A Jeri Review : Hug It Out (Haven Hart Universe #2) by Davidson King

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This book really surprised me. In a good way. I really didn’t expect to like it as much as I did for a couple of reasons. The first was total bias- a new author. She wrote one book before this that I didn’t read because new author. I’ll get to the second.

Teddy is a professional companion and hugger. Yes, you read that right- a hugger. Sounds cheesy, but the more I read into his meanings for starting his business, it totally made sense. And it could have been so cheesy- but it wasn’t. He wasn’t this overly optimistic happy guy. He was just a regular guy with an odd profession.

Riordan can safely be called a vehement non-hugger. In fact, unbeknownst to his family, he is a professional assassin. But after a job goes wrong, he takes a hiatus from the job. But he is holed up in his house, no friends, withdrawing more and more. So his sister hires Teddy to move in and help Riordan for a month.

We should not late Riordan. He is mean and nasty. He kills people for a living. He takes a gruesome souvenir from each of his kills.This is the second reason I didn’t expect to like it. I mean, GRUESOME. And yet…you kind of feel badly for him.

There is absolutely no reason that Teddy and Riordan should work. Total opposites. Warm and fuzzy versus cold and hard. But, they do. Color me shocked.

The plot line was interesting, the sex and relationship were hot and I didn’t figure out who the Big Bad (Buffy reference) was until it was almost revealed.

So I know that this author is a huge MM fan. And to bastardize a Quentin Tarantino quote “she didn’t go to book school, she read books”.

And yes, I am definitely going back to read book 1 and I look forward to book 3.

Cover art while dark seems perfect for the story.

Sales Links:

AMAZON US: https://amzn.to/2GqNjbC

AMAZON UK: https://amzn.to/2GKqrHh

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition
Published March 2018
Original TitleHug It Out
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesHaven Hart Universe #2

A Jeri Review: Fight the Tide (Kick at the Darkness #2) by Keira Andrews

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Fight the TideYou really, really must read Kick at the Darkness first as this is the follow up book. And I am guessing (hoping?) that there will be a book three.

Fight the Tide picks up right where Kick at the Darkness leaves off. Adam and Parker are aboard a sailboat trying to survive. They have no idea where they are really going or what to do. But they want to survive. One day while Adam is on shore getting supplies, Parker is victimized by modern day pirates. Feeling like less of a man, a broken person, he puts on a brave face for Adam. When they hear a distress call, Parker absolutely does not want to help, fearing the worst. But Adam can’t leave these people with 2 children when they are sinking. And so we meet Craig, his daughter Lilly, and Abby and her so Jacob.

This installment is no longer a romantic love story, but one of survival and making your way in an unknown world. In book 1 it was Adam who was untrusting of the world. In book 2, it is Parker. That flip kept this book very interesting. Adam has a whole new “coming out” when he admits to the others that he is a werewolf.

While I really enjoyed this book, it was a bit of a hybrid of The Walking Dead and Waterworld.  There were tears, gasps, sighs and oh my gods. At times I was a bit lost in the sailing jargon, but then on the edge of my seat wondering what was going to happen next. We still get moments of romance between Adam and Parker, but this is far from a love story.

I admit I like book 1 more, but book 2 was a necessary bridge to the story coming for us in book 3. A story I cannot wait for.

The cover is gorgeous and a perfect representation of Parker and Adam and their sailboat, seemingly alone on the open seas.

Sales Links

         Smashwords square

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published July 26th 2016 by KA Books
ISBN139781988260068
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series: Kick at the Darkness – add it to your Goodreads here

A Jeri Review: On Higher Ground (On Solid Ground #2) by Melissa Collins

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

On Higher GroundWhen there’s no peace after war…
When there’s no solace after death…
When there’s only pain and suffering…
Anxiety and loss…
All you can hope to find is something more…
Something that makes you whole and complete
Something that puts you
On Higher Ground

Let me start by saying you MUST read the first book, On Solid Ground.  Besides it being an excellent story, On Higher Ground is a continuation of it.

We met Dax, a military veteran and Beck, a tattoo artist in the first book. And although that book ended with a presumed happily ever after, their story continues on. Which is one of the reasons I loved this book. I like seeing a couple after the HEA. Dealing with regular life and all that it entails. And their regular life has quite a few obstacles.

Dax is still dealing with pretty bad PTSD but he is hiding it from Beck. Although engaged, Dax is avoiding it and Beck doesn’t want to upset Dax. They also have a little girl, Beck’s niece, who they are raising as their own. And then a letter from Beck’s long absent father shows up.

Much of the book is spent with Dax and Beck tip toeing around each other, not wanting to upset the other. But really it is a giant lack of communication.  And even through all of the struggles, they never give up on each other. They never give up.

I loved the dedication to each other and to their daughter. Accepting each other for who they are and not trying to change anything. Beck jumps to conclusions at times, but he is always steadfast in his complete love for Dax.

If you are looking for a sweet romance, this is not it. There is a lot of angst, a lot of sex and yes, a lot of love. The epilogue was a perfect ending to their story.

Sales Links:  Amazon | ARe

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 229 pages
Published May 17th 2016 by M. Collins Author, LLC
ASINB01FTEBDDE
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesOn Solid Ground #2

A Jeri Review: Believing Rory by S.C. Wynne

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Believing RoryWill Rory bring them together or stand between them?

Eighteen-year-old Lane Graham has always relied on his braver, more confident buddy, Rory. But Rory’s sudden suicide blindsides Lane and sends him into an emotional tailspin. How’s he supposed to start college in a few months feeling this damaged?

Baron MacDonald knew Rory from playing League of Legends together. He was always intrigued by Lane’s online presence, and Rory had promised to set them up. Now that Rory’s gone, Baron has to approach Lane on his own.

On the surface, Baron and Lane couldn’t seem more different. Baron is confident and serious, and Lane is guarded and uncertain. But it’s the pain beneath the flesh that binds these two souls together like barbed wire and cement.

This story had me crying within a few pages. Which is not a bad thing at all because I really enjoy books that make me feel. Crying means I am connected to the characters, feel for them.

Lane is a quiet kid who struggles with depression and life in general. But he always had his best friend Rory. Until Rory committed suicide and left Lane alone. But as most suicidal people do, Rory laid the groundwork for Lane to meet Baron, an online friend who seems completely different from Lane, but underneath they have similar pain, Baron is just way better at hiding it from the world. And the shared pain of losing Rory.

When I started the book I really wanted to have more story with Rory and Lane, before Lane committed suicide. But as I got deeper into the book, I really appreciated it for where it did begin. Because we don’t really get to know what was behind Rory’s suicide, we could focus more on Lane and Baron and their path.

This wasn’t just about two guys getting together and falling in love. But a shift for both of them. Rory always took care of Lane. Baron was popular and didn’t need anyone’s help. But then Lane began to take care of and help Baron, which I think really helped him take care of himself. To realize what a strong person he could be.

The author did an excellent job of conveying the feelings that come with depression. I felt that this was a beautiful deep story and it stayed with me for a long time.

Cover art by Garrett Leigh.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 200 pages
Published April 29th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634772730
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Review: Touch the Sky (Free Fall #1) by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Touch the SkyLucas Barnett and Gabriel Stewart didn’t have it easy as kids. They were only trying to deal with bad situations at home when they became lifelines for each other. Their pipe dream was to someday meet in LA, where Lucas would design skyscrapers, and Gabriel would learn to fly. But then Gabriel disappeared without so much as a goodbye, and Lucas got himself in trouble with the law.

Five years later, both men are at a loss when they run into each other at a Hollywood bar. Lucas is still angry, but it’s not as if Gabriel could control how his mind and body had betrayed him. Being found on the ledge of that bridge had changed everything.

The attraction is immediate, but it’s more than their inability to keep their hands off each other. Neither man expects the fierce connection pulling them together. Unfortunately, ignoring their problems doesn’t make them disappear. Gabriel’s internal struggles are serious…dangerous. And no matter how much Lucas wants it to be true, saving Gabriel won’t make up for not being able to save his mom. If they don’t find the strength to face their own demons before the darkness takes hold, they risk more than just losing each other forever.

Wow. Just wow. I have been a fan of both authors (and Nyrae Dawn’s alter ego, Riley Hart) so when it was revealed that they were writing a book together, I was definitely intrigued. They did not disappoint at all.

Gabriel and Lucas were best friends as teens. They both had troubled lives but for different reasons. And then one day Gabriel was gone.

Five years goes by and we meet Gabriel again bartending in LA. And then Lucas walks into his bar. When they discover each other, Gabriel is thrilled to see his friend again. But Lucas is pissed. REALLY pissed. His one friend walked out on him without an explanation and he had to deal with life on his own.

Gabriel is desperate to have Lucas back in his life and explain what happened. But Lucas doesn’t want to hear it. As much as he craves to have Gabriel back also.

This journey of friends rediscovering each other and learning about each other was so real. Another book that deals so incredibly well with depression and the toll it takes, not only on the sufferer, but on those who love them. When Lucas is finally ready to accept Gabriel back into his life, Gabriel falls into a seriously depressive episode. To me, that shows that readers how depression can take over your life, your thoughts and your feelings no matter the outside circumstances.

Watching Lucas help Gabriel through his depression, Gabriel finally accepting that he needs help and that he is not lonely loveable but loved, was a testament to the bond they share that wasn’t broken through the five years of silence.

Lucas has his own demons to deal with in life. As closed off as he was since Gabriel left, he finds it difficult to let anyone in completely. But knowing how much Gabriel needs him allows Lucas to open that door.

Whenever a book is co-written I always try to figure out which author wrote which character (this book alternates characters per chapter). I thought I had it all figured out, but I was wrong. That, to me, shows how well they write together that they meshed so seamlessly.

Cover art is gorgeous and in tune with the novel.

Sales Links:  AMAZON US: http://amzn.to/1MHjbEX | AMAZON UK: http://amzn.to/25oGoY7 | AMAZON AU: http://bit.ly/1SbDVGP | B&N: http://bit.ly/1ZBf8S5 | iBook: http://apple.co/22rX0iC

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 226 pages
Published March 28th 2016 by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn
ASIN B01D3JJN7K
Edition Language English
Series Free Fall #1

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

Standard

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

A Jeri Review: The Imperfection of Swans by Brandan Witt

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5  (4 1/2 stars!!)

The Imperfection of SwansKevin Bivanti’s dream is to open a wedding dress shop, a place with the stunning gowns to make every bride-to-be feel adored. At thirty-eight, he quits a successful advertising career to buy an old brownstone in a trendy Boston neighborhood and to make his dream a reality. When one of his cosigners drops out, fate intervenes, ushering in Casper James, who hopes to open his own bakery. With Casper willing to take the risk, their ambitions meld into a wedding dress and wedding cake boutique.

Extensive renovations to the brownstone, an affair with his ex-husband, family drama with his mothers, and the anxiety of significant life changes push Kevin to the brink of a nervous breakdown. In the midst of stress and uncertainty, Casper becomes more than a business partner, a mutual attraction that adds another layer of intensity and risk.

With their dreams on the verge of reality, Kevin and Casper must find the courage to face the stress of managing their attraction, the gamble of a new business venture, and the resurgence of Kevin’s personal demons.

I really loved this book! The general concept of the story was not all that original. Two guys working together and don’t want to mess up their professional relationship, but fighting it gets harder and harder. We’ve read that before right?

Yep, we have. But what we haven’t read about is one of the characters who is at once so lovable and so flawed and the other, just as lovable and trying hard not to be flawed. It is the flaws and the way they are dealt with which made this book a BIG 4 1/2 star read for me.

Kevin is the character with the most issues. And like most people with issues like his, he denies them and makes excuses for them. His strength and vulnerability make you want to hug him and tell him it is going to get better. Kevin is finally taking a huge leap to live his dream- that of opening a bridal shop in Boston. With the help of his moms and extended family, it looks like it will become a reality. Until financing falls through.

Enter Casper, a head pastry chef who has his own dream of opening a bakery. He lives with 4 loud music majors so that he can save up enough money to open his own bakery. Kismet brings them together and with Casper able to help secure the financing on the multi million dollar building- it seems as though they will both be living their dreams.

This book contains some pretty serious subject matter- eating disorders and anxiety. Both could have easily been portrayed as overly dramatic or sensationalistic, but they are not. They are addressed head on, shown for the true colors that they are. How they affect not only the person living with them, but the people who love them as well.

There is also an outstanding cast of background characters in this book. Two of my favorites were Renata and Noelle- Kevin’s moms. Their yin yang relationship so mirrors the relationship that Kevin and Casper are trying to build together.

I laughed and I cried. I couldn’t wait to turn the page and I didn’t want it to end.

Cover Photo Credit Brandon Witt; Model: Kevin Eksterowicz.When I am reading a book by a new to me author, I always go all the way through to the end. Reading the “about me” section and anything else. There I learned that the cover art- oh so gorgeous- is not only the author’s real life best friend, but also the inspiration behind Kevin. It made me love the book more.

Sales Links: Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 284 pages
Published January 18th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634768175 (ISBN13: 9781634768177)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Review: Catch a Tiger by the Tail (THIRDS #6) by Charlie Cochet

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

Catch a Tiger by the TailCalvin Summers and Ethan Hobbs have been best friends since childhood, but somewhere along the line, their friendship evolved into something more. With the Therian Youth Center bombing, Calvin realizes just how short life can be and no longer keeps his feelings for his best friend a secret. Unfortunately, change is difficult for Ethan; most days he does well to deal with his Selective Mutism and Social Anxiety. Calvin’s confession adds a new struggle for Ethan, one he fears might cost him the friendship that’s been his whole world for as long as he can remember.

As partners and Defense Agents at the THIRDS, being on Destructive Delta is tough at the best of times, but between call-outs and life-threatening situations, Calvin and Ethan not only face traversing the challenges of their job, but also working toward a future as more than friends.

Well, Charlie Cochet has done it yet again. Quite often when there is a series of books, the more books there are, the more the quality and story lines wane. Not so in this, the 6th book of the THIRDS series.

The first four books were based around Dex and Sloane, the fifth book was Ash and Cael. This installment brings us the budding romance between work partners and best friends Calvin and Hobbs (yes, Calvin and Hobbs).

Calvin- a human agent for THIRDS, and Hobbs- his Therian THIRDS partner have been inseparable since childhood. Although obviously smaller and not as strong, Calvin always had Hobbs’ back. Hobbs is plagued with debilitating anxiety and selective mutism. Calvin is one of only two people he can talk to; the other being one of his brothers.

Working so closely together at THIRDS and watching their teammates couple up, the lines between friends and more than friends begins to blur. But both are terrified of losing the friendship which has gotten them through some tough things in life.

The budding, tentative romance between the two is beautiful. They already love each other so much and to see that love grow into romantic love is swoon worthy. They don’t jump into it though, as they are unsure of how to act and behave with this new thing between them. Add in severe anxiety, a ridiculously dangerous job and family that doesn’t always understand and you have a great engaging story that keeps you turning the pages.

One of the great things about this series is that they aren’t just romance and sex. They are great stories in a world that is both very different and very similar to the one we live in.

It is nearly impossible for me to give a 5 star review and the reason this book gets 4 ½ instead of 5 is that so many of the chapters ended virtually the same way- or with the same thoughts. It got a bit tedious as I didn’t need to be reminded of the sentiment constantly. There is also a cliff hanger that makes you want to throw your kindle across the room, but them run to get it and start the book over again.

The cover by L.C. Chase is in the same vein as pervious, but with Calvin front and center with Hobbs’ back behind him- which speaks to not only Hobbs’ anxiety but also to them always having each other’s backs.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | ARe | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 216 pages
Expected publication: February 5th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN139781634769099
Edition LanguageEnglish

Thirds Series can be found here.