come back to history, fantasy, and sci-fi like an old friend. C. B. Lewis is small and Scottish and can often be spotted perched around historical monuments with her notepad and pen. She has been writing and telling tales for almost as long as she can remember, and has a brain that constantly fizzes with an abundance of ideas. If she’s not working on half a dozen things at once, it should be considered a slow day. She loves to travel and just has one continent left to complete her travel bingo card. A lot of the travel has also been research-based, and if pointed at any historical event, she will research it vociferously, just because she can. Normally, she is based in Edinburgh, where she tends toward the hermit-lifestyle, needing nothing but a kettle, a constant supply of tea, and – of course – the internet. There are no cats, no puppies, no significant others, only a lot of ideas, and an awful lot of typing. And occasionally, cake. Never forget the cake.

A Dangerous Game by Rick R. Reed

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.

DangerousGame[A]LGA Dangerous Game by Rick R. Reed
Release Date: June 3, 2016
Pages: 200 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

2nd Edition

Sex can be a dangerous business. So can love.

On the worst day of his life, Wren Gallagher wants oblivion when he steps into Tricks for a drink. When a mysterious stranger steps up to pay his tab, he offers Wren the key to fulfilling his dreams of prosperity and true love.

But appearances are not always what they seem.

His savior owns the escort agency À Louer, and he wants the young and handsome Wren as part of his stable of men-for-hire. Down on his luck, Wren figures, why not? He needs the money. When he joins, though, he doesn’t count on meeting Rufus, another escort with whom he falls hopelessly in love.

But their love story will have to overcome the obstacles of not only trading love for money, but À Louer’s dark—and deadly—secrets.

1st Edition published as Rent by ManLove Romance Press, 2012.

two-half-stars

I am not sure how to rate or review this book. The pretty cover sucked me in and the promise of a rent boy redemption sealed the deal but what I got was a mixed bag of… meh.

So the story is told from the POV of Wren who we meet after he is let go from his job and stops by Tricks, a local gay club to drown his sorrows. When his wallet comes up missing, an older man who fits the total image of a preppy boy from the 80’s steps in and buys Wren a drink and offers him a job. Wren doesn’t want to sell his ass, literally, but when he gets home and his mom tells him she is moving out because of a new job promotion, what else can he do?

I am a sucker for a rent boy story. I can’t help that I love reading them in the profession and as they move on from it. I do want to go back and read the story that came before this which takes place in the same universe and see how Arilss and Sean find one another and all that jazz.

Anyway.

Wren calls up preppy old dude, aka Dave Chillingsworth and takes the job to earn some money. He’s given a place to stay and a new roommate Rufus, who just happens to be Wren’s soul mate upon first glance. Goodness. Don’t get me wrong, I dig a good instalove story but this was even too much for me. Wren and Rufus have barely known one another for a full day before they do a job together that require them to get it on while an old dude watches and Wren internally declared his love for Rufus. This love the has also includes leaving the world of rent boys after a day as well as being a major snoop, invading Rufus’ privacy and lying about it for… well, forever since we never know if he fessed up.

Ugh. I am not happy at the moment with this. I have so many things that rubbed me the wrong way but most are spoilers so I’ll take a step back.

Let me talk a moment about the time frame of this story. I am lost as to when it takes place because things are mentioned about calling 976 numbers for buddy lines etc but then Kia Souls are also in the book. The 976 numbers and use of Crisco as lube kept throwing me out of the story and it could just be me because I read Crisco and sex, I am expecting some serious fisting to happen and well, it didn’t but the 976 numbers brought me back to 20+ years ago when they were the rage for all sorts of debauchery. *takes a breath*

Blah.

Yeah, now that I am done and got the “who done it” of the mystery, I feel let down. That epilogue made me a tad ragey, um hence the tone of my review.

To put it all short and sweet. This was a decent story but not great. I never connected to Wren, though I liked his mother and felt awful with what we learn about her pregnancy.  I did not feel an ounce of chemistry between Wren and Rufus and missed the romance that was supposed to be in the context. The murder mystery could have been handled better, we got a big build up to this fizzle of climax. Honestly, the best part of the whole story for me was what we get from Rufus’ writing. THAT was some serious storytelling and I wish we would have had his POV in a book starting from his down fall through his rent boy days leading up to Wren… but whatevs.

 

 

About Rick R. Reed

Rick R. Reed is all about exploring the romantic entanglements of gay men in contemporary, realistic settings. While his stories often contain elements of suspense, mystery and the paranormal, his focus ultimately returns to the power of love. He is the author of dozens of published novels, novellas, and short stories. He is a three-time EPIC eBook Award winner (for Caregiver, Orientation and The Blue Moon Cafe). His novel, Raining Men, won the Rainbow Award for Best Contemporary General Fiction. Lambda Literary Review has called him, “a writer that doesn’t disappoint.” Rick lives in Seattle with his husband and a very spoiled Boston terrier. He is forever “at work on another novel.”

Under a Sky of Ash 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.

UnderaSkyofAshLGUnder a Sky of Ash by Brandon Witt
Release Date: March 21, 2016
Pages: 270 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazonARe

More than an decade after leaving Colorado to attend college and escape his past, Isaiah Greene moves back and builds a life in Denver as a special education teacher. When he meets Ben Woods, the mentor of one of his students, the attraction is immediate. The revelations that they’ve both suffered traumatic childhoods form a bond between them.
Raised by an abusive grandmother, Ben is a recovering addict who has made a family with his construction worker boss, Hershel, and Hershel’s husband, Daniel—drag queen ManDonna. Adding Isaiah to his life gives Ben a glimpse of a future he’d never dreamed possible for himself.
Both Isaiah and Ben are survivors, but when guilt drives a wedge between them, the past threatens to end their relationship.
Ben and Isaiah embark on journeys of self-discovery. Though their path will be difficult at times, humor and love find a way to bring light to the darkness.

three-stars

Reading this story was a little eye-opening with the way that relationships come about. Isaiah and Ben must have been destined to be together. Two guys who went through equally traumatizing things at a young age come together for love and happiness. This is my second Brandon Witt book to date. I’m just learning his style and word play I guess. I really enjoyed two of the supporting couples a lot. Hershel and ManDonna were amazing characters, and I loved every minute they were on page. I can say now that I don’t know how I feel about Ben & Isaiah individually. Especially Isaiah, I know what he went through, and how he is now, I don’t think after 12% I really connected with him. I understand Ben and I get his actions on the decisions he made later on in life. I get at 25 why he’s a recovering addict and I get him fighting for his sobriety each and every day.

This story dealt with a lot of things, self discovery being one of the biggest thing. I don’t think Isaiah discovered his true self, maybe in time it would tell. I would have loved Isaiah to have some peace for himself. I’m not sure the guilt of his childhood would ever allow him to show his true self whoever that is. I will say I do like him with Ben, he might be the normalcy Ben yearns for. I did like seeing Ben in his big brother glory. He might be a little unpolished when it comes to being a parental figure, but just him attempting and trying was so worth it.

When the past comes out it’s like a stabbing motion in my chest. I didn’t know what it meant for Ben or Isaiah. So much happens over their shared past it’s hard to see the outcome for these two. I really liked how the author wrote those scenes. They definitely needed to figure out their things by themselves. I literally hated Ben’s grandmother. It was sickening seeing her treating Ben like that. I don’t really know how I feel about Isaiah’s parents. Maybe it was their way of handling the situation, but it’s a scary situation to be in. I just wanted Isaiah to yell, punch, and break stuff. I felt like he needed an outlet. This was a good read for me. Emotional at times, happy at others, and definitely a positive outcome by the end. I’m starting to enjoy Brandon Witt’s writing.

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.