broke hero

Falling Down by Eli Easton Review

    Falling Down by Eli Easton 4 Stars! 

osh finds himself homeless at eighteen, but he has a plan. He’ll head north on the bus to New England and spend October there for his mother’s sake. She always talked about going to see the fall leaves someday. And when the leaves are done and the harsh winter comes, Josh plans to find a place to curl up and let go. It will be a relief to finally stop fighting.

Mark spent his life trying to live up to the tough swagger of his older brothers until he pushed himself so far against his nature that he cracked. Now a former Marine, he rents a little cabin in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where he can lick his wounds and figure out what to do with the rest of his life. One thing was clear: Mark was nobody’s hero.

Fate intervenes when Josh sets up camp under a covered bridge near Mark’s cabin. Mark recognizes the dead look in the young stranger’s eyes, and he feels compelled to do something about it. When Mark offers Josh a job, he never expects that he’ll be the one to fall.

The snow is coming soon. Can Mark convince Josh that the two of them can build a life together before the flurries begin?

Trigger Warning: Suicidal thoughts

 

Review

 

I was worried that this book would be too dark for me with its topics of PTSD, depression, suicidal thoughts, homelessness….sound grim. doesn’t it? But Eli Easton handles these issues with grace and realism and embeds these struggles in wonderful human characters that we are lucky enough to watch fall in love.

This is a thoughtful romance that slow lets the light fill it up with lovely prose and complex characters. There is no extra angst and drama just a heartfelt and healing love story.

I very much recommend this book.

How to Raise an Honest Rabbit by Amy Lane 5 Star Review

   How to Raise an Honest Rabbit   by Amy Lane 5 Stars!

Everything about Jeremy has always been a lie—including his last name. When one grift too many ends in tragedy, Jeremy goes straight. But life’s hard for an ex-con, and Jeremy is down to panhandling and hope when Rance Crawford offers him work at a tiny alpaca farm and fiber mill. Jeremy takes him up on the job, thinking this could be his last chance to be a good man, and meets Aiden, who is growing into a better one.

As Aiden comes of age, Jeremy finds himself desperate to grow up, too, because Aiden starts looking to him for things Jeremy doesn’t know how to give. Being honest is terrifying for a man who’s learned to rabbit at the first sign of conflict—more so when Aiden gives Jeremy a reason to stay that can’t be packed up and carried in a knapsack. When Jeremy’s past comes knocking at their door, can Jeremy trust enough in Aiden and his new home to answer bravely back?

Review

I think this is one of those you love it or you don’t romances. Jeremy is a chatty (hyper) person and we are in his head so that is not for everyone. I loved it.

Despite, Amy Lane’s unfortunate use of “boy’ as a term of endearment (and even explained it is unfortunate, I was utterly charmed by this sweet, achey, slow burn romances between a much older beta hero and a much younger alpha hero.

What I loved is what good friends Aiden and Jeremy are. I loved how much of his own person Aiden is and that age doesn’t matter as much in some people’s development. I really valued how the story takes its time and Jeremy healing and the impact of his trauma are well details and just don’t magically go away,

I really liked all the kinds of love here and the talents. The farming, knitting, and shop stuff are just cool as are all the friends.

The best part is the romance. Aiden is steadfast and tender and tough. Jeremy despite being older and having a pile more trauma is less adult but comes into is wonderful own.

I have already reread it feeling I had gone to fast the first time.

Long Haul by Bruce Rose Review

    Long Haul by Bruce Rose 3 Stars!

He’d only ever taken the short run…

Ryker Bacca had seen plenty of lot lizards at the truck stops along his route, but he preferred the anonymity of the restroom glory hole. In and done with each man getting what he needed. But this time was different. Not only did the guy on the other side have a mouth made of pure magic, but he managed to make Ryker break his number one rule: never get involved.

Once he’s in, Ryker can’t seem to say no to the blond-haired, blue-eyed cutie Jody Wilson. It isn’t long before Ryker’s breaking all his rules, and finding a connection with the one person in the world who seems to understand him. Irresistible temptation lures him deeper, but the last thing Ryker expected was to find a man worth the long haul.

 

Review

This romance starts in a pretty gritty place (glory hole at a truck stop with the older brother of the hero kicking the heck out of him) but it is really a sweet romance.

We have two lonely heroes and there are a few dramatic turns but we move steadily toward a Happily Ever After.

I also love down on your luck and working class heroes and here we get both and a puppy.

There could have been more time after the we agree to be together to make it a richer read but it was a nice one.

St. Nacho’s by Z.A. Maxfield Review

St. Nacho’s by Z.A. Maxfield  3 Stars

Cooper has spent the last three years running from a painful past. He’s currently moving from town to town, working in restaurant kitchens, and playing his violin for tips. As soon as he starts to feel comfortable anywhere–with anyone–he moves on. He’s aware that music may be the only human language he still knows. Ironically, the one man he’s wanted to communicate with in all that time is deaf.

Shawn is part of a deaf theater group at the nearby college. Shawn wants Cooper as soon as they meet and he begins a determined flirtation. Cooper is comfortable with down and dirty sex, just not people. As far as Shawn is concerned, dirty sex is win-win, but he wants Cooper to let him into the rest of his life as well.

Cooper needs time to heal and put his past away for good. Shawn needs to help Cooper forgive himself and accept that he can be loved. Both men find out that when it comes to the kind of healing love can bring, the sleepy beachside town of Santo Ignacio, “St. Nacho’s” as the locals call it, may just be the very best place to start.

Review

I loved the first section of this book. I would have liked it better if we had Sean’s pov as well as Copper. Sean is wonderful but I would have loved to know more about him. Cooper needs to ask but instead we get deep dipped into Connor’s awful past and he goes home.

The sections with his ex lover and his ex lovers connection to a church to help with his sobriety are teeth gritting in the level of angst and self punishment.

I think that Cooper needed to go through this fire but without Sean around for a portion of it and without Sean’s point of view (So he becomes St.Sean) this part of the plot is really hard to take.

We need much more after Cooper comes out the other side to make this a good romance for me.

Treble Maker (Perfect Harmony, #1) by Annabeth Albert 4 Star Review

Review:

Treble Maker (#PerfectHarmony, #1) - Annabeth Albert

Cody Rivers is determined to be a rock star, but couch-surfing between bar shows gets old fast. Joining an a cappella group for a new singing competition show could be his last chance at real fame—unless the college boy from the heart of the country messes it up for him. Lucas Norwood is everything gothy, glittery Cody is not—conservative, clean-cut, and virginal. But when a twist in the show forces them together, even the sweetest songs get steamy as the attraction between them lights up the stage. Lucas wants to take it slow, but Cody’s singing a different tune—and this time it may be a love song…

 

 

Review

I don’t like reality tv shows much but I am a bit of a fan of competitive singing shows. and I love a bass voice. So… I was in.

I think that this book could have stood to be longer in order to get the characters fuller arcs and in order for choices to be made more slowly but even though I don’t think Lucas would have moved so fast nor do I think Cody would have matured this fast, I really enjoyed the book.

I don’t want to give spoilers but Lucas is in an intersting pickle as to how he acts on what he wants. The idea of not seeing a spectrum of choice and behaviors instead of saint or sinner really is shown in Lucas upbringing. And this is a New Adult romance in terms of the pain of wanting to please your family especially when they are supportive but don’t yet see you as grown.

Cody has the same basic struggle with seeing the nuance and boy does he have trust issues.

Together, they are a sexy sweet couple that I wish only the best.

Original post:
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Pounding Skin (Skin Deep Inc., #2) by L.A. Witt Review

   Pounding Skin (Skin Deep Inc.)  by L.A. Witt 4 Stars!

Fighter pilot Jon Russell never sleeps with the same man twice. Known for his lack of shame when it comes to hooking up, Jon has no interest in commitment—even friends with benefits sounds like too much work.

Matt Huffman has slept with lots of women. He’s had loads of girlfriends. So why does the hot as hell pilot getting a tattoo as the result of a lost bet stop his breath? And how come he can’t stop thinking about him, even after he’s gone?

When Jon returns to Skin Deep the second time, he doesn’t want another tattoo. He wants to hook up with the gorgeous artist he spent hours agonizingly close to, and Matt wants to explore some curiosity about men. Fulfill the desire he can’t stop fantasizing over. And he wants to do it with Jon.

As their casual hook up becomes more than just skin deep, both Matt and Jon are faced with questions they don’t want to answer. Matt understands he’s bi—but are these feelings he has typical of hooking up with a man? Or is it only Jon that can make his heart pound? If Jon wanted nothing more than a fling, why does he find himself needing not just Matt’s body, but all of him? And can their relationship withstand the hardships that makes Jon avoid them in the first place?

 

Review

This starts out with a not cute meet of John getting a tattoo on a bit and ends up a lovely romance about one hero finding his full sexuality and another hero changing his mind about commitment.

I particularly like the exploration of how Matt’s bisexuality has been suppressed by him and his willingness to think about this process carefully.

This is a well written, hot, character driven romance that I enjoyed every moment of and can’t wait for the next book in the series!

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

 

Ripped Bodice Bingo Row 5 Recs!

The Ripped Bodice (A Amazing Romance Bookstore) is have a Summer Read Along Bingo!

We can play!  We can win Prizes.  Check out the site for all the details.

Here are my recommendations for Row 5! 4 and 5 Star Reads!

Broke AF Hero: (Homeless)

CRASH by Pepper Pace This multicultural romance begins when a young man is brutalized and raped. He finds an ally in Sophie Baxter, a reclusive writer of interracial fiction. When Sophie initially meets Lucas she believes he is a young teen and takes him under her wing. By the time she realizes her mistake it’s too late—this polite and sweet kid has found a way into her heart.

Lucas wants Sophie to see that he is no child even though he has an innocent baby face. And Sophie thinks that anyone looking at them together would mistake the older black woman for being some young white boy’s care giver. She can’t fathom breaching that trust…not with her history.

Pepper Pace has woven a tale of unpredictable circumstances and unlikely characters. This sweet romance deals with a difficult subject matter but is not a story about rape but about self-discovery.

Morning Glory by LaVyrle Spencer  On the eve of World War II, two people are brought together by fate and discover an unexpected passion Tall, dark and handsome Will Parker has served time for the killing of a Texas prostitute, but keeps losing jobs as his reputation becomes known. In the small town of Whitney, Ga., at the beginning of WW II, he answers the advertisement of a pregnant widow and mother of two, the abused and reclusive Eleanor Dinsmore, who is looking for a husband. Soon in love with ostensibly plain, bedraggled Ellie, Parker dotes on her two boys, and works to support the family. Fittingly for this sort of bucolic idyll, Will and Ellie, despite their rudimentary educations, love books and develop a special friendship with wise old Miss Beasley, the local librarian. Alas, brazen and rapacious Lula Peak, the town floozie, sets her sights on Will, waylaying him in the library; meantimes, Lula is blackmailing her lover, the cowardly Harley Overmire, who is no friend of Will. The clearly drawn characters fulfill their imperativesincluding Will, who becomes a war heroand all is neatly and pleasingly resolved.

Stuff  by  by Josephine Myles  Tobias “Mas” Maslin’s doesn’t need much. A place of his own, weekends spent clubbing, and a rich boyfriend for love and security. Pity his latest sugar daddy turns out to be married with kids. Mas wants to be special, not someone’s dirty little secret.

When he loses his job and his flat on the same day, Mas’s world starts unravelling… until he stumbles across a down-at-heel vintage clothes shop. Now he just needs to convince the delightfully shy owner he’s in need of a new salesman.

Perry Cavendish-Fiennes set up Cabbages and Kinks solely to annoy his controlling father. He’d much rather spend every spare moment on his true passion, art. That is until Mas comes flaming into his life, talking nineteen to the dozen and turning his world upside down.

Against his better judgment Perry offers Mas a job and a place to live, but it turns out he should have listened to his instincts. The shop is already financially on the brink, and Mas’s flirting makes him feel things he’s never felt for a man. Yet Mas seems convinced they can make a go of it—in the shop, and together. That is, until Mas’s past starts to catch up with him…

Character on the Run: 

Heart Fate  by Robin Owens  Wed to a wealthy older man when she was just a girl, Lahsin Yew runs away from her abusive home to find a new life. At seventeen, she?s about to enter her Second Passage, when her Flair?and perhaps her HeartMate?will be revealed.

Lahsin finds sanctuary in a secret garden, where she meets Tinne Holly. Though he is her HeartMate, he cannot tell her, and her troubled past prevents her from trusting any man. Pretending to find her by chance, Tinne helps her through her Second Passage. But when the truth is revealed, can she forgive his deception, and learn to trust in her destiny?

 

Night Magic by Karen Robards Romance writer Clara Winston dedicates her newest book to her cat, Puff, without knowing what havoc she is about to unloose on her placid (boring?) life. Because there’s a rogue CIA agent out there whose code name is Puff, and some very bad guys want to kill him. When the bad guys show up at mild-mannered Clara’s house, thinking that she can lead them to the man they’re hunting, she is rescued by that man, disgraced CIA agent Jack McClain. Jack is green-eyed, black-haired, infuriatingly macho—and every bit as sexy as the romantic heroes she’s always writing about. Clara hates him on sight, but if she wants to survive he is the only game in town. With Puff very reluctantly in tow, they go on the run for their lives, battling each other until the sizzling chemistry between them explodes into red-hot passion.

The Stolen Princess by Anne Gracie The younger son of an earl, Gabriel Fitzpaine earned glory and honor on the battlefield, but now, without purpose, he finds himself deliberately courting danger at every turn. Then one night he races his horse along a death-defying moonlit cliff-and stumbles upon a princess on the run.

Set on the Beach (Surfing)

Keeping Mr. Right Now by Robin Bielman Surfer Zane Hollander has always been lucky with the ladies. But if he’s to land a new sponsor, Zane needs to clean up his act, and fast. He might not have anything in common with brainy event planner Sophie Birch, but she’s sweet and respectable—exactly what he needs.

Sophie’s never set foot on a beach, let alone left her hometown…until now. What does a sex-on-a-surfboard celebrity like Zane see in a klutzy bookworm like her? Oh, right. Nothing. Their relationship is purely fictional. And Zane is supposed to be on his best behavior. Sigh.

But the more Sophie blossoms under the beachy sun, the more Zane fears he’ll just break her heart. And this time, he’s found a heart he isn’t willing to break…

Hot Island Nights by Sarah Mayberry Elizabeth Morgan didn’t intend to abandon her very proper life. But that’s the best way to find her true—and less proper—self. So here she is in Australia, standing in front of a man who’s clad only in a towel. Nathan Jones is so tempting he could be the ideal candidate to help this good girl be very bad!

Sure enough, thanks to Nathan’s talented hands, Elizabeth is living all her sensual fantasies. And while the sex is great, something more is developing. She trusts him, and wants to share her secrets with him, and… Suddenly this feels more like a real relationship than some fun in the sun. Luckily, there’s a cure for too much commitment—more wickedness!

Just Good Friends  by Rosalind James  Some bets were made to be lost.

Kate Lamonica isn’t Koti James’ type. Too small. Too dark. And heaps too much work. So it’s an easy bet that he can be her friend for six weeks without making a move on her, no matter what his mates would have said.

Kate can’t believe she’s made the bet at all. New Zealand had seemed like the perfect escape from the stalker who’d threatened first her peace of mind and then her life. She certainly doesn’t need any more trouble. Why on earth has she agreed to spend time with a Maori rugby player who’s far too handsome and charming for his own good – and knows it?

But there’s more than one game Koti’s good at playing.

Austen Retellings 

Definitely, Maybe in Love  by Ophelia London

Her theory of attraction is about to get a new angleSpring Honeycutt wants two things: to ace her sustainable living thesis and to save the environment. Both seem hopelessly unobtainable until her college professor suggests that with a new angle, her paper could be published. Spring swears she’ll do whatever it takes to ensure that happens.”Whatever it takes,” however, means forming a partnership with the very hot, very privileged, very conceited Henry Knightly.Henry is Spring’s only hope at publication, but he’s also the über-rich son of a land developer and cash-strapped Spring’s polar opposite—though she can’t help being attracted to the way he pushes her buttons, both politically and physically. Spring finds there’s more to Henry than his old money and argyle sweaters…but can she drop the loud-and-proud act long enough to let him in? Suddenly, choosing between what she wants and what she needs puts Spring at odds with everything she believes in.Definitely, Maybe in Love is a modern take on Pride and Prejudice that proves true love is worth risking a little pride.

Jane Austen in Scarsdale: Or Love, Death, and the SATs  by Paula Marantz Cohen  Anne Ehrlich is a dedicated guidance counselor steering her high-school charges through the perils of college admission. Thirteen years ago, when she was graduating from Columbia University, her wealthy family—especially her dear grandmother Winnie—persuaded her to give up the love of her life, Ben Cutler, a penniless boy from Queens College. Anne has never married and hasn’t seen Ben since—until his nephew turns up in her high school and starts applying to college.

Now Ben is a successful writer, a world traveler, and a soon-to-be married man; and Winnie’s health is beginning to fail. All of these changes have Anne beginning to wonder…Can old love be rekindled, or are past mistakes too painful to forget?

Between the Lines  by Tammara Webber  Reid Alexander is used to getting what he wants – and what he wants next is his newest costar, Emma Pierce. The universe is lining up nicely to grant his wish, until he’s confronted with two unexpected obstacles on location: a bitter ex-girlfriend and a rival for Emma’s affections.

Emma Pierce just got her big break after years of filming commercials and made-for-TV movies. Winning the lead role in a wide-release film – opposite the very hot Reid Alexander – should be a dream come true. But Emma’s heart is hiding a secret fantasy: she wants to be a normal girl.

An Anthology:

Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology by Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, Piper Huguley, and  Kianna Alexander

The fight for suffrage was long, hard, and carried out on many fronts.In Daughters of a Nation, a black suffragette historical romance anthology, Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley bring you four novellas full of spirit, hope, and, most importantly: LOVE.

IN THE MORNING SUN by Lena Hart

With the election of 1868 underway, Madeline Asher’s mission is clear: educate and enlist the freedmen of Nebraska to vote. But when Union veteran James Blakemore comes back into her life, Madeline must choose either him and the future they’ve always wanted–or the chance to shape a greater nation.

THE WASHERWOMAN’S WAR by Piper Huguley ​

1881: Mamie Harper, a new teacher at Atlanta Female Baptist Seminary, hears of mistreatment from her washerwomen students and tells them to strike. She re-encounters summer pastor Gabriel Harmon, who has other ideas to help the washerwomen. Will these combatants be able to win in the war of love?

A RADIANT SOUL by Kianna Alexander

In 1881, Sarah Webster returns home to Fayetteville, NC for her mother’s milestone birthday. Her suffrage work is unknown to her family. Carpenter Owen Markham is intrigued by Sarah, and her father is playing matchmaker. When Owen discovers Sarah’s suffrage work, he’s not sure a love match can be made.

LET US DREAM by Alyssa Cole

​Harlem – 1917. Cabaret owner Bertha Hines is focused on women winning the vote, but when ornery chef Amir Chowdhury shows up in her kitchen, he proves to be a delicious distraction. Sparks fly, but between the vice squad and unfair immigration laws, can they hold on to their growing love?
The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, Piper Huguley The Brightest Day: A Juneteenth Historical Romance Anthology, with a foreword by the inimitable Beverly Jenkins, brings you four novellas highlighting love, light, and hope set over a period of history that’s often left in the shadows.

Amazing Grace, by Lena Hart:
It’s the year 1866–the Civil War is over and slavery has ended. Life for 18-year-old Gracie Shaw takes an unexpected turn when she is “encouraged” to marry a man sight-unseen. Boarded on a train headed West–to lawless territory–she is faced with misfortune at every turn and must accept the help of former Confederate soldier, Logan Finley, while denying herself the one thing she wants most. Him.

Drifting to You, by Kianna Alexander:
During the sultry Carolina summer of 1875, baker Rosaline Rhodes boards a Juneteenth cruise down the Cape Fear River. She’s there to serve her famous cinnamon spice cake; shipbuilder Will Pruett is there for pleasure. They’ve denied their mutual attraction for months, but now the river won’t be the only thing ebbing and flowing.

A Sweet Way to Freedom, by Piper Huguley:
In 1910, schoolteacher Missouri Baxter refuses to return home with a big belly and no husband. She’s got nine months to teach juke joint owner Arlo Tucker–a most reluctant student–an important lesson about what marriage means to their people. With God on her side, she’ll show him “A Sweet Way to Freedom.”

Let It Shine, by Alyssa Cole:
Sofronia Wallis knows that proper Black women don’t court trouble by upending the status quo, and they most certainly don’t associate with roughneck Jewish boxers like Ivan Friedman. But it’s 1961 and the Civil Rights movement is in full swing. Change–and love–are coming whether Sofie is ready or not.

When He Was Bad by Shelly Laurenston and Cynthia Eden Miss Congeniality

I’m young, good looking, and one day I’ll be Alpha Male of my family’s Pack. But Professor Irene Conridge acts like I don’t even exist. Now she’s got enemies coming out of the woodwork and I have to protect her. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that while I work to secure her safety, she’ll be hanging out at my house–right where I want her.
Wicked Ways
When I hear my sexy new neighbor scream one night, the absolute last thing I expect to see is Miranda Shaw–star of my hottest fantasies–being attacked by a vampire. Too bad for him I’m a badass shifter ready to fight for my fantasies. And Miranda, well, she’s so busy watching out for him that she won’t see me closing in on her. . .

That is all the rows! Have fun!