Thursday, March 22, 2018

Life, Love, and Geekery by Monica Corwin

Title: Life, Love and Geekery
Author: Monica Corwin
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Main Characters: Ridley and John
Release Date: February 2018
Publisher: Decadent Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Ridley Richards planned her vacation with little fanfare. All she wants to do is watch TV and eat ice cream. The mission derails when a soldier in need of rescuing turns into a mad race away from paparazzi with an international movie star.

John Banks needs a vacation. Holed up in a small town with a gorgeous woman is not the worst way he has spent time off.

But the pressures of fame threaten his new friendship, and John sacrifices the fragile vulnerability Ridley allowed herself with him in order to save her.

My Review:
I have to admit that I was really pleasantly surprised by just how much I enjoyed this book. It truly only takes place over a couple of days and is a fairly short story, but it's really well-done. Both the story and the characters are fully flushed out so that the book feels like it is much longer than it really is. 

This story is about two people on the surface who should have nothing in common. Ridley is a Captain in the Army. John is a movie star. But the two manage to run into each other when he's running from paparazzi and she saves him. The chance meeting just happens to hit when the two of them are both on a break from their jobs so it allows them to hole up for a couple of days and get to know one another. 

Who would have guessed that they'd be bound by their common geekery. Seriously, this is a sweet little romance. And yes, it's short, but the romance never feels rushed because the two definitely make a connection. 

Of course, with any good story, I wish it had been longer, but as it stands it truly gave me a couple of hours of fantastic reading and a happily for now that left me with a smile on my face. 

This is my first time reading this author. I'm off to search now to see what else she might have in her backlist that I need to read.

I can definitely recommend this one!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Drive by Kate Stewart

Title: Drive
Author: Kate Stewart
My Rating: A

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Main Characters: Stella 
Release Date: October 2017
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Music . . . the heart’s greatest librarian.

The average song is three and a half minutes long; those three and a half minutes could lead to a slow blink, a glimpse of the past, or catapult the soul into heart-shattering nostalgia.

At the height of my career, I had the life I wanted, the life I’d always envisioned. I’d found my tempo, my rhythm. Then I received a phone call that left me off key.

You see, my favorite songs had a way of playing simultaneously. I was in love with one man’s beats and another’s lyrics. But when it came to the soundtrack of a life, how could anyone choose a favorite song? So, to erase any doubt, I ditched my first-class ticket and decided to take a drive, fixed on the rearview.

Two days.

One playlist.

And the long road home to the man who was waiting for me.

My Review:

I picked this book up to read just because there were so many people raving about it, and I'll admit...for the first 25-40% of the book, I definitely wasn't sold. The book is about Stella and she's very immature at the start of the book, but omg, stick with the book. It gets so incredibly good. (And I adore the way it's written with the central music theme...including how the passages of time go by or rewind.)

The book starts in the present. Stella has just had the most phenomenal thing happen to her career wise, but then she receives a phone call that her ex just got married. That blow to her trajectory sends her on a road trip across the country where she's reliving the last several years when she fell in love with two different men. Now, all the reader knows is that she's devastated and that there's someone waiting at home for her.

But as the story unfolds, the reader has no idea which man is the one waiting for her and which one is the one who's just found a new life with someone else. 

OMG, this is such a powerful book. But you need to go into it knowing that this is not a story about a love triangle. Both these men represent different timeframes in Stella's life and she truly loved both of them and they both devastated her in different ways. 

By the end of the book, I couldn't read the book fast enough and the emotions were so deep. I definitely had a book hangover from this one. 

It was so, so, so good. I cannot recommend this book enough. Warning...the heroine is so annoying to begin with, but she does grow throughout the story which covers at least six years, if not more.

But by the end of the book...I was in love. I was in love with Stella, both of the guys, and the overall story. It was such a fantastic read. I loved this book. 


Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Dirty Games by HelenKay Dimon

Title: Dirty Games
Author: HelenKay Dimon
My Rating: A-

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m)
Series: Dirty #2
Main Characters: Justin and Finn
Release Date: March 2018
Publisher: Loveswept
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Sometimes, to get what you want in business or in love, you have to get your hands dirty. Luckily for Finn and Justin, dirty comes naturally.

Finn Drummond is the baby in a family of sharks—which means he’s worked twice as hard to make a name for himself. After learning the tricks of the trade from his brothers, Finn’s just as ruthless and dominant. Out in the field, his appetites are legendary: for success, for money, for women and men. But when supplies from Drummond Charities go missing, Finn has to partner up with the smoldering ex–Army grunt who’s always challenging his authority—or giving him mixed signals.

Justin Miller wanted his attraction to Finn to be mutual, but the cocky brat always had a girlfriend. Who could blame Justin for trying to move on? Despite their history, they’ve got to work together to figure out who’s been derailing their humanitarian work. But after Justin and Finn are thrown together against gunrunners and kidnappers, their simmering chemistry turns explosive. Turns out, Finn knows how to handle himself in a crisis—and in the sack. Justin only hopes that hot sex is enough to persuade this spoiled pretty boy to do the right thing.
My Review:
It's no secret that I love HelenKay Dimon's romantic suspense m/m books and this one did not disappoint in the least. 

Justin has been fighting his attraction to Finn for the point that he slept with Finn's brother to try to get over Finn, the straight one. What Justin has never realized though is that Finn isn't straight. He's bisexual. And though he's younger, I think Finn is much more mature in a relationship than Justin is ever capable of being...LOL. But I'm getting ahead of myself. 

Justin is a loner. He is not a relationship guy which works for him since he's chosen to serve his career in Morocco, where it's illegal to be gay. But the one major thing that Justin has going for him is that he's completely committed to helping the areas refugees escape their circumstances. He has spent his life doing this job and loves it...for the most part. 

He does not having his control usurped by Finn and his brothers, though...just because they happen to fund the charity. So, that's one area of contention for Justin. The other is that he is simply pushing Finn away because he thinks he can't have him. As a result, Justin is rough and gruff and rude and a total jerk to Finn most the time. Something that Finn truly just let roll off his back most the time... another reason (out of MANY) to love him. 

But you know, in the end, I kind of fell for Justin, too. He's trying so hard to be emotionally hard to Finn and not care because he simply can't be that vulnerable. But it happens anyway and it's a beautiful thing. 

I love wounded heroes, and Finn is perfect in the roll in this book. I really just thoroughly enjoyed the whole story. Although I had a pretty good idea who the bad guy was early on, it didn't affect how much I enjoyed all the unveiling of the details and clues. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review.

Monday, March 19, 2018

The BackUp Plan by Jen McLaughlin

Title: The Backup Plan
Author: Jen McLaughlin
My Rating: B+

Genre: New Adult Romance 
Series: Back in the Game #1
Main Characters: Chase and Taylor
Release Date: March 2018
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
I’m beyond help...

I threw a football before I could walk. Everything in my life revolved around football–and I loved every second. I was a star. Until, suddenly...I wasn’t. Now everyone thinks I’m the monster who killed his best friend. I’m an outcast on campus, silent and alone. Then Taylor Selmer walks back into my life. When will she learn–I’m beyond saving.

I need to save him...

Chase and I used to be friends. But after the accident, nothing was the same. We used to have something special–until we didn’t. But he doesn’t smile anymore. Doesn’t talk. Doesn’t play. It hurts me to see him this way, and I will do everything I can to get him back in the game. Whether he likes it or not.
My Review:
Taylor absolutely made this book. I love how she tells Chase everything and doesn't hide most the details although it would make easier to hide why she's at Villanova...because she was hired by Chase's dad to get him back on track. 

Chase is in a really bad place. He is consumed by guilt that he wasn't able to save his friend. He survived when his friend didn't, although his friend was the one who was driving drunk. Honestly, if I were to guess, he's just days away from ending it all when Taylor shows up. 

Taylor and Chase were best friends growing up...until they hit adolescence and Chase's father chased her away because her family were the 'hired help' and not up to the standard that Chase needed on his arm. Chase never knew why Taylor disappeared from her life, but he's truly never fallen out of love with her.

Taylor is stuck in a mess. Unfortunately, not only is she working for Chase's father, but both her parents work for him and live on their estate, and he's threatening them. If she screws this up, her parents are out on their butts. 

It was a really good book. It was a cross between a friends to lovers trope and second chance at love trope, which just happen to be my 2 favorite tropes. The combination of them was awesome. 

I really, really enjoyed this book and look forward to more from this author. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book in return for an honest review. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Goodbye Paradise by Sarina Bowen (audiobook)

Title: Goodbye Paradise
Author: Sarina Bowen
My Rating: A-
Narrator: Teddy Hamilton and Dake Bliss

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Hello Goodbye #1
Main Characters: Josh and Caleb
Release Date: May 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: Blackstone Audio
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Most people called it a cult. But for twenty years, Josh and Caleb called it home. 

In Paradise, there is no television. No fast food. Just long hours of farm work and prayer on a dusty Wyoming ranch, and nights in a crowded bunkhouse. The boys of the Compound are kept far from the sinners’ world. 

But Joshua doesn’t need temptation to sin. His whole life, he’s wanted his best friend, Caleb. By day they work side by side. Only when Josh closes his eyes at night can they be together the way he craves. 

It can never be. And his survival depends on keeping his terrible desires secret.

Caleb has always protected Josh against the worst of the bullying at the Compound. But he has secrets of his own, and a plan to get away — until it all backfires. 

Josh finds himself homeless in a world that doesn’t want him. Can Caleb find him in time? And will they find a place of safety, where he can admit to Josh how he really feels? 

Warning: Contains a hot male/male romance, copious instances of taking the Lord's name in vain, and love against the kitchen counter. This book was previously released under the title: In Front of God & Everyone.

My Review:
Overall: 4.25
Performance: 4.25 
Story: 4.25

Ooh, I loved this book and I loved how it tied into the True North series...easter eggs...LOVE them. 

Josh and Caleb grew up in the cult, Paradise. The problem with a cult built on polygamy...there are too many boys so when they grow up, they're systematically kicked out for "crimes". This was what was happening to Josh. Luckily Caleb saw it coming and had made plans for the two of them. He ran when Josh was kicked out. 

What Josh never realized was that Caleb was gay, too, and just as in love with Josh as Josh was with him. But with their upbringing, they were always taught that homosexuality is an awful sin. 

This whole book is all about how these two guys figure out how to live in the real world...which they've never done. In fact, Josh has never been exposed to the real world at all. It all seems so impossible, but that made it such a good book. In the middle of all that, they are also trying to navigate a homosexual relationship...something that Josh especially has problems with. 

There was so much good about this book. I loved how Josh found his place in this small family and the bond that developed between him and the baby. 

Overall, this book was just excellent and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to it. And I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that there's a second book in the series.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Felix and the Prince by Lucy Lennox (audiobook)

Title: Felix and the Prince
Author: Lucy Lennox
My Rating: A-
Narrator: Michael Pauley

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Forever Wilde #2
Main Characters: Felix and Lio
Release Date: January 2018 (audiobook)
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Listening Length: 9 hours and 7 minutes

Things I expect to find at Gadleigh Castle:
- Rare stained glass, the subject of my dissertation.
- Peace and quiet, to finish said dissertation.
- An escape from the paparazzi swarming around my starlet mother’s latest blockbuster release.

Things I don’t expect to find:
- A hidden door leading to a secret room.
- The most gorgeous man I’ve ever set eyes on.
- Love.

Things I know are expected of me in life:
- That I will one day soon become the King of Liorland.
- I will marry a nice woman who will become queen.
- I will provide heirs to my family’s monarchy.

Reasons that might be difficult
- I’m gay.
- I’m falling in love with Felix Wilde.
- He has no idea I’m royal.

My Review:
Overall: 4.25
Performance: 4.5
Story: 4.25

Aww, who would have guessed...a royal relationship for one of the Wildes. Although an unexpected pairing, I did really enjoy this story. I never considered before what being gay might do to a monarchy. It makes you wonder how many royals have been gay in the past and simply hidden it or buried those inclinations.

But between that whole issue and the absolutely gorgeous visuals of the Gadleigh glass...and I just loved this story. I could picture everything about this windswept castle so well and really want to visit there...if only it were real. 

Like all the Lucy Lennox stories, this is just pure entertainment. There isn't a ton of angst, but there is emotion and wonderfully developed characters. I liked the conflict on this one...both with Lio and the issue with being a gay king, but also Felix's aversion to press, which is something that is definitely a constant in Lio's life. But I also loved that they had time for their relationship to develop before those conflicts truly became an issue in the story. 

Overall, this was another GREAT Lucy Lennox audiobook. I know that when I grab one of hers that I'm going to be totally enchanted and not want to walk away from the audiobook. I'm ready for more in this series!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

On His Knees by Laura Kaye

Title: On His Knees 
Author: Laura Kaye
My Rating: A-

Genre: Erotic Romance (m/m)
Series: Blasphemy #4
Main Characters: Alex and Jamie
Release Date: February 2018
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: erotic

Story Overview:
Getting on his knees makes him question everything…and want even more…

Another failed relationship has lawyer Jamie Fielding confronting the truth—he’ll never be satisfied with any woman until he admits what he needs…to submit and to be used—hard. When a friend invites him to the exclusive Blasphemy club, Jamie is stunned to find everything he ever wanted—in the fierce, ruthless hands of a man.

Psychiatrist Alex McGarry will play with anyone who craves his rough brand of domination, but what he really wants is to settle down. Which makes the submissive male he meets at his club a bad idea—the man might be hot as hell but he’s also new to everything Alex has to offer. Except that doesn’t keep them from coming together again and again, sating every one of their darkest desires.

Master Alex sets Jamie’s whole world on fire and makes him question everything—and that’s good. Because Alex won’t tolerate hiding what they have for long and he wants much more than just having Jamie on his knees...

My Review:

Wow, this was one sexy little read. I thoroughly LOVED it! Jamie is new to all of this. Right before his thirtieth birthday, he's getting a tattoo after yet another girlfriend has dumped him. His tattoo artist says something about Jamie being a masochist and suddenly Jamie's world opens up wide. 

He's never understood why he doesn't seem to connect like other people. His revelation...he's a bisexual masochist...something that he never even considered or knew before. So, needless to say when he goes to Blasphemy, a whole new world opens up to him and his guide, Master Alex, is everything he's ever wanted, but never realized he needed. 

There are lots of new experiences for Jamie...layered with the pain that he needs and seriously, this book is really very sexy. I loved it. I loved the dynamic between the two guys. 

My only serious complaint was that there was a lot of possible depth to this story. It could have been at least twice as long and had a HUGE emotional impact for the reader. Not that it was bad, because it totally was not. It just wasn't phenomenal...and with a bit more development, it could have been. 

But as is, I loved it and highly recommend it. I haven't been reading this series. I think I may have to go back and fix that now.

Cover Whore Confession: I totally bought this book because of that sexy as hell cover.