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Empty Net (Scoring Chances Book 4) Avon Gale 4.5 Star Review!

Review:

Empty Net - Avon Gale

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

 

Review

This is by far the darkest book of the series so far but this love story really shows off what an amazing storyteller Avon Gale is.

 

She takes the villain from the last book in the series Laurents and pairs him with the beloved scrappy Drake in an truely stellar enemies to lovers romance with a healing journey for all.

 

This book delves into the darkness of what happens when someone is exposed to systematic abuse and what it means to love someone enough to stand by as they heal.

Laurents is awful for a reason. However, he chooses to become aware and change and risk loving someone. He gets therapy. I can’t tell you how much I celebrate when a character gets professionial help in a book showing others the way. He works at his recovery from an eating disorder and self care from his abusive childhood and young adulthood.

 

His demisexuality is gently explored. He becomes his better self and a wonderful partner for Issac. I love the dating scenes.

 

Issac is so much a great emotionally brave character and sexy as hell (Lauren is broodingly hot). Issac just shines and finding romantic love and the love of an adopted father makes him even more compelling.

 

He falls in love but doesn’t try to solve Laurents problems. He is a partner.

 

I really adored their romance as always the hockey and the secondary characters and the pondering for friendship.

 

The books ends with a happily ever after that includes doing the right things for yourself as well as others.

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Sex Ed by Z.B. Heller Review

    Sex Ed by Z.B. Heller 4 Stars!!

Jaxson Dane is harboring a secret.

Not the fact that he’s a geeky comic book lover, or that he secretly draws his own comic, Bunny Fu Ninja Warrior. It’s not even classified information that he’s out and proud!

His secret is the shame that he’s a twenty-three-year-old virgin.
Jaxson isn’t waiting for marriage or even afraid of taking that step, he just hasn’t found the one guy who will accept all of his adorkable qualities. Due to an unfortunate mishap with a self-pleasuring apparatus and his favorite appendage, Jaxson meets
Tyler Mason. The emerald-green-eyed nurse is a witness to the mortifying incident, leaving Jaxon both grateful and disappointed in their one-time meeting.

And then Tyler somehow shows up at Jaxon’s family dinner. The very dinner at which Jaxson’s hidden virginity is revealed to everyone, including the captivating nurse.

Even though he secretly found the ER situation hilarious, Tyler is also able to look past it to see Jaxson’s genuine nature and is drawn to the charming and hapless comic book artist. He’s tempted to pursue the inexperienced Jaxson, but a recent and life-altering decision puts a damper on his wants and desires. However, the more time they spent together, the more willing he is to take the risk of juggling his new commitments and winning Jaxon’s affections.

A large, insane, and meddlesome family, two prying co-workers, and a sexy nurse are all trying to give Jaxson a crash course in Sex Ed. Will he pass?

Review

 really loves this romantic comedy. I smiled and laugh and read the best lines out loud.

It is adorable and sweet and zany. A bit over the top, yes, but super fun and light with characters that although they feel kooky also feel real.

I had no idea when I picked this up the ZB Heller had already told the Mom and Dad love story and the Uncles as well. I didn’t need those to enjoy this one but I will be picking them up.

Jaxson and Tyler are pretty normal in the vortex of the crazy that is Jaxson foul mouthed, oversharing, sex positive, very loving family.

Tyler just is really into Jaxson and its grand. Who wouldn’t be into this super smart sexy geek? He holds his own by electing to raise his nephew and being really witty,

Jaxson is everything. I love the virgin hero trope and the accident prone trope and I love why Jaxson is still a virgin He is super witty too.

There is a late in the book conflict that lasts a bit too long and I could use more Tyler and Jaxson time in relation to the wonderful secondary characters but overall this is a real charmer of a book.

There is great quote about comedy that opens the book and I think Heller does a great job of letting the situations be funny and the emotion be real.

Good stuff! Can’t wait for more!

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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