Character Driven

Nothing Special by Jay Northcote Review

   Nothing Special by Jay Northcote 3 Stars!

Noah thinks he’s nothing special. Average height, a bit on the skinny side, and cute but rather geeky, he’s relentlessly ordinary. He certainly doesn’t expect to be noticed by Sol, the gorgeous dark-haired stranger Noah sees on his commute home most days. But when Noah’s friend, Dom, persuades Noah to take a huge risk in a bid to get Sol’s attention, things turn out better than Noah dared to hope. Noah and Sol start dating, and much to Noah’s surprise, his feelings seem to be reciprocated.

But Noah’s insecurities make him doubt Sol. He doesn’t believe he’s interesting enough or sexy enough to hold Sol’s attention, and as Sol tries to get closer, Noah’s instinct is to pull away to protect himself. If their relationship is going to survive, Sol needs to convince Noah that he sees Noah very differently than Noah sees himself. Because to Sol, Noah is something very special indeed.

Review

This is sweet wish fulfillment where the hero gets is daily commute crush. They fall in love fast–too fast for the kind of character development that would make this a better romance and there could be a higher heat level but I enjoyed this story.

Nothing Serious by Jay Northcote Review

Review:

Nothing Serious - Jay Northcote

Mark O’Brien is finally being honest with himself. His relationship with Rachel is over and he’s moving out of the home they’ve shared for six years. They get along, but he can’t fix a relationship when the person he’s with is the wrong gender.

Jamie Robertson, one of the removal men, is huge and ridiculously gorgeous, and Mark is smitten at first sight. When a cardboard box splits, revealing items of a personal nature that Mark never wanted anybody to see, he’s mortified. But it sparks the start of a beautiful friendship with benefits.

As Jamie initiates Mark into the joys of gay sex, the two men get increasingly close and “nothing serious” turns into something rather important to both of them. But communication isn’t their strong point. Will either man ever find the courage to be honest about his feelings?

Review

Such a nice sexy romance between an man who has just come out and a younger hero who has always been himself.

 

Northcote writes a lovely little character driven love story. A good way to spend the afternoon.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1592385/nothing-serious-by-jay-northcote-review

For Better or Worse by R. Cooper Review

     For Better or Worse by R. Cooper 3.5 Stars!

To the other firefighters in Montgomery, Javier is a quietly heroic figure with a reputation for staying calm and doing what needs to be done. To the small town gossips, he’s some kind of mysterious ladies’ man, despite how he hasn’t dated anyone in years. Truth is, Javier’s demisexual—it takes him a while to feel desire for someone, and most people don’t want to wait for that to happen. Tired of being hurt, he gave up on dating. He gave up with such determination that two years into spending nearly every free evening making dinners with his best friend, Jimmy, he’s only just realized that he’s in love with him.

Jimmy is noise where Javier is silent. He expresses his thoughts and feelings about every subject imaginable—except the reason he moved thousands of miles away from his family to start a new life in Montgomery. He spends his nights with Javier, cooking and jointly taking care of his rescue dog. If he’s noticed that he and Javier have been all but dating each other for the past two years, he hasn’t said, and Javier isn’t going to risk upsetting him by asking.

That is, until the very public romance between their fellow firefighter, Scotty, and school librarian, Cole, leads Jimmy to reveal more about his past. Suddenly, Javier has hope. If he has to change the minds of the entire town in order to woo his best friend, then so be it. He’s not someone to let a little fear get in his way, especially when it means a chance to make their date nights real.

Review

I like the tone of R. Coopers writing as it is a bit lush and character driven.

This book is best read after the first book in the series. It is really lovely friends to lovers romance featuring a demisexual and a closeted gay man who are best friends and fire fighters.

Jimmy and Javier share a strong connection but they both need to be much better at talking. I would have loved to hear them talk things out.

I liked the book a great deal but the lack of sharing of thoughts was frustrating. It is a great setting and circle of friends and I would like more in this series but more couple time (which was an issue in the first book as well).

Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson 5 Star Review!

   Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson 5 Stars!

Top neurosurgeon Samantha Thomson needs to get married fast and is tightlipped as to why. And with over $200,000 on offer to tie the knot, no questions asked, cash-strapped ER nurse Hayden Pérez isn’t about to demand answers.

The deal is only for a year of marriage, but Hayden’s going into it knowing it will be a nightmare. Sam is complicated, rude, kind of cold, and someone Hayden barely tolerates at work, let alone wants to marry. The hardest part is that Hayden has to convince everyone around them that they’re madly in love and that racing down the aisle together is all they’ve ever wanted. What could possibly go wrong?

Review

 

This is one of the best romances I have read all year and I have read some fantastic books.

The love of the romance genre is alive and well on these pages and the book sings with the pleasure of a marriage of con and a private and uptight heroine vs a much more emotionial and blunt heroine.

It is grand. We get all that forced proximity joy. They know very little about each other and we get to learn about each of them as they learn each other.

It is a sexy as hell dance. Both are wonderful at their jobs in this amazing character driven love story.

The cast is great, the slow burn is great, the writing is spot on.

A 5 Star Romance to read again and again.

Delivered Fast (Portland Heat, #3) by Annabeth Albert 4 Stars Review

Review:

Delivered Fast - Annabeth Albert

Sure, Chris O’Neal has problems. His restaurant is still co-owned by his ex. His flannel-and-tattoos style is making him accidentally trendy. He can’t remember the last time he went out and had fun. But he’s not lonely, he’s driven. And the hot bakery delivery boy is not his problem, no matter how sweet his buns.

 

Chris is old enough to know Lance Degrassi’s sculpted good looks and clever double entendres spell nothing but trouble. Lance is still in college—he should be hitting the clubs and the books, chasing guys his own age, not pursuing some gruff motorcycle-riding workaholic. Especially when he’ll be leaving for grad school in a few months. But Lance keeps hanging around, lending a hand, charming Chris to distraction. Maybe some steaming hot no-strings indulgence won’t hurt.

 

Review

 

I like low angst character driven romance so I am really fond of this series and this book.

 

I love how it is not the older hero Chris that is in pursuit but Lane the much younger delivery guy.

 

The joy in this book is all the little details about each hero that are revealed and how they make their relationship work.

 

A lovely read. I love a sunny hero paired with a grumpy one.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1581478/delivered-fast-portland-heat-3-by-annabeth-albert-review

Textual Relations by Cate Ashwood Review

     Textual Relations by Cate Ashwood 4 Stars! 

Evolutionary psychology professor Henry Hathaway is ready to spend his birthday the same way he does every year: a good teeth cleaning followed by dinner with his brother. But when he receives a wrong-number text confirming the details of a date, he does what any considerate person would—he goes to meet them and explain why they’ve been stood up.

Asher Wescott hadn’t expected his blind date to go well, because when do they ever? Henry shows up instead, and things are suddenly looking up. Socially awkward and attached to his routines, Henry is nevertheless one of the most charming and kind men Asher has met in a long time.

Too bad he’s not Henry’s type.

An accidental date, an impulsive kiss, and a few conflicted feelings later, can Asher get Henry to see the world—and him—in a different light?

Review

This isn’t a complex romance but everything it does, it does just right.

Ash and Henry are lovely together and just really like each other. We get a cute meet, great dates and falling in love.

Each hero is well developed as is the dynamic of them together. There is some well done thinking on sexuality so we get to side step the “gay for you” trope (which makes me happy).

This is a light happy romance, character driven, with moments of sexy and tender. I liked it a great deal. It is a snuggle of a book.

Baked Fresh (Portland Heat) Annabeth Albert Review

Review:

Baked Fresh (Portland Heat) - Annabeth Albert

Vic Degrassi is a baker on the rise, and it’s all thanks to his rare ability to make—and keep—his New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, or graduating from culinary school, Vic goes after what he wants—and gets it. This year? He wants Robin Dawson, the sweet-hearted hottie who volunteers with him at the local homeless shelter. When he learns that Robin is suddenly single after being unceremoniously dumped, Vic is more than happy to offer a shoulder to cry on—or at least a fresh-baked pastry to bite into. But it’s been a long time since Vic’s gone on a date, and he’s nervous about risking his friendship with Robin. So when their flirtation turns into a steamy night together, Vic and Robin have to figure out if they’re friends with benefits or lovers in the making, and if Robin is ready for something more than just a rebound. There’s only one way to find out: turn up the heat…

 

Review

 

This is another great character driven romance with Annabeth Albert.

 

A wonderful love story about what it means to be in love with a person with a fully realized past. Both Vic and Robin carry a lot of their old selves into their romance.

Here we get a nice friends to lovers tale with the blending for two lives and taking risks to trust and love.

 

Very well written and engaging and as always with Albert the best parts of the book are in the details I don’t want to give away.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1581488/baked-fresh-portland-heat-annabeth-albert-review

Cherry Bomb (Mercury Rising, #2) by Samantha Kane 4.5 Star Review!

     Cherry Bomb (Mercury Rising Book 2) by Samantha Kane 4.5 Stars!

Officially, Turnstiles billionaire CEO Brian Curland is in Mercury to set up a new data center. Unofficially, he’s using this trip to re-evaluate his life, because for a man who has everything, he’s feeling pretty empty.

He could buy any car he wants. But no, he had to rent a piece-of-crap Chevy—which is now broken down on the side of the road. When he’s rescued by a sexy local, Brian does what he always does. Go for what he wants, even if it’s just temporary.

Evan Michaels stops to help because that’s what good guys do. He grew up in Mercury, eventually becoming minister of the local Unitarian church. Though everyone knows him, being gay and being in a gay relationship are two different things. He wants Brian, but their affair has to be secret or he can’t play.

When Evan unleashes his long-suppressed sexuality, Brian is more than up to handling the heat. Yet even though they fall hard for each other, it might take the whole town to convince them it’s a forever kind of love.

Warning: Contains an inexperienced minister, gay comic-book role play, dirty dancing in antebellum mansions, and some very naughty fireworks. Protective gear recommended.

Review

Dang, I really like this series! The writing is spot on on, setting and the world compelling, the characters complex and the romance hot, tender and complex.

So, I love me some clergy heroes. LOL. I enjoy them because it means they have thought carefully about and invested in the spiritual (what are we all here for) aspects of their life. Evan is just amazing. Human and loving and strong.

I like grown ups in my romance too. Brian and Evan are both grown and they talk and they acknowledge their shortcomings and the barriers to their relationship.

There wasn’t much I didn’t love about this book. I am not sure how many times I will reread it which is why it isn’t a 5 star but this is a great couple. I can’t to read the next book in the series and would really love more books after that.

Taxes and TARDIS by N.R. Walker 4 Star Review

Review:

Taxes and TARDIS - N.R. Walker

Brent is a jock, Logan a geek, these men are a world apart. But if opposites attract, maybe it’s the differences between them that make it worth the fight.

 

Brent Kelly is a laid-back tradesman whose only concerns are drinks with friends and which man to bed next. In need of a new accountant to sort out his nightmarish shoebox of tax receipts, he’s referred to Logan Willis.

 

He doesn’t expect to be intrigued by the science fiction-loving, geeky guy with dark-rimmed glasses and a TARDIS-blue shirt. So his fascination with the soft-spoken Englishman surprises him, and their mutual attraction is completely unexpected. He most certainly never expects to fall in love.

 

One a jock and the other a geek, both men know the differences between them are vast and could cause problems. But in this opposites-attract erotic drama, maybe it’s the differences between them that make staying together worth the fight.

 

Review

 

Taxes and Tardis is such a lovely sigh of a sexy romance.

 

It could have been more complex with some of the character work but what is here is so good. It would have been a 5 star read if we had both points of view.

 

I love a geek hero and I love it when someone gets gobsmacked.

 

Both heroes are kind and so into each other.

 

This is a delight.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1588208/taxes-and-tardis-by-n-r-walker-review

Cherry Pie (Mercury Rising, #1) by Samantha Kane Review

      Cherry Pie (Mercury Rising Book 1) by Samantha Kane 4.5 Stars!!

You can go home again—if you can get a foot in the door.

A year after packing and moving from L.A. to Mercury, North Carolina, John Ford still hasn’t adjusted to the heat. Or to life without his long-time partner. As he fixes up the old house he bought, the quiet becomes his only companion, and he’s content with that—until a deep-voiced stranger plants himself under a tree across the street.

Eight years ago, Connor Meecham left someone behind in that house—himself. Now he’s back to find the man he used to be, before drugs and prison sent his life careening off the tracks. But it’s not his mother’s face peering through the window any more. It’s a man who seems as lost as Conn himself.

When John learns what the house—and the dying town—mean to Conn, he finds himself opening the door to his heart. Just a crack. But it’s enough to get mixed up in a world of emotions as complicated as the recipe for the perfect cherry pie. Where one misstep can turn something sweet and juicy into one hot mess.

Review

Given the iffy title, I wasn’t expecting a great deal out of this book and was really pleasantly surprised.

I knew the love story would hot because Samantha Kane is an excellent erotic writer who uses sexy times to deepen the connection between characters. And the book has that loveliness for sure but this romance is also emotionial rich and sexy.

Many themes are at play here but the one I think is exceptionally well down is returning to your Hometown. Connor as been in recovery for two years and out of prison for more than a year. He decides to go home (its been the the better part of a decade) to reclaim the parts of himself, heal others, and build himself anew. He has to deal with the fact that someone has bought his family home, his mom has passed while he was serving time for possession and selling sex (though the charge was changed to vagrancy), reckon with how the town has changed, pick up old connection, forge new ones and find work. He left town as a golden football star in a small Southern town. He returns as a much better man in recovery, mindful, out about his sexuality and his past.

John is new to town and healing from the grief of losing his partner.

Class, age , and power difference play out in this romance is a powerful and healing way. They are emotionial equals and the joy of this book is in watching John and Connor fall in love and become partners.

The small town stuff is great and there are some wonderful secondary characters.

The writing is superb. Emotionially compelling, realistic (with the fantasy of less homophobia than there might be and John being really rich), and sexy.

Can’t wait for the next in the series.