California

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.

Family Unit by Z.A. Maxfield Review

Family Unit by Z.A. Maxfield 3.5 Stars! 

A retired marine, Logan is methodical and conservative. Richard is a liberal pacifist who is pathologically afraid of guns. Yet the minute Logan sets eyes on Richard, his heart turns over like an old car engine and it isn’t long before his motor is revved and Richard is in the driver’s seat—even if it seems like each man is driving a different car.

Richard Hunter is parenting his grandson, and the kid—Nick—has had it rough. Richard vows nothing will stop him from creating a loving and stable home. Not even a tempting, red-hot relationship with a very attractive man. However, when Richard looks into Logan’s blue eyes it’s tough to stay focused.

It’s never easy to become a family, what with a temperamental eight-year-old, disapproving outsiders, and outright extortion attempts. But when push comes to shove, both Logan and Richard are committed family men who want to make a loving home for a little boy who needs them. Together, they’re planning to form a Family Unit, and they won’t let anything stand in their way.

Review 

What I really like about this romance is it a romance between two men who already had loved and lost and lived full ways and now are starting over. The characters a build with all kinds of nice details that make you love them.

They find each other and it is completely unexpected. They adore each other even if they are very different.

The conflict comes from falling in love with a single parent and being a single parent and all the caution and joy that brings.

I didn’t need the outside drama of the grandson’s mother but the resolution of that plot is engaging.

Sweet and hot romance.

At Attention (Out of Uniform, #2) by Annabeth Albert Review

     At Attention (Out of Uniform) by by Annabeth Albert 4.5 Stars! 

Lieutenant Apollo Floros can ace tactical training missions, but being a single dad to his twin daughters is more than he can handle. He needs live-in help, and he’s lucky a friend’s younger brother needs a place to stay. He’s surprised to see Dylan all grown up with a college degree…and a college athlete’s body. Apollo’s widowed heart may still be broken, but Dylan has his blood heating up.

It’s been eight years since the teenage Dylan followed Apollo around like a lovesick puppy, and it’s time he showed Lieutenant Hard-to-Please that he’s all man now—an adult who’s fully capable of choosing responsibility over lust. He can handle Apollo’s muscular sex appeal, but Apollo the caring father? Dylan can’t afford to fall for that guy. He’s determined to hold out for someone who’s able to love him back, not someone who only sees him as a kid brother.

Apollo is shocked by the intensity of his attraction to Dylan. Maybe some no-strings summer fun will bring this former SEAL back to life. But the combination of scorching desire and warm affection is more than he’d expected, and the emotion between them scares him senseless. No fling lasts forever, and Apollo will need to decide what’s more important if he wants to keep Dylan in his life—his past or his future.

 

Review

I love this book because I adore these heroes and watching them fall in love is a joy.

There is a bonus for me as this book is set in San Diego, where I live, and Albert does a wonderful job placing little Easter Eggs for those of this that love this city.

Each hero has his own journey and I really like how they find equity and respect despite the age difference and very different outlooks and experiences.

Just one of the pleasures of this book is watching a crush turn into real love.

We get a great cast of characters and a very moving and sexy romance.

Chase in Shadow (Johnnies #1) by Amy Lane Review

Review:

Chase in Shadow  - Amy Lane

Chase Summers: Golden boy. Beautiful girlfriend, good friends, and a promising future. 

Nobody knows the real Chase.

Chase Summers has a razor blade to his wrist and the smell of his lover’s goodbye clinging to his skin. He has a door in his heart so frightening he’d rather die than open it, and the lies he’s used to block it shut are thinning with every forbidden touch. Chase has spent his entire life unraveling, and his decision to set his sexuality free in secret has only torn his mind apart faster. 

Chase has one chance for true love and salvation. He may have met Tommy Halloran in the world of gay-for-pay—where the number of lovers doesn’t matter as long as the come-shot’s good—but if he wants the healing that Tommy’s love has to offer, he’ll need the courage to leave the shadows for the sunlight. That may be too much to ask from a man who’s spent his entire life hiding his true self. Chase knows all too well that the only things thriving in a heart’s darkness are the bitter personal demons that love to watch us bleed.

Review

 

Well. This book is a trigger fest (suicide, depression, eating disorder, PTSD, childhood trauma, and abuse) and we get buried pretty deep in Chase’s mind (and for much of the book he is not okay).

 

So much happens in this book. I can’t talk about much of it without spoilers It is a pretty crazy ride.. My favorite is Chase gets therapy. Tommy does too and I would have liked to see more of that.

 

How this couple gets together is rough but the after they are together parts are the best bits in the book to me and I wish that had happened earlier.

 

I like this couple. I read this book because of meeting Tommy in Freckles. They earn a happily ever after I can believe in (even though there is a twist at the end that is hard to take lol)

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How to Howl at the Moon by Eli Easton Review

 How to Howl at the Moon   by Eli Easton 4 Stars! 

Sheriff Lance Beaufort is not going to let trouble into his town, no sir. Tucked away in the California mountains, Mad Creek has secrets to keep, like the fact that half the town consists of ‘quickened’—dogs who have gained the ability to become human. Descended on both sides from Border Collies, Lance is as alert a guardian as they come.

Tim Weston is looking for a safe haven. After learning that his boss patented all of Tim’s work on vegetable hybrids in his own name, Tim quit his old job. A client offers him use of her cabin in Mad Creek, and Tim sees a chance for a new start. But the shy gardener has a way of fumbling and sounding like a liar around strangers, particularly gorgeous alpha men like Sheriff Beaufort.

Lance’s hackles are definitely raised by the lanky young stranger. He’s concerned about marijuana growers moving into Mad Creek, and he’s not satisfied with the boy’s story. Lance decides a bit of undercover work is called for. When Tim hits a beautiful black collie with his car and adopts the dog, its love at first sight for both Tim and Lance’s inner dog. Pretending to be a pet is about to get Sheriff Beaufort in very hot water.

 

 

Review

At first I thought this book might be too silly for me in its basic concept of the quickened. What I was thinking? Very few things are too silly for me!

This is a light hearted paranormal romance with characters, a little action, and sweet love and spicy story.

The dog shifter stuff ends up being fun and not silly. The heroes are great. Yea! More please!

Take Me Home (Belladonna Ink, #2) by Lorelie Brown Review

    Take Me Home (Belladonna Ink Book 2) by Lorelie Brown 3.5 Stars! 

Thanksgiving arrives in one week and one day. Feeling hemmed in by parental expectations? Are they disappointed by your sapphic proclivities? I can help! The only pay I want is the holiday meal!

I didn’t know what I was looking for until I saw her Craigslist ad.

I love my family. I’m lucky to have them — well, most of them. But my aunt? I’m so tired of her giving my mom crap because I happen to be a lesbian. So one pink-haired tattoo artist pretending to be my girlfriend will annoy my Christian fundamentalist aunt right back and make my Thanksgiving perfect.

Only . . . Brooke turns out to be cuter and more complicated than I expected. And before you can say “yorkiepoo,” we kiss . . . and abduct a dog together. I want to keep them both — but Brooke isn’t the kind to be kept. Lucky for me, I’m the kind to chase what I want.

Review

There is a lot to love about this book. The cute meet and first date is epic. The chemistry explosive.

The heroines are funny. However, the love story stalls and ends just when I think there should at least 6 more chapters. We need more.

I love that Brooke goes to the UU church for example. It would be great that after the I love yous we got to see them as a real couple and this was an aspect of the plot. Brooke is really closed off and we are in Kayleigh’s head so I really needed more to be content in the love story. Let’s see the work life balance in action.

And so on until some other kind of HEA

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

Lip Action (Kiss Talent Agency #1) by Virna DePaul Review

   Lip Action (Kiss Talent Agency Book 1) by Virna DePaul 2.5 Stars! 

Marissa

Appearance is everything to my upper-crust mother, but when she insists I take back my pedigreed-but-cheating ex? I’d rather stab myself with a salad fork. So I blurt out I’m dating someone new. Someone like…that smoking-hot, vaguely familiar guy across the restaurant, who could be the next James Bond.

Turns out he’s the star of my favorite, cheesy, sci-fi soap opera. (Don’t judge me.) One minute I’m fantasizing about Borg and his green-hued abs. The next, Simon Dale is making me an offer my sex-starved body can’t refuse.

Simon

I’m up for a breakout movie role that’ll launch me off the B-list, but I don’t need a script to read the scene between Marissa and her mum. Even though I’m a London gutter rat who never rubbed elbows with a Royal, I easily slip into the role of Marissa’s doting boyfriend. Why? I need a favor in return— a steady girlfriend, just long enough to convince the producers I’ve changed my wild ways.

Trouble is, I’m going all Method on this relationship—and close to losing the one thing that could break me. My heart.

Review

I wanted to like this and the lead characters were likable as was basic plot. I love me some pretend relationship when we only just met.

I don’t mind mad cap rom com either but even though the feels between the leads felt right the plot time line was too rushed, the villains (parents included) teeth gritting simple and annoying, and the sex too fast and out of character.

So, a jump with a sweet connection at the center with a good closing.

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

Femme by Marshall Thornton Review

  Femme by Marshall Thornton  3 Stars!

Queeny cocktail waiter, Lionel, wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.

Review

There is a lot I like about this book–Its Long Beach setting, the funny bits, the friendships, the characters, the exploration of intra dynamic in queer culture.

I wish there was more to the romance as why Lionel would love Dog and more time of them being together. Each hero’s personal journey is interesting and the plot is both mad cap and touching in place but the love story needed more time for me.

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.