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Learning to Feel by N.R. Walker Review

  Learning to Feel by N.R. Walker 4 Stars!  (Free) 

Resigned to living a sexless, loveless life, Doctor Nathan Tierney knows something is missing. In a rash decision, he leaves his life-consuming job at Mass General Hospital, Boston, to be the small-town doctor in Belfast, Maine.

With the job comes a house, and with the house comes a handyman-painter. Trent Jamieson, a nomadic artist, and his dog Bentley, are offered free accommodation for the few weeks he fixes up the hospital-owned house.

Nathan is transfixed by this free-spirited, undeniably gorgeous man. Confused but amazed to feel any kind of attraction – much less to a man – Nathan convinces himself to put aside any preconceived ideas, and allows himself to just feel.

As their attraction for each other grows, one man learns to live, the other learns to love. But just who is teaching who?

Review

I have read several NR Walker romances and I have liked them all but I like this one the best so far.

It is free and fan fiction. I am clueless enough to have no idea what it is fan fiction of, however. I guess it is seriously rewritten Twillight fan fiction. I don’t care. lol

I like this book the best because the love story feels complete as well as character growth and development.

Nathan feeling of sexual desire for the first time is compelling. As a doctor, I do think he would have done more research beyond libido and into the ACE spectrum than he did. I would have liked this discussed in the book as well for a richer story but it is well handled. His opening up to some other lifestyle changes is less well handled but the basic plot overcomes these issues.

Trent is a great mix of the tortured and sunny hero. His love of art is moving. The couple time is so good.

The dog rocks as does Nathan’s family and the small town hospital setting.

This is such a kind romance and its sexy too.

All Note Long by Annabeth Albert 5 Star Review!

   All Note Long by Annabeth Albert 5 Stars! 

Michelin Moses is a country music star on the rise. With a hit single under his Texas-sized belt buckle and a sold-out concert tour underway, his childhood dreams of making it big are finally coming true. But there’s one thing missing—a promise to his dying mother that he’d find it—him—when the time was right. With a little luck, he won’t have to wait too long . . .

Lucky Ramirez is a hunky boy toy who dances at The Broom Closet, one of West Hollywood’s hottest gay bars. He loves what he does, and he’s good at it—almost as good as he is at playing dumb when he spots Michelin Moses at the bar. What happens next is off the charts—and keeps Michelin coming back for more. He’s just not sure it’s the right move for his career. But if Lucky gets his way, Michelin will get Lucky—and no matter how the media spins it, neither of them will be faking it . . .

Review

M and Lucky. What is not to like?

They are both wonderful, talented, kind, loyal, sexy as hell heroes.

We get a fun pretend relationship trope that is so well managed by the writer with bringing all the joy of this theme with none of its pitfalls.

The work toward equity in this relationship is a joy to see as is M coming to terms with balancing his personality and being out as a famous person.

I love how Lucky recognizes M’s needs and attends to them and how M comes to be a wonderful partner.

Albert writes this romance layer by lovely layer. We get every sexy, sweet, real and hopeful thing fro this love story.

Wallflower by Heidi Belleau Review

 Wallflower (Rear Entrance Video Book 2) by Heidi Belleau

4 Stars! 

This gamer geek has a pretty little secret.

Art student and MMORPG addict Robert Ng has always been a loner, but he’s recently made it his goal to make more (IRL) friends. Which is how he winds up working nights at Rear Entrance Video, shilling sketchy porn and blowup dolls as a favor to his roommate. The longer he works there, though, the more he realizes he’ll never be truly happy until he becomes the person he is online: his female persona, Bobby.

Bobby is cuter and funnier than Rob is, and a thousand times more popular with boys. Becoming Bobby IRL presents its own set of challenges, though . . . especially when you’re sitting on the fence between two genders, only one of which has caught the attention of your seriously cute customer/classmate.

Dylan Ford is a six-foot Inuit comic book artist who always says what’s on his mind, and screw anyone who doesn’t like it. As rough as he appears, though, Dylan has a soft spot for Rob. But will out-and-proud Dylan still want Rob if he’s not all man?

Review

This was a angsty New Adult Romance where we along with both heroes are trying to figure out exactly what is going on in terms of gender identity.

The heroes are great and though this book looks carefully at a range of “issues” from indigenous adoption, asian immigration, sex shops, gender binaries, art, these discussions are well woven into the fabric of the characters lives.

Dylan is charming and charing. Bobby/Rob is more snarky and guarded but comes into his own.

This is a very New Adult Romance so I am not sure how long the Happily will last but I am glad they found each other.

Playing with Fire by Avery Cockburn Review

  Playing With Fire (Glasgow Lads Book 3) by Avery Cockburn 4 Stars! 

Robert McKenzie has a secret. As the only straight player on an all-LGBT soccer team, he’s known to fans as “McWhataWaste.” No one would guess Robert’s actually bisexual. At twenty-one, on the verge of a brilliant career in video game design, he’s finally ready to be his true self. The only thing keeping him in the closet is…his gay best friend?

Liam Carroll has a problem. His gorgeous pal and teammate wants to kiss him and touch him and…everything with him. But for how long? With Robert embarking on a bright future—far from their rough-and-tumble East End streets—Liam may soon be left behind. He can’t risk falling in love with a man he can’t live without. His solution? Keep things casual, “see what happens.”

Aye, right. After a single camping trip, the bridge back to mere friendship is well and truly burned. Now Robert wants more than sex, but diehard cynic Liam won’t drop the barriers around his heart. These two tough center-backs must find a way forward as lovers, or their lifelong bond—the heart of the Warriors team—will rupture for good.

Review

There is so much achey goodness in this book.

A rich friends to lovers romance that contends with biphobia, making a life together, and hope.

All the conflicts hurt a little because they are true and real.

While I am not always thrilled with Liam’s thoughts or action, he grows and risks a lot and his romantic gestures are the bomb.

Robert is wonderful and how he decided to make things work real seals the loveliness of this story.

A great cast, a great setting, and great writing!

Strong Signal by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell Review

Strong Signal (Cyberlove Book 1) by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell 4 Stars! 

I was counting down the months until the end of my deployment. My days were spent working on military vehicles, and I spent my nights playing video games that would distract me until I could leave Staff Sergeant Garrett Reid behind.

That was when I met him: Kai Bannon, a fellow gamer with a famous stream channel.

I never expected to become fixated on someone who’d initially been a rival. And I’d never expected someone who oozed charm to notice me—a guy known for his brutal honesty and scowl. I hadn’t planned for our online friendship to turn into something that kept me up at night—hours of chatting evolving into filthy webcam sessions.

But it did. And now I can’t stop thinking about him. In my mind, our real life meeting is perfect. We kiss, we fall into bed, and it’s love at first sight.

Except, like most things in my life, it doesn’t go as planned.

Review

I was charmed by this romance which takes on heavy issues of growing up in the rust belt, being queer in the army, middle eastern wars, anxiety, and panic and also thinks carefully about love connections over the internet and still manages to be sexy as hell with enduring and endearing characters.

Kai and Garrett are a wonderful pair of heroes. All the long distance and remote courting is well done and then the reconciling the demands of money, time, and mental health take this love story to the next level.

There are all sorts of intersting ideas explored from introversion to sex work but the story telling is engaging and compelling and they really earn that Happily Ever After.

I am thrilled we get to see them in more books in this series.

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!

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1597181/antisocial-by-heidi-cullinan-5-star-review

Out of Nowhere by Roan Parrish Review

 Out of Nowhere by Roan Parrish  4 Stars! 

The only thing in Colin Mulligan’s life that makes sense is taking cars apart and putting them back together. In the auto shop where he works with his father and brothers, he tries to get through the day without having a panic attack or flying into a rage. Drinking helps. So does running and lifting weights until he can hardly stand. But none of it can change the fact that he’s gay, a secret he has kept from everyone.

Rafael Guerrera has found ways to live with the past he’s ashamed of. He’s dedicated his life to social justice work and to helping youth who, like him, had very little growing up. He has no time for love. Hell, he barely has time for himself. Somehow, everything about miserable, self-destructive Colin cries out to him. But down that path lie the troubles Rafe has worked so hard to leave behind. And as their relationship intensifies, Rafe and Colin are forced to dredge up secrets that both men would prefer stay buried.

 

Review

Oh boy. Colin is a hot mess. Internalized homophobia, anger management, self harm, alcohol abuse, cruelty, clueless…

And yet I root for him anyway. I would advise Rafe against dating him (Rafe is a wonderful social justice crusader with humility and self awareness. He is sexy as hell.) but this ain’t my romance.

Roan Parrish is a wonderful writer. This book takes on issues of social justice in terms of LGTBQ kids and the prison pipeline for men of color. The setting and exploration of working class life is excellent.

I may not always like Colin but he is real. Made of a place, time and neglect. I want him to have love and healing.

I would have liked more healing to happen in the book. That man needs to get clean and to find a therapist and support group. The lack of these elements make me worry for him and Rafe long term but Colin changed and grew and settled into himself and its a really good book.

Stuff (The Bristol Collection, #2) by Josephine Myles Review

   Stuff (The Bristol Collection Book 2) by Josephine Myles  4 Stars! 

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…

 

Review

This book looks like it might be a rom com because the characters are writ fairly large and quirky as all get out but these is an ache in this book that takes it deeper.

Perry is an artist but a very passive (for the most part) person who let things happen to him and uses inaction to make choices. This is balanced against how very driven and quirky he is at the same time.

Mas is an pretty assertive person who needs much more self reflection and is young and reactive but also very clever and wise. The time with Perry gives time to grow up a bit and soften.

The lack of communication and false drama of misunderstanding hurt my enjoyment of the romance but I love the writing and the characters.

My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! (Jock #1) by Wade Kelly Review

Review:

My Roommate's a Jock? Well, Crap! - Wade Kelly

It’s easy to become cynical when life never goes your way. 

Cole Reid has been a social recluse since he was fifteen, when he was outed by his high school baseball team. Since then, his obsessive-compulsive behavior and sarcastic nature have driven away most of the population, and everyone else hates him because he’s gay. As he sees it, he’s bound to repulse any prospective friends, let alone boyfriends, so why bother? 

By the time Cole enters college, he’s become an anal-retentive loner—but it’s not a problem until his roommate graduates and the housing department assigns Ellis Montgomery to move in with Cole. Ellis is messy, gorgeous, straight, and worst of all, a jock! 

During a school year filled with frat buddies, camping expeditions, and meddling parents, Cole and Ellis develop a friendship that turns Cole’s glass-half-empty outlook on its head. There must be more to Ellis than a fun-loving jock—and maybe Cole’s reawakening libido has rekindled his hope for more than camaraderie.

 

Review

Okay. Wade Kelly is killing me a little bit. The parts of her books and this book that are good are so very good and this there is these little bits and pieces that are off putting, out of place, not resolved and as another review put it haphazard. This makes it hard to recommend her books as I know someone will want to throw them across the room and to ask for the high price of Dreamspinner books even tougher. 

I love mean witty Cole. I love his funny and his personality and even how difficult and yet assertive and brave he is. I was charmed by his nerd self.

I like sunny Ellis a great deal as well as he learns who he is and how to be with himself and Cole. His lack of communication and freak outs seem out of character and took too long. 

The cast of friends is interesting and I kind of would like them to get their own romance. MF for the super nice future pastor. The next books in the series takes place when Ellis (now well adjusted and married to Cole awwww) is coaching and teaching (cause that happens in a university so easily lol)

There is some crazy sauce that is not needed but the romance is sweet and hot overall with lots of couple time. I liked it a lot. 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1582574/my-roommate-s-a-jock-well-crap-jock-1-by-wade-kelly-review

Status Update (#gaymers, #1) by Annabeth Albert Review

     Status Update (#gaymers Book 1)  by Annabeth Albert 4 Stars! 

Adrian Gottlieb is winning at life. He’s a successful video game designer with everything a man could ask for, including a warm comfy ride to Denver and a date for his sister’s wedding. But he finds himself in need of a total reboot when he’s left stranded at a snowy campground in Utah. Holiday plans? Epic fail.

That is until Noah Walters offers him shelter for the night and a reluctant cross-country ride. Nothing about the ultraconservative geoarchaeologist should attract Adrian, but once he discovers Noah’s hidden love for video games, the two connect on a new level. Soon, a quiet but undeniable chemistry sparks.

Something doesn’t add up, though. As the miles accumulate and time runs out, Noah must face the most difficult choice of his life. Meanwhile, Adrian must decide whether he’s ready to level up. Is their relationship status worth fighting for, or has this game ended before it’s even begun?

Review

I very much enjoyed Adrain’s and Noah’s romance.

Annabeth Albert has become a reliable sources for very good books!

We have two geeky heroes, dogs, an RV, and road romance.

Each hero has a lot to contend with internally and these reckonings lead to a strong love story. Plus, they are super cute together.

I love watching Noah reconciling being devout with his sexuality. Good stuff.

A sweet (and hot) romance!