depression

Aftermath by E. Davies Review

  Aftermath by E. Davies 3,5 Stars!

I’m off the market for a few months.”

Santa Barbara fire chief Jace Williams has found rock bottom. Suspended from work while a fatality is investigated, unable to escape dreams about that day, distant from his family, he has nowhere to turn for consolation. He just got the divorce judgement from his cheating husband, but he’ll only be a single man in six months’ time, thanks to California law. How did his perfect, organized life turn into this disaster?

“You boys make each other happy.”

As messy and spontaneous as Jace is tidy, Charles Bryan comes across as carefree, which is why he instantly dislikes Jace. A former self-harmer, he still needs the adrenaline rush of hang-gliding, so he teaches it and practices as a hobby, in between visiting his aging father. His dad keeps asking when he’ll bring back Justin, his ex… and he’s never had the heart to tell him he dumped the abusive bastard years ago. But it’s easy to hide a lot with a smile, and he follows a whim into reserved Jace’s arms.

“Against the odds, I like you.”

Despite their clashing personalities, they have a lot in common under the surface. Planning a wedding together gives them both something to do… and someone to tease. When Charlie’s dislike of strings and Jace’s reluctance to commit until the divorce is finalized give way to growing affection, neither of them know what to do. They didn’t expect to find the one at the best, yet worst, possible time. Is this what real love feels like?

 

Review

This is an opposites attract romance between two men who have been closed off in different ways. It is a lovely story in which they can’t seem to help falling in love with each other.

Jace is going through a painful divorce. Charlie is dealing with his ill parent.

They both have jobs which define them and they find each other and comfort each other and banter and heal.

Good stuff! I hope there is more in this series.

Afterglow by E. Davies Review

    Afterglow by E. Davies 3.5 Stars!

Chris Black, a firefighter in Santa Barbara, is finally out and trying to make up for lost time. He has no trouble finding men, but their first dates end behind his bedroom door. Nobody sticks around except his ex, who leaves him feeling rotten after every booty call. Being passed over for a promotion thanks to his loud mouth is another blow. Most of all, it’s coming home to an empty house that’s wearing down his optimistic spirits. Answering a cry for help sends him straight to the side of a man who’s his opposite, but everything he wants.

“No more me. Good.”

The last glimmer of hope for Ash’s future vanished when he came home to find his now-ex, drugs, and four guys in their living room. With nobody by his side, in a hotel room in the small hours, the fog of depression lifts and pushes Ash into action at last. Standing on the balcony railing, he sees a glimpse of freedom and takes a step toward it. Seconds later, his body and spirit broken, Ash is pretty sure he’s died after all when he sees a gorgeous stranger fighting to keep him alive.

“I’m safer on the ground.”

When Ash falls through his porch on the way home from the hospital, Chris can’t resist offering his guest room. Ash will get the help he needs to adjust to his new limits, and Chris will get a friend, even if he wants more. The close quarters push them both to realize life is brighter and more fleeting than they knew. Each man faces danger from within and outside. Can they make it through the flames to fall in love?

 

Review

Ash is in a very bad emotionial state when Chris meets him. Even though, it seems like a horrible idea to get involved with him, Chris offers him a place to stay and they fall in love despite being really different people.

I enjoyed this ‘I love you as you are” romance. There are parts that are rushed over for the kind of character exploration I like best but I liked Chris’s sunny honesty and Ash’s willingness to let him in.

Afterburn by E. Davies Review

   Afterburn by E. Davies 3.5 Stars! 

Santa Barbara firefighter Liam Knight is in hot water for showing up late after chasing yet another pretty guy into bed. It’s just an accident—Liam’s never let hookups get in the way of work before. He only agrees to therapy to keep the chief happy. When he bumps into a pretty guy working in the craft store below his apartment, Dylan seems like the perfect thing to relieve Liam’s stress… until he catches Liam’s interest and protective instinct, not just his eye.

“I’m not good enough for him.”

The only thing Dylan Waters needs less than the distraction of love is the alternative medicine his mother wants to foist him into. He’s juggling part-time jobs at a therapy office and craft store while attending college to become an art therapist. Worse, he’s about to transfer to a huge campus, but his childhood left him afraid of crowds. When hunky firefighter Liam blusters into his PTSD knitting support group, Dylan spots the familiar signs of a man hiding from his past, but he can’t stop thinking about him.

“It was nothing. I thought I was over it.”

It’s more than fleeting attraction between them, but Dylan’s stubborn fear of help and Liam’s low self-esteem are a deadly combination. When it all goes up in smoke, they only have themselves to blame. Can Liam get to Dylan in time to save him and the one relationship that could make him believe in love?

Reviews

I was a little reluctant to start this series at it seemed a little darker in terms of the characters’ issues, however, this book and others turned out to be uplifting tales about loving each other imperfections and struggles and all.

Liam is a firefighter who isn’t doing well well but doesn’t really know it. I like how the book deals with the hypersexual aspect of PTSD and how for once the hero gets therapy.

Dylan has his own struggles with panic. They meet and starting dating and it is a lovely journey in a great setting in Santa Barbara.

Brandon Mills Versus the V-Card by Lisa Henry and JA Rock 4.5 Star Review

 Brandon Mills Versus the V-Card (Prescott College Book 2)

4.5 Stars!

Smart, shy Prescott sophomore Brandon Mills is working hard to overcome his troubled past and be normal. With the help of his friends Mark and Deacon, and his brothers at Phi Sigma Kappa, he’s slowly coming out of his shell. But when he accidentally drenches a freshman in orange soda, he faces something he’s not ready for: a boy crushing on him.

Alex Kekoa pledges Phi Sig because it has everything he wants: a house full of nerds who won’t tease him for being smart, a dog, and Brandon Mills. Brandon is just the type of guy Alex needs to help fulfill his college ambition: losing his virginity. Except Alex doesn’t know that Brandon can’t stand to touch or be touched.

When Alex and Brandon are drafted onto the Phi Sig Academic Challenge team, their mutual attraction grows. If there’s anyone who can help Brandon discover it feels good to touch and kiss, maybe it’s klutzy Alex with his cute glasses and his dinosaur obsession. But as the competition–and their relationship–heats up, Alex’s determination not to die a virgin clashes with Brandon’s vow of lifelong celibacy, forcing them to examine what’s truly important to each of them about love.

Review

This is a great book and a great romance. Brandon and Alex are lovely.

Brandon struggles to integrate the abuse of his past, who he is now, and his sexuality.

Alex just shines. He is very young and watching him learn the complexities of love is grand. It is a great new adult love story.

I adore all the super nerdy moments as well as the funny college stuff.

I really loved the circle of friends and the family elements as well.

Light and shadow are all at play here it is a well written, sexy and thoughtful book.

Drawn In (The Family Jules, #1) by Sean Ashcroft Review

     Drawn In (The Family Jules Book 1) by Sean Ashcroft 3 Stars! 

Owen Jules isn’t gay, and the last thing he expects is to get married to his childhood best friend. But when he moves back to his hometown after losing his wife, he finds Jude sick and at risk of dying, all because his medical insurance was cancelled.

Between wanting to help Jude out and wanting to get custody of his daughter back, Owen takes the plunge into a fake marriage, hoping to solve everyone’s problems at once.

As Jude begins to recover and the two of them settle into married life, Owen starts to get a little toocomfortable with being married to his best friend. Owen begins to wonder if he missed out on a lot by getting married for the first time when he was eighteen–including the chance to explore his sexuality.

Jude seems like a safe person to experiment with, but will that put Owen’s little patchwork family at risk? And what happens when outside forces challenge their newfound stability?

Can Owen and Jude find a way to be happy and raise Kalya together?

Review

While I enjoyed this friends to lovers marriage of convenience romance, there are places that needed a great deal more development.

Owen and Jude make a great couple. And putting them in the intimacy of marriage is lovely to watch. However, we don’t get enough detail on Owen’s previous marriage or a thoughtful discussion of his sexuality. And this lack weakens the overall book.

What we do get is a great family setting, sweet romance and a critique of the sad state of the health care system.

Play It Again, Charlie by R. Cooper 4 Star Review

      Play It Again, Charlie by R. Cooper  by R. Cooper 4 Stars!

After an accident left him broken in body and spirit, Charlie Howard retired from the police force to teach at a community college. Life has taught him that he’s unlikely to get what he wants, so he’s stopped asking. Instead, he hides from the world in the apartment complex he manages. After all, no one can leave him if he doesn’t let anyone in.

Will, a sexy, classic-film-loving twink, moves into the apartment across from him and—to Charlie’s surprise—makes it clear that he’d like nothing more than to hole up with Charlie and get kinky. Will has no problem expressing what he wants in bed or out of it, but he’s never dated anyone long-term, and Charlie isn’t sure Will’s ready for anything serious.

Charlie is a serious kind of guy. He wants Will and everything a relationship could mean, even if he doesn’t have any experience in that scene—even if that makes him vulnerable. As they grow closer, Charlie realizes that it’s time to start asking for what he wants, and if he wants to be happy, he’ll have to risk everything and ask Will to stay.

Review

This is a tender and hot romance between a gruff older Criminal Justice Professor and a young hair stylist.

It is an opposites attract romance between Charlie and Will, neither of whom are great at talking or letting themselves be fully scene. At the end of the book, Charlie’s lack of sharing is frustrating but because there are all kinds of levels of intimacy (the heat factor is much higher here than in most Cooper books), the struggle to articulate and risk on these heroes part feels more natural.

I think the love between them is a healing love and I liked the slow flowering. The end of the story was a bit of a mess but we get an HEA that satisfies. They fully see each other.

Falling by Suki Fleet 4 Star Review

Review:

Falling - Suki Fleet

Josh’s idea of a romance is curling up alone and reading a novel with a happily ever after. He’s made his flat a safe haven where the walls are covered with beautiful words and his living room ceiling is a map of the universe.

Angus may be shy and inexperienced, but he’s incapable of hiding anything, especially his attraction to his older neighbor.

When Josh admits to Angus that he’s gay, he doesn’t expect Angus’s reaction. Angus’s obvious interest terrifies Josh. For years he’s managed to keep the world at arm’s length and avoid getting too close to anyone. Well, anyone except Eleanor, Angus’s mother, who helped Josh rebuild his life after he was hospitalized for depression. But Josh still thinks he’s broken. His past has left scars he thinks are too deep to heal. Despite Josh’s defenses, Angus begins to mean more to him than just the cute boy next door. If Josh can take a risk and let someone into his isolated world, he might have a chance for a real-life happy ending.

Review

 

A really lovely romance that deals tenderly with depression while simply making it a part of the Josh and not defining him.

You got to love Angus who goes after what he wants. 

A great friends to lovers romance with all the right touches. Complex secondary characters, excellent pacing, and an abiding love between the heroes.

So good!

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1618327/falling-by-suki-fleet-4-star-review

#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.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1622036/first-impressions-second-chances-by-heidi-belleau-review

Short Stay (Love Lessons, #3.5) by Heidi Cullinan 4 Star Review

Review:

Short Stay (Love Lessons) - Heidi Cullinan

Hot messes have a hard time with happily ever after.

 

Baz Acker and Elijah Prince have it all. They’re engaged, and their wedding is guaranteed to be a spectacle no event will ever top. So why are they hunkered down in a quiet corner of the Acker mansion, restless and edgy while they wait out the holidays?

 

When Baz suggests a road trip with Walter and Kelly to Las Vegas, it sounds like an ideal escape, but it turns out Vegas only amplifies their unease. Elijah can’t slough off the self-hating his parents programmed into him, and he worries how that will affect his marriage. Baz, crippled en route because of too much time spent in the car without rest, must face the truth that his wealth and influence can’t always counteract the limits his disability will put on his–and Elijah’s–life.

 

With help from their friends, a wily poker player, a take-no-prisoners drag queen, and a smooth-talking casino owner, they face the truth that happiness is a state of mind, not a destination where they book a stay. What happens in Vegas won’t stay in Vegas–it will follow them all the way down the aisle.

 

Review

 

At first I was reluctant to read this short story with Baz and Elijah because I wanted no more drama for them.

I am glad I did. This is a wonderful New Year’s Eve romance that puts all the whipped cream and cherries on their happily ever after.

They struggle through self esteem, chronic pain, and lack of communication issues but they learn how to be a unit. 

There are ton of easter eggs in here for Cullian’s other series.

It is a great big romantic time.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1599416/short-stay-love-lessons-3-5-by-heidi-cullinan-4-star-review

Arrows Through Archer by Nash Summers Review

   Arrows Through Archer by Nash Summers 3.5 Stars

fter the loss of his parents, Archer Hart is consumed by grief. Each day, he struggles his way through classes, parties, and trying to put on a good front for the sake of his best friend. But at night, he falls asleep to the sound of gunshots ringing in his ears.

Mallory is a man fighting a war of emotions all his own. When his son invites his best friend back home to Banff over a college break, he’s happy for the company.

Some time during the late-night talks, subtle smiles, and long, long silences, the two men begin to find solace in one another.

Review

This was on odd book for me. I liked as much about it as I didn’t. Archer and Mallory are both sympathetic characters but as they are both taciturn, it is hard to get to know them.

I like the way the book is divided into half with a realistic separation of the characters in the middle and a change in point of view. I can feel the love for each other and they way grief is processed is powerful.

However, lots of details just flutter out there. Archer’s brother makes little sense or at least we don’t get to understand him nor Archer’s money situation. We barely get to see his parents nor really know what he looks like.

Mallory is less mysterious but even in his point of view his past and emotionial life are a bit blurred.

So, I enjoyed it as the writing itself was compelling but it could have been much better.