Pins and Needles by A.J. Thomas

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.

Pins and Needles: by A.J. Thomas
Release Date: August 25th, 2017
Pages: 300 • Format: eARC
Published By:Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner

The truth is rarely seen on the surface, and getting to it might mean digging deep….

After a devastating accident and a long stay in the hospital, the last thing petroleum engineer Sean Wilkinson wants to deal with is the settlement the oil company tries to force on him. He’ll never be able to work in his field again, his education is all but useless, and his surgeons are pessimistic about whether he’ll ever walk again. He needs someone in his corner, but most lawyers take one look at his tattoo-covered foster father and turn their backs. It’s just Sean’s luck that the one attorney willing to give him a chance is also the hottest guy he’s ever seen.

As a trial lawyer, Nate Delany has a lot to prove—to his father, the world, and himself. Sean intrigues Nate, and he struggles to reconcile the gifted tattoo artist he can’t stop fantasizing about with the quiet, brilliant engineer. His investigation reveals facts left out of the accident report—including an illicit affair, greedy coworkers, and a vicious corporation that will do anything to protect its bottom line. When Sean’s life is threatened, winning Sean’s case, and his heart, becomes a lot more dangerous.

four-stars

 

I enjoyed Pins and Needles a lot. I’m kinda shocked because it was a true slow burn with the romance. It was minimum at best, and the plot was really informative. To be honest, what first drew me to the story was the blurb. Felt very real, and something that I haven’t read a billion times over now. I deserve a cookie of some sort because whenever I hear the word FRACKING my eyes usually glaze over and I become distracted by something else. I’ve heard it on countless political shows, movies, court shows and everything else. Never would have imagined it to be in my reads but this was good. It was different and I loved the buildup for the romance.

Nate and Sean together were very good for one another. Each guy is lacking in the personal romance and real life feels. I like that they were so different from one another, but totally compromising and interesting to the other. Nate made me fall for him so much more. Always been the outcast from his uber conservative family decides to take a stand, and be his own man. Not caring what his father thinks, he branches out on his own. His very first case is against a multimillionaire company and their employee. Sean’s life hasn’t been easy at all. Never having the love he’s had from parents he’s like a lost boy. Not realizing the entire time he’s had all the love from Hawk that he could ever want. We really don’t know the real Sean. I think because he’s always been second choice to his mother the only way he can survive is by adapting to his surrounding. That’s heartbreaking in itself.

The plot for this story was so thoroughly researched and written really well. I learned some new things, and loved how it was intertwined with the romance. Yes the plot was more then the romance, and normally it would be an issue for me, but every single piece was important for the story. It made complete sense in the end. I really enjoyed the side characters. Hawk & Tonya were really good for Sean’s soul. I love how tattooing brought Sean & Nate on another level. Loved seeing Nate’s ruthlessness come out when he turned his professional face on. Sean was spectacular in himself as well.

All in all, I thought this was a really good solid story. Excellent writing and story telling. A definite slow burn with the romance. I mean really, really, really slow burn. If you can’t handle it then skip it. The story actually has substance so be prepared to actually be wow’d. I look forward to more books from Thomas.

 

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The Lawrence Browne Affair by Cat Sebastian

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 Lawrence Browne Affair: by Cat Sebastian
Release Date: February 7th, 2017
Pages: 352 • Format: eARC
Published By: Avon Impulse
Purchase Links:
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An earl hiding from his future . . .

Lawrence Browne, the Earl of Radnor, is mad. At least, that’s what he and most of the village believes. A brilliant scientist, he hides himself away in his family’s crumbling estate, unwilling to venture into the outside world. When an annoyingly handsome man arrives at Penkellis, claiming to be Lawrence’s new secretary, his carefully planned world is turned upside down.

A swindler haunted by his past . . .

Georgie Turner has made his life pretending to be anyone but himself. A swindler and con man, he can slip into an identity faster than he can change clothes. But when his long-dead conscience resurrects and a dangerous associate is out for blood, Georgie escapes to the wilds of Cornwall. Pretending to be a secretary should be easy, but he doesn’t expect that the only madness he finds is the one he has for the gorgeous earl.

Can they find forever in the wreckage of their lives?

Challenging each other at every turn, the two men soon give into the desire that threatens to overwhelm them. But with one man convinced he is at the very brink of madness and the other hiding his real identity, only true love can make this an affair to remember.

four-half-stars

Alright now, Cat this is 2 for 2 for me with your stories. I enjoyed the Soldier’s Scoundrel, but I really really liked this book. Georgie and Lawrence were hot like fire. The chemistry and adoration between these two were astounding. This book is in the same world as book one, but can be read as a standalone. Georgie is a con man but with a conscience. Lawrence is the mad Lord of the town who is scientific genius. They push each other buttons continuously, and I can feel the connection on page.

I really liked what the author did by having them be completely different towards each other, but have some of the same similarities of comfort with one another. Georgie needs to lay low for a while so he escapes to another town and poses as a secretary. Its not so far fetched since he knows how to do honest work, he just prefers conning. He is employed with Lord Radnor, and its frustrating, he’s infuriating, ungrateful, and downright mean at times. Well a little discomfort doesn’t hurt Georgie, in fact he is the ideal person to deal with the madman of the village. Georgie is falling and fighting his feelings on the same accord when it comes to Lawrence. He isn’t a bad guy per say, he is just prone to loud outbursts, and bouts of craziness according to Lawrence and the men in his family. The only way to be safe is to isolate himself from people, and his last living relatives. He stays coupe up in his family’s’ estate that he let go to hell. He things that if he stays away from people then they won’t have to deal with him. He lives on ham sandwiches, and apples from the only two servants that he allows to stay on at the house.

I am not usually one for slow burns, but this was much needed. The slow burn added on top of all the copious amounts of attraction that Lawrence and Georgie had for one another. Another kudos to the author for keeping the authenicty and dialogue up to reflect the period of time.

I found myself laughing at times, and tearing up at other. I thought the author did another great job with these characters. I think I enjoyed this one better then the first. The chemistry between the two was real. I liked the pacing, plot, and overall feeling that this story had. I do love regency romances, and Cat Sebastian can add herself to my auto-buy list as of now. I can’t wait for the third book in this series. I did love him in this book. Highly recommend this series!

About Cat Sebastian

Cat writes steamy, upbeat historical romances. They usually take place in the Regency, generally have at least one LGBTQ+ main character, and always have happy endings.

Before writing, Cat was a lawyer and a teacher. She enjoys crossword puzzles, geeking out over birds, gardening badly, and–of course–reading. In high school, her parents went away for a week, and instead of throwing raucous parties, Cat read Middlemarch. Even worse, Cat remembers little of a trip through Europe because she was busy reading Mansfield Park. Her proudest moment was when she realized her kids were shaping up to be hopeless bookworms too. Currently, her favorite genres are romance, mystery and fantasy.

Cat lives with her husband, three kids, and dog in an improbably small house. After growing up in the northeast, she now lives in a part of the south where every body of water seems to contain alligators or sharks, and every restaurant serves biscuits and gravy. She likes the biscuits, but not so much the alligators.

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.