Starting From Scratch by Jay Northcote

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

Starting From Scratch: by Jay Northcote
Series: Housemates #5
Release Date: April 12th, 2017
Pages: 294 • Format: eARC
Published By: JayBird Press
Purchase Links:
Amazon USAmazon UK

Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

Although this book is part of the Housemates series, it has new main characters, a satisfying happy ending, and can be read as a standalone.

four-stars

 

Thank you Jay Northcote. Ben’s story was done really well, and you couldn’t have picked a better mate then Sid. I liked this friends to lovers story. It was very sweet, and endearing. Ben definitely came out of his shell in this book. I truly like how he evolved as a character. He tried so hard to be open to social hangouts, and I thought it was super cute his relationship with his mom.

I learned a lot of information in this book. So many things I didn’t know, and it was very real to read about. I like how informed Ben was in his choices and life. I enjoyed Sid having his doubts, but researching to figure out what to say and do. This actually was growth for both of them. They each changed for the better.

The pace of the story was perfect. Ben is Transgendered, and he is lonely. He wants to be with someone but those fears and doubts create a stopping point each time. Sid is Jude’s ex, but going through his own things, and he’s attracted to Ben at first hang out. I liked the whole talking and courting aspect. This was a developed romance. It had its flaws, and relationship problems, but that’s why its super realistic.

Not to heavy on the angst for me. I think we seem them become to connected to one another. Both experience this relationship for a first time. Both have reactions that are real to the situation. I am loving this series as it gets more along in fact. I really enjoyed this story. Ummm but Jay, you have to write Johnny’s next. No way can we see LACE and not get his story!! Please. I might go back and re-read Dev & Ewan’s because it just popped in my head as I type. LOL. This is a definite recommend folks! Get it and read it!

 

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About Jay Northcote

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

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

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

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

Reclaiming Hope by Shell Taylor

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.

stReclaiming Hope: by Shell Taylor
Series: Home for Hope #3
Release Date:  October 14, 2016
Pages: 210 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAReAmazon

Sequel to Resurrecting Hope

Home for Hope: Book Three

Four years ago, Kollin Haverty’s best friend, Riley Meadows, dropped off the face of the earth. When he shows up out of the blue, armed with a flimsy excuse for disappearing and having nearly completed his transition from female to male, Kollin wants to pick up where they left off. But Riley’s unwillingness to be honest with Kollin prevents him from fully trusting Riley again. Despite Riley’s insecurities and Kollin’s abandonment issues, they quickly discover there’s something more than friendship between them.

When a ghost from Riley’s past unexpectedly appears with haunting memories in tow, Kollin’s anger about being lied to outweighs his desire to be the understanding boyfriend Riley needs. As Riley’s web of strategically withheld secrets begins to unravel, he must find the courage to pursue his own peace before he can move forward with Kollin, and Kollin must decide what’s more important—supporting his best friend or protecting himself.

DNF @ 45%

Man oh man, did I really want to enjoy this. I really liked the first two books in the series, and I requested this off the strength of the author’s writing. I can’t believe I read this far into the book. I was exhausted by 10% in. It was literally like pulling teeth. Extremely tiresome being in Riley’s head. Largely, I feel like this book was forcing Kollin and Riley to be together. Even in the two previous books, they were good friends. I honestly feel like we were forced to read about the them for the sanity of a third book in the series. I would have really liked them with someone help and would have been okay if they were both in this book, but was building a relationship with other people.

Another reason for me not liking the book was Kollin was initially not interested in Riley. I’ve read a few Transgender books now, and their is someone who will love Riley. Kollin’s first mindset was they were friends, and I just didn’t believe the attraction at all. I really think he started something with Riley just because of their past history. I don’t think it’s fair to Riley and not fair to himself. I really would have liked Riley to get himself together before starting a relationship. I just felt at times he wasn’t ready for anyone and wasn’t to happy with himself. He had so many internal issues to work out that a relationship just seems redundant to get into right now.

I really wish, I would have liked this, because I truly did enjoy book 1 & 2, but I found myself tired, and angry by the point of which I decided to stop reading. I do look forward to more from this author though. Really enjoy her realistic feelings, settings and her writing flawed characters. We’re all flawed at the end of the day!

About Shell Taylor

Because love is never wrong… Shell Taylor is a full-time mother of three exuberant and loving kiddos and one fur baby, a tiny but fierce Yorkie-poo named Rocco. As a Christian who practices love, grace, and humility rather than hatred and judgement, she tries her best to instill these same virtues in her rowdy kids. She is a huge comic fan, particularly Marvel, and most of her clothing reflects her obsession. Her favorite way to procrastinate is to binge watch entire seasons on Netflix. Shell was lucky enough to marry the man of her dreams ten years ago and can’t wait to see how the rest of their life together unfolds.

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!