2 Stars

Red River (Pack #2) by Cardeno C. Review

  Red River: Pack Collection, Book 2 by Cardeno C. 2 Stars

wo Alpha shifters join together to lead their pack and build a family.

Commitment, loyalty, and strength aren’t enough to make Wesley Stone’s birth pack accept an Alpha with a physical imperfection, even if it’s a meaningless mark. Putting the safety of his pack above his own wellbeing, Wesley trades himself for another Alpha and agrees to mate with a stranger in a mysterious, insular pack.

Alphas from Jobe Root’s family have led the Red River pack from the first day shifters walked the earth. Now the time has come for Jobe to fulfill his destiny, but to do that, he needs his mate by his side. Spiritual, easygoing Jobe reveres Mother Nature and trusts in fate, yet he can’t help being nervous about how his mate will react to his new life in Red River, his new life with Jobe.

Two Alphas with contrasting personalities, different upbringings, and divergent beliefs come together for the good of their packs. But to stay together, Wesley and Jobe must see beyond the surface and embrace every facet of themselves and their union.

Review

Well, I read the whole thing because of the likable characters but it was not good.

The world building was intersting but as only one hero understood the world and the other hero thought he did but didn’t this aspect of the plot was muddled and annoying at times.

The assumptions and lack of communication made me a bit nuts no matter how much I liked the heroes. How about talking and how about going to see the person instead what ever that was lol.

I liked the end of the book when things were clear much better. I wish that part had stared about 25 percent in

 

Redesigning Max (Foothills Pride #2) by Pat Henshaw Review

    Redesigning Max (Foothills Pride Stories Book 2) by Pat Henshaw 2 Stars

Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene’s Outdoors, hires Fredi to revamp his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Fredi is an out-and-proud Metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes he remodels, and Max is just too hunky for words.

When Max comes on to Fredi, the designer can’t imagine why. But he’s game to put a little spice into Max’s life, even if it’s just in the colors and fixtures he’ll use to turn Max’s dilapidated cabin into a showplace. Who can blame a guy for adding a little sensual pleasure as he retools Max’s life visually?

Max, for his part, is grateful when Fredi takes him in hand, both metaphorically and literally. Coming out is the most exciting and wonderful time in his life, despite the conservative former friends who think they’re saving him from sliding into hell.

Review

This is my second time trying this writer and like the first time, this book didn’t work for me, It isn’t awful and I like the basic writing but it is too shallow and doesn’t do the work needed to make it a love story to believe in.

Again, I like the heroes. Max has inherited wealth for outdoor rec stores and some hidden talents, Fredi is at the top of his profession (a little young for that but okay).

Max had realized he is gay and pursues Fredi. This is very sweet and up front. And again if the characters where developed and the story driven by the characters it would be a good book. I like the slow burn dating. I like the Fredi protects himself. There is cool stuff in both books about recording and reporting hate crimes.

Max and Fredi both have awful pasts and we don’t really get to see that. We are told that.

Again the love scene are off page and this hurts the development of the connection between them and the love story.

Then there is crazy homophobia that is resolved but takes up the place of better character work. And then saccharine stuff that isn’t earned.

So. Not great.

 

PS The “droopy mustache” on Max…ewww.

What’s in a Name? (Foothills Pride #1) by Pat Henshaw Review

    What’s in a Name? by Pat Henshaw 2 Stars 

Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it’s a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Bar rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.

Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender’s first name since he’s worn a different name tag every time Jimmy’s seen him. “Guy” Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.

While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he’s distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime.

Review

There are seeds of a good book in here. I didn’t not enjoy it but the plot took the easy way out too many times and several ideas were undeveloped.

Here is what I liked: The setting in the foothills of the Sierra’s during the migration out of the Bay Area for a portion of the queer community. The heroes are kind. I like that even though this romance is super fast, they have really been falling in love for months. I like the friends and businesses.

The wish fulfillment of dating and courting is a bit saccharine but I enjoy that sometimes. The villains are cartoonish–especially the ex boyfriend.

If the characters had been more developed, out side of the Twink and the Bear, then the book’s plot would have been driven more by internal factors rather than a bit manic external ones.

The sex is off page. I don’t mind that but sex scenes based in their character would have let us seem them intimately and moved the romance plot forward in ways that this book lacked.

I liked the writing so I will try again with this author.

The Long Con (Geek Actually #1.4) by Cecilia Tan Review

    The Long Con (Geek Actually Season 1 Episode 4) by Cecilia Tan

Meet your new best girlfriends in this sexy, genre-busting serial that’s all about feminism, friendship, and fandom.

Michelle, Aditi, and Elli love a good con, and when they converge at Booklovers, it proves to hold exciting opportunities for each of them. Meanwhile, Taneesha goes to a game night at Diego’s store, hoping to get another chance to gauge his interest. Christina and Vivi get closer, but does Vivi want more than Christina is willing to give?

Join this tight-knit group of lady geeks as they navigate the ups and downs of their personal and professional lives. Michelle is a hard-nosed fantasy and sci-fi editor used to things going her way. Taneesha is a talented video game programmer used to being the odd (wo)man out. Aditi is a fantasy writer on the verge of her big break. Christina is a rebel on the sidelines of Hollywood. And Elli is a fan-of anything and everything that keeps her from “proper adulting.” They might live far apart, but through the power of the internet and a shared love of all things geek, they are ready to face the world together.

Review

This series is a romantic adventure more than a romance and set up in episode form. I like the setting of this one at convention and I like the characters.

The heat level is a little higher here but I am still feeling like not enough happens and I am not getting the character depth I want.

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

Vodka and Handcuffs by Brandon Witt Review

Review:

Vodka & Handcuffs (Mary's Boys Book 2) - Brandon Witt

Vahin Arora, Hamburger Mary’s sexy bartender, plays the flirtatious role so well even his closest friends—his chosen family at Mary’s—don’t realize Vahin hasn’t had a hookup in months. Then Tall, Dark, and Handsome steps through the door, and Vahin’s libido races back to life.

Being a black cop on the Denver police force is no easy job—Marlon Barton can’t imagine adding being gay to the equation. And while Marlon loves his work as an officer, his life has taken a turn for the hellish because of his new partner, the nephew of a senator.

Fleeing his partner’s company one night, Marlon stumbles into Mary’s for the first time… and wakes up with a hangover in the bartender’s bed. The one-night stand heats up into a budding romance, but not without stress as Marlon’s partner’s actions threaten Vahin’s livelihood and Marlon’s future on the force. Can Vahin and Marlon face the challenges and hold on to the love, friendship, and family they’ve found?

 

Review 

Ultimately, the plot of this book pulled in to many direction so that I couldn’t settle in and enjoy the story.

 

I like this circle of friends and Mary’s and was happy to to see the cast but the heroes spent a great deal of time a part and the drama and angst meter was sky high from minute one.

 

I have some issues with consent with the drunk sex, then the subplot with the evil partner really runs the show. I like some scenes a great deal but I never get the love story I am hoping for with this two very compelling heroes.

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Back-Up (Back-Up, #1) by A.M. Madden Review

 

Back-up (The Back-up Series Book 1)  by A.M. Madden 2 Stars! 

Leila Marino’s biggest dream is to become a rock star. A lucky opportunity has her auditioning with an up & coming rock band named Devil’s Lair. The band hires Leila as their back-up singer, signing her up for months in the studio and touring on the road with the sexy bunch.

Jack is the quintessential rock star…gorgeous…sexy…a walking orgasm. Jack Lair is the lead singer of Devil’s Lair and his dreams are becoming reality as his band climbs the ladder of success. He’s living the perfect life, and enjoying every minute of it. With a steady stream of sexual conquests that satisfies his raging libido, he thinks he has all he needs in life…until Leila enters it.

Jack is not prepared for the sudden pull he feels towards Leila, and struggles daily to deny his attraction is anything more. Leila finds falling for her new boss is constant torment. Both convince themselves friendship is their only option.

An intimate moment causes their willpower to collapse, and their erotic love affair to begin. Finding love was a bonus that neither Jack nor Leila anticipated. As they begin their tour together professionally and personally, life couldn’t be any better for the couple. Until a mistake from Jack’s past threatens their new relationship, and their perfect future together.

Review 

You might love this. Man whore hero. Eww. Angst, Angst everywhere and not a drop to drink and then it has a yes they are together ending but the story goes on… bleh.

S0, too many of my no buttons pushed.

Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall #1) by Tara Lain Review

   Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 1) by Tara Lain 2 Stars

A double dose of alpha male might be better than one.

Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

Review

I have liked several books set in this world but not this one.

It was too short for the kind of work it was trying to do: setting up a poly relationship, coming out, dealing with an abusive ex, internalized and then externalize homophobia, friends to lovers, loved forever.

Every move was just too fast.

Something in the Way He Needs by Cardeno C. Review

 Something in the Way He Needs by Cardeno C. 2 Stars

Controlled Asher didn’t expect to fall for free-spirited Daniel, but they’ll find what they desperately need in one another.

Police captain Asher Penaz’s staunch professionalism bleeds into his home life, down to his neatly pressed attire and spartan apartment. He enjoys being in charge and in control, so his sudden and powerful attraction to the lighthearted, free-spirited Daniel Tover throws him for a loop. In his entire life, Daniel has never gotten what he needs, so he moves to the next place, the next job, the next attempt to find something worth staying for, always landing at the top of his game, but never feeling like he belongs.

The chemistry between Asher and Daniel sizzles, but with all that fire comes the risk of getting burned. As both men struggle to learn themselves while getting to know each other, the lines of desire and control blur. If Daniel and Asher can walk through the flames together, they might find what they desperately need.

Review

This wasn’t good. Danny is a great character and the book would have been much better.

Asher was not. We get a mention of him in the first book of the series. Sadly, we see no hint of the awesome family in the first book.

Asher clings to old ideas. It is tiresome and a lot of what happens makes no sense in terms of character and certainly doesn’t feel like much of a love story.

A Good Neighbour (London Lads, #3) by Clare London Review

   A Good Neighbour  by Clare London 2 Stars

A secret affair can’t go on forever.

Dylan Philips admits it himself: he’s a relentlessly single man in a small suburban town, both proud of and resigned to being a good teacher and a devoted nephew to his mischievous great-aunts.

When the aunts take a hand in matchmaking him with Josie Whitman, the girl who lives along the street, Dylan doesn’t tell them what kind of soul mate he’s really looking for—and the fact that he’s already found the man in question. It’s not Josie who’s travelling from London every month to her town property, but her journalist brother Neal. And Dylan meets up with Neal whenever he can.

But decisions must be made for their future. Dylan is risk-averse to everything from overseas travel to coming out, whereas Neal embraces adventure—and now he wants to take Dylan with him.

Horrified that his chance at love will move even further out of his reach, Dylan realises it’s time for him to own up to what kind of man he really is. He needs to find courage and compromise. And who knows whether the great-aunts will be a help or a hindrance with that?

Review

So much unneeded angst and drama in what is really a quiet book. The lack of communication from every single character killed me.

I glare read this book.

Valan’s Bondmate (Zarronian Warriors #1) by Mardi Maxwell Review

Review:

Valan's Bondmate - Mardi Maxwell

A Warrior with a Grudge…
At thirty-one Valan Erikson is a fierce and relentless warrior. He’s never lost a battle but he’s losing the war with the mating fever raging in his body. He’s accepted that his death is imminent until he’s told a compatible race of females has been found. When he discovers they’re Wrothian he refuses to take one as a mate until the Council threatens to strip him of his warrior status and let him die in dishonor.

A Female Who Wants to Escape Her Fate…
Lia ad-San’s Wrothian sire has arranged to trade her to, Gorm ad-Jai, a man she despises. Before she can escape she’s abducted by a fierce warrior. Unaware that her sire caused the deaths of the Zarronian females, including Valan’s mother and twin sister, she reveals her identity and demands to be freed.

A Complication They Didn’t Expect…
Enraged to be bonded to the daughter of his most hated enemy, Valan treats Lia as a prisoner rather than a beloved bondmate. When the Zarronians learn her identity they demand she be punished for her sire’s war crimes. Valan realizes too late that he’s endangered his mate’s life. The fever they share will keep them together but only love can make them want each other.

 

 

Review

The writing in this Science Fiction Romance is good enough but I never liked the characters, especially the hero, and by the time the world was built out, I didn’t care.

 

So, this one didn’t work for me.

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