Monday, November 20, 2017

All Of the Above by Quinn Anderson

Title: All of the Above
Author: Quinn Anderson
My Rating: B-

Genre: Contemporary Romance m/m
Main Characters: Brendon and Matthew
Release Date: November 2017
Publisher: Riptide Publishing
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: spicy

Story Overview:
Brendon isn’t in a rut, per se—he just always seems to be in-between things. Jobs. Degrees. Boyfriends. He never finishes what he starts. The perfect path is out there somewhere, and if he can just figure out what it is, he’s certain everything else will fall into place.

The last thing he expects is to meet his soul mate in the pages of a magazine quiz. “Who Is Your Perfect Man?” by Matthew Kingston seems like a road map to his future husband: the author himself. Brendon may not have his life figured out, but if Matt is as romantic as his quiz, Brendon can check “true love” off his to-do list.

When Brendon fakes a meet-cute between them, Matt proves to be as wonderful as he hoped. The more Brendon gets to know him, the harder he falls. But Brendon has a confession to make: how can he explain to Matt that he arranged their “fated” meeting? Brendon can’t tell if he’s found his soul mate, heartache, or all of the above.

My Review:
This book is extremely readable. I never once thought about not finishing it. In fact, I really kind of liked the setup of it...super creative and cute. But I just never felt like these two characters really connected. This is probably a 'me' issue though because the writing was very good. There was just something about the personalities in the book that I couldn't connect with and in turn, I don't feel like they ever connected to one another either. Yes, there was sexual attraction there, but I'm not sure I could believe their connection. But again...this is ME as the reader. That won't necessarily apply to you. The writing is good and extremely engaging.  

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

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Working It by Riley Hart and Devon McCormack

Title:  Working It
Author: Riley Hart and Devon McCormack
My Rating: A-
Narrator: Michael Pauley

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: The Metropolis #2
Main Characters: Hayden and Cody
Release Date: May 2017 (audiobook)
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
After his boyfriend dumps him, Hayden is in need of a place to live. Thanks to his buddies, he has a great lead to room with a guy named Cody in Metropolis, the hottest condominium in town. But things get a little uncomfortable when Hayden shows up for the interview and discovers he and Cody share an awkward up close and personal experience from their past. 

Cody doesn’t have a problem living with Hayden. He’s had his share of help when he was down and out, and he wants to do the same for this guy. It’s not long until Cody realizes how great it is having someone around. Sometimes, they watch movies together…and other times, they help get each other off—one of the perks of living with a guy who’s as laid back about sex as he is. They hit off so well Cody even decides to act as wingman for Hayden while he gets used to hitting the town again. 

Before they know it, they’re spending more time with each other than with anyone else. But Hayden just got out of a relationship and should be spending his nights having fun and working it around town, not jumping into something serious again. Cody’s always just gone with the flow, believing if it’s meant to happen, it will. But life doesn’t always work that way, and if they don’t fight for what’s right in front of them, Hayden and Cody might be over before they have the chance to even get started.

My Review:
Overall: 4.25
Performance: 4.0
Story: 4.25

I really enjoyed this story. Hayden is just out of a relationship that really did a number on him and he's moving in with Cody. Cody is absolutely the best person to take Hayden under his wing. Cody's one of those guys...he's sweet and protective and quickly sees that Hayden is messed up. Cody makes it his goal to pull Hayden out of his shell and out of his funk...and in the process gets so much more than he ever planned for. 

Like I said, I really enjoyed this one. The main issue I had with the first book was the gay party atmosphere of the Metropolis. That seemed toned down in this book and I enjoyed it so much more as a result. This story instead focused on these two guys and how their relationship and friendship evolves. I enjoyed all of that. 

Also, this is really a friends with benefits relationship, so it checked a lot of tropes for me that I loved. I love it when friends fall in love. I also love getting to see a character come into theirselves...that was Hayden to the core. 

It was fun and entertaining and I definitely recommend it. I was waffling on book #3 because of the whole "daddy" trope which does NOT do it for me. But there's a glimpse of Jackson at the end of this book and I caved. On to book #3 in the series. I'm crossing my fingers. 

Note: I really do enjoy Michael Pauley's narration, too. He has great inflections and emotions. That being said, though, there were a couple of points in this story where the two main character voices seemed to get a little lost and I wasn't sure which one was speaking. It was a really minor thing, but something I noticed especially in the chapter transitions. 

Friday, November 17, 2017

Lost and Found by Lucy Lennox and Sloane Kennedy (audiobook)

Title:  Lost and Found
Author: Lucy Lennox and Sloane Kennedy
My Rating: A
Narrator: Michael Pauley

Genre: Contemporary Romance (m/m)
Series: Twist of Fate #1
Main Characters: Xander and Bennett
Release Date: August 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: SKLL
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:

He promised to never leave me. But when I needed him the most, that was exactly what he did…
Wilderness guide Xander Reed has spent fifteen years trying to forget the night he turned to his best friend in his darkest hour, only to find the young man who’d sworn to always have his back was turning his on Xander instead. Two thousand miles and fifteen years of building a new life in the quiet backcountry of the Rocky Mountains should have been enough to put the memory of Bennett Crawford out of his mind forever, but old wounds run deep and when Bennett suddenly reappears in his life as part of a wilderness expedition Xander is guiding, the scars he thought long healed break wide open.
I’d only ever wanted to protect Xander from getting hurt again. I never considered the one he needed protection from was me…
Bennett Crawford was faced with an impossible choice the night his best friend needed him.
He chose wrong.
As the only son of one of the wealthiest families in New England, he should have had the world at his feet, but losing his best friend at the tender age of fourteen changed everything. And even though Bennett’s managed to hide behind a mask of contentment as he takes his place at his father’s side in the family business, inside he’s searching for the piece of himself that’s been missing ever since Xander Reed walked out of his life. Bennett’s only saving grace is his work with a group of inner city kids, and when he’s given the chance to show the troubled teens that there’s a bigger world out there waiting for them if they just have the courage to reach for it, he takes it.
But when he steps off that bus for what was supposed to be a week of fun and adventure, he’s instantly returned to the past when he discovers their expedition guide is none other than the boy he let go so long ago. Only, the soft-hearted, insecure little boy Bennett once knew is gone, and in his place is a brooding, bitter man who isn’t interested in second chances.
People leave. I know that now and nothing Bennett has to say to me will change anything…
All Bennett wants is another chance to show Xander that friendship was only the beginning. But when a stubborn Xander refuses to even hear him out, Bennett realizes he’s going to need to fight dirty.
Because now that he’s found Xander again, he’s not letting him go a second time…

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

There was tons to love about this story. It's a second chance at love story which is definitely one of my favorite tropes, but I think my favorite thing about this story was the outdoor adventure setting. It worked so well to set up an amazing book. I was riveted the whole time I listened to the audiobook and truly would have been okay if the story had never ended. The visuals and settings were great. The romance and the characters were fantastic. I became immersed in the book and didn't want to come out of it...which is really hard when listening to an audiobook. For some reason people don't like it when you completely shut them out in favor of the fantasy world playing through your earbuds. 

I highly recommend this one and cannot wait for book #2. I'm hoping it comes out in audio soon, or else I might have to break down and read the ebook.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Mack Daddy by Penelope Ward (audiobook)

Title:  Mack Daddy
Author: Penelope Ward
My Rating: A
Narrator: Andi Arndt and Sebastion York

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Main Characters: Mack and Frankie
Release Date: March 2017 (audiobook)
Publisher: -
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
They called him Mack Daddy. No, seriously, his name was Mack. Short for Mackenzie.

Thus, the nickname. Perfect, right?
So was he: perfect. The perfect physical male specimen.

At the private school where I taught, Mack Morrison was the only man around in a sea of women.
Everyone wanted a piece of the hot single father of the sweet little boy. I was riddled with jealousy, because they didn’t know that—to me—he was much more.
They didn’t know about our past.
He’d chosen my school for his son on purpose, because Mack and I, we had unfinished business.

As my friend Lorelai so eloquently put it: “Unfinished business between two people who are clearly attracted to each other is like an eternal case of blue balls.” And I was suffering in pain from my case.

I was still intensely attracted to Mack. I tried to resist him, immersing myself further into a relationship with another man just to protect my heart.
Not to mention, getting involved with a parent was strictly against school rules. But seeing Mack day in and day out was breaking me down.

And soon I might be breaking all the rules.

Author's note – Told in alternating points of view, Mack Daddy is a full-length standalone novel.  
My Review:

Overall: 4.5
Performance: 4.75
Story: 4.5

ooh, this book was so good. This is a second chance at love story. While Mack and Frankie were never romantically involved before, they were best friends...and the emotions were there, just not the opportunity since Mack had a very serious girlfriend at the time. A girlfriend that meant he left Frankie behind. 

Now Mack is back in Frankie's life. The girlfriend is still there, too, but now simply as Mack's kid's mom...yeah...ouch. But now Frankie has a boyfriend, a man she lives with and respects and loves. She can't get involved with Mack, no matter how much he pursues her. Because yeah...Mack has finally realized that he made a huge mistake leaving Frankie behind and is out to get her back. 

Oh, and minor complication...Frankie is Mack's little boy's teacher. A little boy who already has enough stress in his life. 

This story had all the feels. I started it and immediately was immersed in the story and didn't ever want to push stop on my audiobook. The alternating narrators/pov's was perfect, and the story was incredible. I hated that Frankie and Mack got pushed to this point and wasted so much time, but wow...I loved getting to watch them sort out their lives. It was a great story, an even better audiobook. I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Promo Post: Snowcroft Restoration by Christi Snow

From the moment Law's story unfolded in SNOWCROFT LOST, you all have been clamoring for his HEA. Well, Law needed some recovery time from his traumas, so I hope the wait was worth it. Personally, I think Ian is pretty much perfect for him...

Snowcroft Restoration Story Description

Two years ago, Law Wyman went undercover for an FBI investigation that went sideways. It cost him both the love of his life and his sanity. The nightmare still haunts him, and so does some unfinished business...Ian Mayne, the son of the man who ruined his life.

Two years ago, Ian had to face the truth about how his father spent a lifetime torturing and trafficking LGBTQ teens. Ever since, Ian has done everything he can to make up for his dead father’s many sins through his law enforcement job. Too many paid in horrific, horrible ways at his father’s hands while Ian kept the truth about his own sexuality hidden.

Law is doing all he can to save Ian, but Ian doesn’t necessarily want to be saved.

Two men...both horrifically haunted by what happened. Is it possible they can find healing together? Only if they have the courage to face their demons and each other...

Trigger Warning: This is a hot story about two men who have both survived past abuse.

Catch up on the whole series:
1. Snowcroft Lost
2. Snowcroft Safehouse
3. Intertwined Hearts
4. Snowcroft Restoration

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Colorado Connection by Sara York

Title: Colorado Connection
Author: Sara York
My Rating: A

Genre: Military Romance (m/m)
Series: Colorado Heart #6
Main Characters: Tex and Jazz
Release Date: March 2016
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: hot

Story Overview:
Book 6 of the Colorado Heart series 

Matthew ‘Tex’ Miller has no choice but to work with Jordon ‘Jazz’ Bergeron when they’re assigned to the same unit, but he doesn’t have to like it. Jazz gets under his skin in all the wrong ways until one night when Jazz begs Tex for a kiss and everything changes. Matthew won’t be played, but he won’t ignore a hot body when one is offered up. What started off as lust and revenge turns into molten passion, igniting a burning hot fire. 

Jazz and Tex’s unit is called out to patrol the city, but disaster strikes, killing some on their team and leaving Matthew without Jazz. Matthew begins questioning authority and is assigned to a new team, one that focuses on extracting hostages from war zones. On Matthew’s first extraction he finds someone who will change his life for ever. 

Jazz has lost more then a leg and he’s drifting. He can’t stand the thought of Matthew seeing him so broken, but he can’t let go of the beautiful man from Texas who stole his heart. 

When Matthew is offered a place at Wild Bluff, he’s given a chance to find Jazz. But will Jazz take a leap of faith and join Matthew on the ranch or retreat further into himself. 

My Review: 
ooh, this is the first book I've read out of this series, but it definitely won't be my last. I really, really liked this story...a LOT! So many feels...

But the thing that's amazing about this book is that there wasn't just that emotional angst over the main couple, but there was HUGE emotional upheaval for another couple in the story. Not having read the other books, I was still so emotionally invested in that other couple and I wouldn't have guessed that was even possible. 

There is so much to love about this book. There's a huge military presence in the book. I adored Jazz and Tex...such a great enemies to lovers story. But what they went through was just heartbreaking...that's real love to survive all that. Then there was Zander and many feels. 

I liked this one and definitely recommend it. And no worries, if you're like me and haven't read the rest of the series, you won't be lost. Now to decide where to go next in this series because I definitely want to read more.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Royally Wed by Teri Wilson

Title: Royally Wed
Author: Teri Wilson
My Rating: A-

Genre: Contemporary Romance 
Series: The Royals Book #3
Main Characters: Asher and Amelia
Release Date: November 2017
Publisher: Pocket Star
Links to Purchase
Sexual Intensity: mild

Story Overview:
Teri Wilson’s Royals series returns with this charming and witty retelling of the timeless classic MGM film Royal Wedding starring Fred Astaire.

When Asher Reed, an American classical musician, is hired as a last minute replacement to perform at the royal wedding of Princess Amelia in Great Britain, he’s hoping he can shake his recent bout with performance anxiety long enough to get through the festivities and get his career back on track. Little does he know that his life is about to change forever.

As a guest of Buckingham Palace, he knows he has no business even speaking to the princess, but he’s completely awed by her beauty and more than a little intrigued by her rebellious spirit. Still, he definitely knows he has no business kissing her silly at the fitting of her wedding gown. He’s there to perform, not cause a royal scandal. But when he stumbles upon her groom’s appalling secret, the fate of the princess and the British Crown suddenly rest squarely in his cello-playing hands....

With Teri Wilson’s signature “endearingly charming and delightfully sizzling” (USA TODAY bestselling author Nina Bocci) prose, Royally Wed is a delightful whirlwind romance that will leave you breathless and have you out of your seat for a standing ovation.

My Review:
I have to say...this is only the second book that I've read from this series, but with both of them, I've been really pleasantly impressed with the creative stories. I really, really enjoyed this story, and as someone that's grown up with the Royals and all the controversy of the last 30-40 years, it was a fun excursion into a fictional version of this world.

So, this book...Asher is a cellist that's touted to be the next Yo-Yo-Ma. So when Yo-Yo-Ma has to have emergency surgery, Asher is brought in to replace him as the soloist for the wedding of the century. The problem is that two months before, Asher found out his fiance and mentor have been having an affair for the last year and they are both in England to perform for the wedding, too. So, to say Asher's having a few problems performing is putting it lightly. 

Princess Amelia is getting married to save her families' monarchy. She just happens to be marrying her best friend's father...not exactly a love all. But as the Royal Screwup, Amelia feels like this is something that she needs to do...for her family. She's stuck. If she doesn't marry him, her family will lose the monarchy. A difficult situation is made all that much harder when Asher (as a last minute addition to the wedding) is put in the room next to hers for the duration of the wedding week. A series of events continue to bring them together...and suddenly Amelia is faced with a gorgeous, sweet guy her age who she has incredible chemistry with. 

Sparks begin to fly. And it's so much fun. This is like stepping into the lives of the Royals and I had so much fun reading it. From the moment I started reading it, I fell in love with both Asher and Amelia...and Willow...and James. I just thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. 

I definitely recommend it.

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