4 Stars

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.

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!

Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1) by Annabeth Albert Review

   Off Base (Out of Uniform) by Annabeth Albert  4 Stars! 

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

Review

We have met Zack and Pike in other books that Albert has written but they haven’t met each other.

This is a very New Adult vibe which is unusual for Albert but it really works here.

Pike and Zack are young and stubborn and kinda of life dumb in the ways of the early twenties. They don’t seek help when they should. They are working on becoming who they are. Zack in terms of his sexuality and Pike in terms of work.

Watching them being tender with each other is a really pleasure. This is a sweet human romance that I enjoyed very much despite my non love of the coming out theme. A few of the details about teaching at a community college are odd but I can suspend my disbelief.

I am so glad they met and fell in love.

Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins Review

 Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins  4 Stars! 

Helping his sister Lucy raise her kid has put Devin’s love life on hold. When he loses a bet to her and the penalty is to go out on five dates with men she’s chosen from Guys4Guys.com, he thinks that’s bad enough. Finding out she used a thirteen-year-old picture of him to score a date with a young guy who looks like a rock star? Epically bad.

Jay thought he wanted to fall for an older man. But his last boyfriend left him feeling humiliated and determined to stick to guys his own age. When he realizes he’s been conned into a date with exactly the kind of man he’s sworn to avoid, he’s ready to walk away on the spot. Only Devin’s swift apologies convince Jay to accept dinner to make up for the deception.

“The date doesn’t count for the bet unless you get a goodnight kiss.” After one not-a-date dinner with Jay, Devin isn’t worried about his sister’s rules. He just wishes he could convince Jay to go out with him for real. Jay wants no part of Devin, but Devin wants every part of Jay . . . so he asks Jay to help update his look for the rest of his dates. But once Jay’s made Devin over into the perfect date, will he be able to let him go?

Review

This is a lovely push and pull romance between an older hero and a younger hero. The set up to the romance is great.

Every character is well developed and intersting. This is a charming character driven romance which deals fairly with age gap issues and dating after a long time tending family obligations.

It is sweet and hot and a really great way to spend your afternoon.

Beta Test by by Annabeth Albert Review

  Beta Test (#gaymers Book 2) by Annabeth Albert 4 Stars! 

Brilliant graphic designer Ravi Tandel is ahead of the game—he’s just been asked to present a top secret project at a huge conference in Seattle. All systems are go…until he learns his buttoned-up office nemesis is coming along for the ride.

Tristan Jones isn’t really the gamer type, but he knows the back end of the video game business inside out. Together, he and Ravi will give an awesome presentation. If they survive the cross-country trip first.

Tossed together in close quarters, Ravi’s shocked to see Tristan’s sexy, softer side emerge from such a conservative shell. He’s less shocked to learn his handsome colleague’s prominent family would never support an out-and-proud son. But Ravi didn’t struggle through his own coming out to hide who he is now. To be together, Tristan will have to push past his fear and ultimately decide: Does he want a future with Ravi? Or is it game over before they’ve even begun?

 

Review

I am becoming a huge fan of Annabeth Albert! I have no doubt by the end of the year I will have read her entire backlist and being eagerly waiting for her next book.

This is another character driven book which is my favorite. It stars heroes we don’t understand very well at first but become more and more vulnerable and complex as the book moves on. I end up adoring both of them.

There are a few details I would have liked to spend more time with like Tristian panic attack early in the book but everything else in the romance is so detailed and lovely.

A super sexy opposites attract road trip office romance that deals with family obligations and the baggage left over from past relationships.

Such a wonderful read.

Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers #4) by Penny Reid Review

   Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers Book 4) by Penny Reid 4 Stars!

All is fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words. Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity–exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity–and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

 

Review

I love Penny Reid’s writing and romance between Shelly and Beau is compelling.

There is a ton going on in this book and it is best read as part of the series to get the most pleasure and impact out of it.

Shelly is a wonderful, capable character who struggles with intense OCD and obsessive thoughts.

Beau is a a very charming man who is polite in a near compulsive way and who is struggling as his twins prepares to move away from him for the first time in their lives.

Beau and Shelly do not get along at first and then they do but being with Shelly means working very hard not to be codependent and being there for her why she does the very hard work of living with her condition. Turns out Beau has his own quirks as well. There is a lovely metaphor that runs through out the book about how to do that.

This is a touching (and hot) romance about loving someone as they are.

There is a pile of series plot in this one and while it was good and interesting (avoiding spoilers), the couple time with Shelly and Beau got taken over a bit. I want more time of them dating and being.

A great addition to the series with all the folks we love and couple you can root for.

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

Quit by Viola Grace (Terran Times Second Wave, #36) by Viola Grace Review

Review:

Quit (Terran Times Second Wave Book 36) - Viola Grace

 

When Minny’s life changes, a career as a recruiter isn’t half as tempting as the new ambassador to Earth.

Minerva has been acting as Recruiter Norz for years. Her mind can split into eight different directions and propel the bot bodies in areas where the alien might be in danger.

When her daughter was taken from her too soon, she had to split her off time between taking care of herself and monitoring her child growing in the tank. In the battle between her and her child, she was losing herself.

Imbolt has been on his way to Terra for some time. His genetic match had produced a daughter, and five months from now, she would be out in the world. Unfortunately, the woman he had been matched with would not make it if he didn’t take matters into his hands and out of hers.

Review

 

 

This is a very good ending to a very long series.

 

The series is an interesting one in that the enjoyment of the books is a cumulative one. Each short story is rather underdeveloped but as the books grow and grow the narrative becomes rich and engrossing.

 

The series is an expensive habit though. I try to borrow as well as purchase the books because the cost per book length is often not well balanced. However, I like supporting a writer’s livelihood and knowing that the price off the books allows her to write.

 

A few books in this long running series feel route and like a money making machine rather than fiction which also makes money.

 

This book is not one of those. We get a full fleshed love story that explores grief and leaning into each other.

 

This is a very good way to close out this world of which the author was clearly weary but this book doesn’t show it.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1462311/quit-by-viola-grace-quit-terran-times-second-wave-36-by-viola-grace-review

Hard Tail by JL Merrow Review

   Hard Tail  by JL Merrow 4 Stars! 

Finding love can be a bumpy ride
With his job and his marriage dead in a ditch, Tim Knight doesn’t take much persuading to leave London for the greener fields of Southampton and look after his injured brother’s mountain bike shop. But Tim’s a fish out of water in this brave new world of outdoor sports and technical jargon—not to mention struggling with the realisation he can no longer deny his sexuality, at least to himself.
The reason? Matt Berridge, his brother’s bike mechanic. Fit, tanned and an adorable klutz, Matt takes a tumble the day they meet and falls straight into Tim’s heart. There’s only one problem: Matt’s boyfriend, who Tim’s convinced is abusing him, despite the stories Matt comes up with to explain away the bruises.
A black belt in karate, Tim’s no pushover when it comes to physical confrontation. But he’ll need to step his courage up a gear if he’s ever going to come out, be himself—and save the man he’s coming to love.

 

Review

This is a well written romance with quirky real characters that take a while to fall in love because you know real life.

I don’t love coming out stories but this one works for me with a quirky hero and the slow burn. There are all kinds of twists and turns here and the bike shop setting is great.

There is an awesome cat and humor as well as the ache of living.

Good stuff!

Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow Review

    Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow  4 Stars! 

The bigger they come, the harder they fall … in love.

Cambridge academic Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed — literally and figuratively. Next morning, he can’t rest until he’s apologised to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant.

Larry’s intrigued to find there’s more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry’s class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair.

It’s deliciously physical, but also much more — which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends, and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.

Review

I want to reread this book right now. It made me happy.

It is a grand opposites attract romance and it is full of love and kindness and sexy.

The love story starts with an uncute meet and moves all the way through a very happily even after.’

It is told from Al’s point of view which makes somethings really wonderful but also makes the world a bit muted. I think if Larry’s point of view were woven in the book might be even better.

From Al’s point of view we can’t really tell if he is a super slow processor or something else.

What I love about the book is that kindness counts. Actions of love count. Adoring someone is okay.

It is a sweet tender romance. Wanders off to reread…

A Second Harvest (Men of Lancaster County, #1) by Eli Easton Review

   A Second Harvest  by Eli Easton 4 Stars! 

David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.

Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness

 

Review

A lovely romance between a Mennonite farmer and a younger man.

I loved the building of a friendship that allowed Christie and David to fall in love before our eyes. All the details of the farm are wonderful.

David’s life and Christie’s life are full and rich before they meet each other and have powerful impacts on their relationship.

This is a wonderful slow burn romance with a great Happily Ever After pay off that you will root for and believe in.