Monday, August 21, 2017

Suspicious Behavior by L.A. Witt and Cari Z

Title: Suspicious Behavior
Author: L.A. Witt and Cari Z
My Rating: A

Genre: Romantic Suspense (m/m)
Series: Bad Behavior #2
Main Characters: Darren and Andreas
Release Date: August 2017
Publisher:  Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Detective Darren Corliss is hanging by a thread. In between recovering from a near-fatal wound and returning to work at a hostile precinct, he’s struggling to help care for his ailing brother. His partner and boyfriend, Detective Andreas Ruffner, wants to help, but doesn’t know how. And with his own family crises brewing, Andreas is spread almost as thin as Darren.

For cops, though, life takes a backseat to the job. When a stack of unsolved homicides drops into their laps, Andreas and Darren think they’re unrelated cold cases. But when a connection surfaces, they find themselves on the tail of a prolific serial killer who’s about to strike again.

Except they’ve got nothing. No leads. No suspects. Just a pile of circumstantial evidence and a whole lot of hunches. Time is running out to stop the next murder—and to pull themselves back from their breaking points.

My Review:
I really enjoyed the first book in this series, but omg, I ADORED this installment. It was so good. 

Note: This is a series (at least 3 books, although this is book #2) that builds on the previous story. To get the full effect of what is happening to these two men, you really should read the first book before reading this one. 

Okay... so, this book picks up about where the last book ended. Darren is better and both him and Andreas are back to work...with a police force that believes they've turned traitor because they exposed the shady cops (and there were a lot of them). No one trusts them. No one likes them. And the harassment is never-ending. Nothing like working a serial murder case and knowing no one besides your partner has your back if things go wrong...and with a serial murderer there are a LOT of lives on the line.

So, things are a bit stressful. 

On top of that, they are both having family issues. Darren's brother, Asher, is devastating. At 35, he has early-onset Alzheimers and has had to be put into a home because he's becoming combatant. OMG, this story line kills me. My heart just HURTS. He's only 35, was a talented lawyer...and it's all just gone. The emotions that the authors infuse into the story through this story, it's hard. So, yeah, Darren is having real issues with that. He and his brother have always been close. But Andreas is having issues too. His daughter is working as an intern at the police station and she's hearing rumors about things he hasn't revealed to her. Then there's the ex who's having problems, too. 

These guys seriously can't catch a break. They're exhausted...both mentally and physically. Their relationship was just really getting off the ground when everything fell apart. Then Darren almost died and is still physically recovering from that. They're close, but have never had the opportunities that they need to deepen their really strong relationship. It makes for an interesting dichotomy...that really works for me. (And as someone that has read most of L.A. Witt's books, this lack of any real sex is surprising...BUT it works. Don't let me scare you...these guys are close and want it to happen, but life...)

This series is so, so good! I'm truly loving it so much. I cannot wait until the next book comes out. I'm thinking this is one I'm gonna have to get in print. LOVE IT and highly recommend it!

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

The Druid Next Door by E.J. Russell

Title: The Druid Next Door
Author: E.J. Russell
My Rating: A-

Genre: Paranormal Romance (m/m)
Series: Fae Out of Water #2
Main Characters: Bryce and Mal
Release Date: August 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Professor Bryce MacLeod has devoted his entire life to environmentalism. But how effective can he be in saving the planet when he can’t even get his surly neighbor to separate his recycling?

Former Queen’s Enforcer Mal Kendrick doesn’t think his life could get any worse: he’s been exiled from Faerie with a cursed and useless right hand. When he’s not dodging random fae assassins in the Outer World, he’s going toe-to-toe with his tree-hugging neighbor. And when he discovers that the tree-hugger is really a druid, he’s certain the gods have it in for him—after all, there’s always a catch with druids. Then he’s magically shackled to the man and expected to instruct him in Supernatural 101.

All right, now things couldn’t possibly get worse.

Until a mysterious stranger offers a drunken Mal the chance to gain back all he’s lost—for a price. After Mal accepts, he discovers the real catch: an ancient secret that will change his and Bryce’s life forever.

Ah, what the hells. Odds are they won’t survive the week anyway.

My Review:
I'm really enjoying this series and I think that this book was even slightly better than the first book in the series. The series is about 3 brothers, who are all Fae royalty/members of court. In the last book, Mal (the hero of this story) who is a protector and swordsman was cursed for saving his brother's life and maiming the Fae Queen's consort. His punishment...he has no feeling in his right hand. In this book, it's just been a few weeks and he still hasn't adjusted to life with a dead limb. He's also been cast out of the fae world and is having to make his way in the human world, in the house his new brother in law found for him.

That house happens to be next door to environmentalist and professor, Bryce. Bryce is nerdy and geeky and awkward and more than a little obsessed with the status of the wetlands that he's trying to preserve at the edge of their environmental suburb. He's human and has no idea about anything supernatural...until Mal falls into his world and life. Then Bryce is finding out about all sorts of realities that were totally beyond him just a few days before. 

I liked this pairing a lot. In fact, the whole story just worked for me. There's a whole suspense/subterfuge happening behind the scenes and I loved that Bryce is really smart about it all. He doesn't just take Mal at face value even though Mal is supposedly the expert on all things supernatural. Also there's a great little twist that has the two men tied together throughout the story that I just really enjoyed. It made everything about the story more acceptable and believable. 

I liked it. Gareth's story is next...the bard. All the brothers have tortured aspects to their personalities, but he's the most angst-filled on paper. It will be interesting to see how his story plays out. I can't wait. This is a fun paranormal series...and no worries, you can read each story as a stand-alone. You won't be confused at all, even with this new paranormal world. The author does a good job of giving you all the basics you need.

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

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Until You by T.J. Klune (audiobook)

Title:  Until You
Author: T.J. Klune
My Rating: A
Narrator: Michael Lesley

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: At First Sight #3
Main Characters: Kit and Micah
Release Date: May 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
5 hrs 4 mins

Together with their families and friends

Paul Auster


Vincent Taylor

request the honor of your company at the celebration of their marriage.

My Review:
Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.75
Story: 4.5

This is a series where you need to read all the books. The good news is that all the books are amazingly funny and entertaining and once you start, you won't want to stop. This group of characters are just as funny, if not funnier, than they were in the original story. This was a great addition and it set up for a great next novel...YES, Corey/Cori. And I'll have to admit, I wasn't sure about the whole "vows" bet, but it turned out to be brilliant in the end. 

Ridiculously fun. I challenge you not to laugh out loud while listening to it. And once again, Michael Lesley stepped up and was brilliant. I loved this mini-installment.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Cover Reveal: Crazy Love by KB Jacobs

Cover designer: Amanda Matthews (AM Design Studios) 

Crazy Love

My name means chaos. My mother must have had a premonition when she named me, because my life has been far from normal. No one realizes the truth about me. But he sees more than he should...

Can a person have a mid-life crisis at twenty-three? Because I’m pretty sure I’m having one. This wasn’t the life I dreamed about. I settled. And now I’m questioning everything, most especially the conundrum who runs the bookstore. She wears sweater cardigans, but every once in a while I see a flash of ink.

I’m ready to rebel, and I’m thinking she might be the perfect partner to join me. If I can get her to stop arguing long enough to see the real me...

Book #1 in the Bookstore Love series.

And to celebrate our cover reveal, we have an extra little surprise for you. 

Book #1 in the Naked Brews series, 
Deliciously Smooth is FREE!

KB Jacobs is the pen name for two fabulous, best-selling authors. Obsessed with the 3 B’s...books, brews, and bodies...specifically male ones with a ladder of abs leading down to the treasure trail…

Ahem, sorry, we digress.

These two authors decided to pool their obsessions and discovered a whole new destination to whet their imaginations. Welcome to Naked Brews, one amazing microbrewery set in the middle of the Rockies, run by three women, who much like our authors, know what they want...those 3 B’s again. Side eyes the men...oh, yeah, they have very nice obsessions.

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Worth Waiting For by Wendy Qualls

Title: Worth Waiting For
Author: Wendy Qualls
My Rating: B-

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Heart of the South #1
Main Characters: Paul and Brandon
Release Date: August 2017
Publisher: Lyrical Shine
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
A small-town in the Deep South isn’t where most gay men would choose to go looking for love. But open hearts will find a way…

Growing up in the Bible Belt, Paul Dunham learned from a young age to hide his sexuality. Now he’s teaching psychology at a conservative college in Georgia—and still hiding who he really is. If Paul hopes to get tenure, he needs to keep his desires on the down-low. But when an old college crush shows up on campus—looking more gorgeous than ever—Paul’s long-suppressed urges are just too big for one little closet to hold . . .

Brandon Mercer has come a long way since his freshman year fumbling's with Paul. Now he’s confident, accomplished, proudly out—and the sexiest IT consultant Paul’s ever seen. When Brandon asks Paul to grab some coffee and catch up, it leads to a steamy reunion that puts their first night of passion to shame. But when Paul’s longtime crush turns into a full-time romance, he receives an anonymous email threatening to expose their secret to the world. If Paul stays with Brandon, his teaching career is over. Yet if he caves under pressure, he risks losing the one true love he’s been

My Review:
The hard thing about writing book reviews is figuring out why sometimes a book works for you and sometimes it doesn't. This was a book that didn't work for me. I'll be honest...I almost DNF'ed it several times in the last 25% of the book, but by that time, I'd already put in so much time to reading it. 

But the question is...why didn't it work for me. I think the answer is this...the main hero, Paul. This book is told entirely from Paul's point of view and Paul is really not that great of a character. It's hard to feel empathy for him when his goal is to lie about his sexuality for the rest of his life, then lie to a woman and marry her under false pretenses. That was his plan pretty much all the way through the book...and it's hard to like a guy who'd be willing to be such a jerk. Seriously. 

BUT the whole setup of the book is a good one. I think if the author had taken half the points of view and given them to Brandon, who is a MUCH more likable character that I could empathize with, I think this would have had a much better rating. 

As it is, though...I just didn't care. I didn't care whether Paul got his HEA or not. Honestly, Brandon deserved someone better. 

But there are moments when the story was good and that kept me reading...and those moments were times when Brandon controlled what was happening in their lives. The trip to Atlanta, showing Paul how life could be was a great sequence of scenes. 

There's also a bit of a mystery story line that had the potential to really drive the story, but then it almost became a side story that fell kind of flat. 

Potential...this book had it. It just didn't live up to the possibilities, and I'm really sorry about that because I really wanted to enjoy this story.

(The cover is gorgeous.)

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

Illegal Contact by Santino Hassell

Title: Illegal Contact
Author: Santino Hassell
My Rating: A+

Genre: Sports Romance (m/m)
Series: The Barons #1
Main Characters: Gavin and Noah
Release Date: August 2017
Publisher: Intermix
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:

The rules of the game don’t apply off the field in this first Barons novel. 

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin's timeout is over…

My Review:

Hands down, this was one of the best books I've read this year. Seriously, I cannot share with you how much I loved this book. I started it this morning (I'm writing this on a Sunday) because I like to spend a little bit of time for me on weekend mornings. But I was only going to read one hour and then do my work...(I personally had plans to finish writing my book today, so I had a FULL day of writing ahead of me). Well, it's now 1:00 in the afternoon and I kid you not, I'm tempted to open up this book and start reading it all over again. OMG, it was so freaking good!

Gavin is a jerk, but he's a talented jerk who plays as starter for the Barons, the NFL team just coming off their first superbowl win...thanks a lot to Gavin. But he has anger control and rage issues which landed him in hot water. After being caught on tape chasing down a guy and punching him, he was suspended from the NFL and is on a 6 month house arrest/probation. The thing is no one really knows or likes Gavin. He's brash and rude and truly doesn't care what people think of him...hint: most people don't like him. He has two friends, but they both play for the Barons and it's football season. Gavin is on his own. That's why his manager thinks he needs a personal assistant. Gavin isn't allowed to leave his house. He needs someone there to manage his life and buy him groceries, and...oh yeah, maybe keep him from going stir crazy. (Six months...he can't leave his huge empty mansion.)

Noah is a social worker who has screwed up his life. His last job was his dream job, but he got mixed up with his boss who wasn't a good guy (he totally had Noah fooled). When Noah found out he was having sex with the kids at the center where they both worked, Noah reported it and somehow ended up being the bad (and fired) guy in the scenario. He desperately needs another job. If that means working for the grumpy NFL spoiled jock, then he'll make do. 

This book is so good (I know I've said that before, but it definitely needs repeating...multiple times). Because neither of these guys holds back the book reads like an enemies to lovers story. Their relationship is very contentious and they are constantly fighting. Gavin has anger issues that he's always been able to work out on the field. Suddenly that's been stolen from him and he doesn't know how to work through that aggression. But Noah is not going to be bullied, no matter how much he needs the job. I loved that he stood up for himself, time and time again.

These guys are magic together. It's a very slow burn, but they truly do bring out the best in one another. Suddenly, Noah can see the real Gavin below all the bluster and anger. And Gavin wants Noah so, so much. He's truly happy for the first time...ever. I kind of loved everything about that.

I loved this book and cannot wait for book #2 in the series...Simeon...YES! 

I highly, HiGhLy, HIGHLY recommend!!

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

Monday, August 14, 2017

Three Player Game by Jaime Samms

Title: Three Player Game
Author: Jaime Samms
My Rating: B

Genre: Erotic Romance (m/m)
Series: Bluewater Bay #20
Main Characters: Vince, Pete, and Lee
Release Date: August 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Vince’s life has improved immeasurably since he moved to Bluewater Bay two years ago. He’s gone from working for a man he hated, to helping found a company he believes in. And he and boyfriend, Pete, have built a delicate balance of power between them that keeps them both grounded and thriving.

Almost, anyway.

Pete’s job on the set of Wolf’s Landing is demanding. He needs lots of downtime off set, and that’s where Vince’s firm but gentle control isn’t always enough. And for Vince, Pete’s constant high-energy needs are turning out to be more than he can handle alone.

It’s no surprise to either of them, then, that sparks fly when Vince’s coworker Lee enters the picture. Outwardly, Lee is tough and confident, but when a bad back confines him to Pete and Vince’s spare room, the cracks start to show and his desire for connection begins to peek through.

Pete and Vince both like what they see under Lee’s prickly outside, but now the three men must learn that love isn’t about beating the game—it’s about balance, trust, and letting each other in.

My Review:
On the surface there is nothing wrong with this book, but for some reason I just had a hard time connecting to the story. And I even liked all three of the characters...but especially Lee. But something about the dynamic here just didn't work for me. There's a lot that's happening that's beneath the surface that's never truly discussed either in dialogue or even mentally for a lot of the story and the conflict and I think that was why it was so hard to make this relationship work in my mind. 

BDSM at its simplest is a difficult dynamic to sometimes explain. Add in the emotions of three very different men who don't talk and that becomes even more complex. I guess I just didn't get that whole aspect of their relationship. I think this book would have worked better without that whole thing which a lot of the time in the story came across as manipulation. 

Vince is the Dom. He does better with action. Pete is a sub. He's good with words. In the story, Lee is a sub who's unwilling to accept that part of himself because it's gotten him hurt in the past. That makes sense but not really the way the dynamic worked between the three of them. There was so much made in the book about that conflict between them that it made it hard to see the possibility of a forever for the trio. Something felt off in the dynamic. 

So, not the most positive review, but the book was an easy read. I liked the way the point of view switched regularly between the three main characters and individually, I did like all three of those characters.

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