A Free Dreamer Review: Lima Oscar Victor Echo and The Truth About Everything by Suki Fleet

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5         ★★★★★

Lima Oscar Victor EchoGrowing up in a small village in Wales with a domineering homophobic father, Oscar has always believed he has to hide his real feelings.


He’s hidden his heart from everyone, but most of all from his best friend, Jamie–who also happens to be the boy he’s in love with. 
But when a film Oscar makes about love and acceptance is chosen to be in the finals of a national competition, everything he’s hidden about himself threatens to be revealed.


Now Oscar thinks he must make the choice between the life he knows and the people he loves, and the life he wishes he had. 
But life holds far more secrets and promises than Oscar expects.

I probably shouldn’t have loved this story as much as I did. There’s the gay guy falling for the straight guy trope, which I usually hate, it’s rather fluffy, when I’m a fluff-hater, and it’s a short story, when I prefer novels with 250+ pages. But this is Suki Fleet, and it’s free, so I figured I’d give it a shot. And it was so worth it.

Now, this isn’t your typical Suki Fleet story. It’s a lot less bitter and a lot sweeter than the usual things she writes and yet I still found myself in tears by the end.

This wasn’t the typical GFY trope, where the straight guy remains straight, even once he’s in a relationship with another guy. Jamie has doubted his sexuality for a while now, but with everything that’s happened over the last year or so, he just hasn’t had the emotional capacity to really worry about that. And Oscar isn’t out to the world at all and very much convinced that the love of his love will never return his feelings.

Both MCs were absolutely lovable. They were so different and yet they worked so well with each other. It was beautiful to watch them slowly become more than friends. The romance was breathtakingly beautiful and felt so incredibly real to me.

The little bit of angst that was there, was wonderfully done. Not too much to drag the whole story down, but just enough to counterbalance the otherwise very sweet tone of the rest. There was some homophobia and Oscar’s worries about coming out and I found myself just as worried as Oscar. I just couldn’t really see a satisfying solution for all the problems presented, and yet the ending was simply perfect. It was so incredibly romantic I suddenly found myself tearing up over it.

I loved how both MCs’ passions got so many on-page scenes and how they played an essential role in the whole plot. That was wonderfully done and I could easily relate to the joy they both felt when playing music and creating animations.

Overall, a beautiful little YA adult story about coming out and falling in love. It’s a lot lighter than Suki Fleet’s other works and it’s free, so this is the perfect chance to give her a try.

Cover: The wonderful cover was done by the author herself. It’s unique and works really well with the story.

Sales Links:  Free at Goodreads M/M Romance Group

Book details:

ebook, 83 pages
Published June 7th 2015 by M/M Romance Group @ Goodreads
Edition LanguageEnglish
CharactersOscar Moore, Jamie (Lima Oscar Victor Echo…)
setting Llanitheth, Wales (United Kingdom)
Newport, Wales (United Kingdom)
Llanhilleth, Wales (United Kingdom

A Barb the Zany Old Lady Audiobook Review: Being True by Jacob Z. Flores and Mark Westfield (Narrator)

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Being True audiobookWhat a delightful story, well-written and refreshingly narrated by Mark Westfield. Frankly, I wasn’t sure if I’d like a young adult story, or if I’d like this narrator, since it’s my first for him, but what a knockout combo Jacob and Mark turned out to be!

Truman Cobbler has had to transfer high schools yet again in his senior year. The victim of bullying in every school he’s attended, he lives with his widowed mother who is more than willing to move to accommodate her son’s safety. Tru is short of stature with hair that has an unfortunate tendency to misbehave, ears that stick out, and teeth self-described as horse teeth. He’s also very smart and apparently exudes a gay vibe. Not that it’s untrue, as he is gay, but it seems he has some magnetic field that attracts jocks and trouble—usually together.

There is one jock, however, who is not like the others. Javier Castillo is popular and friendly and the star pitcher for the baseball team, and for some reason, he befriends Tru from the moment they meet. Tru certainly needs befriending. Other than Javi, his only friend is Claudia, the classmate who is head of the yearbook and the high school newsletter committees. Since Tru loves writing and photography, and Claudia does not follow the popular kids in bullying Tru, their friendship seems made in heaven.

When it becomes known that Javi has befriended Tru, many of the “in crowd” decide to befriend Tru as well, at least on the surface. But later in the year, when one of the jocks picks on Tru and Javi comes to defend him, Javi is given an ultimatum—Tru or the friendship of the jocks. By this time, Javi has realized his feelings for Tru are more than friendship, and the two decide to reveal their relationship to both sets of parents and then come out at school.

I love the way the author handled this situation—the strength and character of their parents was remarkable, and the boys’ reaction, though not happy, was honest obedience to the principles their parents set out. It was refreshing to see authority figures act with integrity—from parents to school administrators.

Javi and Tru face both expected and unexpected hurdles, and just as their friendship grew at first, their love for each other grows after they know each other better. Tru becomes much tougher and more confident as he faces life challenges and tragedy with determination and a strength of character quite amazing for a young man.

Oh, and did I mention sex? No? Well, once the boys are eighteen, they get their chance to explore and the combination of Jacob Flores’s writing and Mark Westfield’s narration makes for some smoking hot moments.

I recommend this one to all lovers of young adult/new adult MM romance. And the audio version is outstanding, so if you haven’t tried an audiobook, this one would be a great place to start.

~~~~~

Cover by Paul Richmond depicts a close-up of both young men lying side by side with a view of Javi snuggling Tru over his shoulder. Very sweet, just like the story.

Sales Links:   Dreamspinner Press | Audible | Amazon | iTunes

Audiobook Details:

8 hours and 40 minutes

Audible Audio, 9 pages
Published June 9th 2015 (first published September 15th 2014)
ASINB00ZTN9T8M

A Lila Review: Beyond the Sea by Keira Andrews

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Rating: 4.25 stars out of 5

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000038_00070]Finding his brother breaking his promise isn’t what Troy Tanner expected to find when he entered Tyson’s hotel room. Unknowingly, his decision to leave their boy band tour, to travel from Australia to L.A., would change, not only his life, but the one of those in his path.

 Before he could second-guess his actions, Troy charters a private plane to visit his mother and talk about Tyson. Here is when he meets Brian who’s the plane’s first officer even when he’s more than qualify to be the captain. It doesn’t take long before the cyclone takes place, bringing Troy and Brian together. From that moment on, they depended on each other to survive on the deserted island in which they found shelter.

 We get to experience with the characters what it’s like to be stranded and losing hope of a rescue. Their journey to survive brought them together and their experiences cemented their relationship.

Their rescue took them by surprise, as well as their feelings for each other. They struggled separately, trying to adjust to a reality that felt almost like a lifetime ago. In the end, it’s up to them to see if their relationship can survive their new reality.

Beyond the Sea gets better the longer you read it. I need to admit that I considered a DNF several times during the first part of this story. The first forty percent moved at a snail pace, and some of the characters’ internal dialogues were not interesting enough to keep the boredom away. I think it has to do with the isolation and the unknowns they faced since this pages covered most of their survival efforts and the early discoveries of their friendship. But, as soon as Troy and Brian started to feel comfortable with their new routine, the story took off.

 The story is about survival. About how Troy and Brian had lived their separate lives until the accident, what they did to increase their survival chances, how they dealt with the possibilities of never returning to their friends & families, and most importantly, how they coped and managed life back to where they started. It’s an internal discovery of who they were until that moment, and the simple experiences that colored their new reality.

 I enjoyed having both characters’ POV. It gave the reader the chance to understand Troy’s and Brian’s fears and hopes about a life they considered lost.  Their acquaintance turned into a friendship that developed into a more personal relationship. Even when expecting the MCs to get together, I kept wondering about the final outcome and how the author was going to write their HEAs.

 The tenderness and understanding between the MCs created a deep connection between the characters. The UST was a little too much but fitted the situation. I do think Troy’s wants came without warning, but I guess their attraction was related to their journey together more than a physical attraction. Their inner qualities pulled them together, showing the reader the beauty behind a loving relationship without labels.

 Keira Andrew’s did indeed a good job creating a credible environment for the characters to be in. Everything from the weather, their delay routine, to their food and clothing had a purpose in this story. The memories they shared and their daily experiences added to the intimacy of their surroundings. Simple details like shaving, collecting water, and bathing in the sea felt as important as any other experience.

 The references to the movie Cast Away and the song that serves as the book’s title gave the story a reprise from the charged moments. I can’t stop thinking about the song days after reading the book. And yes, I listened to it online. It’s the perfect background soundtrack for Troy’s and Brian’s story. I did wonder, too, if they thought about buying the island after all.

 Overall, the story is an interesting combination of feels and self-discovery. In which everything other than their relationship and how they felt about each other became irrelevant.

 The cover goes with the island feel, but in my opinion, doesn’t match the characters or the scenes in the story. It’s very well done, just not for me.

 Sale Links:  AmazonARe

 Book Details:

 ebook, 275 pages
Published: March 15, 2016, by KA Books
ISBN: 9781988260020
Edition Language: English

A Jeri Review: Us (Him #2) by Sarina Bowen and Elle Kennedy

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Profile portrait of businessman working on laptop in black suit at studio

Profile portrait of businessman working on laptop in black suit at studio

Can your favorite hockey players finish their first season together undefeated?

Five months in, NHL forward Ryan Wesley is having a record-breaking rookie season. He’s living his dream of playing pro hockey and coming home every night to the man he loves—Jamie Canning, his longtime best friend turned boyfriend. There’s just one problem: the most important relationship of his life is one he needs to keep hidden, or else face a media storm that will eclipse his success on the ice.

Jamie loves Wes. He really, truly does. But hiding sucks. It’s not the life Jamie envisioned for himself, and the strain of keeping their secret is taking its toll. It doesn’t help that his new job isn’t going as smoothly as he’d hoped, but he knows he can power through it as long as he has Wes. At least apartment 10B is their retreat, where they can always be themselves.

Or can they?

When Wes’s nosiest teammate moves in upstairs, the threads of their carefully woven lie begin to unravel. With the outside world determined to take its best shot at them, can Wes and Jamie develop major-league relationship skills on the fly?

After reading Him I couldn’t wait to read Us. So often in a book the couple gets a happily ever after and if you’re lucky, they might turn up in another book briefly. So I love that I got more of Wes and Jamie. You will too. If you read Him, Us is a must.

Out of college and establishing their “adult” lives, Wes and Jamie are still navigating through difficult waters. Some familiar to us, some not. One man making more than the other. One accepting family, one not. Traveling hockey schedules that don’t mesh. And the biggest hurdle, trying to stay in the closet. Jamie promised Wes to keep their relationship a secret for a year. But how long a year is depends on which side of the closet door you are on.

Both make missteps and both hurt each other and make mistakes. This is a real relationship, in my opinion. Nothing is perfect. I love when books reflect that. Until a near tragedy puts their relationship and their lives in the spotlight.

I adored the new characters brought into this story. Funny, quirky and loyal, Wes’ teammates are a welcome addition. And intentional or not, this really shows how everything is skewed toward Wes and his pro hockey career. But when they find balance and acceptance, I swooned.

I am torn between wanting another Wes and Jamie book or a new book about one of the teammates. To me, that is a mark of a really good book and good story. Satisfied but still wanting more. So how about another book please?

Sales Link:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 255 pages
Published March 8th 2016 by Rennie Road Books
ASINB01C4LE5EO
Edition Language English
Series Him #2

In the Spotlight: Dianne Hartsock’s ‘Stuck on Rewind’ (Character interview, sexy excerpt and giveaway)

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Stuck on Rewind by Dianne Hartsock
Release Date: March 15, 2016

Goodreads Link
Publisher: Pride Publishing
Cover Artist: Emmy Ellis

Today I’m very lucky to be interviewing Lance from Dianne Hartsock’s book STUCK ON REWIND. Hi Lance, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself.

  • What are you most proud of about your life?

You’ll probably think I’m vain, but I believe I’m one of the best dancers in this city. But isn’t it okay for an artist to be proud of their work? And I do work hard at this, practicing every spare chance I get. Oh, you meant on a personal level? I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to keep Ashton as my best friend. He’s amazing. So much smarter than I am. It makes me proud that he still wants to be with me.

  • What are you most ashamed of in your life?

Not a very nice question to ask someone. But if you want a confession out of me, I guess I’m most ashamed of the men I’ve used in my life. I mean, mostly the guys I’m with are just out to have a good time, like I am. But sometimes I’ll be with someone simply because I’m lonely, or because they’re hot. Shallow of me, I know. And now I see the hurt in Ashton’s eyes and wish I hadn’t dated any of them.

  • What are you most afraid of?

I’ve tried to show Ashton that I’ve changed. That I don’t want to date anyone but him. But with my history… I’m afraid I can’t convince him and that I’ll lose him, even though I love him more than anything.

  • Tell me about your best friend. What do you like about this person? What do they like about you?

Ashton is the best friend anyone can hope for. He stood by me all through high school when I was just finding myself. Even when my parents were confused and ashamed of me, Ashton picked me up and kept me going with his support and kindness to a messed up kid. What does Ashton like about me? He says it’s my kind heart, but I’ve seen his face when he watches me dance. I think it’s more than that.

  • What’s your idea of a good marriage? Do you think that’ll happen in your life?

*A pretty blush colors Lance’s face* Marriage? I’ve never really thought about it. I guess it’s a good idea to be friends, and to trust each other. Have fun and great sex together. But do I think I’ll ever marry? *His blush deepens* Maybe. If Ashton ever asks me. I could be his husband. Definitely.

Thanks, Lance, for stopping by.  Want to know more about Lance and Ashton?  Keep reading…

Blurb

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?

 

Pages or Words: 10,308 words
Categories: Contemporary, Erotic, Gay Fiction, M/M Romance, Romance

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Excerpt

“Fuck!” Ashton shouted in a mixture of anger and ecstasy as Lance swallowed again, then let Ashton’s softening cock slip from between his perfect lips. Ashton leaned on his elbows, his chest heaving while he caught his breath. With a last kiss on his thigh, Lance climbed off the bed, sleek-limbed and graceful, and walked to the dresser with a sassy sway of his hips.

Ashton stared after him and groaned, not sure if he wanted to pull his friend’s ass back into his arms or punch him in the face. 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 and Lance needed to stop climbing into his bed at night uninvited.

“You do remember you have a bed of your own?” he asked, more sharply than he’d intended.

Lance gave him a smirk over his shoulder, making a show of licking the last of Ashton’s spunk off his swollen lips. “You told me to wake you at seven.”

“I didn’t mean… Oh hell.” Ashton fell back on the pillows and threw an arm over his eyes. He swore in exasperation when the mattress dipped and Lance’s familiar scent surrounded him. “Damn it—”

Soft fingers touched his mouth. “Don’t be mad, baby. I didn’t mean anything.”

Ashton peered at him through the dark curls that had flopped into his eyes. The guy looked positively forlorn, and Ashton sat up, giving him a one-armed hug. “I’m not mad. But you don’t need to keep doing that, either. You’re my friend!” He kissed Lance’s cheek, the velvet skin warm with a blush. “You make a terrific roommate, and I like the company.”

“And I like you.” Lance walked his fingers up Ashton’s leg.

Ashton laughed and shooed the hand away, but couldn’t help staring at the enticing evidence of his friend’s arousal between his legs.

“Can I take care of that for you?”

“Not at all.” Lance stood up, waving off Ashton’s offer. “I’ll deal with it in the shower. You have to save your attentions for Mister Man.”

“Who are you talking about…? Wait!” Ashton rolled off the bed and trotted after Lance as he crossed the apartment.

Lance giggled, slipping behind the bathroom door but holding it cracked open an inch. He smiled at Ashton with his pouty, kissable lips. “You know, the boss. Mister Kent.”

“I’m not saving myself for—”

Ashton blinked at the closed door. Why in the world would Lance think he was interested in his boss? Sure, the man was handsome as sin, but he was also an egomaniac and tyrant. Why only yesterday, he’d…

Hot blood scorched Ashton’s neck and face, his arm tingling where Morgan Kent had gripped it, towering over him. The man had bent to his ear, swamping Ashton’s senses with subtle cologne and a hint of sweat as he’d whispered, “If you can’t type a simple letter without mistakes, I’ll find a secretary who can.” He’d tightened his hand almost painfully on Ashton’s arm. “Or maybe I should just bend you over this desk and smack your ass for each mistake?”

Ashton’s dick jumped at the memory. He told it sternly to behave. “We’re not falling for that bastard. We’ll stick with the sweet boys at the club and call it good.”

Buy the book

Pride Publishing | Amazon | AmazonUKBarnes & Noble

Meet the Author

Dianne grew up in one of the older homes in the middle of Los Angeles, a place of hardwood floors and secret closets and back staircases. A house where ghosts lurk in the basement and the faces in the paintings watch you walk up the front stairs. Rooms where you keep the closet doors closed tight at night. It’s where her love of the mysterious and wonderful came from.

Dianne now lives in the beautiful Willamette Valley of Oregon with her incredibly patient husband, who puts up with the endless hours she spends hunched over the keyboard letting her characters play. She says Oregon’s raindrops are the perfect setting in which to write. There’s something about being cooped up in the house with a fire crackling on the hearth and a cup of hot coffee warming her hands, which kindles her imagination.

Currently, Dianne works as a floral designer in a locally-owned gift shop. Which is the perfect job for her. When not writing, she can express herself through the rich colors and textures of flowers and foliage.

Where to find the author:

 


Tour Dates & Stops:

15-Mar: BFD Book Blog, Man2ManTastic, 3 Chicks After Dark, Full Moon Dreaming

16-Mar:A.M. Leibowitz, Velvet Panic, Louise Lyons, Mikky’s World of Books, Wicked Faerie’s Tales and Reviews

17-Mar: Fangirl Moments and My Two Cents, Scattered Thoughts & Rogue Words, Nephy Hart,

Oh My Shelves

18-Mar: Alpha Book Club, Havan Fellows, The Dark Arts, Making It Happen, Bayou Book Junkie

19-Mar: Outrageous Heroes, Inked Rainbow Reads, Love Bytes

21-Mar: Elin Gregory, MM Good Book Reviews, Happily Ever Chapter, MM Book Escape

Final

Giveaway

Enter to win a Rafflecopter Prize: $10 ARe gift card.  Must be 18 years of age or older to enter.  Link and prize provided by the author and Pride Promotions.

 

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