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#First Impressions #Second Chances by Heidi Belleau Review

Review:

#First Impressions #Second Chances - Heidi Belleau

Jonah Gilchrist lives a double life. On the internet, he’s a fashion-blogging Tumblr celebrity. In the real world, though, being an awkward gay virgin isn’t as cute and endearing as it is online — it’s a target on his back. After years of being bullied, Jonah’s determined to start afresh at college, but it’s hard to remake yourself when you’re sharing classes with your ill-fated junior high crush.

Sebastian Rose, with his easy-going manner and great sense of humor, was one of the most popular guys in junior high. He was also one of Jonah’s only defenders. Too bad Jonah knows Sebastian’s kindness was only pity.

Bumping into each other after all these years makes it seem like the universe itself wants Jonah to have a second chance at his first love. But how can he ever hope to reinvent himself when Sebastian’s presence pulls him further into his past? Then again, maybe moving forward doesn’t have to mean leaving the best part of your past behind.

 

Review

 

I liked a lot about this book. I loved that Sebastian wasn’t this perfectly turned out hero and that he was Jonah’s crush I thought the social media stuff was fun.

However, Jonah wasn’t very self reflective until the very end and didn’t get much of an arc (and he needed one). 

It was a sweet fast read.

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Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Star Review

    Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Bend or Break Book 6)  by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Stars!

When friends lose the benefits, can the friendship be saved?

Love Me Like A Rock

With the right art tools, there’s almost nothing Austin can’t make real. Except an official relationship with his best friend, rowing teammate and occasional hookup, Vinnie.

Emotional and sexual frustration fuel a spark between Austin and Sean, the nude model in drawing class. After a quick and very dirty encounter, all the reasons Austin has been waiting for Vinnie go fuzzy in his mind.

But if Austin can’t get his head and his heart on the same page, he could lose both his friend, and his lover.

Hard Candy

Vincent always assumed he and Austin would eventually end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with Bryan, a dance major, Vinnie is drawn to his vibrant spirit and calm center.

Physically, the rowing jock and the glittery dancer can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

 

Review

This is a lovely pairing of a romance.

We get two best friends Austin and Vinnie who are not good romantic partners for each other. They each find love that helps them grow and become their richer selves.

I enjoyed Austin and Sean romance a great deal. I do wish that we had been in Sean’s head. He was a great character I loved how he went after his crush on Austin. This is a wonderful coming of age story for Austin where he learns to love and be loved. Sexy too with lots of fun moments.

Vinnie and Bryan’s romance is a bit more moody. As they come together to trust as well as like each other the tenderness of the romance comes in. There is an intersting discussion of sexual desire that I wish had more page time but overall I was really happy with this queer New Adult Romance.

The overlap and braid of the two love stories makes this book special.

Without a Compass by Helen Juliet Review

   Without a Compass by Helen Juliet 3 Stars! 

Riley Anderson isn’t an outdoorsy guy. He’s a desk jockey, office by day and couch by night. So when his family insists on a camping trip for his father’s 50th birthday he’s hardly thrilled. Things only get worse when Kai shows up, too.

Kai Brandt’s more than eager to go camping with his best buddy, but his buddy’s little brother Riley is all grown up now, and hotter than hell. Kai’s willing to help him pitch more than just a tent… Which is weird, because Kai never swung that way before.

Events conspire to out Riley’s secret AND leave him stranded in Kai’s care for longer than they’d planned for. Trapped together in the wilderness, they’re going to have to face a few hard truths if they’re going to make it back to the world.

But even if they manage it, the experience will leave them forever changed.

Review 

Juliet writes really sweet romance with kind characters and engaging love stories at the center.

Riley is a wonderful person who fights hard to be himself and there for his family. Kai is a big strong affable guy who takes life as it comes.

We get camping in the English countryside, some uncomplicated villains and stuck outside romance.

Good stuff if the end is a bit rushed.

Ten in the Bin by N.R. Walker 4 Star Review

Review:

Ten in the Bin - N.R. Walker

A short story, approx. 12.5K words. 

Heartbroken, Dean Cartwright leaves Sydney and heads home, to the coastal town of Newcastle. In a bid to make new friends, he signs up for a local rugby league team where he meets a man known as Macca.

Dean and Macca are both front row forwards, meaning they’re the biggest guys on the team. Over six feet tall and over a hundred kilos each, they’re a force to be reckoned with on the field.

But when Dean gets knocked out, Macca gets even by punching the other guy, and both Dean and Macca end up on the sideline. 

Dean soon realizes that being knocked unconscious is the best thing to ever happen to him.

Story is set in Australia, and uses Australian English

 

Review

 

What is not to love? I have rugby and ginger hero with a crush? 

This is a sweet and sexy romance about two guys who play rugby together and find love. No angst and all joy. I really loved it.

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Wedding Favors (Bluewater Bay, #7) by Anne Tenino Review

Review:

Wedding Favors (Bluewater Bay) (Volume 7) - Anne Tenino

Lucas Wilder’s best friend is a traitor. First, Audrey moved back to their hick-infested hometown, Bluewater Bay, and now she’s marrying a local. His own brother, in fact. And as her man of honor, Lucas gets coerced into returning for an extended stay. Although, between his unfaithful ex-boyfriend and his artist’s block, going home isn’t the worst thing that could happen. Even if the best man is Gabriel Savage, Lucas’s first crush, first hookup, and first heartbreak.

The only reason Gabe hasn’t been waiting for Lucas to return to Bluewater Bay is because he never thought it’d happen. Not that it matters now that Lucas is back—Gabe’s still a logger who’s never been anywhere (Canada doesn’t count), and Lucas is now a famous sculptor who’s been everywhere twice. Plus, there’s that shared past.

When Audrey asks Lucas to make her wedding favors, the only place to set up a kiln is at Gabe’s tree farm. Soon, they pick up where they left off twelve years before, then blow past it, discovering why neither of them forgot the other. Now they have to choose how much of their history they’ll repeat, and what future they’ll make together.

 

Review

 

I wanted to read about Gabe and Lucas because of reading Seth’s romance in a later book in the series. 

Seth is Gabe’s hook up here. Gabe treats him pretty badly in this book. 

While the sex scene are hot here and I like the professions of the two heros as well as the settings and side characters, I never really like them. 

They didn’t communicate well with each other or themselves in the past and they don’t know.

It is irrupting. LOL. And they are still fairly not great with other people. Lucas is a bit socially awkward and internal but Ternino doesn’t quite pull off these character traits for me to make up for when he is a jerk and Gabe is callous about everyone but Lucas and then thinks he knows what is best for everyone. Not attractive. 

The parts of the book where Gabe and Lucas are attuned (in bed mostly) are great but the rest is neh to grrrr,

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The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You, #3) by Renae Kaye Review

Review:

The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You Book 3) - Renae Kaye

 

Aaron Hall has never been able to remain faithful to a single woman, and for most of his life, he’s dated two women at once. Recently his girlfriend tracked him down and knocked on his door—and his live-in girlfriend answered. Now he has no girlfriend and a mortgage he can’t pay by himself.

Vinnie Rosello needs to change his life—get a better job, stop drinking all his money away, find himself a serious boyfriend… and move out of his parents’ house. Aaron needs help with his expenses, so they become housemates.

Even though Aaron harbors some misconceptions about gay men and Vinnie misses his large Italian family, both men find comfort in their friendship. It’s a good arrangement until everything between them changes.

Vinnie falls in love with Aaron, and Aaron is shocked to realize he feels the same. There’s only one problem—he’s still straight. He’ll have to overcome his fear of labels in order to love the man who’s captured his heart.

 

Review

I have lots of conflicting feelings about this one. There are a number of pros.

 

We get to seeing Jay and Liam who are in the first book in this series and who I adore. They are wonderful here. The whole circle of friends are great.

 

Vinnie’s family is wonderful and it is a great look at a non traditional family from a child of one’s perspective. I love how much a part of his family Vinnie is and who much they love him.

 

Aaron has a great family as well though we see less of them and he is a all around great guy.

 

The banter, friendship and love between Vinnie and Aaron is great. Christmas is very well done. 

 

Rene Kaye is thinking a lot about the spectrum of sexualities in this book Aaron though slowing in love with Vinnie and sexaully attracted to him identifies as straight. He is not attract to any other men but Vinnie and is attracted to women from porn to really life.

Vinnie is a gold star gay having never been with a woman or been interested.

 

Part of this romance is achey because Vinnie just makes himself so vulnerable as he flat out loves Aaron and will take what he can get. As you can imagine, it takes Aaron a while to get his head around where he is at with Vinnie.

 

I believe in their HEA (though I am a bit confused but something in the epilogue though I think it just means they married and had a child way down the road) and this speaks to good writing on Kaye’s part.

 

But like the first book in the series, I wanted a little more. I wanted more exploration of Aaron’s habit of dating two women at the same time beyond a high sex drive or if that was it, I wanted more time devoted to talking about it than we get.

 

I wanted more thinking inside the book on the range of sexualities and more time with them after they become an out couple.

 

I read that there was a lot of grrrrrr about this book and author antics. I can see why. If I didn’t like the first book in the series so much, I wouldn’t have picked it up and wouldn’t advice anyone to do so without having read the other books. 

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Te quiero (Falling for You #1) by Suki Fleet Review

    Te Quiero (Falling for You Book 1) by Suki Fleet 3.5 Stars! 

When Ally discovers dozens of naked photos of him have been posted online, he’s devastated and tries to contain the situation, hoping it doesn’t get worse. Only problem is his laptop has died, and Levi Francis—the guy Ally knows doesn’t like him—sees Ally acting suspiciously on the computers in the University’s Physics lab. Ally’s day can’t get much worse.

But after Levi accidentally drops a love letter written in Spanish, Ally returns it and finds his assumptions about Levi are turned upside down. Betrayed and hurt by his ex, Ally knows it’s the worst possible time to start trusting someone, but there’s something about shy, glittery Levi that gets under his skin.

Review

This a sweet romance. It is perfect for a Christmas time snuggle. A little New Adult crush during college holiday break. There is a serious undertone dealing with revenge porn. It is handled nicely.

The romance between Ally and Levi is well done. I wish we had a few more chapters but s pleasure overall.

Infamous (Famous, #2) by Jenny Holiday 4.5 Star Review!

   Infamous by Jenny Holiday 4.5 Stars!

All that up-and-coming musician Jesse Jamison has ever wanted is to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. When a gossip website nearly catches him kissing someone who isn’t his famous girlfriend—and also isn’t a girl—he considers the near miss a wake-up call. There’s a lot riding on his image as the super-straight rocker, and if he wants to realize his dreams, he’ll need to toe the line. Luckily, he’s into women too. Problem solved.

After a decade pretending to be his ex’s roommate, pediatrician Hunter Wyatt is done hiding. He might not know how to date in the Grindr world, how to make friends in a strange city, or whether his new job in Toronto is a mistake. But he does know that no one is worth the closet. Not even the world’s sexiest rock star.

As Jesse’s charity work at Hunter’s hospital brings the two closer together, a bromance develops. Soon, Hunter is all Jesse can think about. But when it comes down to a choice between Hunter and his career, he’s not sure he’s brave enough to follow his heart.

Review

nfamous is a great friends to lovers romance with all the pleasure of the Rock Star theme as well.

Jenny Holiday hits all the right notes with this touching romance about Jesse, the rock star, and Hunter, the doctor.

Watching them become such close friends while crushing on each other is a joy. I love how Hunter’s life as a doctor is shown to be as complex and important (maybe more in some ways) than Jesse’s famous job as a singer and songwriter.

Jesse makes a choice early in this book not be out as bisexual in exchange for getting the agent he wants/needs to make his band successful. He also fears being out in terms of the damage it might due to his ability to make a living in music. Hunter won’t be with another closeted man.

The conflicts is realistic as is the way there two men fall more and more in love until something has to give.

It is a slow burn romance with a number of compelling elements outside the romance.

I just loved Hunter and Jesse and the connection they had.

I am not sure that the last flash of drama was needed or that Jesse wouldn’t have told Hunter that he was bi and the agreement he had made with his agent and that kept it from being a 5 Star read for me but every other moment made this a shining gem of a love story.

Can’t wait for more in the series!

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

Chase the Sun (Free Fall #2) by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn 4 Star Review

Review:

Chase the Sun - Nyrae Dawn, Christina  Lee

Jamie Tolland has only ever known his small Oregon town. Same job, same friends, same gay bar. He feels obligated to stay, especially as his mother’s illness progresses. But when a situation presents itself in the form of a vintage sports car, he jumps on the chance to not only repair it, but also drive it to its new owner in LA.

Conner Murphy left Oregon years ago to make his life in West Hollywood. Like his unconventional parents, he’s always been a free spirit, never settling on one job or girl for too long. When he inherits his late uncle’s classic Chevelle, he’s more than happy to let his childhood friend Jamie help.

Jamie and Conner are as different as night and day. Even after years of living apart, they still have a blast together—but now it’s mixed with an undeniable spark of attraction. Before they know it, they can’t keep their hands off each other. For Conner it’s all new and exciting, but Jamie isn’t the type of guy who takes this sort of intimacy lightly.

Conner soon realizes that Jamie quenches something deep inside of him that no one has before, but he doesn’t know how to handle a real relationship. As Jamie’s time in LA comes to an end, and the more they struggle to get on the same page about their feelings, the more Jamie realizes that trying to tie Conner down is as futile as capturing the sun.

 

Review

 

Watching Conner and Jamie fall in a love is a joy. They were friends as kids and while Conner has never been with a man he has always had an open sexuality. 

Jamie leaves his small town and gets to experience LA. This book is a little love note to Los Angles which is always a treat because it is a great unrated city. 

Conner is open hearted and kind and sunny but he has layers and complexities. The family lives of our heroes add textures to this love story as do the circle of friends. 

Then, we get s pretty sweet romantic gesture to send us on your HEA way.

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Diva and the Frat Boy (Men of Holsum College, #2) by Daisy Harris Review

Review:

Diva and the Frat Boy - Daisy Harris

Nathaniel Reece is savvy and fierce and wouldn’t give boring-ass Greg Sanders the time of day, except Greg is the president of a fraternity Nathaniel wants to join. But once Nathaniel gets a taste of the ferocity under Greg’s cool exterior, he can’t stop himself from trying to lure the uptight frat brother out of his shell. The face of gay life on campus and a crusader heading off to law school, Greg doesn’t see any problem with seducing the flamboyant and exciting Nathaniel. But that’s before he finds out his fraternity brothers are refusing Nathaniel’s pledge bid. Greg’s athletic and masculine and has never had to deal with the censure of his friends or the odd looks of strangers, but if he’s going to be what Nathaniel needs, he’ll have to be comfortable not just being out, but also standing out.

 

Review

I like much of this romance. I love that Greg, the more conservative hero, has a big ole crush on Nathaniel. I like that they are both out and have come to terms with who they are. 

We don’t get as much character development as I would like. Greg is particularly sketched with sparse details of family or his basketball life. His journey is around the kinds of homophobia within the gay community and his role in being a bystander in too many situations. He has some movement on these issues but it would have been a richer book if there was more. 

The main conflict is the kind of opposites attract and privilege that comes from being straight passing but there are racial and class tensions that are really not fully explored. 

Nathaniel has his own journey and while we do know more about him in terms of family and other issues, we could know much more.

I believe they like each other but deep love needs a bit more than this book gives. There is a forever and forever declaration to all of these books that needs to be more earned but it was a nice read none the less and I liked these characters through out the whole series, all of which but Hunter’s book, I bought.

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