A Jeri Release Day Review: Ten (Love by Numbers #1) by Tia Fielding

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

 

This is a lovely hurt/comfort story that could have been super angsty given the material, but I don’t think it was.
Makai was exonerated of murder after spending 10 years in prison. He doesn’t want to go home, so he buys a cottage sight unseen in the town where his grandfather once lived and he had spent some time as a child.
Emil is still recovering after a brutal kidnapping 5 years earlier. Because his kidnapping was related to his father’s police work, the story was widespread. But in the little town they live in, the people are very protective of him.
Makai and Emil have two chance meetings and discover they would both like to at least explore more. But these guys are so so broken. Oddly enough they are able to come together and bond over a pregnant cat who adopted Makai as soon as he moved in and a precocious child who is gender fluid.
Makai is a gentle giant who is so attuned to Emil and his problems and wants to just take care of him and respect all of his boundaries. I feel like that a little bit came at the expense of Makai’s own issues. Most of the focus seemed to be on Emil. Which was ok because he seemed more damaged, but at the same time a little more attention could have been spent on Makai.
I absolutely loved Joie/Joy/Joey the gender fluid 5 year old. It was a nice way to introduce an identity we still aren’t seeing a lot of in books. I did notice that when they presented as a girl, the author used female pronouns. But when they presented as a boy they used they/them. That was a bit odd to me.
This story is very much about a relationship and two men coming to terms with not only what happened to each of them, but how to navigate loving someone within the parameters they set for themselves.
I have to say that in a lot of books, there is the conflict and then fairly soon after there is a happily ever after. In this story, this big conflict happens about 3/4 of the way in so then there is still a good amount of story after.
I liked the cover by Garrett Leigh and the feel of it represents Makai well but not really his looks. But it would still draw me in because if conveys the brokenness of the character.

Buy link:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon  

Book Details:
ebook, 218 pages
Published January 15th 2019 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleTen
ISBN139781644051177
Edition LanguageEnglish
URLhttps://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/books/ten-by-tia-fielding-10088-b
SeriesLove by Numbers #1

A Jeri Review: The Time of My Life by Nora Phoenix

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

I really liked this book. Why? Because it was different.
Denver and Judah meet at open auditions for a fictional reality show (how’s that for an oxymoron!) similar to The Voice. They connect right away when Judah singles him out to sing along while they are waiting. But then kind of turns into a jerk.
Judah is deeply in the closet- so much so that he has been trying to ignore the fact that he is gay to hopefully win back the love and respect of his deeply religious family. Ironically, he wasn’t kicked out of the family for being gay, but because he didn’t want to follow in his father’s footsteps.
Denver is still getting over a horrible 3 year relationship that has turned into stalking. So they are both wary. But they are continually drawn to each other.
What was fun about this story is that it is told through the audition and filming process of the reality show. There is very little told outside of the show. Meaning the 1 and 2 month breaks the contestants get in between the different rounds. I thought that was really cool.
There were aspects of the book that I didn’t like so much. BUT the reason I didn’t like them is because I know quite a bit about the religion Judah came from. One town over from me is the biggest population of that religion outside of Brooklyn. So in my NJ grew up with this mind I often said “nope, nuh uh, wrong”. But again, 99.9% of the population wouldn’t blink an eye at those things. So I mention it, but I am not bringing my number of stars down because of it.
I did want to know how Judah got so into music- especially rock/classic rock- after living such a sheltered life. But that was never addressed.
And while I think some people might not love the ending- I thought it was absolutely perfect.
Cover art is perfect.
Sales Links: Amazon
Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 354 pages
Published February 8th 2018 by Nora Phoenix
Original Title The Time of My Life
ASIN B079Q914DH
Edition Language English

A Jeri Review: Winning Edge by Keira Andrews

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5
Who doesn’t love watching the Olympics? You know you do. And you know you love the figure skating. This book by Keira Andrews showed us behind the scenes leading up to and at the (fictional) Olympics. AND it’s an America versus Russia!
Dev and his partner cannot seem to beat Mikhail and his partner. Always coming in second place to the cold as ice (sorry) Russian pair. Until Mikhail kisses him in the locker room. And that ice starts to melt.
I actually really loved Mikhail’s back story. Why he and his partner NEEDED to win Olympic gold. Let’s just say some things never change in Russia. I also really enjoyed that Dev was an Indian American, born in India. So this wholly American with dreams of Olympic gold yet he was not the all American white guy. Things like this make me love a book more.
Dealing with the budding romance between them while still competing against each other was exciting to read about. The politics in the sport, how it isn’t as popular as it used to be, the dynamics with your partner- yes, yes, and yes. I love that kind of thing in a book. It just gives it a little more substance.
I’ll say that the one thing I didn’t like was seeming to jump from one thing to another. I can’t really explain without spoilers, but there were small time jumps without a story to go with them. And I think the story that was missing would have been sweet and romantic. I felt a bit robbed of some romance. And I love romance.
Overall, I really enjoyed this. It amped me up more for the Olympics and I could envision the inner workings of what they all go through.
Cover art:  Dar Albert @ Wicked Smart Designs.  Love the cover.
Sales Links:Universal Buy Link: books2read.com/TheWinningEdge
Book Details:
210 pages
Published February 8th 2018 by KA Books (first published February 4th 2014)
Original TitleCold War by Keira Andrews AND Holding the Edge by Keira Andrews
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Review: For The Living by L.A. Witt

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

I love rereleases when it is a one I somehow missed. I am a fan of LA Witt, so I was eager to read this.
What I loved the most was that it was different. One man struggling with his sexual identity and then forced to grieve a wife that deserved more. And a mortician who he met while burying his wife. You don’t read about that everyday.
The pain Jay felt was so real. First the pain of knowing he was gay, but how to tell his wife about it. Because he did love her, he just wasn’t in love with her. And then to lose her so suddenly. No closure, no truth, no nothing. She was just gone. He doesn’t know how to deal with all of that at once. And then Scott offers a friendly ear and shoulder. Yes, he is a funeral director so comforting people is a bit in the job description. But he also knows what it is like to struggle to come out.
Scott was a bit too perfect for me. So sympathetic and understanding. Most of the time he wasn’t taking his own feelings into consideration. And then when he was upset, it was like he flipped a switch. 90% way too saintly and 10% why are you being such a jerk? I found it almost funny that he is this professional, clean cut funeral director/mortician, but he is covered in tattoos you only see when his shirt is off. Like she was saying “see? he’s a bad boy!”.
I liked Jay though. I felt like his struggle was real. Oddly, even though his parents were close to him, they didn’t seem to have too much in the story. You would think that their son losing his wife would bring them forward more. Having him struggle with that would have been very realistic. Instead he leans heavily on Scott.
So, yes, it was a good story. I liked it. I just didn’t love it. Assuming that because this is a rerelease it was also re-edited. It really needed more though.
Cover art Lori Witt.  Wonderful cover.  Love the composition.

Buy Link Ebook: books2read.com/ForTheLivingLA-

Buy Link Amazon US | Amazon UK

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 279 pages
Published November 3rd 2016 (first published April 1st 2012)
Original TitleFor the Living
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Review: Tops Down Bottoms Up by Jay Northcote

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This was a fun little read! Jay writes feel good books with little or no angst. And sometimes that is exactly what you need.
This was another example of not only opposites attract, but of one of the main characters getting caught making fun of what the other main character does. Namely Morris dancing. I had no idea what this was (silly American that I am!) and was off to youtube to get a better picture. But once Rowan is softly pushed into trying it, he doesn’t hate it like he thought he would. And that isn’t just because Seth is hot and the sexual innuendos fly.
But after a quickly punched in phone number turns out to be one digit wrong, Rowan figures it was a festival fling and to move on. But his best friend finds out where the Morris dancers are next and has a plan to get Rowan and Seth back together.
This book is a perfect read for sitting by the beach or pool. It will put a smile on your face, the sex isn’t off the charts steamy so you won’t be red in the face in public, and it is a quick read.
Enjoy this little Morris dancing romp.
Cover Design: Garrett Leigh @ Black Jazz Design.  Sexy and appealing.

Sales Links:

Amazon US:http://amzn.to/2uHLViY

Amazon UK: http://amzn.to/2w92Wmu

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 91 pages
Published August 16th 2017 by Jaybird Press
Original TitleTops Down Bottoms Up
ASINB074TVDMFQ

A Jeri Review: A Way with Words (Memories with The Breakfast Club [Kindle Worlds]) by Lane Hayes

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

I don’t always love novellas. Only because I think it is difficult to tell a compelling story in fewer than 200 pages. BUT, it can be done. And Lane Hayes did. It helped that it was an opposites attract story set in NYC for me. Because I KNOW guys like Tony. Tight knit big giant Italian families are beginning to get more scarce, but they are out there. And I know them. So nothing this family did or said was much of a shocker to me.

Remy is the opposite of Tony. Kind of quiet, artsy, open book guy trying to make it on his own in the city by himself. He is willing to wait for Tony to come out of the closet. But in the mean time, he basically goes back into the closet for him.

Remy was patient and kind with Tony which was so refreshing. He didn’t give him an ultimatum because he knew that coming out is intensely personal. Remy gave him the time and space to do that.

Being that it was a novella it did have a neat little wrap up to the story line with pretty much no drama. But hey, we all need a happy little ending sometimes.

Cover art is relevant, eye-catching and lovely.

 

Sales Links:  Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 191 pages
Published June 20th 2017 by Kindle Worlds
ASINB0731XK1CX
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesMemories with The Breakfast Club [Kindle Worlds]

A Jeri Review: The Shape of You by Felice Stevens

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

What a refreshing surprise! I’ve always enjoyed Felice Steven’s books. Her stories seem very real to me and I always love stories set in NYC. But this book was just different enough for me to make it really enjoyable.

I’d like to say it is an opposites attract story, and in a way it is, but only on the surface. One man needs to gain weight, the other needs to lose weight. But underneath it all they are more similar than they realize.
I think this is the first book I have read with an overweight main character who ISN’T killing himself at the gym. Instead he is going about it through a nutrition class and walking. It is at that nutrition class that he meets Corey, who is underweight. Another thing you don’t hear of often- definitely not in gay romance books.
There is quite a bit about WHY they each have their weight problems, the discrimination they endure- mostly Eric and a lot of encouragement to each other. The story highlights the seemingly acceptable act of weight discrimination. So many people think that they can comment on someone’s weight when it is none of their business and it hurts the person more than they know.
The romance between Eric and Corey is very sweet. The way Eric doubts his desirability is spot on, but on the flip side, Corey also doubts his desirability.
My only critiques are that there was a lot of repetition in the story and I would have liked more story after they were officially together as a couple.
Cover art is beautiful.

Sales Links:

Amazon US: http://amzn.to/2s1tFf1

Amazon UK: https://goo.gl/Bav4jo

(Free in Kindle Unlimited)

Book Details:
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published June 27th 2017
ASINB073FKRXH7

A Jeri Release Day Review: What’s the Use of Wondering? By Kate McMurray

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

This is the second book in the series WMU, a young adult series set at a small college. There is some character cross over from the first but this one can be read as a stand alone easily.

Logan’s life is all about violin. Trying to live up to the dreams of his parents, he spends his life playing and practicing. So he is a bit apprehensive when he gets a new roommate. But Peter isn’t what Logan believes.

I have to say, Peter put up with a lot of bs from Logan. He was so rude at the start- and all because of the giant chip on his shoulder. Peter could have lashed out or flat out ignored Logan, but he continually offered an olive branch to find common ground. Even though the common ground was obvious.

There was some tough love in there as well between the two of them. Encouraging each other to do what they want and be themselves. Living up to the expectations of your parents has to end in order to be truly happy.

Logan and Peter really were a good compliment to each other. While it started out as an opposites attract kind of thing, they really had more in common than they knew. Building a relationship on that commonality was what made this such a sweet read.

I have to say I loved that musical theater continued in this book from the first. Being a theater junkie and proud drama geek, it brought back some amazing memories.

Cover art by Aaron Anderson.  Lovely and eye-catching.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 182 pages
Published July 3rd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ASINB071K9XC3S
SeriesWMU #2

A Jeri Release Day Review: Return of the Chauffeur’s Son by Tara Lain

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

This was a cute book. It was an homage to Sabrina, the Audrey Hepburn classic with a modern- and gay- spin. Set in the Napa Valley wine country with Luca as an up and coming chef, his childhood best friend and crush James and James’ older brother Dylan. The brothers grew up affluent, sons of a winery owner- while Luca and his father the chauffeur lived over the garage.

I really liked that this book was set in wine country. Having lived there for 10 years, I know how cut throat restaurant and wine business can be- especially when there are awards to be handed out. Tara Lain got that completely right.

All of the characters were interesting in this story.  From the three main characters to all of the parents and the secondary characters. Each held their own without distracting from the story- in fact they really enhanced it.

Like I said, it was a cute story. There was a good balance between the drama of the restaurant side of the story and the sweetness of the romance side. Although I did want to really smack James upside the head more than once. 

If you are looking for something sweet to perhaps cleanse the palate, but still want a good story- this one is for you.

 

Cover Artist: Reese Dante.  Cover is cute and inviting.

Sales Links

         

 

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 200 pages
Expected publication: June 2nd 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleReturn of the Chauffeur’s Son
ASINB06XBFXFG1
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Release Day Review: Before You Break (Secrets #1) by K.C. Wells and Parker Williams

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Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Not a lot of authors can write really good BDSM books. But let me tell you, KC Wells really can. When I see there is a new one out, I know I won’t be disappointed.

Besides BDSM, it was also friends to lovers AND gay for you. You could easily dismiss this as too many tropes in one book. It wasn’t. All three were handled with care and done really well.

Ellis and Wayne are partners in London’s Special Firearms unit. As partners are wont to do, they quickly became close friends. Wayne never hid his sexuality from anyone, he was openly gay in law enforcement and didn’t care. And while Ellis is straight, he never seemed to join in the locker room talk with fellow officers.

But Ellis is spiraling down- both personally and professionally. And Wayne the dominant, thinks he can help. So he offers Ellis a proposition- to take over as Ellis’ dominant to try to get him back on track before he destroys his career and his life.

As I said, KC Wells really can write BDSM well. And this is a perfect example. Because this is D/s with no inherent allusion to a sexual relationship. Showing that a relationship like this does not just mean sex.

Ellis struggles at first to not only accept the proposition, but also to admit that he is a natural submissive. For someone who grew up having to be in control- to give it up, and enjoy it- flips his mind upside down.

Wayne’s control of the entire situation shows how much a Dominant really wants what is best for a submissive. Because even though he wants Ellis as a partner at work and home, he enters this arrangement just trying to help Ellis get a hold of his life.

As the story continues, we watch Ellis become aware of what is wrong with his life- how to let go of a lot of things, and how to accept help, love and discipline from Wayne.

This was a great story which flowed really well. There were a few scenes that I didn’t think one or another character would really participate it, but overall well done.

Cover art by Reese Dante is hot, contemporary and works for the story.

Sales Links:  Dreamspinner Press | Amazon

Book Details:

ebook, 340 pages
Expected publication: May 26th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
Original TitleBefore You Break
ISBN 1635336988 (ISBN13: 9781635336986)
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesSecrets #1