Faking It by Christine d’Abo

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.

Faking It: by Christine D’Abo
Series: Ringside Romance #2
Release Date: May 8th, 2017
Pages: 238 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Max Tremblay should be happy. His night club, Frantic, is one of the most popular gay clubs in Toronto, and his childhood refuge, Ringside Gym, is well on the way to reopening. But when he finds yet another drunk in the alley beside the bar, Max isn’t sure this is the life he truly wants.

Grady Barnes has it all. He’s rich, famous, and wants for nothing. Well, nothing but a good relationship with his father. When he discovers that his father is going to force him into an arranged marriage, Grady has had enough. He tracks down Max, the man who got him to safety after a night of overindulgence, and makes him a proposal: pretend to be his fiancé for two weeks and he’ll invest in Ringside Gym.

When the pair travel to Vancouver to attend a family wedding, the flames of their mutual attraction ignite, and they discover that the only difference between pretend and reality is how well they can fake it.

four-stars

I read this book in sitting. Faking can be read as a standalone in my opinion. Max was in book one, but he stands on an island by himself in this book. He has everything he could ever want, on second thought he knows he’s missing that other half. Grady has everything one can ever want or need. Its all material things of course, he’s by himself on an island by his self. His island deals with self rumination is the name of the game for him. Both guys have problems with their father for different reasons. They need a hug. I’m just saying. Trying to escape from under his father’s hand Grady escapes to Toronto trying to keep a low profile, but fails miserably when it leads him to Max’s bar Frantic.

The chance meeting starts a slippery slope for the two. This is a opposites attraction trope. Grady is a rich beyond means, and never told no of any kind. Max is a regular guy who lends a helping hand just to about anyone. Grady finds how what his father has in store from him, and makes Max an offer. Max really doesn’t need to take the offer, but its something about Grady that calls to him. Its definitely not all physical. I think they are able to get under each other skins means something to both. No one hasn’t even effect each other quite like the other. I liked how Max is so resistant to Grady, but the minute someone oversteps their boundaries he’s this big protective teddy bear. The same with Grady. He realizes Max is something so much more.

They don’t talk much to learn things about one another. They really don’t have the time to properly get to know one another, but the steamy side of the relationship is A-OK. Max & Grady mesh well together in the bedroom. It was hot and steamy at times. When it wasn’t that they were trying to steer things together. But before we know it both guys think that something is happening here, and aren’t ready for it to be real. It takes a while for them to realize what they want. By the end of the story, I’m happy where they are at.

This was a good story. Can’t wait to read Eli’s book! I even despised Justin and wouldn’t mind seeing him with someone. Not Eli though. This was a good addition to the series. Even got to see Zack & Nolan as well. Can’t wait for more!

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About Christine D’Abo

A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

My thoughts on any of my Goodreads reviews are only my opinion as a reader. I don’t post anything here that I’d give less than three stars to.

Concourse 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.

Concourse: by Santino Hassell
Series: Five Boroughs #5
Release Date: May 1st, 2017
Pages: 366 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
Riptide

Ashton Townsend is the most famous celebutante of Manhattan’s glitterati. The black sheep of his wealthy family, he’s known for his club appearances, Instagram account, and sex tape. Most people can’t imagine him wanting for anything, but Ashton yearns for friendship, respect, and the love of his best friend—amateur boxer Valdrin Leka.

Val’s relationship with Ashton is complicated. As the son of Ashton’s beloved nanny, Val has always bounced between resenting Ashton and regarding him as his best friend. And then there’s the sexual attraction between them that Val tries so hard to ignore.

When Ashton flees his glitzy lifestyle, he finds refuge with Val in the Bronx. Between Val’s training for an upcoming fight and dodging paparazzi, they succumb to their need for each other. But before they can figure out what it all means—and what they want to do about it—the world drags them out of their haven, revealing a secret Val has kept for years. Now, Ashton has to decide whether to once again envelop himself in his party-boy persona, or to trust in the only man who’s ever seen the real him.

three-stars

One big circle jerk.

It took me a long time to get into the story. I was bored. It went back and forth with them being idiots. It was a circle of useless things for me. I didn’t feel anything to either character. Wait let me not lie, Chris was involved and others from Ray’s crew. Can’t wait for there stories.

I stopped using the word Thirsty in high school so for me everyone being thirsty or salty was annoying. I’m pretty sure the dialogue from all 5 books will feature some semblance of the same two words.

We know I love Raymond Rodriguez, and I think I’ll pick up any book in the series to get a glimpse of him. That being said this was not it for me. It was the same formula of the previous books. You know I like Hassell realism in his writing, but I really do get tired of the same colloquialisms, backgrounds, and recycled plot drama.

The first half of the story bored me to tears. I liked Ashton in the previous story, but in this one he was a floundering fish. What’s up with all the guys having self esteem issues, and all their family being douche bags? Seriously no one had any supporting family to deal with. I feel like this book was super convoluted mess.

Val & Ashton are friends. They’ve grown up together not by status but more so my happenstance. I’m sitting here wondering why Val could want Ashton. Val seem disinterested in life. He didn’t show not one iota of happiness doing anything to me. I really wanted to know what got his motor going. I’m not just interested in his sexuality, because its his business but outside of that he didn’t seem to have any focus or love doing anything. Jeez, I would rather read Caleb’s book again and again.

Ashton was the typical Hassell character to me. The one who has all the different facades, whose life is really terrible. When its really not. I mean, was he so bored with life that he couldn’t see the passion in certain things he did? Ashton was left out to fend for himself by his family, but instead of using that anger & neglect to be a Boss he decided to just be. I personally wouldn’t do it. He was lifeless at times, and I don’t know if the author wanted him to come off like that, but he did.

Hassell did the one things, I didn’t think he’d ever do: Miscommunication Trope. What the f***? Why? You did not need to do it. Then after you do it, it was anticlimactic as such. Oh no, I take my previous findings about Val out. He showed passion at this point. During the big reveal. **Rolls Eyes**. I think had Ashton found out from Stoic Val then everything would have been copacetic.

I know it reads like I didn’t like anything, but there were some high points for me. I would like to see a different formula for this next book. I get what the series is suppose to be about, but it can’t be the same as the previous book. If so, then the steamy scenes needed to be on Oli & Caleb point. That hot of a scorcher. Oh and Nunzio. **Dreamy Sigh**, liked seeing him.

 

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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.

Embers by Kate Sherwood

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.

Embers: by Kate Sherwood
Series: Common Law, #2
Release Date: Febuary 6th, 2017
Pages: 197 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide
Purchase Links:
RiptideBarnes & Noble

Small town—big problems. Jericho Crewe is back in Mosely, Montana, trying to deal with police corruption, interfering feds, his newly discovered family members, and, of course, Wade Granger.

He doesn’t really need a biker war on top of it all, but as the bodies start to pile up, it becomes pretty clear that’s what he’s got. Not only that, but Wade’s involved somehow, and as soon as Wade is a part of something, things that seemed clear become cloudy.

With the feds breathing down his neck, Jericho has to find his way through Wade’s maze of half truths and manipulations. It would all be so much easier if Jericho could think straight in the other man’s presence. So much easier if their passionate past could be forgotten, and if he could be sure he’s strong enough to resist the temptation of a passionate present.

four-stars

 

Romantic Suspense gives me a damn headache. I know the “suspense, mystery” aspect of the story takes precedent but the romance is harder to find then common sense in this series. I’m being very patience but if this is the formula to romantic suspense then it’s no wonder why I don’t read it.

Now to the story at hand!! Something’s ain’t right. In my heart of hearts I believe Wade is something bigger that what we know. He just seems so fishy to me. I’m not necessarily saying he’s bad, but I believe that he’s going to be on the good side at the end of the day. I’m crossing my fingers on it.

Jericho buddy, what are you getting yourself into? This book picks up a few months after one. Jericho has came home to help the sheriff find corruption. That’s what he thinks, but he always seems to end up at the wrong place at the wrong time. He’s into 4 threads in this book, and wondering what he is doing. On top of dealing with the feds, Kayla, Wade, the other countless possibilities, he’s dealing with Nikki and her shenanigans. I don’t like her at all. She’s nothing but a user, and I understand why he won’t walk away. Those kids, they a little cray cray, but they are his siblings.

Wade has found his way into the middle of this situation yet again. This time he did everything for the benefit of himself. He’s a business man, and kinda reptile like as well. Whatever love Wade & Jericho had, I’m not sure if I trust it enough for the outcome to turn out well.

Hockley may have turned a corner with me, but I don’t put much stock in it just yet. Good thing I have book 3 and 4 from Netgalley to read in the new few weeks. I think this was a good continuation to the series, and I look forward to more!

About Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Working It by Christine D’Abo

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.

Working It: by Christine D’Abo
Series: Ringside Romance #1
Release Date: February 6, 2017
Pages: 247 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
RiptideKobo

Nolan Carmichael is getting a fresh start—new career, new company, new life. The only problem is, he liked his old life just fine . . . until an accident robbed him of his health, his job, his self-confidence, and his ability to go out in public without having anxiety attacks.

Zack Anderson has scared away his last four administrative assistants. So when he hires Nolan on a whim, he’s not too worried, since Nolan will be gone within the week anyway. Two weeks later, Nolan has made himself indispensable, completely reforming Zack’s schedule, life . . . and libido.

But in a company already torn by internal politics, one wrong step could ruin both their careers. And not only are they working to reopen Ringside Gym, Zack’s retreat when he was a troubled teen, but they also can’t help themselves falling for each other. If only the rest of their lives could go as smoothly as things do when they’re alone together.

three-half-stars

 

Dude!!! What happened???? The first half of the story was going extremely well, and then it declined rapidly. Hmm no. That’s not how it was suppose to happen at all. Working it was going well as enemies to lovers story. I recall stating in previous reviews that I don’t like clingy, needy, or PUSHOVERS as characters. I know realistically they are out there, but I really hate it. Nolan was going well as a character, but then at some point, he decided to be a pushover. It’s nothing wrong with it in a committed relationship, but someone like Zach will always be able to pushover a potential lover because he doesn’t have to own up to anything. FFS, it wasn’t that serious, and a day could have waited. I’m just a strong willed woman, and I refuse to accept certain behaviors from people.

Nolan is trying to get a fresh start again in life. After a life altering accident he is willing himself to get back into the world. Dealing with anxiety and panic attacks doesn’t make it easy. He decides to take a job where his skills exceed his skills. Sure he’s skittish at first, but something in him calls to Zach. Difficult Zach, who is super abrasive, demanding, and not a people person at all. Zach seems to have all this pent up frustration and anger inside of him. He’s super demanding, and doesn’t seem to have a heart. With all these qualities, I had to stop to think what about Nolan called to him. Why, Nolan? He was on the cusp of an anxiety attack during their first meeting. It couldn’t be attraction, because both stated numerous times how they weren’t each other types. Not knowing each of Zach’s backstory I can only presume that besides Nolan being the opposite of him, he’s always never cared for someone. This is something that I wish the author would have wrote about. I would have loved to see a backstory on Zach. I can definitely see when the chemistry between the two started, sure it moved fairly quickly. I do think professional wise that they work wonders together. It shows a glimpse of how they could be personally. I really loved seeing the difference between Zach and his careers. The CTO job is just a stepping stone to something he loves. The Boxing gym that saved his life is something that he is putting his blood, sweat, and tears into. I think seeing more of this in a potential epilogue would have garnered a higher rating from me. 

I didn’t like the Miranda obstacle in the story. That sentence seems a little mean, but that story line did nothing for the story. I don’t like filler information, and I didn’t gain anything from it. Zach’s reaction to the situation was spot on. I’m still confused on what the author was trying to show with it. It didn’t help at all. **Sigh**, the L word was used at the end. Do I think it was to early? Yes, these two have a lot to work on, and we didn’t get to see them grow at all. All in all, I thought it started off really well, but declined around the 50% part of the story. I will read book two. This was an ok read for me.

About Christine D’Abo

A romance novelist and short story writer, Christine has over thirty publications to her name. She loves to exercise and stops writing just long enough to keep her body in motion too. When she’s not pretending to be a ninja in her basement, she’s most likely spending time with her family and two dogs.

My thoughts on any of my Goodreads reviews are only my opinion as a reader. I don’t post anything here that I’d give less than three stars to.

Long Shadows by Kate Sherwood

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.

Long Shadows: by Kate Sherwood
Series:Common Law, #1
Release Date: January 2, 2017
Pages: 184 • Format: eARC
Published By: Riptide Publishing
Purchase Links:
Riptide

LA cop Jericho Crewe got the hell out of Mosely, Montana, when he was seventeen. Fifteen years later, he’s back, and everything is just as messed up as when he left. He planned a quick visit to deal with his injured father, but of course things are never that simple. Family complications, police complications, social complications—and, as always, Wade Granger complications.

Jericho and Wade had been so close, once upon a time. First friends, then more than friends—and then, after Jericho’s escape, nothing. Wade’s magnetism hasn’t been lessened by a decade and a half apart; even when Jericho learns that Wade is the prime suspect in the death of Jericho’s father, the old connection still sparks.

When Jericho’s newly discovered half siblings are kidnapped, he needs to trust someone to help him find them. Wade’s a terrible choice, but Jericho’s never been known for his good judgment. Anyway, he’d rather make a bad decision with Wade than a good one with anybody else.

three-half-stars

I’ve read a few books by this author, and always felt like her and I don’t get along. I can never mesh well together when I read her books. When I saw the cover for this book on Netgalley, I immediately wanted to click it. I did click it, and was super happy. I had to tell myself it doesn’t matter how I feel about her past books, but only this one. I’m not a fan of the romantic suspense genre. It just doesn’t work for me. I prefer mystery/thriller and the romance doesn’t even have to play a part. I should not have been worried, because I liked this story. There is no romance in this first book, I’m sure book two will probably see something but Jericho and Wade have a lot of soul searching to do by then.

Jericho left Mosely 15 years ago and never looked back. I liked Jericho as a character. He had his little flaws, but he wanted to prove to people and himself that leaving Mosely was the best thing he could do for himself. He’s successful in his own way, but one can never forget their first love. Enter Wade Granger. All around criminal and bad guy. Yet, by the end of the story I’m not so sure about Wade’s character. He seems to good hearted to be a full blown criminal and bad enough to want to hurt Jericho for leaving him behind. I’m still trying to figure them out.

I did enjoy the pacing of the story. I really liked the mystery element to the story. I’m not so sure about everyone’s motives at this point, but it was only book 1 and I’m sure by book 4 everything will be much clearer. I’m proud that I allowed myself to give Kate Sherwood another try. This goes to show you that every book doesn’t have to work for you, but you never know what might be good for someone else. If you like suspenseful stories, and a good love connection/background between two characters then this is your book. Definitely recommend this book.

About Kate Sherwood

Kate Sherwood started writing about the same time she got back on a horse after almost twenty years away from riding. She’d like to think she was too young for it to be a midlife crisis, but apparently she was ready for some changes!

Kate grew up near Toronto, Ontario (Canada) and went to school in Montreal, then Vancouver. But for the last decade or so she’s been a country girl. Sure, she misses some of the conveniences of the city, but living close to nature makes up for those lacks. She’s living in Ontario’s “cottage country”–other people save up their time and come to spend their vacations in her neighborhood, but she gets to live there all year round!

Since her first book was published in 2010, she’s kept herself busy with novels, novellas, and short stories in almost all the sub-genres of m/m romance. Contemporary, suspense, scifi or fantasy–the settings are just the backdrop for her characters to answer the important questions. How much can they share, and what do they need to keep? Can they bring themselves to trust someone, after being disappointed so many times? Are they brave enough to take a chance on love?

Kate’s books balance drama with humor, angst with optimism. They feature strong, damaged men who fight themselves harder than they fight anyone else. And, wherever possible, there are animals: horses, dogs, cats ferrets, squirrels… sometimes it’s easier to bond with a non-human, and most of Kate’s men need all the help they can get.

After five years of writing, Kate is still learning, still stretching herself, and still enjoying what she does. She’s looking forward to sharing a lot more stories in the future.

Glass Tidings by Amy Jo Cousins

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.

glass-tidingsGlass Tidings: by Amy Jo Cousins
Series: 2016 Holiday Charity Bundle
Release Date: December 5th, 2016
Pages: 226 • Format: eARC
Published By:
Purchase Links:
RiptideAmazon

Eddie Rodrigues doesn’t stay in one place long enough to get attached. The only time he broke that rule, things went south fast. Now he’s on the road again, with barely enough cash in his pocket to hop a bus south after his (sort-of-stolen) car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, Midwest, USA.

He’s fine. He’ll manage. Until he watches that girl get hit by a car and left to die.

Local shop owner Grayson Croft isn’t in the habit of doing people any favors. But even a recluse can’t avoid everyone in a town as small as Clear Lake. And when the cop who played Juliet to your Romeo in the high school play asks you to put up her key witness for the night, you say yes.

Now Gray’s got a grouchy glass artist stomping around his big, empty house, and it turns out that he . . . maybe . . . kind of . . . likes the company.

But Eddie Rodrigues never sticks around.

Unless a Christmas shop owner who hates the season can show an orphan what it means to have family for the holidays.

 

three-stars

 

You guys, I really tried! So much angst, and I can’t live for this.

 

This was suppose to be my second take with Amy Jo Cousins, I have stayed CLEARED away from her since Off Campus. Off Campus was way too angsty for my taste. I’m a chicken. I don’t deal well with angst. Glass Tidings was so hard for me to get through. I kinda got defeated midpoint through the story. I LOATHED the non communication between these two. It was so much internal dialogue, and not enough dialogue between the characters. This is no way in shape form against Cousins, since its her style and people rock with it. It’s just me and my taste doesn’t sway that way.

Because of so much internal monologue going on, I don’t know if I really like Eddie & Gray. I mean, overall I think them enough, but it could be because I wanted the story to be over. Both guys are dealing with internal measures. Eddie is basically a grifter and meets Gray because of witnessing a accident. Gray is a loner, and is okay being a loner. Eddie is a products of the system and for him he doesn’t believe that people do anything for the goodness of their heart. Gray is still reeling from being left from a past lover.

This was definitely a slow burn romance. It took a long time for them to take any step towards romance. It was a lot of walking around each other in circles and the copious amount of internal monologue. It was a bit emotional and so freaking intense, but I think that has to do with the angst. I can’t recommend this for my reading pleasure, because I didn’t like it as much as I expected. It might be perfect for people who enjoy this writing style, and the way the author weaves a story.

About Amy Jo Cousins

Amy Jo Cousins lives in Chicago, where she writes contemporary romance, tweets more than she ought, and sometimes runs way too far. She loves her boy and the Cubs, who taught her that being awesome doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with winning.