2 Stars

Solid Education by Bianca Sommerland Review

   Solid Education (Higher Learning Book 1) by Bianca Sommerland 2 Stars 

Gage Tackett comes off as a bad boy—detached and maybe a little dangerous. Definitely not Vet Sciences Professor Derek Paulson’s type. Which he tells himself, repeatedly, every time the other man attends his class.

Until the day he looks over to see Gage’s seat is empty.

When Gage arrives at Derek’s veterinary clinic with a frostbitten stray dog, the lines of their teacher/student relationship are blurred. Derek realizes his most difficult student has a few things to teach him.

Things he’s more than willing to learn.

 

Review

Well, the dog is great but I never get over what a jerk Derek is to Gage.

Professor shouldn’t treat students that way and I don’t mean the falling in love thing. He is just cold and unreasonable.

However, I did love the way Gage resolves the teacher student thing without drama and how he goes after what he wants. There is also a nice epilogue.

Only For Him (Only Forever #2) by Shawn Lane Review

   Only for Him by Shawn Lane 2 Stars

Barnaby Lassiter has had a thing for attorney, Nathan Llewellyn, since he began working at the law firm as an admin assistant. Too bad conservative Nathan doesn’t seem to know the flamboyant Barnaby is alive.

But a chance to take care of Nathan when he is ill, leads to a date and then so much more. Nathan continues to have doubts. Barnaby is the hottest man he’s ever known, but their differences worry him. He’s seen too many relationships that don’t make it.

All of his fears are realized when he sees the popular, too appealing Barnaby in action at a club. When Nathan thinks their differences are too much to overcome after all, Barnaby is left with a broken heart and an uncertain future. And Nathan’s left wondering if he’s just made the biggest mistake of his life by letting Barnaby go.

Review

I really wanted to read this book even though I thought the first one in the series was just okay because I really liked Barnaby.

I still like him and I like Nathan. However, the writing is just flat. The character lack depth and the plot is dull. I don’t need drama but I want deep character exploration and I just don’t get that here.

Yes, Professor by Renae Kaye Review

   Yes, Professor by Renae Kaye 2 Stars 

Twenty-two-year-old Avery Stewart has a crush on his neighbour. Always attracted to older men, Avery is tantalised by Mr Redding’s professorial looks and obvious obsession with perfection.

When he finally gets the courage to speak to Christopher Redding, Avery manages to get invited back that evening on the pretext of bringing a cake for Christopher’s birthday. But things don’t work out how Avery had planned, and he finds himself sent home with the cake and without any intimacy.

Christopher is everything Avery has ever desired—older, self-assured, dominant, and intelligent. Avery needs someone in his life to take charge—in and out of the bedroom. He wants Christopher to be that man. However, Avery must first convince Christopher to take a chance on him.

 

Review

Sigh. The lack of communication made me nuts in this book.

Both heroes needed to articulate their thoughts to each other and themselves.

This book is told only from Avery’s point of view and that is a shame. To see Avery as less shallow, it would have been great to hear in Christopher’s own words him falling in love.

There are lots of great moments and ideas here but I needed more talking to each other sooner.

My Hero by Max Vos Review

    My Hero by Max Vos  2 Stars

When he was sixteen years old, Rich Miller saved a young man from drowning at his local pool. Little did he know that years later, as a senior in college and Olympic diving hopeful, Rich would meet up once again with Johnny Milloway, now a big football player – and when Rich says big, he really means ‘bear’. The shy jock remembers his saviour, and the two men become friends. Johnny isn’t put off by the fact that Rich is gay. In fact, the more time he spends with Rich, the more curious he becomes. Johnny wants to know all kinds of things – what it’s like to kiss a guy, for instance. Only it doesn’t stop there… Rich finds it difficult to believe that this relationship can go anywhere. Johnny is straight, and Rich isn’t prepared to deal with the heartache he knows will come his way in the future. He has enough on his plate as it is – the Worlds are just around the corner, his father would rather watch a football game than spend time watching his son dive…. What he doesn’t count on is Johnny, who can be very determined. And having Johnny in his life proves to be a catalyst for some pretty earth-shattering changes.

Review

I didn’t hate this. It just ended up being ho hum. The emotionial conflict were pretty flat and the resolutions too fast but then they weren’t all that believable based on the characters to begin with.

I liked the heroes up until Johnny started acting not like himself. The come play in the sex scenes kept moving this toward erotica more than erotic romance which seemed both out of character and out of tone with a basically sweet romance.

I might try another book by this writer to see if character and plot development improves.

Barging in by Josephine Myles Review

Review:

Barging In - Josephine Myles

When the boat’s a rockin’, don’t come knockin’!

Out-and-proud travel writer Dan Taylor is a city boy who can’t steer a boat to save his life, but that doesn’t stop him from heading into the English countryside to write up a narrowboat holiday. Compared to London, the canal seems dull as ditchwater. Until he crashes into the boat of a half-naked, tattooed man whose bad-boy, penniless appearance doesn’t fit with his posh accent. Dan is intrigued, and he always gets his man.

Still smarting from a past betrayal, Robin Hamilton is firmly closeted in his narrowboat—his refuge from outrageous, provocative men like Dan. But as circumstances keep throwing them together, he can’t help himself from coming to the hopelessly out-of-place city boy’s rescue. Exposure to Dan’s sunny charm starts to melt Robin’s resolve and he’s tempted by the idea of a brief, harmless fling.

After all, in less than a week, Dan will have left the canal and be back to his diet of casual hook-ups and friends with benefits.

Determined not to fall in love, both men dive into one week of indulgence…only to find themselves swept away by a current of escalating intimacy and emotional intensity. Troubled waters they didn’t anticipate… and haven’t a clue how to navigate.

 

Review

Sigh. This book should have worked for me. It has a great setting on the canal systems of contemporary Britain, It explores a subculture of those living on the waterways. It even has a cat.

But I never warmed up to Dan. I don’t love man whores who treat their partner’s as objects and I just couldn’t get past his arrogance. 

I bought the heat between him and Robin though and it is very hot. Myles always writes a decent book but by the time we came to understand Robin’s history I had lost interest and no matter the grand gesture didn’t really root for this couple.

 

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Played! (The Shamwell Tales #2) by J.L. Merrow Review

   Played! (Shamwell Tales Book 2) by J.L. Merrow 2 Stars

Posh boy Tristan Goldsmith has one last summer of freedom before he joins the family firm in New York—no more farting around on stage, as his father puts it. But the classically trained actor can’t resist when the Shamwell Amateur Dramatics Society begs him to take a leading role in their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As an added incentive, he’ll be giving private acting lessons to a gorgeous local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances.

As a late-diagnosed dyslexic still struggling with literacy, Con Izzard’s never dared to act before. With arrogant yet charming Tristan helping him with his lines, he finally has his chance to shine. But Con’s determined not to start a romance with a man he’s convinced only wants a casual fling.

Tristan’s never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when he realises his attraction to the tall, muscular handyman isn’t just physical. Just as he thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes with a slip of the tongue that shatters Con’s trust and sends him running for cover. This show may be over before the curtain’s even opened.

Review

There are some lovely moments in this book but overall its very unsatisfying.

Tristan is not very self reflective, entitled, self centered, arrogant and often cruel. He is 24 not 6 and as an actor one would hope be way more in touch than he is.

I think Merrow sets him up to be a study in unexamined privilege but he but he is mean and so thoughtless his road back to redemption needs to be longer than this book allows. We also have to spend time with his even more awful friends Amanda and that is not a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Con is lovely but a bit of a doormat. The rest of the plot is engaging which is why I finished it but Tristan should have had to work harder and longer on his change to get a HEA.

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.