A Jeri Review: Unsteady (On Solid Ground #3) by Melissa Collins

Standard

Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

Although this book is officially the third in a series, it absolutely can be read as a stand alone.

Melissa Collins writes really good damaged men. Damaged in a way that makes you want to cheer for them and hug them and want their happily ever after.

Micah was an army brat, moving every few years and never really making connections with people. When his father finally retired and they settled in Texas, he found himself defending Jude against bullies in the high school locker room. Offering both friendship and a work out partner, they were inseparable.

Jude thought he was doing the right thing by telling Micah to get out of his life. Looking back, it was totally the wrong thing. But 10 years have passed and he still can’t forgive himself. So when Micah suddenly calls him out of the blue looking to visit, crash at his place, whatever- Jude can’t say no.

Micah and Jude have a long road of forgiveness to travel together.  But watching them reconnect, forgive and fall in love again is beautiful. Even though Micah had way more issues than Jude- it was Jude who broke my heart. Ten years later, still taking care of his father, living in the closet and working at the school of his bullied childhood. And even though Jude was doing what he loved at the school- I can’t imagine going back there day after day.

And just when I thought Micah was doing well- Jude takes him on a surprise day trip. And Micah freaked out. Ugh I was gutted. His agony was so evident. Especially since the trigger was something you wouldn’t even think of!

Two beautiful but damaged souls healing together and healing each other. This story will rip your heart out, but also make you swoon. It was beautifully written with great regard to the life a soldier with PTSD and permanent injuries would have.

Cover design: Sommer Stein at Perfect Pair Creative Covers.  Cover is hot and eye-catching.

Sales Links  AMAZON

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition
Published April 28th 2017 by M. Collins Author, LLC
ASINB071V5B5T1
SeriesOn Solid Ground #3

A Jeri Release Day Review: Tied to You (Wild Side #2) by Riley Hart

Standard

Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5

I really loved this book. It isn’t some great piece of literature. It didn’t even vary much from other gay romance books. But what it did have was heart. A realness to it. It was genuine to me. And that made all the difference.

Miles is, for lack of a better term, the asshole of the group. He, Ollie and Chance have been best friends since they were in diapers. With Ollie’s boyfriend, Matt, they are a group of four that come hell or high water meet every Friday night. Just because they meet to hang out there every Friday night doesn’t mean that they have to go home alone.

Quinn takes Miles home on Friday night. And while it was supposed to be a one night thing, they spend the whole weekend together. Neither really wants a relationship- they just want to have a little fun. But of course they can’t stop thinking about each other.

Miles and Quinn both have some issues. BIG issues. But together they have some crazy chemistry that cannot be denied. Like, you had better have a fan handy when you are reading this book! Both could have very easily put up those stereotypical walls to keep others out. And they both do, sort of. But the walls seems to crumble easily with them. Neither has to fight the other to let them in.

One of my favorite things about this book was the playfulness between Miles and Quinn. They make each other laugh and smile. And the best part- is the playfulness before, during and after the super sexy times in the book. Someone told me once that if you can’t laugh with your partner while having sex- you’re with the wrong person. That has stuck with me for a long time and it was so evident with their relationship.

I also adored the relationship that Miles had, not only with his friends, but his parents. I loved seeing his friends give him a hard time about having a boyfriend, but also not holding back when he was being stupid. Because that is what real friends do!

Honestly, the only thing that left me wanting in the story was how Quinn flipped his attitude around. He is quite vocal about what an angry kid he was. And how that really prevented him from being adopted. And as an adult he is the guy who always looks for the bright side. A little delving into that would have been great.

This is book 2 in the Wild Side series and while I somehow missed book 1, I am going back to read it and I cannot wait for book 3.

COVER DESIGN: X-Potion Designs,COVER PHOTO: John Karrer,ARTWORK: Sarah Jo Chreene.  Sensual and eye-catching.

Sales Links

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK

AMAZON CA

AMAZON AU

Book Details:

ebook, 239 pages
Published April 25th 2017 by Riley Hart
ISBN139781386488583
SeriesWild Side #2

A Jeri Review: At Attention by Annabelle Albert

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Annabeth Albert has done it again. I honestly don’t think I have ever given one of her books fewer than 4 stars. At Attention is book 2 in her Out of Uniform series. These can absolutely be read as stand alones, but if you are like most who start reading her books- you will search them all out to devour.

Apollo is a single dad to twin girls after losing his husband. His mother has an apartment above the garage to help take care of the girls while he is at work. But she is going on a much deserved and long awaited vacation. Being a former SEAL on desk duty because of a bad back, Apollo doesn’t like his carefully crafted routine disrupted.

In walks Dylan- his Navy friend’s little brother whom he hasn’t seen in 8 years. Since Dylan is spending the summer at home before he begins a new job, he seems like the perfect person to help Apollo with the girls. But Apollo and Dylan suddenly have crazy chemistry- and Apollo has no intentions of acting on it.

Ho-ly HOT. When Apollo is in Dad or work mode, he is nearly perfect. Very straight laced, plays by the rules guy. But when he is with Dylan- DAYUM. This book is a long slow burn that combusts at the perfect moment. And when Apollo finally goes all in on his attraction- he is filthy. The good filthy.

I will admit that main characters with back problems is kind of triggery for me. I won’t go into it. So for the first time reading one of her books I was a bit hesitant. That being said, the point that he had back problems was prevalent, but she didn’t beat us over the head with it. Which I really appreciated. Repetition of something in a book drives me batty.

Dylan is just about the complete opposite of Apollo. Where one is a control freak, the other rides the wave that comes. But they play off of each other beautifully without making the other feel less for being different from them. It helps them open the eyes of the other.

The twins were absolutely adorable and I really loved their interaction both with their father and Dylan. Writing kids so prominently into a story can be tricky, but it is well done here.

Apollo has to deal with a lot in this book- the girls, his grief, his guilt over his attraction to his friend’s younger brother…. but he does, and does it well. And not always with a tidy little bow as so often happens.

And now I can’t wait for the next book…..

Cover art is lovely and works for the series and tale.

Sales Links

Carina Press

Book Details:

ebook
Expected publication: April 10th 2017 by Carina Press
Original Title At Attention
ISBN13 9781488022623
Edition Language English

A Jeri Review: Embrace the Fire (Through Hell and Back #3) by Felice Stevens

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

Book 3 in the Through Hell and Back trilogy probably can be read as a stand alone, but you are really going to want to read the first two. There is a story arc separate from the romance that comes to a conclusion here.

Brandon has been hiding his real identity for years. Living a quiet life as a school teacher in Brooklyn. He loves the kids and he loves his job. So when a friend of a friend asks him if he wants to be a mentor to bullied children, he can’t help but say yes.

Tash is a psychiatrist who buries himself in work. Not only his private practice, but volunteering as much as he can. Filling his days and nights with work helps keep some of his loneliness at bay- but it is there. He has no desire to get into another relationship- but he is so drawn to Brandon.

Brandon is the third foster brother who spent many formative years with an abusive foster father. And he didn’t even get the brunt of it. His oldest foster brother leaves first without a word. Then his second foster brother is put into the hospital after a beating and the family takes off without him. Everyone he has ever had leaves.

Tash also holds secrets. He was obviously hurt in the past; so badly that he doesn’t ever want a boyfriend again. These two men are so broken, but they help each other heal.

I have to say that neither “secret” was all that earth shattering. In fact, Brandon’s secret could have been put to rest years ago with a little research. And while Tash’s secret was heartbreaking, I’ve seen similar in other books. If they had opened up to each other sooner, a lot of heartbreak could have been avoided.

That being said, I still really enjoyed this book. I love the world that Ms Stevens builds for her characters. Strong men who aren’t afraid to love their friends and family. They all help each other through whatever they can. We should be so lucky to have friends like that.

Brandon and Tash are a really good couple together. They both just want to help kids however they can. And once the walls come down, they are also a great support to each other. Learning to trust again is hard.

As I said, there is a story arc involving the foster parents. It comes to a pretty satisfying conclusion in this book. I was glad to see it wrapped up and not just left without closure.

Very satisfying read- but definitely read the first 2 before this one.

Cover art works for the story.

Sales Links

Book Details:

Published April 2017 (first published May 25th 2015)
Original TitleEmbrace the Fire
SeriesThrough Hell and Back #3

A Jeri Review: Down By Contact (Wilmington Breakers #1) by Sloan Johnson

Standard

Rating: 4  stars out of 5

a-jeri-review-down-by-contact-by-sloan-johnsonAs a big fan of the author’s Homeruns series, I couldn’t wait to dive into this new series. Bridging the gap between the last series and this next was seamless, as the last book’s main character had a twin brother- who plays football.

Zach is in his second season playing football for the Willmington Breakers. His goal is to keep his head down and work hard. He gave up the idea of having a relationship with anyone because he didn’t want to come out of the closet. Until the team gets featured in a reality show and the camera man following him around was his first love.

Griffin can’t believe his luck. Of all of the players, he has to be assigned to follow the one guy he could never forget. While he understood that Zach chose football over him, it still hurt. And now they were going to be in each other’s pockets.

What starts as the two men ignoring both their past and their heat that is still there, it is a slow burn until they can’t deny themselves any longer. I enjoyed that it was Zach playing the suitor, trying to win Griffin back and Griffin the one holding back to protect not only himself, but Zach and his career.

One of my favorite parts was when they went back to where is all began. I do love a full circle.

There was, of course, the teammates who didn’t want to accept a gay player and the teammates who really stood up for Zach. In the real world I don’t know that there would be as many accepting players, but who knows. I’d like to think that this world has come a long way. 

There definitely could have been more of the reality show aspect in the story as it played a big part in bringing them back together, but it was still satisfying.

And there was the tease of the next book- Lincoln and Nixon. I look forward to this next one as well as it will be nice to read a love story about two older men instead of men in their 20’s.

You don’t have to like football at all to really enjoy this book.

Sales Links

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 209 pages
Published January 28th 2017 (first published January 26th 2017)
ASINB01N1435ER
SeriesWilmington Breakers #1

A Jeri Review: Please Don’t Go by Felice Stevens

Standard

Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

please-dont-goI am not a huge fan of novellas because I think it is hard to tell an entire story in so few pages. BUT, when some of your favorite authors have stories in an anthology and then those shorts are released separately? Yes, please. Although this particular book does have some added content that wasn’t in the original.

Friends as teenagers in summer camp, Danny and Paul were as close as they could be. Between summers they connected over the phone-  mostly the slightly older Paul helping the younger Danny with his bullying problem and consoling him because his mother was ill. Until one day his phone call went unanswered.

Fate brings them back together 15 years later. With one man wary of love and the other wanting nothing more than love and a place to call home, they begin.

This was a super sweet book. I just wanted to hug poor Danny. Having Maxi as a side character and his best friend was absolutely perfect. Danny is so sheltered it isn’t a surprise that he doesn’t trust Paul.

On the other hand, I really wish Paul would have told Danny what had happened to make him disappear 15 years ago instead of saying “it doesn’t matter”. But really, that was the only part that bugged me- and that was slight.

For a novella, Ms Stevens packed an entire story in without sacrificing romance, sex or characters. Well done.

Cover art is touching and draws you to the story.

Sales Links

65a2f-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 2nd Edition, 65 pages
Published January 5th 2017 by Felice Stevens
ASINB01NCRHBVO
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Release Day Review: There Has to be a Reason by Kate McMurray

Standard

 Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

there-has-to-be-a-reason-by-kate-mcmurrayI am a fan of Kate McMurray’s books. If I see she has a new one, I want to read it but I don’t rush to read it. But I also know that I will enjoy it. Just like I did with this one.

A college age romance with an out and proud guy and an in the closet, just discovering that he isn’t as straight as he thought guy.

Dave never thought he was gay. Didn’t think about guys “that way”. And then he runs into Noel. A guy he immediately thinks of as beautiful. And he is completely drawn to him.

Noel is out and proud at college, but still not out to his family. Until he is outed. Instead of going back in the closet, he lets his family basically disown him. Figuring out how to pay for college is worth it for him to live an authentic life. And although he has crushed on Dave from afar and Dave is now returning those feelings, he will not live in the closet.

The relationship between Noel and Dave was super sweet. I really loved how Noel was guiding Dave to discover who he is without sacrificing himself to help him do it. As much as he wanted to.

Dave also has a relationship with his best friend Joe who does not understand why Dave is hanging out with Noel all of the time as he is so different from them. So while Dave is trying to come to terms with his sexuality and his attraction to Noel- he is also dealing with his friendship to Joe suffering. 

This was a good read. Although it was “angsty” it wasn’t full of angst. There were a lot of sweet moments and the various relationships Dave had felt very authentic. Kate McMurray’s books remind me a bit of the old Nora Roberts. You know it is going to be a good read. It certainly won’t be the best book you’ve read, but it doesn’t disappoint.

Cover Artist: Aaron Anderson.  The cover is gorgeous, pulling in the setting for the novel.

Sales Links

bef50-dreamspinner2blogo

65a2f-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details:

ebook, 206 pages
Expected publication: January 9th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635332125 (ISBN13: 9781635332124)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Review: Death Dancer (Dangerous Dancers #2) by Tara Lain

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

death-dancer-by-tara-lainNormally I am not a big fan of mysteries or murder mysteries. But couple it with a romance AND an author I enjoy- sign me up. To top it off, it is set in the ballet world. Second only to baseball for me.

Valentin is a professional ballet dancer earning his dues and wanting the lead he feels he deserves, but the current lead isn’t giving up his spot.

Andrew meets Val when one of the dancers from the corp turns up dead. He isn’t the first and likely isn’t to be the last. Andrew and Val are immediately drawn to each other. But then Valentin’s rival is the next dead body and Val himself is the prime suspect.

The heat and chemistry between Andrew and Val is off the charts! I really liked seeing their relationship develop while also dealing with these murders and Valentin being a suspect.

The supporting characters were great- loved Andrew’s work partner. She cracked me up with her straight talk. The supporting dance characters were very typical of the dance world. The literal and figurative prima donnas, the corp members desperately trying to get ahead and their near hero worship of those who are principals.

The mystery itself was done really well. A nice twist or two kept me turning the pages to see “whodunit”.

This is the second in the series but easily read as a stand alone.

Cover art is wonderful.

Sales Links

Pride Publishing | AMAZON | B&N | Kobo

Book Details:

ebook, 199 pages
Published November 1st 2016 by Pride Publishing
Original TitleDeath Dancer
ISBN 1786515172 (ISBN13: 9781786515179)
Edition LanguageEnglish

Series Dangerous Dancers:

A Jeri Release Day Review: Guyliner by j. leigh bailey

Standard

Rating: 4 stars out of 5

guylinerBoth sweet and sad, this YA coming of age story was a delight to read.

Connor is the classic all American boy. Baseball star, straight A student, beautiful girlfriend. All of those gave him the nickname Goldenboy- which he secretly hates. Behind closed doors he is the oldest of 5, his very existence making his parents marry young and his father to give up on his dreams. So he works hard to get a scholarship and leave the small town with little opportunity.

Graham is new in school. Moving there ostensibly for the soccer team, but in reality it was to escape the town where his boyfriend didn’t stick up for him after being gay bashed by his boyfriend’s brothers. After a year of recovery, he is ready to move on.

Graham knows who he is. He is out and proud- wearing tshirts that blatantly express the fact that he is gay and wearing eyeliner to school everyday. When Connor defends Graham- again- against the school bullies, they are accused of fighting by the baseball coach and are given the punishment of cleaning out the equipment shed every Saturday until it is done. While there, they get to know each other and look forward to their Saturdays.

Connor is fighting his attraction to Graham, and Graham won’t be a dirty little secret again.

I loved how Graham stood up for himself and what he was willing to be and do. But he also did it with general empathy toward Connor- a boy scared to not only come out of the closet, but scared to admit to even himself that he is gay. Graham is willing to be just friends with Connor, because something is better than nothing.

I also really enjoyed that Golden boy Connor is from such a blue collar family. Usually the sports star comes from a well to do family with all of the support in the world. But watching him babysit his siblings, share a room with his brothers, cook dinner for his family- all while doing his best in school and baseball are so representative of real life.

Graham was so strong. I fully expect a character like that to be broken- to hide from the world, put up walls, etc. But he didn’t. He was who he was and he wasn’t apologizing for it, even when he was getting bullied.

Connor and Graham together were just so sweet. I love a great YA book that expresses the feelings of the characters so well. There was no falling back on sex to move the story along.

Cover Artist: Alexandria Corza.  Love this cover.  It is, in every way, eye-catching!

Sales Links

        

 

Book Details:

ebook, 250 pages
Published October 17th 2016 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1634777263 (ISBN13: 9781634777261)
Edition LanguageEnglish

A Jeri Release Day Review: The Ghost in the Mirror (Samuel Dexter #1) by Faith Gibson

Standard

Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

the-ghost-in-the-mirrorIf you are looking for something a little different, look no further than The Ghost in the Mirror. Sam Dexter “Dex”, is injured while on a tour of duty in Afghanistan. When he wakes up in the hospital, he finds his memories gone- even the woman claiming to be his grandmother brings him nothing. He is sent home with her to recover, and while he wants her to tell him everything, she wants him to try to remember things on his own.

While in the hospital he was seeing visions of his military brothers who lost their lives. He chalked it up to his head injury and tried to forget about it. Until he starts seeing a little girl when he gets home. After finally admitting to his grandmother what he is seeing, she tells him of HER grandmother who was said to have the same gift.

And so begins Dex’s quest to find out what happened to the little girl and along the way is reintroduced to his high school love Orlando, Orlando’s nephew- who seems to have a special connection with Dex, and Orlando’s sister.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book because although the ghost element could have been really cheesy- it wasn’t at all. Four stars  instead of higher because I don’t think the way Dex dealt with- or didn’t deal with- his amnesia were very realistic. He just seemed accepting of the fact that he had no memories and wanted to get them back. I wanted him to get mad. Throw a fit. Yell at someone. But he was very complacent.

I am going to hazard a guess that this book is the beginning of a series. Although a good story in and of itself, there is a lot of set up for future books.  I look forward to reading them and watching Dex regain more and more of his memory.

Cover art by Jay Aheer is eye catching and perfect for the story.

Sales Links

7104e-waxcreative-amazon-kindle

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 267 pages
Published September 29th 2016 by Bramblerose Press LLC
ASIN B01LBWB6S0
Edition Language English