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Empty Net (Scoring Chances Book 4) Avon Gale 4.5 Star Review!

Review:

Empty Net - Avon Gale

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

 

Review

This is by far the darkest book of the series so far but this love story really shows off what an amazing storyteller Avon Gale is.

 

She takes the villain from the last book in the series Laurents and pairs him with the beloved scrappy Drake in an truely stellar enemies to lovers romance with a healing journey for all.

 

This book delves into the darkness of what happens when someone is exposed to systematic abuse and what it means to love someone enough to stand by as they heal.

Laurents is awful for a reason. However, he chooses to become aware and change and risk loving someone. He gets therapy. I can’t tell you how much I celebrate when a character gets professionial help in a book showing others the way. He works at his recovery from an eating disorder and self care from his abusive childhood and young adulthood.

 

His demisexuality is gently explored. He becomes his better self and a wonderful partner for Issac. I love the dating scenes.

 

Issac is so much a great emotionally brave character and sexy as hell (Lauren is broodingly hot). Issac just shines and finding romantic love and the love of an adopted father makes him even more compelling.

 

He falls in love but doesn’t try to solve Laurents problems. He is a partner.

 

I really adored their romance as always the hockey and the secondary characters and the pondering for friendship.

 

The books ends with a happily ever after that includes doing the right things for yourself as well as others.

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Unraveling Josh (Ellery College, #3) by Edie Danford 5 Star Review!

Review:

Unraveling Josh - Edie Danford

When the crown prince of bad boys hooks up with his former high school crush, he’s after just one kind of happy ending.

Nick McQueen just scored the perfect hookup—Ellery College ski champion, Joshua Pahlke. What better way for Nick to prove his transformation from high school loser to sexy sinner? He’ll gift golden-boy Josh with the hottest, dirtiest sex of his life and then leave him begging for more.

But his definition of happiness is about to change…

Josh needs to blow off steam. He’s spent years pushing himself in academics and sports, but nagging injuries and career doubts have him craving a new challenge. Nick might be the key—he sure as hell turns Josh’s crank. Josh eagerly rises to the task of winning over moody-broody Nick. But when new love and old secrets change the rules of their game, “winning” takes on a whole new meaning.

 

Review

 

This is a pitch perfect romance with wonderful characters, emotionial intimacy, healing, forgiveness physical trust, self discovery and so much love.

Josh and Nick. The journey they take together is wonderful but just as wonderful is the path they take as individuals. 

Josh might seems to perfect but he is self reflective and struggles with the burden of being so well rounded good in looks, attitude, sports, school that he is often unseen. He also struggles with his own set of issues as we all do.

Nick has crushed on Josh forever and has a lot of unexamined behaviors and painful past. Yet, he is very loving and kind with Josh. I love the different acts in this book and how we see Nick transform and become more himself and his best self not just in his relationship with Josh but to himself and others and even letting go of people that don’t support his better being. 

Josh and Nick together are red hot but also comforting and the time together a joy even in its painful moments.

The writing is lush and each character of the book compelling. A grand read.

I hope for more in the series especially with more difficult characters. 

A joy.

 

 

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Where We Left Off (Middle of Somewhere Book 3) by Roan Parrish Review

 Where We Left Off (Middle of Somewhere Book 3) by Roan Parrish  4 Stars!

Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly.

For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries.

But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

 

Review

Leo and Will.

This romance unspools and it ends up being quite lovely and tender. However, it takes a long time to be sure of the love story and we have to trust in Roan Parrish to get us there.

She does.

Will and Leo are precarious. Leo is young and has a crush and is romantic. Will is closed off and use to people hanging ideas on him.

How do they become fuller selves? How do they both grow? They do.

There is a ton negotiate here a lot of philosophical ground is covered in the novel. What does it mean to romantic? What are scripts we follow? How beauty works? What is love? How to be yourself and let some one else be their self? How to be together and apart?

Will and Leo don’t really get together in a full emotionial way for a lot of the book. There are lots of fits and starts.

It is still sexy and very loving and its humanness hurts a bit as well.

This would have been a stronger romance for me if it had been told with changing points of view between Will and Leo. We get Leo’s voice mainly and because Will struggles to open emotionially, I struggled with a full embrace of the love I know he must feel.

I look forward to the series continuing and hope to see Will and Leo even further along in other books. The last scene is great.

The Weight of It All by N.R. Walker 5 Star Review!

     The Weight Of It All  by N.R. Walker 5 Stars!!

After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.

He joins a gym.
Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.

As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.

Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.

Review

Bam! It is so rare to find a romance that deals with weight loss in a way that is no body shaming. This love story gets it spot on. It takes about weight for Henry (and Henry only not all people of size) being a way to hide away or not see himself anymore. And we know Reed loves him at all sizes and wants Henry simply to be happy and himself. Yea!

I am often in search of a plain Joe hero and we have it in the oh so funny Henry. I would like it better if Reed wasn’t such a perfect sexy beast but Reed’s history and the burden of those kinds of looks make great plot and character moments so it all works out.

Reed and Henry. Sigh. They are the best! Reed is hot, yes, but more than that he is thoughtful and he adores Henry. Henry, after years in a not great relationship, regains his super awesome self.

The food porn in this one is crazy good and its is all healthy. The heroes just like and and then love each other so much.

Ahhhgggh. I stayed up too late. I love all the little moments of this book. Sweet, sexy, and funny!

Dear Aaron by Mariana Zapata Review

    Dear Aaron  by Mariana Zapata 3 Stars! 

Ruby Santos knew exactly what she was getting herself into when she signed up to write a soldier overseas.

The guidelines were simple: one letter or email a week for the length of his or her deployment. Care packages were optional.

Been there, done that. She thought she knew what to expect.

What she didn’t count on was falling in love with the guy.

 

Review

There is a lot to like in this read and other parts are just rough.

Most of this book is in email and text form and for the most part that works well though there are pacing issues. The portion that is in person is pretty great but there needs to be much more of it, we get rushed to an epilogue and the epilogue is too short.

I like this couple. I like their story. I like the slow burn.

They could have talked more. Certain things don’t make sense. They would have exchanged photos and Skyped at a certain point or talked on the phone more.

I have only the vaguest idea what the heroine looks like. We get limited into the heroine’s point of view.

So, I liked it but it was frustrating

Blue Days (Mangrove Stories, #1) by Mary Calmes Review

Review:

Blue Days -  Mary Calmes

Falling for a coworker is rarely a good idea, especially for a man getting a last chance at salvaging his career. But from the moment Dwyer Knolls sees the beautiful but socially awkward Takeo Hiroyuki, he seems destined to make bad decisions.

 

Takeo’s life is a string of failed attempts to please his traditional Japanese father. Unfortunately, succeeding in business turns out to be just as difficult for Takeo as changing from gay to straight. In fact, the only thing Takeo seems to truly excel at is taking notice of Dwyer Knolls.

 

When Dwyer and Takeo head to Mangrove, Florida on a real estate buying trip, their tentative friendship combusts and becomes much more. Is their sudden connection real enough to bank their futures on, or should they chalk the whole thing up to the daze inspired by the blue ocean breeze?

 

Review

 

This is a very sweet slow burn romance. I love a socially awkward hero and we get that in every way while have the fun of a stunningly attractive man and great friends to lovers story. 

They sort of combust which is fun. However, this love story had a ton of places it could have been richer with Japanese culture and LGTBQ issues for example and we know nearly nothing of one the hero’s past romantic life. 

Sex is pretty much off page but not totally and I wanted more after such a build up. 

The epilogue is awesome but more couple time would have been great. 

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Tell Me It’s Real (At First Sight, #1) by T.J. Klune Review

   Tell Me It’s Real  by T.J. Klune 4.5 Stars! 

Do you believe in love at first sight?

Paul Auster doesn’t. Paul doesn’t believe in much at all. He’s thirty, slightly overweight, and his best features are his acerbic wit and the color commentary he provides as life passes him by. His closest friends are a two-legged dog named Wheels and a quasibipolar drag queen named Helena Handbasket. He works a dead-end job in a soul-sucking cubicle, and if his grandmother’s homophobic parrot insults him one more time, Paul is going to wring its stupid neck.

Enter Vince Taylor.

Vince is everything Paul isn’t: sexy, confident, and dumber than the proverbial box of rocks. And for some reason, Vince pursues Paul relentlessly. Vince must be messing with him, because there is no way Vince could want someone like Paul.

But when Paul hits Vince with his car—in a completely unintentional if-he-died-it’d-only-be-manslaughter kind of way—he’s forced to see Vince in a whole new light. The only thing stopping Paul from believing in Vince is himself—and that is one obstacle Paul can’t quite seem to overcome. But when tragedy strikes Vince’s family, Paul must put aside any notions he has about himself and stand next to the man who thinks he’s perfect the way he is.


Review

TJ Klune is taking all my money but its okay. I will have his books to reread when I don’t have any food,

This is a funny treasure of a book that I will reread again and again. So, even though I wish the price was a little lower, it is a great investment.

I love me a plain and chubby hero. Seriously. I do and they are so hard to find. I also love when a world is a known one so for romances with gay characters I prefer the leads to already be out.

This book is silly in the best way. It is a romp and very self aware with the best jokes, situations, and dialogue.

I read passages out loud to my husband and giggled and so did he.

The setting and the secondary characters are amazing. Kooky and zany everywhere and yet real.

Paul is wonderful. Vince is wonderful.

There is a tender exploration of imperfections. I love that neither intellectual or body perfection trump the quality of character in this book. So good!

It is a slow burn that is sexy as hell.

Bye! I am off to buy more Klune books!

The Valquez Seduction by Melanie Milburne Review

    The Valquez Seduction  by Melanie Milburne 3 Stars 

The most dangerous game of all… 

Standing outside a decadent Las Vegas nightclub, innocent schoolteacher Daisy Wyndham has never felt more out of her depth. And that’s before sultry Argentinian polo player Luiz Valquez rides to her rescue in front of the global media, leading to reports of their engagement….

It’s a dangerous charade, but one they’re both prepared to play! Luiz can shake his playboy image, and Daisy can cast aside her cloistered upbringing. With Luiz doing his best to be good and Daisy trying her hardest to be bad, it’s only a matter of time before one of them gives in….

Review

The hero is super sexy for a man ho character (I don’t tend to like heroes who treat women as objects).

He is well developed with a back story.

The heroine is likable but naive. They have great chemistry.

My issues with the book have to do with the the time frame that locked them into this one location and didn’t allow us to see them as full people at all or at work which is so much a part of who they both are. Also, the heroine had behaviors that didn’t seem to follow her character and made the book way less enjoyable.

Wrecking Ball (Hard to Love, #1) by P. Dangelico Review

4.5 Stars!

Cam DeSantis’ life is a hot, steaming pile. How else would you describe losing your husband, your job, and your money all at once? Desperate times call for desperate measures, so when salvation comes in the form of one intolerable a-hole, who just happens to be the starting quarterback for the vaunted NY Titans, she has no choice but to accept his offer as a live-in nanny slash teacher for his eight year old nephew. Now all she has to do is find a safe place in her mind to hide whenever she feels the need to throat punch him into tomorrow…which is often.

Calvin Shaw has zero interest in women. Wait, wait––let me rephrase that. He loves women, he just doesn’t want anything to do with ‘um. Not since his wife, presently ex-wife, got knocked up by the guy she was cheating on him with. Problem is––there’s one living in his house. And he doesn’t know what’s worse, that he promised to be civil, or that he’s attracted to her.

 

Review

I am so excited. I found an new author to love and a comfort read. I know I will read this one again and again.

The pacing of this book is just excellent. Each section is delicious. I love a slow burn romance and this one is so well done.

The hero and heroine start out not knowing each other or liking each other and then they do and become friends and then we watch them fall in love.

Calvin is gruff and grumpy and yet emotionially intelligent. He raised his siblings and is taking care of his nephew. He is closed off after his divorce and childhood.

Cam is grieving the death of her husband who left her with a scandal.

They each have friends and family. They are complex.

There is a lot of wit to this book as well as charm and ache.

It is full of little details and kindnesses and raw love and hurt.

I love that the hero is far from a man whore. I can’t get enough of the kind of hero who sees women (all women and not just the heroine) as people and not bodies.

The last turn of the book is a little melodramatic but it is still great. The epilogue is good but I wanted more. I am thrilled this is going t0 be series!

Really loved it!

Managed (VIP Book 2) by Kristen Callihan Review

4 Stars!

It started off as a battle of wits. Me: the ordinary girl with a big mouth against Him: the sexy bastard with a big…ego.

I thought I’d hit the jackpot when I was upgraded to first class on my flight to London.

That is until HE sat next to me. Gabriel Scott: handsome as sin, cold as ice. Nothing and no one gets to him. Ever. He’s a legend in his own right, the manager of the biggest rock band in the world, and an arrogant ass who looks down his nose at me.

I thought I’d give him hell for one, long flight. I didn’t expect to like him. I didn’t expect to want him. But the biggest surprise? He wants me too. Only in a way I didn’t see coming.

If I accept his proposal, I leave myself open to falling for the one man I can’t manage. But I’m tempted to say yes. Because the real man beneath those perfect suits and that cool façade just might be the best thing that’s ever happened to me. And I just might be the only one who can melt the ice around his heart.

Let the battle begin…

Review

The opening for this romance is amazing. It might be the best “I met you sitting next to you on the plane” ever.

The heroine is great and the uptight hero is such fun to soften.

This is a slow burn romance where we are so lucky to see the couple become friends, then emotionial intimates, and then lovers (though they are hot for each other the whole time).

There are perfect character surprises tucked here and there that add depth to this love story. The heroine has done something really not good in the past that she is moving past and the hero is very closed off but loving. They are utterly human and the love they have for each other and like powerful.

There is great banter to make me happy and yummy sexual tension and since they are on the road oodles of couple time.

I adored this book right up until there is a silly conflict a few chapters from the end or it would have been a 5 star read. As it is, the book is very good and has such wonderful moments to relish.