A Jeri Review: Clean Break (Farm College #2) by Erin McLellan

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Rating: 4 Stars out of 5

I really enjoyed this book.
Travis and Connor had a sort of hook up a year ago that ended quickly because of a misunderstanding. Neither man could really forget the other. And then they were put together as class partners in Entomology 101. The attraction on both sides is definitely still there.
I really loved both guys. Travis and his openness about being gay and what he wants out of life and Connor, shy, quiet, bisexual with OCD and anxiety. They just fit so well together and they really shouldn’t have. Travis wants to be a lawyer and help people seeking asylum. Connor is set to take over his family’s farm and various business interests. Very different life goals.
A couple of points I want to share about why I really liked this book. Travis is black, he mentions being “black and gay from Texas”, but his race never comes up between Travis and Connor or even with any of their family or friends. It is a total non-issue.
The author taking the time to explain how OCD and anxiety can and usually are related, they ebb and flow, and that some things that people consider OCD is really just a personality trait. Like being tidy. I appreciate little things like that.
This ended up being a bit of a slow burn because of the boundaries Travis put on their relationship that wasn’t a relationship. But their after class activities were super hot and definitely a unique thing I’d not read in another book.
And then, ugh, the tears toward the end of the book. Legit crying while reading. But totally worth it for the ending.
Great follow up to the first in the series, that doesn’t need to be read but was really good as well. I do wish the cover model more closely resembled the Travis described in the book. But it certainly isn’t a big issue at all.
Cover art is gorgeous and makes you want to grab up and read the story.
Sales Links: Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 1st edition
Published March 19th 2019 by Erin McLellan
ISBN1 39781732173439
Edition Language English
Series Farm College :

A Lucy Review : The Forever Kind Of Love by LA Bryce

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Rating: 2 stars out of 5

You never forget your first love … especially when they cause you pain. Chase thought he was doing the right thing when he left Liam years earlier, but when he finds out he was wrong, it might be too late. The trust they once shared may be past the point of repair.

The Forever Kind of Love is a story of second chances that asks the question — is a good reason enough to wash away the years of hurt it caused? Chase comes home from the military ready to start his life with Liam. But he discovers Liam’s life has already started without him. Is there a place for him in it? Is the possibility of more pain worth the risk for Liam?

If that isn’t hard enough, they only have the week Chase is on leave to come to terms with their future. Can they find forever in seven days?

First off, the blurb is a little misleading.  “…when he finds out he was wrong, it might be too late.”   A bit inaccurate, since Chase’s plan from the beginning was exactly what he did.   He never thought he was wrong, he just never bothered to consider things from Liam’s point of view.

I was worried when I started this book due to the length.  While I love second chance tropes, I also need enough time and detail to make me want them to get back together and to really understand why they were apart.  Forever Kind of Love is only 44 pages long and I didn’t get what I needed to make the story work. 

Chase and Liam were in love, telling each other they were in love, and then Chase just up and leaves with no word, no message, no nothing for four years.   Now he’s back and expecting Liam to open arms wide, take him back and then move the life he’s built in Chase’s absence to be with Chase, because Chase hasn’t left the military, which is where he went.  It’s not really clear why the first four years were a turning point because even though Liam works for Chase’s mom at her art gallery, where he also shows his own art, Chase has never asked about Liam.  We know this much because he was surprised Liam was showing his art work at the gallery, as well as not knowing that Liam no longer lived with his dad.  No one knew about Chase and Liam back then, so Liam didn’t discuss it with  mom either.

“And now it was time to finally go home and get his man.”  He just shows up at his mom’s, where they happen to be throwing a party for Liam.  He didn’t even do the courtesy of a phone call, a message, nothing.  Then he is so shocked with Liam’s reaction because really, he didn’t bother with how Liam would have felt.  “Just what? Explain what you were thinking? You didn’t think enough of me to explain at the time.”  “Chase took a deep breath.  This wasn’t going the way he planned.”  There were so many WTF moments for me but I continued on, waiting for the groveling to happen.  Which didn’t. 

“Again, he’d known Liam would be mad about him just leaving, but he’d hoped that after four years some of that pain would’ve subsided.”  What???  How does the pain subside when now Liam is faced with Chase, who has done absolutely nothing to make things better. Add in that it is really Chase’s mother who does the explaining to Liam and Chase gets no respect from me.  Let’s also mention that throughout the book, Chase NEVER ONCE says he is sorry to Liam.  Liam says sorry a few times but never Chase.  Liam is still expected to give up his job, his house, his friends, his relationship with Chase’s mom as his boss, and with a day or two to decide, just move on.  Chase doesn’t grovel at all during this time and for two days just mopes but makes no effort to clear up the mess he made.

The ending, which is supposed to make us feel good about them, just made me more aggravated with it.   This is where the length of the book really worked against the author.  We don’t get the sense at any point that Chase really loved Liam.  Yes, the high handed reason for leaving (who knows why in four years he couldn’t be bothered to reconnect) is supposed to be for “Liam’s sake” but communication is more important and there is none. We are told that he loves Liam but nothing shows that he does.  There needed to be more time between his return and the inevitable magical rekindling.  “Did he really have a picture of Liam jumping up and proclaiming his undying love?  Even after all Chase had done to hurt Liam?  Yep, Chase did.  Maybe I also needed to see how they were four years ago to make it seem like Chase really did love Liam and wasn’t just claiming him, as he says. 

This is my first time reading this author and while this story absolutely was not for me, I would give her another try with a different type of story line.

Cover art, showing a naked male torso with dog tags, is simple but effective.

Buy Links: Amazon US | Amazon UK | JMS Books

Book Details:

Kindle Edition, 1st edition, 44 pages
Published March 2nd 2019 by JMS Books LLC
ASIN B07NVZ8HJD
Edition Language English

Looking for that Second Chance at Love Story? Check Out Release Blitz for Rewind by Rowan Shaw (excerpt and giveaway)

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RELEASE BLITZ

Book Title: Rewind

Author: Rowan Shaw

Publisher: Self-published

Cover Artist: Molly Phipps

Genre/s: MM Romance

Heat Rating:  4 flames

Length: 73 350 words/ 343 pages

Release Date: March 18th, 2019

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Tagline

Were Enzo and Florian truly meant to get a second chance or were they doomed from the start?

Blurb

The day Enzo Chevalier lost his hearing, everything changed. Forced to rebuild his future and fight for his dreams, Enzo refused to let anything take him down…until the man of his life walked out on him and shattered his heart. 

Florian Beaudry had his whole life figured out. His business was flourishing and everything was settling down at last. Or so he believed…until he walked in on his girlfriend and best friend.

Still on the rebound and unable to trust another man, Enzo never expected a chance encounter with Florian. The one person he thought he would never see again. The one person he missed the most. 

Were they truly meant to get a second chance or were they doomed from the start?

REWIND is an MM romance novel set entirely in France. Though part of a series, it is a standalone story without a cliffhanger.

Excerpt

I stared at Enzo, unsure what to do or how to react. I hadn’t seen him in such a long time. When I smiled at him, the deep scar on his left cheek carved into his skin as he replied with a grin of his own, along with a shy wave. I gaped like a moron. He was even more breathtaking than he used to be, taller and stronger too.  

My eyes caught on the gorgeous male with his arm around Enzo’s shoulders. Something inside me sank. I could either be a coward and ignore Enzo, or I could be the bigger person and ask him to join me for a drink—even if that meant watching him flirt with that hot guy all evening.

Enzo was staring back at me without moving, so I took that as my cue to beckon him forward. The man next to him raised a questioning eyebrow, but Enzo signed at him, explaining I was someone he used to know in high school. The guy crinkled his forehead and glared at me with eyes so green, I couldn’t help but stare. Even their hypnotizing tint wouldn’t soften the warning in his glower.

Enzo chuckled at the guy’s reaction and grabbed his hand, leading him toward me.

I had also forgotten how beautiful he was when he laughed. Even in my fondest memories, he had never looked as good as he did now. The scar on his face only heightened his splendor, especially since I knew what it represented. I tried hard not to gawk, but it felt so good to see him again and get confirmation he was well.

Enzo kept smiling at me shyly, but before he could reach my level, the other guy stood in the way.   

“Florian, is that it?” he asked with a hint of hostility.

“Yeah.”

I held out my hand to shake his, but he snubbed me, leaning forward instead, blocking Enzo’s view. “I don’t remember Enzo telling me about any friends in high school. If anything, I only remember him talking about his bullies.”

I clenched my teeth at the threat under his tone. “I’m not going to hurt him if that’s what you’re implying.”

About the Author

Rowan Shaw is a human being from Planet Earth (originally from the country of France). She’s also the queer author of Rewind, an MM romance series set entirely in her home country.

Addicted to reading and writing, Rowan can usually be found with a book in her hands or sitting in front of her computer typing some kind of story while listening to music from the 80s.

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Is Second Chance at Love Stories Your Thing? Check out The Book Blitz for The Forever Kind Of Love by LA Bryce (excerpt and giveaway)

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Length: 30 pages.
 
Publisher: JMS Books 
 
Blurb
 

You never forget your first love … especially when they cause you pain. Chase thought he was doing the right thing when he left Liam years earlier, but when he finds out he was wrong, it might be too late. The trust they once shared may be past the point of repair.


The Forever Kind Of Love is a story of second chances that asks the question — is a good reason enough to wash away the years of hurt it caused? Chase comes home from the military ready to start his life with Liam. But he discovers Liam’s life has already started without him. Is there a place for him in it? Is the possibility of more pain worth the risk for Liam?


If that isn’t hard enough, they only have the week Chase is on leave to come to terms with their future. Can they find forever in seven days?

 
Excerpt
 

Liam walked over to the refrigerator and pulled out the salads he planned to bring to the backyard. He put them on the counter, then headed to the linen closet where Mrs. Alston said she had put the extra napkins. He walked into the hall, and stopped short. Bending down on his knee, he tied his opened shoelace.


The sound of a deeply inhaled breath had him looking up. His body started to shake. Unable to hold his balance, he tipped over. “Chase.” The name was out of Liam’s mouth before he could stop.


The other man stood silently, looking almost like a mirage. Liam couldn’t break his stare.


Someone calling Liam’s name snapped him out of the fog surrounding him.


“Liam, are you in here?”


Before Liam could answer, Phil was standing behind him, bending down. “Are you okay? What the hell happened?”


Not giving Liam a chance to answer, Phil put his hands on Liam and pulled him up. “Did you fall?”


Again, before Liam could say a word, Phil looked at Chase with a scowl on his face. “Did you knock him over?”


Chase didn’t say a word. He stood where he was, his eyes going between Liam and the man who currently held him.


“Come on,” Phil said, as he turned Liam around and walked him back to the kitchen.


Still in shock, “Napkins,” was the only word that would come out of Liam’s mouth.


“Where are they, hon? I’ll get them for Sharon.”


Liam pointed toward the hall. Phil headed back that way. Liam heard him say, “Be careful where you’re walking,” to Chase as Phil passed him by. The tone of Phil’s voice sounded none to friendly. Liam couldn’t help, but smile. Phil, his little protector. If only Phil knew who Chase was, and what he’d done to Liam four years earlier, Chase wouldn’t have a chance.


Liam stood in the kitchen in somewhat of a daze when Mrs. Alston walked in. Why hadn’t she told me Chase was coming home? Then he realized maybe she didn’t know. Which meant at that moment she had no idea Chase was there.


Finding his voice, Liam said, “Mrs. Alston there’s a surprise for you and Mr. Alston in the hallway.”


As soon as the woman passed him, headed to the hall, on shaky limbs, Liam made himself scarce. He headed back outside; he wanted to avoid becoming part of the hug fest he knew would be taking place any second.


He made his way over to Mr. Alston. “Mrs. Alston needs your help inside,” he said, not wanting to spoil Chase’s surprise for the man. Mr. Alston turned around and walked into the house. Within seconds, Liam heard screams of happiness floating from inside.


Liam wanted nothing more than to leave, but taking off after all Mr. and Mrs. Alston had done for him was something he knew he couldn’t do. But knowing he’d have to face Chase again almost had him saying fuck it to doing the right thing.

 

About The Author


LA writes m/m romance with a splash of suspense. She loves her men to work hard, play hard and love hard. It doesn’t matter what their walk of life, although she has a special place in her heart for Military heroes, those that put their life on the line every day to keep us safe, trouble always seems to find them—whether it’s a homicidal maniac, someone with a grudge against the country, or an ex who’s seeking out revenge—LA’s guys aren’t always faced with just fighting for love, they often have to fight for their lives.


LA has always lived in the North East and has recently stretched her boundaries and moved further North—the more relaxed life style giving her more time to write—in theory anyway.


Among the things she loves besides writing and her family are her friends, those she writes with and those she writes about, reading, games (the kind with boards, not in love), playing poker, her dogs, Nutella and Bok Choy, and of course, the men and women from the Military, past and present, who keep us safe.


When she finds herself stuck at the keyboard, her fingers refusing to move, her characters refusing to talk, she likes to take a break, blast some music, and dance like no one is watching her or sing her heart out into her hairbrush microphone.


She’s living her happily ever after and wants the same for all her characters. LA believes love comes in all different packages and each should be wrapped in a ribbon and cherished.

 

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A Lucy Review: A Dance For Two by Colette Davison

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Rating:  2 stars out of 5

This is the story of Adam and Luc, stepbrothers who have been raised together since they were very small. Best friends and confidants until the age of fourteen, when Luc suddenly turns on his stepbrother and is a monstrous bully, in and out of school. It makes your heart hurt for Adam. Adam works as a teacher at his parent’s dance academy and Luc has fled the hometown for college and a job in marketing, never visiting his parents or his stepbrother. Now though, he gets a call from his mother because the dance academy is in dire financial straits and the parent’s have remortgaged their house to help it out. Mom is desperate for Luc to come home and help them get things back under control. Luc’s pretty selfish, but he does what he is asked, knowing that he will have to face Adam. The best friend and stepbrother who’s life he made hell (even going so far as to be in on the bullying about Adam dancing) is going to be there and Luc has to suck it up.

The story is told in back and forth third person point of view of Luc and Adam. I appreciated that, since it gave some insight into what both of them were thinking and dealing with. When the phone call comes in from workaholic Luc’s mother, he doesn’t’ react well. “Pretty much every conversation they’d had recently had ended up in them both apologizing.” I was sort of annoyed by that because how hard would it be for Luc’s mom to only know her son has abandoned the family and can’t be bothered to even call. To make matters more awkward, Mom has called Luc without telling his stepfather or stepbrother.

I was sad that Adam doesn’t even know how bad things are for the dance school, because no one told him. They just spring Luc on him along with the bad news of the school failing. I don’t think the parents know the full extent of how awful Luc was to Adam, because they keep pushing them together and even warn Adam, “Be nice, I don’t want any animosity between you two.” I wanted more support for Adam because he gave up his dream of professional dancing to help with the school, even more so now because they had to let the other teachers go, while Luc gave up absolutely nothing.

This is a second chance story, so I was very ready for some big time groveling, some explanations and to be shown that Luc has changed his ways and is a better man than he was. That didn’t happen. I may be in the minority about this but Luc really brought down this story for me. I completely understand how having feelings for your stepbrother would knock you for a loop and maybe even understand how you’d bully him to cover that up. Now he’s back and there is literally one mumbled apology and Adam is supposed to just be over it. “Did Adam still hate him for all the stupid things

he’d said and done? There was only one way to find out.” Luc is still a coward and Adam is still hurt. “It brought back memories of crying where no one could see him, because he didn’t understand why his brother-his best friend-had humiliated him at school again.”

It was very difficult to believe Luc. “Communication had never been his strong point.” Umm, you are a marketing genius and communication isn’t your strong point? And Adam points out that Luc broke his mother’s heart when Luc moved far away and then didn’t bother to visit, Adam knowing that Luc will be the miracle worker to save the school and then leave again, with Dad and Adam left to pick up the broken heart of mom, Luc is surprised. What? “He’d known Adam was angry with him, but he hadn’t realized just how bitter his brother was.” Well, you wouldn’t, since you cut off your family unless mom and dad came occasionally to visit.

Adam and Luc are forced to work on ideas to turn the dance school around and it’s so hard for Adam. Luc not only found friends who were bullies. “They tormented Adam because he danced and Luc not only let them, but he’d jeered along with them.” Imagine a hell where you are constantly bullied and you can’t ever get away from it because it’s your own family doing it. With mom and dad oblivious to it all, I am only glad Adam had Mason, his now best friend, to keep him sane.

When Adam extends an olive branch and invites Luc out to a club, Luc is hurt when Adam hooks up and again, acts like the injured one. “I guess you only asked me out tonight to score Brownie points with Mum and Dad. That’s low, Adam, really f**king low.” WHAT? Even then, the one to apologize here is Adam, for leaving Luc at the bar, even though Adam took care of Luc when he came home drunk.

I kept trying to give Luc a chance but throughout the book he acts badly. “This has gone on long enough. How many times do I have to apologize to you?” Except Luc had only done that one mumbled “I’m sorry” and never explained anything. When Adam asks, then demands to know why, “What did I do wrong to make you hate me so much?” Luc is astonished. Why wouldn’t Adam feel that way? Luc treated Adam horribly with no explanation and then disappeared. For years.

These two have been raised since age 5 and 6 as brothers, which is why Luc feels his love towards Adam will not be accepted. He has had years to deal with this. When he finally lays the truth on Adam, Adam is horrified, as you would expect. However, it seems that Adam starts to see things differently after just a dream and a few days and we don’t get the reason why Adam suddenly switches gears. He turns into somewhat of a doormat, always the one apologizing, the one who gives up dreams. It was just sad.

I think what bothered me the most about this was the fact that while I have no issue with the stepbrothers falling in love – they are not blood related and I can see where your best friend would be the one you fall in love with –but that the author continually has them refer to each other as brother and stepbrother. If you are trying to convince people that your relationship is legit, not incestuous, why do you continually do that? And I mean it happens all the way to the end of the book. “…brush his hand over his stepbrother’s thigh”, …he knew his brother wouldn’t accept his touch right now”, “I’m going to suck my brother’s c**k”, etc. My lover, my partner, my boyfriend sure but my brother? No.

There is, of course, fallout all over from this. I was so happy again that Adam has Mason to lean on (and oh why couldn’t Adam be with Mason forever!). I was so disappointed that I didn’t love this because it had such potential, but the whole thing just gave me a negative feel. Luc is selfish and impatient and never did grovel or make the grand gesture. I struggled to finish, thinking he would redeem himself but in my eyes, he never did.

This is my first book by this author and I liked her writing style, even though I didn’t love this book. I would try another book of hers and see if it worked better for me.

The cover art by Colette Davison is pretty, though I do wish the dance aspect had been incorporated into it. We have a white background with two torsos, one behind the other, and that could easily have been a dance.

Sales Links

Book Details:

ebook
Published (first published June 26th 2018)
Edition LanguageEnglish

An Ali Review: Making It (Ringside Romance #3) by Christine d’Abo

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Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5
Devan knows exactly what he wants from life: a good career, a husband who loves him, and a child to call his own. He’s working at the perfect job, and has found the man of his dreams in Eli. That only leaves one box left to tick. When his friend offers to be a surrogate mother for Devan and Eli, he’s convinced all his dreams have come true.

Eli has been fighting his entire life. Fighting to keep his sick mother safe, fighting his frustration, and fighting daily as an up-and-coming MMA star. The one thing he can’t fight is the feeling that he’s made a terrible mistake agreeing to be a father with Devan. On the worst night of their lives, Eli knows Devan is better off without him, and leaves.

When Eli returns three years later he comes face-to-face with Devan and a son who might be his. Devan has moved on with his life, but seeing Eli once again reignites forgotten passion. Yet if Eli wants to make it work with Devan, he must decide if he’s ready for the biggest fight of his life.
I was super excited about this book. I love a good second chance story. Unfortunately this didn’t live up to my expectations. 

The book starts three years in the past. Eli and Devon are married and they’re in a bad place. Things happen and Eli walks away from it all and the way he does it is truly horrible. My status update at this point said “Eli exhibited a bionic level of asshattery. He’s going to need to crawl through broken glass while begging for forgiveness for this to work for me.”

And there is the problem. He didn’t. He just shows back up, says he’s sorry and they’re seeing each other again. I couldn’t understand any decision Devon made at this point. They do this weird thing where they decide Devon should see other people so he knows he wants Eli back (but he hasn’t dated at all in the three years he’s been gone) AND he leaves his kid with Eli as the babysitter. Devon was like that one friend we all have who makes constant decisions that make you scream “WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING!?!” internally every time you talk about their relationship.
Despite the dramatic set up, the story is actually low angst and low drama and a nice and mellow love story. Which is not necessarily a bad thing but it was absolutely not what I was expecting or wanting from this book.

This is the third book in the series but is fine as a standalone. You see both couples from books one and two in this but the way the books are done they can all be easily read on their own.
This cover was done by L.C. Chase and I like it a lot.  I think it’s a good cover by itself but overall the covers of the books in this series have been some of my favorites this year.  They coordinate really well and they’re all striking in their own way.
Sales Links:  Riptide Publishing | Amazon
Book Details:
ebook, 226 pages
Published August 7th 2017 by Riptide Publishing
Original TitleMaking It
ISBN139781626495821
Edition LanguageEnglish
SeriesRingside Romance #3

An Alisa Review: Romancing the Bouncer by J.D. Walker

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Rating:  4 stars out of 5

 

Bennett “Ben” Pachowski is a bouncer at Throwbacks. He likes his job, though he gets tired of being thought of as more brawn than brain. He loves books, prefers to be romanced before sleeping with a man, and has a crazy feline companion named Bessie.

 

Ben’s favorite band, Rebel’s Ultimatum, plays at the club on weekends, giving him an eyeful of sexy bass player, Monty Mabuse. Ben is content to flirt — nothing more. He knows the kind of person Monty is, and commitment is not something the bass player is interested in.

 

When Monty resorts to something devious to get what he wants, it backfires, and Ben walks away. Before he goes on tour with his band, Monty finally gets Ben to talk to him, but if Monty really wants to have something serious with Ben, he’ll have to change his ways.

 

A little romance could go a long way.

 

I really liked this story.  Ben knows he is a relationship kind of guy and won’t settle for anything less.  He keeps his distance from Monty until he rescues him and suddenly he is waking up next to Monty no knowing how they got there.

 

Ben forces Monty to look at his life and decide what he really wants.  While Ben is making some big changes in his life so does Monty.  I felt Ben’s pain when he realized what Monty had done and was happy to see him make the changes to make his life happier even if it meant moving on from his comfort zone.  Seeing Monty make the changes in his life that finally put his past behind him was wonderful.

 

The cover art by Written Ink Designs is nice and gives a good visual of Ben.

 

Sales Links: JMS Books | Amazon | B&N

 

Book Details:

ebook, 58 pages

Published: May 13, 2017 by JMS Books

ISBN: 9781634860918

Edition Language: English