Wildflowers by Suki Fleet

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.

wildflowersWildflowers by Suki Fleet
Release Date: July 13, 2016
Pages: 80 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
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Xavi doesn’t believe in love anymore. Love has never changed the outcome of anything. It has only hurt him. 

Sam is sick, and he wants one last thing. He wants Xavi to be with him, to stay with him until the end. Xavi drops everything and promises Sam he will be there. 

As they travel across the countryside in a stolen sea-green Cadillac, they search for something neither has the courage to admit he’s looking for. But as the days slip away, Xavi isn’t sure he can keep his promise; he isn’t sure about anything. He can’t help Sam do this. He can’t stand by and watch Sam suffer, can’t be content to let Sam give up. 

Saving Sam becomes the only thing that makes any sense, the only thing Xavi wants. Loving Sam becomes the most important promise he will ever make. Now he just has to convince Sam that life—and love—are worth fighting for.

five-stars

There are first times for everything and this will be a first for me. I truly short review because I lack the words or the willpower to not fangirl and lose sight of what’s important.

I love Suki’s work. There is this ethereal feeling I get when I read her words and what they do to me.

Wildflowers was perfection. It was angst and beauty. It was painfully with its sorrow. It was gorgeously filled with regret and it was amazing.

Wildflowers is a story about a boy who doesn’t want to be alone. It’s a story about overcoming your fears and letting down walls. It’s a story about letting the what if’s become a reality.

It’s a story that make me sob so much I joked with a friend that my Nook turned into an arc and floated away on a sea made of my tears.

I cried. Oh how I cried but those tears were of mixed emotions for Xavi and Sam… oh Sam. Just so much in this short story and I loved it.

It was amazing and worth it.

So much love for the boys. So much love for Judy. So much love for Joe and so much love for Suki.

This book is angsty AF but if you don’t feel when you read, why read at all.

Oh and I was listening to music as I read and this song, the lyrics… just work for this, for me.

Okay.

Rambling ginger… out.

About Suki Fleet

Suki Fleet grew up on a boat and as a small child spent a lot of time travelling at sea with her family. She has always wanted to be a writer. As a kid she told ghost stories to scare people, but stories about romance were the ones that inspired her to sit down and write. She doesn’t think she’ll ever stop writing them.

Her novel This is Not a Love Story won Best Gay Debut in the 2014 Rainbow Awards and is currently a finalist in the 2015 Lambda Awards.

You can contact Suki at sukifleet@gmail.com she’d love to hear from you.

Pressure Head by J.L. Merrow

pressure-headPressure Head by J.L. Merrow
Series: The Plumber’s Mate, Book One
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Pages: 279 • Format: ebook
Published By: Samhain Publishing Ltd.
Purchase Links:
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Some secrets are better left hidden.

To most of the world, Tom Paretski is just a plumber with a cheeky attitude and a dodgy hip, souvenir of a schoolboy accident. The local police keep his number on file for a different reason—his sixth sense for finding hidden things.

When he’s called in to help locate the body of a missing woman up on Nomansland Common, he unexpectedly encounters someone who resurrects a host of complicated emotions. Phil Morrison, Tom’s old school crush, now a private investigator working the same case. And the former bully partly responsible for Tom’s injury.

The shocks keep coming. Phil is now openly gay, and shows unmistakable signs of interest. Tom’s attraction to the big, blond investigator hasn’t changed—in fact, he’s even more desirable all grown up. But is Phil’s interest genuine, or does he only want to use Tom’s talent?

As the pile of complicated evidence surrounding the woman’s murder grows higher, so does the heat between Tom and Phil. But opening himself to this degree exposes Tom’s heart in a way he’s not sure he’s ready for…while the murderer’s trigger finger is getting increasingly twitchy.

Warning: Contains a flirtatious plumber with hidden talents, a cashmere-clad private investigator with hidden depths, and an English village chock full of colourful characters with plenty to hide.

five-stars

Who is an ass for waiting so long to read this book? *raises hand* Why hasn’t someone smacked my ginger self and told me how much I would love Tom and Phil? Ugh. Love is a light word to describe how I feel about those two and this book.

Tom Paretski has a talent, a talent for finding hidden things and well, water. His talents lend to his day job as a plumber and his side job as a consultant for the police department. When he is called out on a case to find a missing girl, he comes face to face with is crush from his youth and the jerk who created all kinds of trouble for Tom, aka Phil Morrison. OMG! Seriously? Merrow has gone and created one of my favorite types of characters; the redeemable asshole, and made me fall for him so fast regardless of his jerk antics.

Goodness this book was everything and then some. It has unrequited love on both sides, it has mystery, it has UST, it has witty and quirky banter, intimacy, humor, romance and just… yeah. This book is, was and forever will be everything and it’s now one of my all-time favorites.

So Tom and his crush, Phil meet again. Tom holds a grudge and a flame for Phil but knowing that Phil was part of the accident that put Tom in hospital and hurt him badly, makes you not wanna like Phil at all. BUT, redeemable assholes need their place in romance because they usually turn out to be smooth and swoony to the point of turning me to goo. Yup, Phil has the goo talent.

Phil is private investigator who is working the same case where he meets Tom again. He doesn’t really believe in Tom’s talent but decides to ask him on a view visits to folks who may be hiding something and that something could solve this latest murder. I loved the visits and the menagerie of suspects we meet along the way. What a colorful cast of characters this book has. I mean, Tom’s reaction to Robin East was awkward but adorably hilarious and Tom… that man is so clueless it’s endearing AF!

I really am trying to gather words that make sense to tell you how awesome this book was. To tell you I usually have figure out who done it with mysteries but I was so wrapped up in the stellar story telling that I let the book play out and went with it. I was so wrapped up in Tom and Phil that when we find out what Phil is hiding it kicked me straight in the feels. I was kinda expecting it to go along those lines but when Tom says “But—I thought you hated me!” and we get Phil’s reaction???? Cue the feels and shred my heart because that was so freaking intense. Yup, if I didn’t like Phil before, that right there made me adore him beyond the beyond.

So this book, it was oh so good! The mystery was mysterious. The romance was romantic. The humor was hilarious and the men were on point to make me smile and melt many times over.

I am so happy I finally read this and giddy that I have more books read with Tom and Phil. How is it possible to ever get enough of them?

Shhhh! That was rhetorical….*grins*

 

 

About J.L. Merrow

JL Merrow is that rare beast, and English person who refuses to drink tea. She read Natural Sciences at Cambridge, where she learned many things, chief amongst which was that she never wanted to see the inside of a lab ever again. Her one regret is that she never mastered the ability of punting one-handed whilst holding a glass of champagne.

She writes across genres, with a preference for contemporary gay romance and and mysteries, and is frequently accused of humour. Her novel Slam! won the 2013 Rainbow Award for Best LGBT Romantic Comedy and her novella Muscling Through and novel Relief Valve were both EPIC Awards Finalists.

JL Merrow is a member of the Romantic Novelists’ Association, International Thriller Writers, Verulam Writers’ Circle and the UK GLBTQ Fiction Meet organising team.

The Scholar’s Heart by Antonia Aquilante

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.

ScholarsHeartLGThe Scholar’s Heart by Antonia Aquilante
Series: Chronicles of Tournai, Book Three
Release Date: May 30, 2016
Pages: 294 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
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Youngest son of a royal duke, Etan is a scholar at heart who juggles his work for the prince with his studies of the history and legends of Tournai, something of particular interest to him because he shares the magical Talent that runs in the royal bloodline. Etan’s peaceful world turns upside down when his best friend—the man he secretly loves—unexpectedly marries a woman. Though Tristan values his friendship with Etan and has always been attracted to him, he is a dutiful son, raised to shoulder responsibility for the family business one day. That day comes far sooner than anticipated, and he makes a deathbed promise to his father to marry the woman his father chose and become head of the company and family.

A year later, Tristan is a widower with an infant daughter and a mother who demands he marry again quickly—something Tristan resists. Circumstances throw Etan and Tristan together, and even as they succumb to the desires they’ve always harbored, Etan battles his feelings, wary of being cast aside again. When Tristan’s daughter is kidnapped, Etan and Tristan must come together to find her, find the person responsible, and support each other through the ordeal… and maybe beyond.

four-half-stars

When I first met Tristan in The Prince’s Consort, I knew I needed his story. When book two came out and it wasn’t Tristan’s story I was a bit disappointed and while I bought the book, I wasn’t exactly ready to read more about Cathal. But when I saw this, I was so damn happy and couldn’t wait to read it.

Now, having read book one but not book two I will say that you can read this as a stand alone but both couples from the previous books do show up and it is nice to have their back story and after saying  that… I need to go back and see just how Cathal redeemed himself, but anyway.

I am in love with this story and I can’t contain myself as I write this. I want to say all the things and tell Tristan that what he has wanted has always been in front of him if he’d just took a longer look and to sit and read with Etan in the library because books really are better than people most of the time. I just want to go back to page one and read this all over again because it was that good.

This is my kind of story, unrequited love. Ugh. I can’t say enough how much this is one of my most favorite tropes and from the beginning we know that Etan is head over heels for his friend Tristan and just when he gets up the courage to do something about it, Tristan announces he is being forced to marry.

Flash forward, a year later and we learn that Tristan’s wife has died in childbirth and left him a widower and a single father. When Etan learns of this, he isn’t quite sure how he is to handle it as he has distanced himself from his friend after his marriage yet duty aside, Etan will be there to pay his respects.

Goodness, the first encounter with these two was emotional and that is saying a lot as we don’t get much of them together on page before then but you feel it. I love that we get a dual POV in this story as I needed to know exactly what each man was thinking. I needed to know how Tristan was going to handle Etan’s feelings and when Etan would let them be known.

Oh boy.

Yeah. How that all plays out was so damn good, so damn sexy and so damn emotional. This book, it’s full of the kind of angst that I am a goner for. I love the angst that comes along with the will they/won’t they feelings as well as the “I am totes in love with you but I am gonna play it cool to guard my heart” kind of angst and this had it in spades. I loved being on this journey with Tristan and Etan; seeing their feelings go through a myriad of changes as they not only learn to be friends once again but become lovers. From eye contact across rooms to confessions in libraries, hallways, birthday parties and ones meant for doorsteps… each new emotion confirmed and revealed had my heart in my throat and me holding my breath.

It was wonderful to see Amory and Phillip again and get their POV’s. I loved Tristan’s talent and his reaction to learning Etan’s talent was so swoony (but I just wished we could have seen more of it as we did with Phillip and Amory) though the reason he learns it was anything but. The whole deal with Tristan’s mother made me angry and though it lead to a central part of the story line – the kidnapping-  she wasn’t in the story as much as I thought she would be. Tristan’s mother is a brute who was blessed with wonderful sons she doesn’t deserve at all. Nope.

As per the norm, I am rambling along… oops.

The Scholar’s Heart is a wonderful story where best friends learn the true meaning of friendship and how they can reap the benefits of it turning into love. It’s a story of romantic love and familial love that took me out of a book sort of slump and had me reading was passed my bed time because I couldn’t put it down. It’s simply a wonderful story and I hope the series continues because there a few men, even women, I would love to see get a HEA.

About Antonia Aquilante

Antonia Aquilante has been making up stories for as long as she can remember, and at the age of twelve, decided she would be a writer when she grew up. After many years and a few career detours, she has returned to that original plan. Her stories have changed over the years, but one thing has remained consistent – they all end in happily ever after.

She has a fondness for travel (and a long list of places she wants to visit and revisit), taking photos, family history, fabulous shoes, baking treats which she shares with friends and family, and of course reading. She usually has at least two books started at once and never goes anywhere without her Kindle. Though she is a convert to ebooks, she still loves paper books the best, and there are a couple thousand of them residing in her home with her.

Born and raised in New Jersey, she is living there again after years in Washington, DC, and North Carolina for school and work. She enjoys being back in the Garden State but admits to being tempted every so often to run away from home and live in Italy.

She is a member of the Romance Writers of America, the New Jersey Romance Writers, and the Rainbow Romance Writers.

Happy by Chris Scully

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.

HappyLGHappy by Chris Scully
Release Date: March 30, 2016
Pages: 147 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press
Purchase Links:
DreamspinnerAmazon • ARe

Growing up Greek-Canadian, Peter Georgiou always knew his duty was to his family, for whom twenty-first century rules don’t apply. In his early thirties, Peter still lives at home, dates who his parents tell him to, and works at the family restaurant. But watching his two best friends find happiness in each other’s arms has made him worry over his destiny.

When Louie Papadakis returns home to nurse his broken heart and start a new life, he can’t believe his sister is dating his high school crush, Peter. There’s a sadness behind Peter’s eyes that draws him in, and a chemistry he wishes he could ignore. After his closeted ex broke his heart, Louie is afraid to fall in love again, especially with a man who’s keeping secrets.

As Peter finds himself drawn to Louie in unexpected ways, old and new worlds collide. Then a family crisis forces Peter’s hand, and he must decide if he’s willing to sacrifice his happiness for family duty.

four-half-stars

 

Chris Scully is an author I have come to associate with comfort, a really sexy comfort. Her stories are so easy to slip into and fall in love with the characters, and Happy did just that for me.

What would that be like? To do what you wanted? What made you happy?

We meet Peter as he is struggling at a party, he is struggling with life decisions and struggling to not perv on his best friends as they make out under a window.  You see, Peter is not out to anyone in his social circle, his family or even to his girlfriend.  Yup, you read that right, Peter has a girlfriend who he has zero sexual interest in but their Greek mothers set them up and when you are a good boy… sigh.

We get to meet Louie soon after as his sister, and Peter’s “girlfriend” ask him for a favor… to pick up Peter from said party. The best thing about Louie? He used to crush hard on Peter in High School and when he sees adult Peter, the crush comes back full force.

I adored the hell out of Peter and Louie. I loved that there was an instant attraction but Louie figured Peter for straight, I mean he IS dating his sister, and that Peter had to deny the attraction to Louie for a number of reasons. None of the reasons I was happy with, because they were so cute from the get go,  but happy is the name of this book and I would wait for us all to get there.

Louie, how could I not love a man who still holds unrequited love for the sexy football player from high school with the mullet? That description of Peter could well be MY husband in high school, complete with a mullet and holding the attention of boys and girls as he strutted his stuff on the field. But Louie, his crush on adult Peter is swoon worthy though maddening because Louie thinks Peter is with his sister and you don’t crush on your sister’s boyfriend, unless…

Mmm Hmm.

You know how it can be with family—they mean well, but sometimes you get so tangled up in it, in what they want, that you can’t ever get free.

I get that some readers will not understand Peter’s choices though for me, they weren’t that overly dramatic. I guess it’s my self-proclaimed love for boys in the closet that make it not a big deal for me but I adored Peter. I loved being in his head as he tried to figure out a way to be himself and not hurt his family. I am married to man whose family is not as dramatic as Peter’s Greek one but still a family that loves their ethnic traditions and attempt to demand the family live as per the “rules”.  So, I got that too with Peter coming home after his father’s heart attack, leaving the life he was building for himself to take care of his family, to do what is expected and what is right. Ugh. I respected him for that because it takes a strong person to do so, a coward would stay away and not deal with it at all.  I loved that there was character growth with Peter, that he took chances and that when it meant something to him, when he found someone who meant enough to him, the laid it all on the line and took a chance.

ACK! I loved seeing Adam and Joe again. It took me a bit to realize exactly who they were though I spent the each moment they came on page thinking, “Why do they seem SO familiar?” and then it hit me. Inseparable was my first book from Chris Scully and I was thrilled that Adam and Joe showed up and that they are still so damn in love with one another.

But anyway.

Happy is a moderately angsty love story about two men who have both left their lives to come home and start over in one way or another. There is a  line from The Wizard of Oz that kept playing in my head as I read Louie and Peter deal with their romance and while these two live a few blocks away, the sweet sentiment is present in this story and it has made me on hell of a happy reader.

If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn’t there….then I never really lost it to begin with.

–Dorothy Gale, The Wizard of Oz

 

About Chris Scully

CHRIS SCULLY lives in Toronto, Canada where she grew up spinning romantic stories in her head. When the tedium of a corporate day job grew too much, she took a chance and found her creative escape in writing. Always searching for something different, she has discovered a home in M/M romance and strives to give her characters the happy endings they deserve.

Chris would love to hear from readers at: cscully@bell.net.

Stuck on Rewind by Dianne Hartstock

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.

stuckonrewind_800Stuck on Rewind by Dianne Hartstock
Release Date: March 15, 2016
Pages: 33 • Format: eARC
Published By: Pride Publishing
Purchase Links:
PrideAmazon • Kobo

Can Ashton let go of his jealousy and be the friend and lover that Lance needs?

Ashton has been in love with his best friend for years, watching him grow from a pretty high school boy to the gorgeous erotic dancer at the club where they both work. The problem is that Lance enjoys the attention of a variety of men while Ashton wants him for his very own.

After a day spent denying his attraction for Lance, standing by while their friend Trey openly flirts with him, Ashton decides it’s time to make his move or risk losing his man forever. Once Lance knows how he feels he’ll realize they should be together. Or is it already too late?

Publisher’s Note: This book has previously been released elsewhere. It has been revised and re-edited for re-release with Pride Publishing.

three-half-stars

 

You keep making the same mistake. You can’t have the man you want, so you try over and over with these other guys. You’re stuck on rewind….

Me and unrequited love we are tight and we go way back. We go back to a town named Shermer, Illinois created by the king of unrequited 80’s teen angst love stories, John Hughes. The man introduced me to what I felt most of my young life; having a crush on someone who would never return the feelings. So when I see a story that starts with one MC wanting the other but the wanted MC doesn’t know or hasn’t voiced their feelings? I am on that faster than you can cut drunk Caroline’s hair from a closed door.

Short story, short review.

It would be incredible to wake up with Lance every morning and make love to him. But he sternly reminded himself that they were only friends…

Ashton is in love with his best friend since high school and roommate, Lance. Ashton and Lance engage in a bit of foreplay with one another but it stops there. Ashton is semi involved and doesn’t do boys on the side and Lance, well Lance won’t give up his side pieces either so foreplay is where it ends. But Ashton, he wants Lance so damn bad that his want made me want and the flirting made me squirm and the denial made me groan “why?!” at my Nook wanting them to give in… ugh.

But what he wouldn’t give to have Ashton belong to him. To be able to make love to his gorgeous body and take care of his heart…

Thankfully, we get a dual POV in this story so we know where each man is coming from. Oh Lance, you sexy boy who dances in fishnets and pumps you need to speak up!

This is heavy on the UST and sexual thoughts on bringing that tension to a release. I’m totes okay with all that and these two being of the Prince Persuasion (sings, “You sexy motherf**ker),but the feels I got, the emotions that came with the sexual tension, I wanted more of those too! It would have been amazing to see the building of the friendship to the new feelings blossoming and these two friends, becoming lovers.

Ahh… but I do have one gripe… the end? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? I was squirming in my chair and I got that? *grumbles* Still, this was a sweet and very sexy short friends to lovers story and though I liked everything that I got, I really wanted more.  That’s never a bad thing.

 

 

About Dianne Hartsock

After growing up in California and spending the first ten years of marriage in Colorado, I now live in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with my incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours I spend hunched over the keyboard letting my characters play.

I have to say, Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house while it pours rain outside, a fire crackles on the hearth inside, and a cup of hot coffee warms my hands which kindles my imagination.

The intricate and fragile nature of the mind is always fascinating. Having worked with the public through various careers I’ve come to respect the resilience and strength of the human spirit. I’m always trying to capture that spirit in my writing.

Currently, I work as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for me. When not writing, I can express myself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

The Winter Prince by R. Cooper

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.

WinterPrince[The]LG

The Winter Prince by R. Cooper  
Release Date: February 24, 2016  
Pages: 147 • Format: eARC
Published By: Dreamspinner Press 
Purchase Links:
Dreamspinner Amazon • ARe

His heart stolen by a powerful pari’s magic, a young prince’s veins slowly fill with ice. That is what the stories say. Three years have passed since, and all efforts to save Kişin have failed. He won’t survive another winter. To save the prince’s life, Razin, the court wizard and Kişin’s childhood friend, plans to seek out the pari. But unbeknownst to Razin, Kişin’s heart was never stolen; he gave it freely to escape the pain of impossible love—his love for Razin.

Razin won’t accept Kişin’s fate, for reasons obvious to anyone who knows anything of love. Kişin agrees to the desperate quest, out of duty and a need to protect Razin. But it isn’t long before Razin realizes saving his prince will require more than simply retrieving his heart. Razin will have to convince him to want it.

four-half-stars

This would be his third winter without a heart. He hoped it might be his last.

I am a sucker for a friends to lovers story but when you toss in a double unrequited love… *swoon* We have a ginger down! I repeat, we have a ginger down.

We meet Kişin as he is waiting to meet his newest suitor, the latest to come and attempt to win the hand, but never the heart, of the Winter Prince. But Kişin, he is beyond apathetic about the whole deal, unsure of why they find him so attractive when he lacks the ability to love them. Sure, he’ll do his duty as the prince, if he survives the next winter or if he is forced to move to a warmer climate, further away from the love he wants.

From the blurb, we know Kişin has given his heart away freely to the pari of The Black Mountains because he is not allowed to love whom he wants, his best friend Razin. But when Razin finds out that his “dull Arrow” had given his heart away and it wasn’t stolen and that his friend is dying as the ice slowly fills his veins, he suggests that Kişin and he journey together to find the pari and get his heart back.

Ugh.

The fact that Kişin is in love with Razin and Razin has no clue killed me. It’s always that way for me with unrequited love and I held my breath throughout their journey.

I loved being with the men as they traveled together. As Razin tried to figure out WTF was up with Kişin and why he would do something like willingly give his heart away. All the things Kişin did as Kasan to save himself from not being able to love his friend, it just hurt my heart and when they encounter a winged creature in the wild, thing became even more involved.  The addition of Lana and Dorrie to the fold was lovely and good lord, my heart hurts but is so happy with this story.

I have said this before, I am a pretty lazy reader when it comes to books with world building but for me, this was so easily laid out and effortless to fall into. I got this world where suitors to a prince could be of any gender and where magic is the norm. I enjoyed this world the author created with its rich metaphors and layered meanings that I never wanted it to end. But, I needed Kişin to stop being the Winter Prince and tell Razin his true feelings.

He was always my friend, and to my shame I forgot that. I should have trusted him with my heart, not a pari.

It was blissful torture to have this slowly unfold and I swear I held my breath numerous times they laid together to keep Kişin warm or the times Razin asks questions and comes so close to figuring out the real reason his prince gave his heart away. I wanted and I needed right along with Kişin and Razin and… *sigh* Have I mentioned that I really love this story. R. Cooper has this way of turning me into a big puddle of ginger goo regardless of the genre and goo, I am. I am goo and goo, it’s so damn good.

The Winter Prince was an amazing fairy tale sort of story that shows you hiding your heart isn’t always the best thing for your health. That trusting your friends will bring you wealth and immeasurable love and that love, really is the best thing… ever.

About R. Cooper

My dream is to one day own a quirky old Victorian style home with trapdoors, secret passages, and stacks of books. There I shall write, and eat cheese, and own many pets. (Cats and dogs welcome.) In the meantime, I still have the writing and the cheese and the pets at least.