Reviews

Play On (Glasgow Lads, #0.5) by Avery Cockburn

    Play On by Avery Cockburn 4 Stars! 

Duncan Harris is on the edge. Scandal has shredded his LGBT soccer team’s history-making season, and now the once-unflappable striker is lashing out. Only one person can tame Duncan’s rage and make him feel like himself again…

Bullied by schoolmates in his wee village, Brodie Campbell lurked deep in the closet before coming to the city of Glasgow. Here at university he’s out and proud, but the years of abuse have left him emotionally paralyzed. Can flatmate Duncan help Brodie escape his past and heal his wounded heart?

As the two lads grow closer, Brodie can’t forget how athletes like Duncan once tortured him. When Duncan attacks an opponent who threatens Brodie, the situation escalates. Soon Brodie doesn’t feel safe anywhere—especially in Duncan’s arms.
To defeat the bullies who’ve wrecked his life, his mind, and his ability to love, Brodie must find the strength to fight his own battles. And Duncan must find the strength to let him.

Review

I really like this New Adult romance. Duncan is in hot pursuit of Brodie and takes care of him while he is sick. It is sweet.

There is a lot going on in this novella. Brodie comes more fully into himself and Duncan learns empathy (or he is working on it) and anger management.

A tender intersting romance.

I love how sex isn’t perfect at first in Cockburn’s books and I love getting understand different facets of Scottish culture.

Bartender, PI by Ethan Stone Review

   Bartender, P.I. by Ethan Stone 2.5 Stars! 

When hockey star Linc Carpenter is banned from playing his beloved sport, he starts over slinging drinks in Tampa. He’s inept as a bartender, so when the opportunity arises to train as a private

investigator he takes it. He’s not very good at that either, but he still manages to get hired to follow fashion mogul Quentin Faulkner.
Linc’s incompetence is a hindrance, but Brady Williams, Faulkner’s studly bodyguard, may prove to be his undoing. Brady is drawn to Linc, despite his bungling, and that stupidity may be just what’s needed to solve the case and save their lives.

Review

This is a ridiculous book. It is slap stick funny.

The opening scene is crass and the hero isn’t too bring.

And yet… lol …it was a silly, shallow, quick read that I enjoyed.

The heroes are just so good natured.

Ruck Me (A Play On series short) by C.D. Brennan Review

    Ruck Me by C.D. Brennan  3.5 Series 

Dependable and hard-working Dave Marsden is the loose-head prop for the Traverse City Blues. A big man with an even bigger heart, Dave doesn’t let the other players’ ribbing bother him about owning the premier flower shop in town. In fact, little in life bothers him…that is until his world collides with Sierra Richards, a teammate’s sister.

Now Dave is questioning everything. Thanks to their fierce physical attraction, his world has gone askew. Could a sexy siren like Sierra really fall in love with a big oaf like him? Sierra challenges Dick’s concept of normal with her slightly criminal attitude. With her computer hacking skills, she constantly pushes the boundaries of the law. And when Sierra’s hacking finally catches up to her, will Dave rescue her from her own misdeeds?

Because there is a right and there is a wrong, right?

Review

Dave is a wonderful hero. He is thoughtful, kind, respectful, appreciative, and sexy. He has a great deal of complexity to him as he loves rugby and loves running his flower business.

It is fun to be in this rugby world again. This love story is on the hotter end of the scale and Brennan is again exploring characters with some pretty serious flaws which I like.

The heroine is kind of Dave’s opposite but for the sexy part. She has reason for being suspicious and rude. I think if I had had a better idea of her age I might have warmed up to her faster.

Here is the thing though the novella and the set up for the romance don’t give her the room she needs to grow up, heal, and become less reactive and more her best self.

Dave loves her because she is hot, fierce, bold, smart, and protective which are all good qualities but she is also co dependent, enabling, angry, and has some issues with selfhood (which all makes total sense).

I want her to evolve and to really see her and David in a relationship with its day to day struggles after the first weeks.

We spend a good amount of time with another character who even though we are suppose to have some empathy for I still find repulsive. lol

I will keep reading in this series but hope great character like Dave get more of a love story than this novella offers.

I was given this book for my honest review. So there you have it!

The Chosen (Black Dagger Brotherhood, #15) by J.R. Ward Review

   The Chosen  by J.R. Ward 3 Stars! 

Xcor, leader of the Band of Bastards, convicted of treason against the Blind King, is facing a brutal interrogation and torturous death at the hands of the Black Dagger Brotherhood. Yet after a life marked by cruelty and evil deeds, he accepts his soldier’s fate, his sole regret the loss of a sacred female who was never his: the Chosen Layla.

Layla alone knows the truth that will save Xcor’s life. But revealing his sacrifice and his hidden heritage will expose them both and destroy everything Layla holds dear—even her role of mother to her precious young. Torn between love and loyalty, she must summon the courage to stand up against the only family she has for the only man she will ever love. Yet even if Xcor is somehow granted a reprieve, he and Layla would have to confront a graver challenge: bridging the chasm that divides their worlds without paving the way for a future of even greater war, desolation, and death.

As a dangerous old enemy returns to Caldwell, and the identity of a new deity is revealed, nothing is certain or safe in the world of the Black Dagger Brotherhood, not even true love . . . or destinies that have long seemed set in stone.

Review

The good news is that this book marks a series reset and an new plot arc. We are going to get a new set of heroes. Yea!

The bad news is the book is a mess. Layla and Xcor story has to be read over the course of about 5 books. I hate that. If you are a fan of this series, you need to read this book but honestly they suffer and suffer and suffer and that doesn’t get resolved until way late in this book.

And then there is all of everything else crammed in here and the end is a unclear picnic and rushed.

I want a romance centered book. I do. So, sue me. lol

I hope the the next turn in the series gives me that.

Off Campus (Bend or Break, #1) by Amy Jo Cousins Review

     Off Campus   by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Stars! 

Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Review

If you like New Adult angst, you will love this book. It is New Adult in the best ways

The problems our heroes have a real ones with have to do with owning sexuality, still being tied to parents for good and bad, and healing.

This is a hot read with heroes who fall in love with each other hard.

There is a lot of pain to get through but you will root for them.

I like less drama in my love stories but I still really liked this book even though I wanted a richer HEA,

Cousins is a really good writer!

Play It Safe: A Glasgow Lads Story by Avery Cockburn Review

  Play It Safe by Avery Cockburn  3.5 Stars! 

fter living together for three months, Fergus Taylor and John Burns have come to love each other’s quirks, and the bond between them is starting to look permanent. But when John wants to take things to the next level, Fergus balks, haunted by the betrayals in his own past.

John knows if he’s not careful, he could lose Fergus. If only he weren’t so bad at being careful.

To overcome his fears, Fergus must embark on an epic journey, a journey that will test his faith, his trust, and his ability to keep a cool head in a hot, hot place.

 

Review

I thought I might get annoyed at an extra helping of angst but this short story is a sweet peek back in on John and Fergus and the gang.

Fergus is still working through trust issues and they go somewhere that makes me want to wash with disinfectant (and this is because I have been to places like this in my misspent youth) but this is really a sweet, tender, and funny little follow up.

Playing for Keeps (Glasgow Lads Book 1) by Avery Cockburn Review

    Playing for Keeps by Avery Cockburn 3.5 Stars! 

Fergus Taylor is damaged goods. Reeling from a brutal breakup, he’s determined to captain his LGBT soccer team out of scandal and into a winning season. For that, he needs strict rules and careful plans. He does NOT need a brash, muscle-bound lad messing with his head and setting his body afire.

John Burns has a rule of his own: Don’t get attached. Boyfriends are for guys with nothing to hide. Nobody—not his university mates, not the men he beds—knows his family’s shame. Now his double life is starting to unravel, thanks to a certain Highlander whose storm-riddled eyes turn John inside out, who wears a kilt like he was born in it.

Fergus is the first man John wants to share his secret with—but he’s the last man who could handle it. John knows the truth would shatter Fergus’s still-fragile heart. But how can he live a lie when he’s falling in love?

Review

This is my first book by Avery Cockburn but it won’t be my last.

I love the idea for the series which is an  LGBTQA soccer team in Scotland. The series has a lads title but I hold the lassies get a series as well.

I expected the book to be a bit lighter than it was but the angst here is well down and powerful.

This is an inter faith star crossed lovers romance more than the heartbroken romance that that the blurb conveys.

The love story deals with the tensions between Protestants and Catholics in current Scotland and it also deals with refugees from hate coming to Britain (though not in its leads characters though I hope the series will one day)

I don’t want to give too much away but it is a compelling love story and super hot as well. We get kilts. Grrr.

The love is a bit rushed but the heroes form a deep like as well as lust and secondary characters are great.

The Alpha and His Ace (The Alpha and His Ace #1) by Ana J. Phoenix Review

Review:

The Alpha and His Ace - Ana J. Phoenix

Young, handsome, and the alpha of his wolf pack, Brandon has never had trouble finding men to have sex with. Only one thing is missing–his mate. Brandon can’t find him, and the rest of his pack is growing concerned about his lack of partner. An alpha needs a strong partner.

Things seem to be looking up when he finally finds his fated companion in Aidan. One problem—Aidan’s asexual, and Brandon’s now confused. Who doesn’t want sex? Aidan, that’s who. And Brandon hasn’t got a clue how to make someone love him without it.

It’s going to take some serious self-examination, acceptance, and some really good cake for Brandon to make his way into Aidan’s heart.

 

Review

 

A pretty bland wolf shifter romance made more interesting by the fated mate being asexual.

 

The world building needed much more detail but the characters and character driven conflict was intersting. Needed more time.

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Rising Tides: Chesapeake Bay Saga Review

   Rising Tides by Nora Roberts 3.5 Stars! 

Ethan Quinn is a waterman. He wasn’t born to the tradition but has embraced it. He’s a quiet man whose heart runs as deep as the waters he loves. And now, with his father gone, Ethan is determined to make the family boatbuilding business a success. But amidst his achievements lie the most important challenges of his life…

There’s a young boy who needs him, and a woman and child he loves but never believed he could have. To shape his life around them, Ethan must face his own dark past—and accept not only who he is but what he hopes to become.

Review

I am often amazed when I read a Nora Roberts book. The opening of this book is just so lovely in terms of place, feeling, and character. How does she do this so prolifically?

I love that Ethan is a working class hero and so devoted to his family. The loved forever theme is a fun one and Grace is great as well.

Roberts writing shines but I am kept from falling in love with this book because I want to send Ethan to therapy and want what happens at the end of the book to occur in the middle of the book so that we get a love story of acknowledged equals rather than 95% of the story with Ethan doing what he thinks is best instead of evolving.

Quiet Nights (Mangrove Stories #2) by Mary Calmes Review

Review:

Quiet Nights - Mary Calmes

It’s a lovely little life Kelly Seaton leads. He’s got his own landscaping business, a nice little house, and his best friend, Cosimo Renaldi, and Coz’s goofball family who have adopted Kelly as their own. Sure, it’s a little lonely at night, but it’s a sweet deal, and Kelly can’t chance ruining it by letting on that he wants more—has always wanted more—with Coz.

Then Kelly’s past comes to town, bringing bad memories and hurt feelings that start to break Kelly down, and Coz just doesn’t understand why Kelly won’t let him be the support and strength that Kelly’s always been for him. They’ve already been through war, Coz’s devastating injury, and starting new careers in Mangrove, Florida. Why shouldn’t they face their chaotic pasts and build their future of quiet nights… together?

 

Review

 

There is a ton to like in this little novella. Its funny and charming. The family is wonderful. I like small towns and love friends to lovers.

The plot zips along and the heroes both grow and change.

What isn’t that enjoyable as I don’t really understand what held them back I don’t get to enjoy them being together. It is a bit slap dash in this way.

 

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