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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.

Married for a Month by Cate Ashwood 4 Star Review

Review:

Married for a Month - Cate Ashwood

Best friends since high school, Chase Bradley and Alec Montero are opposites in almost every way. The one thing they can agree on, though, is that marriage is for suckers.

Everything is going their way until a drunken bet leads Alec and Chase to the altar. Their temporary “I Do’s” aren’t as amusing in the sober light of day when they find themselves thrown into married life and everything that goes with it.

The question they have to ask themselves now is, can their friendship survive being married for a month.

 

Review

This low angst friends to lovers romance was right in the sweet spot with a great fake marriage plot, conflict only based on character, sexy love, and well earned happily ever after. True love. 

A lovely low angst romance that is engaging because of the wonderful relationship and well its sexy. 

I adore a fake marriage plot and the live with each thing and that gets even better when we have to grown men who are best friends for a lot of their lives. They know their sexualities and have rich professionial lives as well as family and friends. They haven’t found love and then, of course it is right there in their best friend. They worry a bit about ruining the friendship but not so long it feels false and then they take the risk. So wonderful.

So, far I have found Cate Ashwood to be a writer’s whose books I can turn to when I just want to be delighted by love and have a cuddle,. Good stuff!

 
 
 

 

 

 

 

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Cover Up (Skin Deep Inc. #3) by L.A. Witt 4 Star Review!

   Cover Up: A Skin Deep, Inc Novel (Skin Deep Inc.) by L.A. Wit 4 Stars! 

After ten years of blissful marriage, Navy Pilot Nate Chandler is divorcing his cheating husband. Single for the first time in years, Nate is numb to all emotion and kisses any chance of another relationship goodbye.

Not only is Nate struggling to get through this divorce, but his body is branded with a permanent reminder of his failed marriage: a matching tattoo with his ex. Searching for a place to cover up his old tattoo, Nate finds himself at the Skin Deep, Inc., where he meets the young and charming cover-up tattoo apprentice, Lucas Brandt.

From just flirty glances to steamy hot encounters, Nate and Lucas dive headfirst into a fling of hookups. But worried that he’ll forever be Nate’s “cover up” rebound relationship, Lucas fears that their love won’t be anything more than just skin deep. What was once just a casual attraction, Lucas now hopes to turn into a real relationship. But will he be able to convince the still tender-hearted Nate to fall in love again?

Review

I  read this in one sitting. I am fan of the series and I hope there will be more books though it doesn’t look like there is another couple teed up.

Lucas is a wonderful hero who is struggling to regain his feet after two divorces and starting his tattooing career. I love the way his bisexuality is presented in the book.

Nate is in the process of getting a divorce. This love story pivots on the question of rebound or not rebound.

It is a lot about loss inherent in a divorce as well. I really liked this part of the book.

The circle of friends is a real treasure in this book as is the tattooing and Navy aspects.

There could have been more depth with the family of the two heroes but overall this is a really nice read from a great series.

Blindside (Blind Faith, #3) by N.R. Walker Review

   Blindside: Mark’s Story (Blind Faith Series Book 3)  by N.R. Walker 3.5 Stars!

Mark Gattison has avoided love and commitment his entire adult life. Not interested in more than a one night stand or a brief encounter in a bathroom stall, he is the epitome of a good time.

Will Parkinson is the guy who defends him, the guy who puts up with him, the guy Mark calls his best friend.

When Will becomes unsettled and a little distant, Mark takes it upon himself to find Will a boyfriend. Not familiar with the concept himself, Mark thinks Will needs someone to make him happy.

What Mark doesn’t know, is that he’s about to get blindsided. He’s about to get knocked off his feet by the one thing that’s been right in front of him the entire time.

Review

This is a major slow burn as through Mark and Will are best friends and we get a lot of couple time, Mark is clueless for most of the book, has no idea he loves Will and that Will is in love with him and that it is couple time.

We meet Mark in the first book in this series and he is funny, brash and a walking bisexual stereotype of anything that moves. He manages to be super charming and loyal.

He is also clueless and isn’t connected to his feelings to a degree that is a little TSTL but oh well.

Will is a great guy but a bit of a doormat. However, it all works out in the end and we get an epic HEA.

In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish 5 Star Review

Review:

In the Middle of Somewhere - Roan Parrish

Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.

When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

 

Review

 

Whoa. This is a good book. The kind I am going to read again and again.

Rex and Daniel are great nuanced characters. Each chapter reveals more and more about each hero. As their love grows, we love them more.

 

This is romance is a lot about emotional intimacy and being vulnerable. Rex has suffered and so has Daniel. But for all that the book is cheerful and funny as much it is shadowed. Just like life.

 

Dialogue, main character development and setting as well as a cast of characters that make each of these men’s lives full, rich and complicated make this book a joy to read. Watching them fall and love and hope for a live together is a real pleasure. Oh, and it is super sexy too!

 

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Far from Home (Belladonna Ink, #1) by Lorelie Brown 5 Star Review!

    Far From Home   by Lorelie Brown 5 Stars!

My name is Rachel. I’m straight . . . I think. I also have a mountain of student loans and a smart mouth. I wasn’t serious when I told Pari Sadashiv I’d marry her. It was only party banter! Except Pari needs a green card, and she’s willing to give me a breather from drowning in debt.

My off-the-cuff idea might not be so terrible. We get along as friends. She’s really romantically cautious, which I find heartbreaking. She deserves someone to laugh with. She’s kind. And calm. And gorgeous. A couple of years with her actually sounds pretty good. If some of Pari’s kindness and calm rubs off on me, that’d be a bonus, because I’m a mess—anorexia is not a pretty word—and my little ways of keeping control of myself, of the world, aren’t working anymore.

And if I slip up, Pari will see my cracks. Then I’ll crack. Which means I gotta get out, quick, before I fall in love with my wife.

Review

Hot Goddess Damn. This was such a great book. One of my best of the year, for sure!

It starts kind of the middle of things and we are pretty deep in Rachel’s head so it is a bit disorienting at first. However, this feeling passes quickly and it is easy to give myself over to the exquisiteness of Brown’s writing and her intricately built character driven romance.

Brown plays with one of my favorite theme’s the marriage of convenience. Pari needs a green card marriage to go into business for herself and Rachel needs help with bills to get out from under her student loan debt.

Pari has more power in many ways but she never ever belittles Rachel. I can’t tell you how hot that is. Well, maybe I can. It is volacnic lava hot. Pari is just plain burning sexy anyway as we see her through Rachel’s eyes but she isn’t perfect and that makes her all the more lovely.

Rachel struggle with an eating disorder in the novel. The love story is a detailing of living and loving in recovery and not always winning. This aspect of the book is powerful.

The romance is everything. I don’t want to give anything away but it is no way “gay for you” which makes me a little nuts as a queer person and as reader. I side eye those books hard even though I sometimes read them.

The cast of characters is great as is the SoCal setting. The inter culture aspects of the romance are well done as is a look at late twenties, early thirties living Being deep in Rachel’s POV, we don’t get as much from Prvi as I might like but I think this POV was the right choice for this story.. The plot is well paced, lush, painful, tender, and with a great realistic closing.

I want to reread it and I am thrilled this is a series and I will get to see this couple in other books as their friends have their own stories. I bought the next book and I read this on Overdrive from the library but I just bought my own copy because I know this will be a comfort reread.

So! Woo hoo! A Five Star Read! Happiness!

Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan 5 Star Review

Review:

Antisocial - Heidi Cullinan

A single stroke can change your world.

Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten college to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour. 

Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.

Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.

 

Review

While I love the romance in this in this book, the discussion of art is so powerful, it often steals the show.

 

This romance is a slow burn and not just because one of the heroes is asexual. The fall in love is really pretty magical as they take down wall after wall for each other.

 

It is also a very well done New Adult with the kinds of conflict that have to do with finding new understanding of your family of origins and becoming your fuller self.

 

The setting is compelling as the circle of friends that builds and the mythology contained in the manga and an exploration of toxic masculinity from all parts of the policatal spectrum that is explored.

 

The writing is lyrical and lovely and while the pace might be too slow for some, it really worked for me.

 

At the heart of this book is the love story which is all about intimacy.

 

So very good!

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northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1597181/antisocial-by-heidi-cullinan-5-star-review

Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs, #4) by L.A. Witt Review

   Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs Book 4) by L.A. Witt 3.5 Stars! 

Opposites attract, but heaven help these two.

Tattoo artist Seth Wheeler thinks he’s struck gold when Darren Romero rents the apartment across the hall. The new guy is gorgeous, witty, and single, plus he’s just the right blend of bold and flirtatious. Perfect.

Except then Darren reveals that he moved to Tucker Springs to take a job as the youth pastor at the New Light Church. Seth is not only an atheist, but was thrown out by his ultra-religious family when he came out. He tends to avoid believers, not out of judgment but out of self-preservation.

But Darren doesn’t give up easily, and he steadily chips away at Seth’s defenses. Darren is everything Seth wants in a man . . . except for that one massive detail he just can’t overlook. Is Darren’s religion the real problem, or is it just a convenient smoke screen to keep him from facing deeper fears? It’s either see the light, or risk pushing Darren away forever.

Review

 

I am really enjoying the Tucker Springs Series which are by different authors and I am a fan of LA Witt’s

Everything in this book I really like. The love story is sexy and the conflict is interestingly explored and I care for each of the heroes.

What I want more of is exploration of the clergy hero’s work life and less of annoying stuff from Seth and lusher resolve.

Good stuff all around!

Twist (Dive Bar #2) by Kylie Scott Review

      Twist: A Dive Bar Novel (Dive Bar Series Book 2) by Kylie Scott 3.5 Stars!

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they’re emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets…except the one that really matters.

When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it’s always better with a twist.

 

Review

 

I liked Twist epically more that Dirty the first book in this series.

It has a wonderful first meet with the hero and heroine. Wonderfully awful.

I really liked how messed up our hero and heroine are in different ways and how loved they are by their circle of friends. I love the you are not my type attractions.

And then the book goes sideways in the end. They are dumb dumbs. Sigh. And then we have a huge jump in time and thing work out. Sigh. I am glad things work out.

There are two other couples featured in the book that it seems sad we won’t get their stories.

I need at least two other books before I can read the next hero’s romance because he needs a lot of growth before I want to spend time with him.

My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! (Jock #1) by Wade Kelly Review

Review:

My Roommate's a Jock? Well, Crap! - Wade Kelly

It’s easy to become cynical when life never goes your way. 

Cole Reid has been a social recluse since he was fifteen, when he was outed by his high school baseball team. Since then, his obsessive-compulsive behavior and sarcastic nature have driven away most of the population, and everyone else hates him because he’s gay. As he sees it, he’s bound to repulse any prospective friends, let alone boyfriends, so why bother? 

By the time Cole enters college, he’s become an anal-retentive loner—but it’s not a problem until his roommate graduates and the housing department assigns Ellis Montgomery to move in with Cole. Ellis is messy, gorgeous, straight, and worst of all, a jock! 

During a school year filled with frat buddies, camping expeditions, and meddling parents, Cole and Ellis develop a friendship that turns Cole’s glass-half-empty outlook on its head. There must be more to Ellis than a fun-loving jock—and maybe Cole’s reawakening libido has rekindled his hope for more than camaraderie.

 

Review

Okay. Wade Kelly is killing me a little bit. The parts of her books and this book that are good are so very good and this there is these little bits and pieces that are off putting, out of place, not resolved and as another review put it haphazard. This makes it hard to recommend her books as I know someone will want to throw them across the room and to ask for the high price of Dreamspinner books even tougher. 

I love mean witty Cole. I love his funny and his personality and even how difficult and yet assertive and brave he is. I was charmed by his nerd self.

I like sunny Ellis a great deal as well as he learns who he is and how to be with himself and Cole. His lack of communication and freak outs seem out of character and took too long. 

The cast of friends is interesting and I kind of would like them to get their own romance. MF for the super nice future pastor. The next books in the series takes place when Ellis (now well adjusted and married to Cole awwww) is coaching and teaching (cause that happens in a university so easily lol)

There is some crazy sauce that is not needed but the romance is sweet and hot overall with lots of couple time. I liked it a lot. 

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