A Barb the Zany Old Lady Review: Risk Taker (Mixed Messages #3) by Lily Morton

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Rating: 5 stars out of 6

Henry goes through men faster than his friends can count. None of them have been worth an effort to get to know, and he doesn’t need them anyway, because he loves his best friend, Ivo, maybe more than he should. But his other friends (from Rule Breaker and Deal Maker) are so happy together, settled, with plans for children and a long-term future that it makes him yearn for stability. He decides to give up casual sex and look for the real deal. Of course, his friends are full of suggestions, and so begins a parade of calamity dates that Henry most definitely isn’t interested in.

In the meantime, Ivo has come home, but he’s wounded and knocked down, suffering from nightmares and PTSD and wanting nothing more than comfort from his best friend, Henry, the man he loves. Yes, this is one of those stories with unrequited best friend love. I would normally think, ho-hum, not my cuppa, but the author has injected humor with the angst and provided readers with a heartwarming story of two emotionally damaged, yet sweet and perfect for each other, young men. The characters are well-developed and each has enough unique charm to hold readers’ interest on their own. But together, they make a terrific package deal.

The story progresses through the time Ivo is recuperating at the home they share, and he and Henry are growing closer, yet each still thinks he doesn’t want to ruin their friendship by going one step further. Ivo steams as he awaits Henry’s return each time he goes on a blind date, but he still can’t take the first step to stop him. Though this portion of the story could have dragged, it actually went quickly because some of the dates were hysterically funny.  The author also wove Henry’s and Ivo’s back story in by opening each chapter with a note or letter from one to the other, most from the time they were schoolboys separated by holidays or vacations.

The revisits from characters featured in the earlier stories will be appreciated by those who’ve read the series, but their presence does not take away from this story being a standalone. In fact, the highest praise I can give this story is to say that I am going to purchase the first two books in the series so I can catch up because the author’s writing style, sense of pace, and touches of humor have dug into my subconscious, which is now begging me for more.

This story was, in a nutshell, an unexpected gift, and I highly recommend it to those who love MM romance with a touch of humor and a very happy ending.

The cover by Natasha Snow features a handsome young man wearing a suit coat and glasses with an intense look on his face. The coloration is a faded black and white with some gold and purple splashes. It ties nicely in with other books in the series.

Sales Links:    Amazon

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Published July 22nd 2018
ASINB07FM48TW5
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesMixed Messages #3

A VVivacious Release Day Review: Talking in Code by Ariel Tachna

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Rating: 4.5 Stars out of 5
 
talkingincodefs_v1Richard and Tim aka Dav met in the SEALs and have been in a relationship for around twenty years. Now they run their own paramilitary organization, Strike Force Omega where they meet Eric who rounds up their threesome.
 
Four months ago, Eric gets captured leading to months of torture and imprisonment. In a twist of fate his rescue coincides with Tim getting gravely injured in the field. With Tim unconscious in an ICU, for the first time Richard has to step up in a role that has always been Tim’s and help ease Eric back to life as they know it.
 
What Richard soon discovers is that Richard and Eric have no idea what their relationship is like without Tim acting as the intermediary. With Eric’s PTSD rearing its ugly head, will Richard and Eric make it through with two lives on the line?
 
Before I start this review I must say two things – Firstly, read the official blurb it is the best introduction to this book and it is spot on. Secondly, I have no idea what to write in this review so far, this book is amazing but I am finding it very hard to articulate my feelings on paper. So, if my review ends up making no sense just know that I loved the book, it is amazing and if you like the blurb then read it because the book delivers on everything that the blurb promises.
 
First I am not a very prolific reader when it comes to MMM romances, but on the other hand I also love MMM romances that are riddled with angst and problems as three men try to navigate their way through life together. For one I find happy MMM romances unreal because unless the threesome has been together for a long time I don’t understand how three men can just fit in like they were moulded together. Every couple has an adjustment period, so it stands to logic that a threesome would have triple the adjustment period because there are three couples in the mix and one relationship. This also happens to be one of the facts that made me love this book because even though Richard, Tim and Eric have been together for four years, they are still discovering new things in their relationship, like the fact that Richard and Eric have always had Tim and thus, kind of neglected finding their own equation with each other. Richard & Tim know where they stand with each other courtesy of the fact that they have been together for a long time and Tim & Eric are completely in sync especially when it comes to settling Eric back into routine life after he comes back from an op. But then there is Eric & Richard who love each other but have never really tried to figure out who and what they are to the other. This made for an interesting premise and it translated very well into the book.
 
Also I fell in love with both Richard and Eric. These two were on fire. They shared such a sensual intimacy that every scene that they share together in this book, including the sex scenes, reads like the most important thing to the story. In a way I feel like in every story sex while important to a relationship and in some relationships it can be the defining feature of the relationship does little for story progression and I mean the actual sex scene, not what comes of it but in this story I just felt like the sex between these two was writing the story, making it an absolute delight to read this book.
 
The half star deduction is actually for Tim, all this focus on Richard and Eric has the unfortunate side effect that we just don’t know Tim well enough. As far as I can tell this book is going to be a first in a series and I hope this means that we still have time to get to know Tim and work out who these three are together. But the story is complete in itself, so I have no idea if the next in this series will feature these three, if a sequel is in fact in the works. But one thing that I really liked with regards to Tim was the fact that Richard refers to Tim as Dav while Eric refers to him as Tim which kind of makes me feel that it is Richard & Dav and Eric & Tim, which kind of highlights the different equations he has with the two but I could be reading into things that aren’t there because it might just be because of the fact that Richard has nicknames for both of them and his nickname for Tim is Dav.
 
This story is a romance through and through, despite the fact that the story is set in a military/para-military background. I read this book in a single setting, I just couldn’t stop. I simply adored the book.
 
While this book is a MMM and the fact that this relationship is a threesome is absolutely essential for the premise to work, the fact is we only get to see Eric, Richard and Tim together in a sex scene only twice. Personally this wasn’t a problem for me because we do get a fair idea of how these three function together in their relationship through their conversations with each other which were priceless to me.
 
After all is said and done, I would just like to say, I loved this book. It was an amazing and delightful read that had me turning pages one after the other and I am completely in love with Richard and Eric.
 
This is my first book by this author but it definitely won’t be my last by her.
 
Cover Art by Paul Richmond. I liked the cover.
Sales Links
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Book Details:
ebook, 256 pages
Expected publication: March 6th 2017 by Dreamspinner Press
ISBN 1635334438 (ISBN13: 9781635334432)
Edition Language English

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

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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 BJ Review: Solid Education by Bianca Sommerland

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5

Solid EducationGage Tackett comes off as a bad boy—detached and maybe a little dangerous. Definitely not Vet Sciences Professor Derek Paulson’s type. Which he tells himself, repeatedly, every time the other man attends his class. Until the day he looks over to see Gage’s seat is empty.

When Gage arrives at Derek’s veterinary clinic with a frostbitten stray dog, the lines of their teacher/student relationship are blurred. Derek realizes his most difficult student has a few things to teach him. Things he’s more than willing to learn.

This was a new to me author, and one who I noticed writes mostly in the M/F romance genre. However, the cover drew me in on first glance–I’m a sucker for both dogs and blonds. For the most part, I really enjoyed the author’s writing style. But there were several times when I found myself confused, when the guy’s conversation just really lost me.

I am a totally dogaholic, so I thoroughly enjoyed the parts of the story about the dog(s). Derek being a vet, Gage a vet student and former military dog handler still grieving the loss of his service dog, Gunner. Then the rescue of the stray, and the way Matty brought the two men together and even changed the path of their future. All of that was sweet and completely awesome. I loved how Derek used Matty to get Gage into his bed (not for sex, mind you, but for snuggling and cuddling). So sweet.

However, when it came to the guys themselves separate from dogs, well, I admit that it took quite a while for me to connect with either man. I feel that I would have enjoyed this much more if both Derek and Gage were more fleshed out more in ways outside their connection to dogs.

Derek came across as haughty and aloof at first, and while we get to see later that it’s due to his having been hurt before—well, there wasn’t enough backstory of that to make me feel enough for him to truly understand why/how a man of his looks and station in life would so readily pull away from wanting a real relationship and begin to act as he was. I mean, hell, we all get hurt. That’s life.

Gage’s loss of Gunner, his military dog was poignant—the visit he makes to the military dog memorial had me close to tears. But there was little background on Gage himself, really. And while it was mentioned that Gunner had helped Gage with the nightmares (obviously due to PTSD), the details on what incident or incidents started them were missing.

The build up of sexual tension and chemistry developing between the two worked well, but I felt let down when the actual sexy bits arrive. For me, they felt rushed, almost skimmed over, which kept them from being as hot as I’d hoped for.

Overall, this is a sweet story that any dog lover should enjoy. Aptly showing how the love a dog can enhance and change our lives.

Sales Link:  Amazon


Book Details:  

Kindle Edition, 142 pages
Published September 14th 2015
ASINB015EPMZCG
Edition LanguageEnglish