Children

Flaunt (The F-Word, #1) by E. Davies Review

  Flaunt (F-Word Book 1) by E. Davies 3 Stars! 

Moving to the suburbs of L.A. was supposed to give Nic Montero a fresh start. After escaping his family, coming out as a gay trans man, and excelling in computer programming out of desperation to get financially stable or die, everything should be easy. But joining gay culture now, post-transition, feels impossible… until he runs into the force of nature that is Kyle. Everything Nic isn’t, Kyle embodies. Green hair, garters and cut-off shorts, sports jerseys, and all, brash Kyle is the most gorgeous man he’s ever laid eyes on, and he pulls Nic headlong into the center of his world. If only Nic felt like enough for a man like Kyle.

“One-night stands are my only option.”

Loud, loving, and too much for most men to handle, Kyle Everett catches eyes and occasionally scorn… even at his job at the local HIV charity, Plus. His days and nights are spent at work, his precious spare moments spent with his son, Kevin, when it’s his turn to co-parent, or his best friend, drag queen River. He only has money or time for cheap flings, but the lanky otter who walks into his life makes Kyle want to hold him for longer than a night. He knows what it’s like for Nic to be without a family, but he isn’t brave enough to let this man into his life… until his charity is targeted by bigots, and Nic’s there for him.

“I’ll stay with you if you’re brave enough to be you.”

Nic spent his twenties avoiding family and even his own femininity, but his yearning is impossible to ignore. Kyle’s used to flying solo, but Nic offers him safety and fills gaps in his life he never realized existed and now can’t stand. Living in close proximity, they can’t run from their attraction, but they’re each used to being rejected, with the emotional scars to prove it. Can two men who feel like they’re not enough and too much find something just right?

Review

There is a lot to like about this book (the romance and the characters) and then a bit that leaves me unfulfilled (the side plot and some of Kyle’s choices)

I love the opposites attract romance in Kyle and Nic as well as the exploration of the complexities of gender. The little reveals along the way and the flirting and heat between the heroes is great.

Kyle reasons for not wanting a relationship are not very believable and he waits too long to tell Nic about his son and co parenting. The hate crime plot needs to be unraveled a bit more.

However, the core of the book, the love story, is very good.

Manny Get Your Guy by Amy Lane Review

  Manny Get Your Guy  by Amy Lane 3.5 Stars!

Starting over and falling in love.

Tino Robbins’s sister, Nica, and her husband, Jacob, are expecting their fifth child. Fortunately, Nica’s best friend, Taylor Cochran, is back in town, released from PT and in need of a job.

After years in the service and recovering from grave injury, Taylor has grown a lot from the callow troublemaker he’d been in high school. Now he’s hoping for a fresh start with Nica and her family.

Jacob’s cousin Brandon lives above the garage and thinks “Taylor the manny” is a bad idea. Taylor might be great at protecting civilians from a zombie apocalypse, but is he any good with kids?

Turns out Taylor’s a natural. As he tries to fit in, using common sense and dry wit, Brandon realizes that Taylor doesn’t just love their family—he’s desperate to be part of it. And just like that, Brandon wants Taylor to be part of his future.

Review

Overall, I really enjoyed this light hearted romance about veteran who comes home from war, this great found family, and a younger hero in pursuit.

The romance was really sweet and hot. I loved watching Taylor come to trust and love Brandon and the close circle of friends of a delight.

However, there were a lot of rough edges in terms of really exploring Taylor’s childhood, why there was a grudge at all for his past behaviors, Brandon’s jerky at first act and a lack of a more fully developed HEA.

Overall, a nice read.

Manny Makes Three by Sean Ashcroft Review

   Manny Makes Three by Sean Ashcroft 3 Stars! 

Single father Mark doesn’t have enough hours in the day to both take care of his son, Dylan, and work his stressful marketing job by himself. Facing the prospect of having to leave Dylan with his aunt over the summer break, he realises that what he needs is a nanny.

Thankfully, Mannies Inc. have just the right guy for the job. Josh is qualified, good with kids, and more or less a human ray of sunshine. His resumé speaks for itself, and when he and Dylan hit it off, Mark knows he’s the perfect person to hire.

Mark’s never thought of himself as attracted to other men, but Josh is so warm and kind and good to him, not to mention amazing with Dylan. He finds himself drawn to the other man in a way he’s never experienced before, but he’s been alone for so long that he can’t bring himself to care. So what if he’s suddenly attracted to a man?

Josh is also struggling with his attraction to Mark, a man who represents everything he wants in life–stability, companionship, and a family of his own. He knows better than to believe that Mark would want him like that, but it’s so easy to dream…

Both men have already been hurt by love, but can they open their hearts again before their doubts tear them apart? Or will their worlds prove to be too different for them to be together?

 

Review

This is a super sweet romance between widower and his manny.

Mark is a great guy and so is Josh. Well, Josh is epically wonderful and kind.

It is lovely story that is thoughtful about grief and employer/employee relationships.

It could have been as thoughtful about bisexuality but it is a lovely light read overall.

Grounded by Aidan Wayne Review

     Grounded by Aidan Wayne 3.5 Stars!

Between raising his daughter Camille, his work as a full-time pastry chef, and his hobby of capoeira, Baz’s life is pretty full. He may be a little lonely, but he’s too busy to think about it all that much.

When his cousin Alaina introduces him to Terry, another capoeira student, Baz is instantly drawn to him. Though quiet and withdrawn, Terry ends up being a fun, interesting person who Baz can’t help but fall for. And when Baz does things, he doesn’t do them halfway.

Terry is a successful voice actor and a talented martial artist. But the fact that he’s shy, on top of being a trans man, has kept him from really dating. He likes Baz, he does—he just doesn’t want to mess up their friendship by failing at romance. Still, Baz is nothing if not stubborn, and Terry is willing to give things a try.

Review

I liked everything that was in this book but to make this romance really sing I need much more to make an emotionial investment.

I like the slow unspooling of Terry’s character. I enjoyed the details of how Baz’s manages single fatherhood and the scenes with his daughter. The details of each hero’s job were were well done. I like how sexual desire and romantic affection is handled.

I like Baz and Terry and their courtship and relationship.

However, so much floated in this story that I couldn’t engage. Setting needed much more developed. Baz’s sexuality isn’t really discussed as well as many aspects of his back story. A great deal about Terry is shadowed as well. We don’t get much martial arts really either.

So, it is sweet and gentle romance with great everyday details but I needed more emotionial intimacy.

Spun! (The Shamwell Tales, #4) by J.L. Merrow Review

     Spun! (The Shamwell Tales)  by J.L. Merrow 3 Stars!

An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory — just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.

Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?

Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want — or their love could be over before it’s even begun.

Review

I like a great deal about this book but it ends before we get a fully developed relationship. I wanted to see Rory and David as a couple and in love. They just basically start really being together when the books ends and it was frustrating.

Rory is a great guy. I love that he has shared custody and the underlying discussion of gendered childrearing. His sexuality could be better discussed between him and David for richer emotionial intimacy.

David is wonderful as well if we take him for his actions in this book. We might need a bit more self reflection as he grows up and gets what he really needs here. I like his interactions with his mom around love.

The circle of friends and the setting is great. Even though most of these books have had problems for me, I like this world and wouldn’t mind reading more but with more couple time and longer romance time.

Winter Knight by L. Valko Review

  Winter Knight by L. Valko 3 Stars!

fter three years living as a rich man’s toy, Micah Zaine is on his own again and struggling to salvage both his career and a shattered sense of self-worth. Accepting a position as a substitute kindergarten teacher seems like an excellent start, until he develops a crush on a student’s father.

Two years after the death of his beloved wife, Jacob Lournigran’s life revolves around work and raising his young son—a social life is nowhere in the picture. Until his meddling sister extends a holiday dinner invitation to his son’s handsome kindergarten teacher.

Spending time with Micah makes Jacob wonder if a friend could be just what he needs to start rebuilding his broken heart. And when financial difficulties and an angry ex put Micah in distress, Jacob has all the makings of a knight in shining armor.

Except Jacob is straight, and Micah is no damsel.

Review

This is a slow burn with Micah who is starting over after leaving an affair with a married man and Jacob whose is still grieving for his wife while raising his child.

Jacob is likely demisexual but the novella doesn’t talk about it much. This is mainly a book about falling in love, healing, and a bit of fairy tale love makes everything okay.

Caught! (The Shamwell Tales, #1) by J.L. Merrow Review

      Caught! (Shamwell Tales Book 1) by J.L. Merrow 4 Stars!

Behind Robert Emeny’s cheerfully eccentric exterior lies a young heart battered and bruised by his past. He’s taken a job in a village primary school to make a fresh start, and love isn’t part of his plans. But then he’s knocked for six—literally—by a chance encounter with the uncle of two of his pupils.

Sean Grant works in pest control, lives on a council estate, and rides a motorbike. Robert is an ex–public schoolboy from a posh family who drives a classic car. On the face of it, they shouldn’t have anything in common. Yet Robert can’t resist Sean’s roguish grin, and passion sparks between them even after an excruciatingly embarrassing first date.

Too bad the past Robert’s hiding from is about to come looking for him. His increasingly ludicrous efforts to keep his secrets are pushing Sean away—but telling the truth could make Sean leave him for good.

Review

I tend to like JL Merrow’s books a great deal because the books are funny, human and very British.

This book had some rough patches for me but I liked Sean and Robert as well as the village romance so much that I glided over those.

The attraction, sheer I really like you, and sexual tension between Robert and Sean is lovely. They are both great people-though Sean is a bit more so as he is more open. The bowtie stuff is hot. lol I love me some nerd and a man who appreciate.

The class difference is well explored as is the discussion of bisexuality. Robert runs scared because of what happened to him and this causes several lack of communication and trust issues. This might be realistic but the events could have still happen and Robert had take the risk to confide and really it would have been a better romance because the relationship would have deepened. More interesting to me.

I love all the small village stuff and all the other characters. I am thrilled to spend more time with this couple in the series.

Who We Are (Bear, Otter, and the Kid #2) by T.J. Klune 4 Star Review

Who We Are (Bear, Otter, and the Kid Chronicles Book 2)  by T.J. Klune

Bear, Otter, and the Kid survived last summer with their hearts and souls intact. They’ve moved into the Green Monstrosity, and Bear is finally able to admit his love for the man who saved him from himself.

But that’s not the end of their story. How could it be?

The boys find that life doesn’t stop just because they got their happily ever after. There’s still the custody battle for the Kid. The return of Otter’s parents. A first trip to a gay bar. The Kid goes to therapy, and Mrs. Paquinn decides that Bigfoot is real. Anna and Creed do… well, whatever it is Anna and Creed do. There are newfound jealousies, the return of old enemies, bad poetry, and misanthropic seagulls. And through it all, Bear struggles to understand his mother’s abandonment of him and his brother, only to delve deeper into their shared past. What he finds there will alter their lives forever and help him realize what it’ll take to become who they’re supposed to be.

Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are.

Review

If you loved or even just liked the first book in the series, this one is a must read.

I think it is much better actually as you get all the charm, funny, and drama of the first with the wonderful characters without the lack of communication and freak outs.

There will be crying and Bear and Otter can’t seem to escape the awful coming but there is a lot of sweet and Bear is much more of a grown man here.

I think the secondary romance could have been way more developed and the mystery never was a mystery to me but all in all it is very good ride

Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan Review

  Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan 4 Stars!!

Kevin Morrison had it all. A house he worked hard for, a loving wife, and three beautiful children. But it wasn’t until his marriage ended that he realized what the void he’d felt almost all his life meant. Coming out as a gay man at thirty-six is not an easy feat, but he is determined to be true to his heart. Meeting a man who shares his values, and is good with his children would be a bonus, but when the guy arrives in a uniquely wrapped package, and has very specific handling instructions, Kevin needs to decide if he’s up for that kind of love.

Obsessed with order and symmetry, and a paralyzing fear of germs, Cedric Haughton-Disley has lived with isolation and loneliness as long as he can remember. Desperate to be normal, he makes some much-needed changes in his life. If he can commit to his treatment, he might very well be able to procure some quality of life… even if that’s all he can get, as finding love and having a relationship are only possible in Cedric’s wildest dreams. But when a chance encounter leaves Cedric wishing for more, he decides to take a leap of faith, and pursue the guy he wants.

Together the two men make an unlikely match. Cedric needs organization, and Kevin represents chaos. In order to stay together they both need to compromise, but will they be able to deal with Cedric’s issues and the potential disaster, or let it break them apart?

Review

This is a tremendously good book.

At the center of its goodness is the weaving in of topics that don’t often get discussed in romance novels but should. Realistic sex with differing sex drives or interfering issues. The impact of anti depressants which are needed to manage chemical imbalance but play havoc with your sex life.

This is a romance book and like life the sexy times are still hot as hell but they are in context of having other factors and how we manage and don’t mange them.

As over the top as this book is, in terms of Cedric’s wealth and Kevin’s wonderfulness, at the heart of that fantasy is a compelling look at intimacy, trust, and vunerabilty.

Kevin, while he doesn’t have OCD, brings his own complications to the relationship with Cedric. Cedric has to figure out how to be Kevin’s safe place as well.

This is a moving and intimate romance with compelling conflicts, great secondary characters and wonderful love story.

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.