A Stella Review: Made For You (Love & Family #2) by Anyta Sunday

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RATING 5 out of 5 stars

Ben wants to find a new home.

Twenty-four-year-old Ben McCormick is the primary caregiver for his brother Milo after their parents’ death. A year into the job, he’s totally got the hang of it. Mostly. Sort of. Not at all?
Defeated and thoroughly chastised for his lack in parenting skills at teacher-parent night, Ben slumps away with the resolve to finally get his life sorted: be a better role model, and sell their parents’ house for a fresh start.
But first, he needs to spruce up his house to hit the market. He’s no DIY king, but Milo’s hot-as-hell woodwork teacher is…

Jack wants an old home to fix.
Thirty-nine-year-old Jack Pecker is waiting for the home of his dreams to come on the market in the summer. What better way to wait the interim months than working on a small renovation gig?
Only trouble is, the gig is for the McCormick brothers. And working in close quarters to red-haired Ben McCormick won’t be easy. Not with the attraction that simmers between them. Attraction Ben makes no effort to hide.
But Jack’s professional. Dating a parent is highly discouraged at Kresley Intermediate, and he’d never cross the lines…

Ben and Jack. Two guys searching for a home –– a home that might just be where their hearts lead them.

Set in New Zealand, Made For You (Love & Family #2) is an MM gay romance featuring two guys at very different places in their lives – but both finding out they are looking for the same thing.
Can be read as a standalone.

 

I honestly haven’t read the previous title in the Love & Family series by Anyta Sunday, called Taboo For You, cause the title obviously let me believe it was about something I wasn’t comfortable with. I was wrong and since I loved this new novel so much, I will surely come back to the first book as soon as possible.

Made For You was an awesome reading, I want to recommend to all of you, even if you haven’t read Taboo For You, it worked easily as a standalone. It conquered me, I fell deeply into the plot and the characters lives. I picked this book cause I’m a sucker for the age gap between the MCs and I love stories with children. But I wasn’t ready for the amazing deliver I got from the author.

An amazing reading, well written, engaging and easy and quick to read. I loved Ben and Milo, they were so hilarious although their hearts were still recovering from the loss of their parents. I ached for them but was so happy to see Jack come into their home, first to renovate it, little by little to build a new life for the three of them together.

It was exactly what I was in the mood for, not a shallow read at all, but there weren’t so many dramas or angst, the right amount of sweetness, it was a real and believable novel.

The cover art by Natasha Snow is cute, I like it a lot

Sales Links:

Links: https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/made-for-you/

https://amzn.to/2XIAB0a

BOOK DETAILS

Kindle Edition, 258 pages

Published May 1st 2019 by Anyta Sunday

ASIN B07QQ4TZLW

Edition Language English

A Lila Review: Healing Glass (Gifted Guilds, #1) by Jackie Keswick

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

A dying city.
An ancient, forgotten accord.
And two gifted men caught in a web of greed and dark magic.

Despite belonging to different guilds, glass master Minel and warrior captain Falcon are friends. Their duties keep them apart, but when Minel falls ill and chooses death rather than the only known cure, nothing can keep Falcon from his side.

While their friendship grows into more, old wrongs and one man’s machinations threaten the floating city and leave both Minel and Falcon fighting for their lives. Can they learn to combine their gifts to save the city and its magic, or will everything they know and love perish before their eyes?

Healing Glass is a different type of fantasy story. It has a nice combination of world-build, folklore, and romance. It takes time for the reader to get into the story but it’s hard to put down after a while. There’s a lot of information to digest but it’s worth it in the end.

I loved how Minel’s and Falcon’s relationship moved from friendship to lovers. It gave them a history beyond the book’s pages and a reason to look further into their future. Their connection is an active character in this story and their encounters are sweet and smexy.

The action in the book is constant. There’s no downtime for the characters and every decision they took went beyond their relationship. It was easy to see cheer for them and enjoy their time together.

I’m looking forward to the next installment since the author did an excellent job with the foreshadowing, turning secondary characters into the new MCs.

The cover by Pavelle Art shows the main characters in profile with the city and steps as the background. It’s quite literal but it goes with the story. Perhaps not the most appealing, though.

Sale Links: iBooksAmazon | Nook

ebook, 229 pages
Published: May 13, 2019, by Jackie Keswick
ISBN: 9781386061410
Edition Language: English

Series: Gifted Guilds
Book #1: Healing Glass

A Free Dreamer Review: At the Trough by Adam Knight

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Rating: 3 stars out  of 5

In a future where schools have no teachers and no classrooms, Jennifer Calderon is the perfect student. Every day she watches her video modules, plays her edu games, and never misses an answer. Life is comfortable in the Plex, a mile-wide apartment building. Corporations and brand names surround her and satisfy her every want and need.

Then one day, her foul-mouthed, free-spirited, 90’s-kitsch-wearing girlfriend Melody disrupts everything. She introduces her to a cynical, burned-out former teacher, who teaches them the things no longer taught in school. Poetry. Critical thinking. Human connection.

But these lessons draw the attention of EduForce, the massive corporation with a stranglehold on education. When they show how far they are willing to go keep their customers obedient, Jennifer has to decide what is most important to her and how much she is willing to sacrifice for it.

When I read the blurb of “At the Trough”, I was thrilled to finally find a classic YA dystopia with an LGBT+ couple. But that’s not what I got, so I was a bit disappointed.

There are so many YA dystopian novels out there, with two teenagers in a forbidden love, fighting to overthrow the system and I love that genre. But I have yet to find a book with a couple that’s not m/f. I had hoped that this book would finally be the first book with a f/f pairing with that setting. Needless to say, I was quite disappointed when it turned out that “At the Trough” was more a philosophical debate about the school system.

Other than that, I had a couple issues with the story. First of all, the timeline didn’t quite work out for me. The book is set in 2051 and the world as we know it doesn’t exist anymore. That’s only 32 years from now, so not all that far in the future. I found it hard to believe that everything is so very different, without any sort of natural disaster or war or something else to jump-start such a major change in society. It all started in the 2030s, which is just 20 years from now, and I just don’t see that coming.

I didn’t feel the romance between Melody and Jennifer at all. Best friends with benefits, sure, but lovers? Not so much. Maybe a little background info would have worked. We never learned how these two very different young women met and fell in love. We never learned anything about Melody’s past.

On one occasion, I found a pretty serious mistake. Charles tells his students about Kafka and calls him a “German writer”. And that’s just plain wrong. There’s a difference between German-speaking and German, just like there’s a difference between English-speaking and English. If you have to pin a nationality on Kafka, it would have to be Czech. Charles, a literature-loving teacher, would never have made that mistake, so it was clearly a research mistake.

The plot didn’t really engage me. It felt a bit like a manifesto of the brilliant, wonderful school system and that’s not something I’m interested in. And the ending didn’t really work for me either.

Overall, “At the Trough” wasn’t what I expected at all and I was honestly disappointed by that. I guess you might like the book more, if you go in with the right expectations, but it just wasn’t for me.

The cover by Natasha Snow is alright.

Sales Links:

NineStar Press | Amazon | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook
Published May 13th 2019 by NineStar Press
ISBN139781950412679
Edition Language English
URLhttps://ninestarpress.com/product/at-the-trough/

In Need of a New Fantasy? Check Out the Release Blitz for No Ordinary Drakeling (D’Vaire #12) by Jessamyn Kingley (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: No Ordinary Drakeling (D’Vaire, Book 12)

Author: Jessamyn Kingley

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: LJ Anderson of Mayhem Cover Creations

Release Date: May 16, 2019

Genre/s: M/M Urban Fantasy Romance

Trope/s: Fated Mates

Themes: Love, Courage

Heat Rating:  3 flames

Length:  97 670 words

Add on Goodreads

 

Blurb

Emperor Chrysander Draconis rules not only the dragons but the entire Council of Sorcery and Shifters. From the moment Fate selected him, he has devoted himself to ensuring his people thrive and prosper. His life revolves around duty; nothing stands in the way of his dedication to his job. One of the most prominent issues on Chrysander’s plate is the lack of hybrid drakelings that have survived the road from man to beast. When he receives word that one such rare soul is living in an obscure tribe, he races to help.

Ellery of the Fen-Lynthi elves is different from the rest of his people. He does not understand why his ears are shorter, why he stands taller than the others. Then his mother explains why the other children mock him and call him a mongrel: his father, a dragon, abandoned her the moment he learned of Ellery’s impending birth. With his mother’s often-fragile mental state, Ellery does not know if he can trust her words, but they are all he has. He spends his days ostracized, doing what he can to improve his lot.

Chrysander is overjoyed to find his mate among the Fen-Lynthi, but when it is confirmed that Ellery is half dragon, he is terrified Ellery will be ripped apart by the beast inside him. Regardless, Chrysander proceeds with their matebond ceremony, though he delays the event, believing duty demands they bypass elven tradition. This troubles Ellery, and he wonders if moving forward is what Chrysander truly wants. Their schedules present them with little opportunity to spend time together, which gives him further cause for worry. If that isn’t enough, Ellery is apprehensive over his new role as emperor. Chrysander and Ellery must confront their fears and learn to face the world as a united and loving front. In doing so, not only will they be able to defy the impossible, but they will change the world.

 

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK 

Excerpt

“I’m only trying to be realistic. We can’t ignore statistics, even if you are Chrysander’s mate,” Wesley stated.

“I am afraid I do not understand.”

“Ellery, what do you know about hybrids?” Chrysander asked, his voice warm with concern. Ellery liked his tone and wished they had a few moments alone to get to know one another, but for some reason Fate had paired him with a powerful man who had abundant responsibilities.

“Not much. My tribe did not interact with many people. I am the only hybrid I have ever heard of. I just know the other elves did not like that I was different. Is the Council the same way?”

“I won’t deny that there are those ignorant enough to think hybrids are somehow lesser than others, but they are very few. What Wesley’s referring to is survival rates for hybrids,” Chrysander stated, and his words were measured to Ellery’s ears, though he couldn’t discern why.

“What is the survival rate for hybrids?”

“In general, they’re quite high,” Damian revealed. “The ones who are half shifter almost always have a beast, though there are exceptions. However, the larger and more powerful the animal, the more trouble hybrids have surviving their first shift.”

“Dragons are very large,” Ellery observed.

“We’re also the strongest shifters,” Zane added quietly. “To date, no dragon hybrid has survived their first shift.”

Ellery let that tidbit of information settle into his mind. He reached down inside of himself where the entity inside him dwelled. It had always been a warm and inviting presence and at Zane’s words, all he felt was peace. A voice inside his head told him his dragon wouldn’t hurt him, and he decided to trust it. Just because no other hybrid had managed the feat did not mean Ellery was going to die. In fact, he refused to accept that it was his destiny. “How many dragon hybrids have there been?”

“Not many that we’ve known of, though hybrids in general are growing more common. Fate seems to be pairing more combinations of people than ever before,” Chrysander told him.

“How old are dragons when they shift for the first time?”

“Around one hundred,” Zane replied.

“So, my dragon is ready?”

“We’ll give you some time with a trainer but yes, you should be ready,” Chrysander assured him.

“I think we should wait until after Ellery’s shift for any of this. He can live here and concentrate on his beast. We’ll deal with the rest of the details afterward,” Wesley suggested.

“If that’s what Fate wanted, she wouldn’t have led him to Chrys until after his shift. The title is his,” Damian responded.

“I agree,” Chrysander said. Ellery found himself smiling. At least Chrysander appeared glad to have met him.

“Fine, but it’ll take at least six weeks to put together an appropriate mating ceremony,” Wesley argued.

“That’s fine, but everything else needs to be put into action immediately,” Chrysander replied, and Ellery grew irritated as his grin faded. No one was going to observe elven tradition or even ask him what he wanted, but he was now a dragon too. He needed to keep an open mind and learn about his other culture. This was his opportunity to put his life as an elf behind him and embrace dragonkind. He wanted to forget the isolation and sadness he’d endured and create something worthwhile that made him happy. But what he most required was to collect himself from the shock of his afternoon. There was a beast inside him ready to grow wings.…And even more astounding was the man he was going to share an eternity with. He was handsome, appeared kind, and Ellery welcomed the opportunity to discover more about him.

Ellery got to his feet. “Perhaps you could show me where I will be sleeping?”

“I’d be happy to,” Zane offered, and Ellery followed him out of the room. He wasn’t sure what his future held, but he wasn’t going to spend the next few weeks as if they were his last. The other hybrids may have failed, but Ellery was determined to make history.

 

About the Author

Jessamyn Kingley lives in Nevada where she begs the men in her head to tell her their amazing stories which she dutifully writes it all down in what has become a small mountain of notebooks. She falls in love with each couple and swears whatever book she wrote last is her absolute favorite.

Jessamyn is married and working toward remembering to start the dishwasher without being distracted by the scent of the magical detergent. For personal enjoyment, she aids in cat rescue while slashing and gashing her way through mobs in various MMORPGs. Caffeine is her very best friend and is only cast aside briefly for the sin better known as BBQ potato chips.

Visit her website at: www.jessamynkingley.com

Follow her on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/jessamynkingley

She loves to engage with readers there.

 

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Love New Adult Stories? Check Out the Release Blitz for Not Gonna Lie (#lovehim #4) by S.M. James (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Not Gonna Lie

Author: S. M. James

Publisher: May Books

Cover Artist: Story Styling Cover Designs

Release Date:  May 16, 2019

Genre/s: Contemporary M/M Romance

Trope/s:  Enemies to lovers

Themes:  Online bullying culture, eating disorder, anxiety

Heat Rating:  1 flame

Length:  85 000 words/ 400 pages

Add on Goodreads

Not Gonna Lie is a standalone story within the #lovehim series.

There’s also the novella prequel (To Be Continued, book 6).

It will show you where it all began for Gram and Digi.

Buy Links – Available on Kindle Unlimited

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

At this year’s Webcon, nothing will stay secret for long.

Blurb

Everyone has their secrets. 

Last year Digi walked out on Webcon, on his fans, and on Gram. 

Now he’s back determined to give what they had a real shot, but Gram is more prickly than ever, not willing to risk his heart again. 

Despite trying to stay out of the spotlight, the anonymous Public Service Announcements draw Digi back in. As the secrets of the internet’s top celebrities are leaked to the world, it’s only a matter of time before Digi and Gram are next. 

To get through it, they have to set their rivalry aside. 

Will Digi handle the pressure of the bright lights long enough to find who is tearing their world apart? Or will the threat of full exposure be too much for him to handle?

Excerpt

Gram tosses his cell phone onto the bed between us. Playing along, I grab his phone and check the screen, and the selfie we took last night stares back at me. I smile, we both look relaxed and totally comfortable, even though my hand on his thigh had me buzzed in that exact moment.

I set my mug down and toss the phone back to Gram before rolling onto my side. “Reminds me of when we used to vlog together.”

He stares at the photo for a minute. “Yeah. It does. Did you see the comments?”

“Nope.”

“Turns out, people are still insanely curious about where you’ve been for the last year.”

“Eh. Why?”

“Because you disappeared, Digi. You were one of the biggest vloggers and then you were gone. All those comments are asking about you. So … let’s collab.”

“What?”

“Well we’re friends, aren’t we? I haven’t lined up any guest vloggers yet, and if you do this with me, I won’t have to.”

“Yeah, no. I’m not doing that anymore.”

“I’m not saying you have to go back to it, but this will give you a chance to tell your piece, then everyone will stop speculating and you can go back to whatever the bloody hell you’ve been doing.”

I scrunch up my face, not real interested in the idea. “I dunno, Gram. I like being able to come here and not be hassled. If I do that, I’m opening the door on everyone thinking they can stick their noses back into my life.”

He sighs. “I can’t say I don’t understand. And it is your choice though.” Gram watches me, completely unguarded for a change. There’s no tension in his face, and it’s the way I like him best.

“Hey, remember that time we snuck off while our mom’s were on a panel, and went to that dolphin place?”

“Oh yeah …” His gaze goes unfocused and I know he’s remembering that day. “Yeah, that was amazing.”

It was. We’d spent the whole day there, participating in the training sessions and swimming around. Gram hadn’t started dying his hair at that point, and I can still picture the way he kept pushing his black bangs back off his face.  

His gaze flicks to me and away again. “Why are you looking at me like that?”

I blink, noting how wide my smile stretches. “I just felt real close to you that day.”

“Probably because you kept hugging me.”

“I think that’s when we first really became friends.”

“When I first realized I’d never be rid of you.” He pretends to cringe, but doesn’t do enough to cover the affectionate tone.

“When I first realized I never wanted to be rid of you,” I counter, knowing he won’t expect it.

He sighs. “You just say whatever is on your mind, don’t you?”

“Sometimes. Unlike you. You never say what’s on your mind.”

“I do when it’s important.”

“So tell me what you’re thinking now.”

“Well that’s easy, I’m thinking I’m going to be late.”

The smile drops from my face as I glance at the time. “You don’t have to go yet.”

“You know my schedule, do you?”

“I just … I mean, you can hang out for a bit longer if you wanna. We can order breakfast up here. You won’t have to worry about fans interrupting that way.” I’m just throwing out words at this point, but his schedule doesn’t start for another two hours and he’s clearly ready. There’s no reason he has to race off, right?

“I thought you were tired,” he says.

“Not anymore.”

He’s frowning at the bed and it takes him a bit to answer, like he’s trying to come up with an excuse to go. “I told my mother I’d eat with her …”

“You get to see her any old time. We’re only here for two more days, Gram. Would you really deny me your company?”

He laughs despite clearly trying to hold it back, and shoves my shoulder. “Okay, fine. Just stop.”

“Stop what?”

“Being so needy.”

I shrug, sitting up so I’m facing him. “What can I say? I like attention.”

“Tch. No you don’t.”

“I like your attention.”

Gram frowns, wide mouth falling into a pout. “If I didn’t know better, I’d think you were flirting with me, Digi Lynch.”

I blink, eyebrows pulling up. Flirting with him? Am I? I replay my words over, and actually, I think I might be. Huh. “Would that be a bad thing?”

“It would be a strange thing.” He’s still looking at me odd, so I leave him to be confused and pick up the room phone to order our breakfast.

Gram settles back against the pillows, long legs stretched over the bed and crossed at the ankles. He’s not too much shorter than I am, but he seems smaller. Maybe it’s the over excitable personality he puts on for his vlogs, or the way his delicate face scrunches when he’s trying to be mean. I could scoop him up easily, like I did when we took that photo, and I’m hit with the impulse to do it again.

I grin as I imagine how surprised he’d be if I just grabbed him and pulled him close. I dunno want I’d do when I got him there—hug him for sure, but maybe … maybe he’d let me kiss him again?

“I’m sorry for shaving your eyebrows off,” he says suddenly, glancing over at me.

“Gram that was two years ago.”

“But I didn’t apologize.”

“You didn’t, but like I care now.”

“They’ve never grown back properly though, have they?”

I rub a hand over my eyebrows. “They’re a bit of a mess.”

“They make you look permanently bewildered.”

I laugh, lying on my side so I’m facing him. “To be fair, I feel like I don’t know much of what’s going on anyway.”

“You are adorably vague.”

“I’ll take that as a compliment.”

Gram screws his mouth up to the side, but his eyes light up, and it’s all I need to know that he’s definitely flirting with me too.

About the Author

S. M. James writes books for teens about squishy sweet characters.

While not writing, SM is a readaholic and Netflix addict who regularly lives on a sustainable diet of chocolate and coffee. 

Member of SCBWI. 

Unapologetically dishing out HEAs for LGBT+ characters.

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Release Blitz for Let Me Show You by Becca Seymour (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Let Me Show You

Author: Becca Seymour

Publisher: Self-Published

Cover Artist: Claire Smith

Release Date: May 18, 2019

Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

Tropes: small-town romance

Themes: bullying

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length:  58 000 words

Add on Goodreads

 

Buy Links

Amazon US

Amazon UK

Amazon AU

Amazon CA

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Apple

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Universal Link

 

 

Blurb

When a veterinarian and a construction worker connect, it takes mishaps, mistakes, and a Rhodesian Ridgeback named Rex to show them they’re made for each other.

Dr. Carter Falon is content living a quiet life in a small town caring for his animal patients. That doesn’t mean he’s not looking for a distraction. After finding himself precariously wedged… naked and at the mercy of a drop-dead gorgeous construction worker, Carter hires his savior to renovate his home.

When Tanner Grady’s best friend and new niece needed him, he uprooted and relocated without a second thought. His life has since been centered on work and spending time with his family, but when he comes to the rescue of a cute vet, Tanner finds he’s a lot more interested in the homeowner than the house he’s renovating. 

 

 

Excerpt

My eyes widened when they landed on his form. Damn, it wasn’t every day a client greeted me in the nude. Looking at the path between me and who I assumed to be Carter on the ground, I tried not to let my eyes linger for too long on his smooth expanse of skin. He was lightly toned, with a softness about him that was impossible to not notice, despite trying my hardest not to.

With a shake of my head, I calculated each step I took to get to his side. Once I made it safely to the top, the floorboards creaking under my booted feet, Carter angled himself to turn and look at me. Definitely pissed off and in pain, and perhaps a bit mortified too, a light blush covering his cheeks. His gaze roamed me from bottom to top before landing on my own. I quirked my brow in amusement and question while strategically ignoring how fucking pretty his brown eyes were. “So…?” I offered.

He sighed, and I watched in fascination as his Adam’s apple bobbed when he swallowed. “I rushed from the piece-of-crap shower when I heard the knock. My foot went through the board, and it’s stuck.” His pink cheeks turned crimson.

Unable to stay the small smile tugging at my lips, I grinned as I stepped closer. I took my time to get to him, wanting to help the guy out. The last thing he needed was me falling on my ass. Clearing my throat, I crouched down at his side, my focus now on his leg and foot.

The whole area was rotten and would need ripping out. But for the time being, I’d need to tear up the two surrounding boards to get his ankle free. “You have tried to get it out, right?” I felt like a jackass for asking, but it was always best to check first.

Carter huffed out a breath. “Yeah, I did. It’s wedged against something. I tried pulling it out, but it’s a no go. It’s tighter than a virgin ass.”

My gaze whipped to his. What the fuck? With lifted brows, I stared wide-eyed at him, drawing another blush from him.

“Shoot, sorry. That was inappropriate.” His eyes widened in horror. “I meant, it’s wedged. Erm. It’s just wedged tight, and—”

I grinned. “It’s all good. Give me a sec.” The poor guy looked like he wanted to join his foot in the space under the floorboards and curl over. He needed an out, and I needed to get some air in my lungs away from his intoxicating smell and firm thighs, which were impossible to ignore in such close proximity.

 

 

About the Author

Becca Seymour lives and breathes all things book related. Usually with at least three books being read and two WiPs being written at the same time, life is merrily hectic. She tends to do nothing by halves so happily seeks the craziness and busyness life offers. 

Living on her small property in Queensland with her human family as well as her animal family of cows, chooks, and dogs, Becca appreciates the beauty of the world around her and is a believer that love truly is love.

 

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Twitter: @beccaseymour_ 

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A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Gideon (Finding Home #3) by Lily Morton

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Rating: 5 stars out of 5

Gideon is a snarky, self-centered, self-destructive, talented, closeted, moody mess. And I loved him! Who knew how much I’d come to love him in just a few chapters? Eli is hired to nurse this temperamental mess back to health after a bout with pneumonia that resulted in a collapsed lung. Eli is the complete opposite—a sweetheart from the get-go.

What better way to remove a man from potential hookups, booze and other assorted vices than to put him on a senior citizen’s cruise? When Gideon is released from the hospital, his nurse Eli accompanies him, and with farewell hugs from his brother, Milo, who loves him despite his snarky comments, off they go on an adventure that will only be a peek at something new for Gideon—hope. A sunny disposition, optimistic, professional, and downright cute, Eli refuses to be cowed by Gideon and by the end of the cruise, both men have found much to like about each other.

Sticking to his professional ethics, Eli refuses to act on any attraction and insists on putting time and distance between them before any move can be made. He sets a four-month time out and heads to a new job overseas to assure they have what they need. And the moment that time is up, it’s very apparent neither has changed his mind, and they are drawn together like magnets. From this point until the end of the story, the author uses her talent to paint a vivid picture of romance, family, hugs, and unconditional love that leads Gideon to becoming a self-assured, self-confident, strong, and independent man—one who no longer kowtows to either his homophobic, underhanded manager, or to his potential loss of career by coming out. He heads out of the closet and does it spectacularly.

I love this author’s writing. She’s one of the highlights of the past year of my reading experiences. The characters are well-developed and cleverly find their way into my heart. Even someone as tough as the Gideon we met in Milo’s story and see at the beginning of this book found a permanent shelf in my memory bank. I very highly recommend this book as well as Oz and Milo, the first two in the series, and I’m looking forward to many more adventures with Lily Morton’s characters.

The attention-getting cover by Natasha Snow features a close-up of a handsome dark-haired man—Gideon in all his gorgeous glory.

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 280 pages
Published May 12th 2019
ASINB07RJ1LNXT
Edition Language English
Series Finding Home :

Oz

Ten Minute’s Peace

Milo

The Big Four-Oh

Gideon

When Gideon Met Asa 3.5

A Chaos Moondrawn Review: Rook by T. Strange

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Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Rook is sent to the alien prison planet B-226 for twenty three years for killing his husband. The average life span on the hostile planet is three weeks. His plan is to live as long as possible to honor his husband’s wishes, and then die and join him. Upon landing he is partnered with a prisoner named Stevie to help guard the miners, or he won’t get fed. There is a strange thrill in fightening off the local fauna and surviving, or having a specific daily purpose, that Rook didn’t count on. Their days are stressful, consisting of violent episodes bracketed by fighting boredom for concentration. Through his POV, the third character is Rook‘s dead husband Carlos. Stevie walks a fine line of teaching Rook how to survive, being wary of any attack or signs of madness setting in, using him for company and sex, but trying not to care too much in case Rook gets killed like all his previous partners.

I found this plot enticing as I personally enjoy when an author explores the psychology of a character. This is a new author to me so I really didn’t know what to expect. The main question here was always going to be, are they just together because of the circumstances? While that is actually asked, finding out the real answer takes the whole book. Bonding over shared trauma isn’t bad as a short cut, as long as it’s not the only thing there. While they are just trying to survive, they don’t actually know anything about each other’s previous lives. What they do know is: how they each react in an emergency, if they are trustworthy and to what extent, how each deals with conflict and triggers, and what factors motivate or de-motivate them. I would argue not knowing facts about someone’s life, or even their particular thoughts at any given moment, is less important than knowing if they can be counted on. I loved that there were so many issues touched on like the complications of choice, personal sovereignty, stages of grief, and PTSD. Having said that, it’s shocking that no one even makes a mention or an attempt at trying to deal with said mental health issues.

There are parts of this book that at times reminded me of movies like Predator, Reign of Fire, Pitch Black, Starship Troopers or Enemy Mine. I mention movies because I saw this story as pictures in my mind. That the author manages to sustain a feeling of suspense and terror for such a large (80-85%) portion of this book is amazing. There are breaks in the tension just when they are needed. There are breaks in the setting, just when they are needed. The focus of this book is very narrow, with the characters in their own world, creating a very intimate rather than epic feel so without the breaks, this could have been stifling. As it is, I felt like I went through everything with them.

Romance is not the point of this book. Finding someone you love and can get along with during one of the worst times of your life is another thing altogether. Sex is also not the point of this book–mostly it is fade to black, or described as a celebration of survival or stress relief as a realistic part of Rook‘s life and circumstances. While there is a HFN/HEA here, it is done in a realistic way consistent with the flavor of the novel as a whole. I am so thankful this author didn’t just slap a bow on it and negate all the work it took to get to the end of this journey. I thought this story was great and complete as it is.

The cover designed by Aisha Akeju is evocative of desolation and beauty. You can clearly tell it is science fiction. I do appreciate the use of the jungle as both reality and allegory.

Book Details:

ebook
Published February 7th 2018 by Less Than Three Press
ISBN139781684311804
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Lucy Release Day Review: Why We Fight (At First Sight #4) by T.J. Klune

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Corey Ellis sure doesn’t. Oh, everyone around him seems to have found their happy ending, but he’s far too busy to worry about such things. He’ll have plenty of time for romance after he survives his last summer before graduation. So what if he can’t get his former professor, Jeremy Olsen, out of his head? It’s just hero worship. And that’s the way it should stay.

Except that this summer, bigender Corey—aka Kori—is interning at Phoenix House, a LGBTQI youth center that recently hired an interim director. And because life is extraordinarily unfair, the director just so happens to be a certain former professor, now current boss.

Desperate to keep things professional as he and Jeremy grow closer, Corey makes a major mistake: he turns to his friends, Paul Auster and Sanford Stewart, for help.

But Paul and Sandy have some ideas of their own.

Set in the summer of 2016, Why We Fight is a celebration of queer life and being true to oneself… no matter the cost.

What makes me so very sad about this book is that it finishes up the At First Sight series and I will miss it so much.  One of my all time favorite books is Tell Me It’s Real and Paul Auster is the character I would love to be.  That book is a re-read and re-listen often, I’d give it ten stars if I could.  Sandy’s story, The Queen and the Homo Jock King, is a solid 5.  Until You, Vince and Paul’s wedding story, another solid 5.  I was eagerly awaiting Kori/Corey’s story.  I have to put it out there that I never read Bear/Otter stories so I was not introduced to Kori/Coery until this series. 

Kori/Corey is a social work student living with Sandy who is a little more serious than the others,  making this story a little more serious but not overly so. Kori/Corey is interning at Phoenix House, a center for LGBTQ kids and when the book begins is desperately missing Sandy and Darren, who are in Vegas and Paul and Vince, on their honeymoon. What I love most about this series is these people, from Nana to Charlie to Matty and Larry to the guys themselves (Paul, Vince, Darren, Sandy and Kori/Corey) are hardcore there for each other.  They fold Jeremy and his dad, Robert, into the mess with little fanfare.  They are sarcastic as hell, biting at times, sappy and smoopy rarely but they love shines through.   “Hi, Kori, Vince said happily, squeezing me so tightly my back cracked.  We came back from our honeymoon early! Sandy said you were sad, and I know how much you like it when I hug you, so here I am.”  Vince…I forget how much I adore him.

I was definitely laughing here and often.  Jeremy’s love of Coldplay and forcing others to realize they are listening to Coldplay in his sorority whore’s yellow Jeep gave me the best visual ever.  Nana, who isn’t anything like my gramma but is definitely what I want to be when I grow up, taking Kori/Corey for a their first massage, “Enya was shrieking through the speakers overhead.  The lit candles smelled like lemon-flavored ass” was a highlight.  “There was a piano player. And candles on the table.  Oh my god, old people on romantic dates was my new kink.”

Jeremy is the son of Charlie’s beau, Robert.  He is also the former professor of Kori/Corey and subject of her/his mad crush.  It doesn’t help that Jeremy is now the boss at Phoenix House and is also Hot Jogger Guy, which I found hysterical that Sandy recognizes no face when the bits are bouncing.  And finding out Jeremy is the year’s Mr. Leatherman?  “I needed to articulate exactly how I was feeling.  “Blargh,” I said.  “Urgh. Marf.”  Perfect.  That about summed it up.”

But more than anything, the book is about being true to who you are and what it takes sometimes to get there. Jeremy and Robert are lonely and being enfolded into this family is miraculous.  Being accepted for yourself is miraculous.   Being suited up in leather to spy on Mr. Leatherman?  Glorious.  There is a heavier feel to this book than the others and the message isn’t lost amongst the humor.  The fight for acceptance got harder in 2016, the book is set, with the inauguration of a truly horrific president and this is made clear here.

But the overlying message is hope and love.  Having friends, loving people and making sure the ones you love know it and are cared for.

Oh and the flash mob?  Perfection.

The cover art by Reese Dante, Kori/Corey in some sexy heels, is absolutely perfect.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 350 pages
Published May 14th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleWhy We Fight
ASINB07NDFWSKC
Edition LanguageEnglish
Series At First Sight #4
Characters Corey/Kori Ellis, Paul Auster, Vince Taylor, Sanford “Sandy” Stewart, Darren Mayne, Jeremy Olsen

 

At First Sight Series:

Tell Me It’s Real

The Queen & the Homo Jock King

Until You

Why We Fight

A Lila Release Day Review: Cowboys Don’t Samba (Cowboys Don’t #3) by Tara Lain

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Maury Garcia’s one of the greatest bull riders in the world—and one of the biggest liars. Can he turn forbidden love with a rodeo rookie into a lasting romance?

Ever since his brother was killed because he was gay, Maury’s worked to take his brother’s place as the bull rider, the provider, and the ideal of his family’s macho expectations. The only thing Maury’s ever done for himself is buy a secret ranch so he can get away from the responsibilities he’s chained himself to. Then he meets Tristão Silva, the younger brother of the one man who could rob Maury of his bull riding championship.

Tristão may be a world-class bull rider in his own right, but his kind, gentle nature and sexy samba hips make Maury long for something beyond his selfless, sexless life. The two men’s lives are worlds apart, even if they’re both buckling under family expectations. Will their future last beyond an eight-second ride?

Cowboys Don’t Samba is another small window into the world of bull writing. I’m glad the author included the diversity of the sport and their community. Perhaps not in the best light, but close to its reality.

The book starts a bit slow but not enough to put it away. The main characters’ stories run parallel most of the time creating a distinction between them. I wanted more time for their relationship to develop but the rest of the events compensate for it.

Some parts related to how Hispanics and Latins raise their families felt a bit preachy and as a stereotype. We get some redemption by the end of the story but I wanted a less rushed preposition.

The story is engaging and I liked the characters. The author did an excellent job meshing the previous stories’ plot and characters into this book. And like the previous two, the secondary characters are as important as Maury and Tristão. Not as over-the-top but everyone had a reason to be involved in the drama and invested in their future,

The cover by Reese Dante matches the rest of the series, showing Maury, this time.

Sale Links: Dreamspinner | Amazon | Nook

Book Details:

ebook, 229 pages
Published: May 14, 2019, Dreamspinner Press
ISBN: 9781644053959
Edition Language: English

Series: Cowboys Don’t
Book #1: Cowboys Don’t Come Out
Book #2: Cowboys Don’t Ride Unicorns
Book #3: Cowboys Don’t Samba