devout

Cherry Bomb (Mercury Rising, #2) by Samantha Kane 4.5 Star Review!

     Cherry Bomb (Mercury Rising Book 2) by Samantha Kane 4.5 Stars!

Officially, Turnstiles billionaire CEO Brian Curland is in Mercury to set up a new data center. Unofficially, he’s using this trip to re-evaluate his life, because for a man who has everything, he’s feeling pretty empty.

He could buy any car he wants. But no, he had to rent a piece-of-crap Chevy—which is now broken down on the side of the road. When he’s rescued by a sexy local, Brian does what he always does. Go for what he wants, even if it’s just temporary.

Evan Michaels stops to help because that’s what good guys do. He grew up in Mercury, eventually becoming minister of the local Unitarian church. Though everyone knows him, being gay and being in a gay relationship are two different things. He wants Brian, but their affair has to be secret or he can’t play.

When Evan unleashes his long-suppressed sexuality, Brian is more than up to handling the heat. Yet even though they fall hard for each other, it might take the whole town to convince them it’s a forever kind of love.

Warning: Contains an inexperienced minister, gay comic-book role play, dirty dancing in antebellum mansions, and some very naughty fireworks. Protective gear recommended.

Review

Dang, I really like this series! The writing is spot on on, setting and the world compelling, the characters complex and the romance hot, tender and complex.

So, I love me some clergy heroes. LOL. I enjoy them because it means they have thought carefully about and invested in the spiritual (what are we all here for) aspects of their life. Evan is just amazing. Human and loving and strong.

I like grown ups in my romance too. Brian and Evan are both grown and they talk and they acknowledge their shortcomings and the barriers to their relationship.

There wasn’t much I didn’t love about this book. I am not sure how many times I will reread it which is why it isn’t a 5 star but this is a great couple. I can’t to read the next book in the series and would really love more books after that.

Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs, #4) by L.A. Witt Review

   Covet Thy Neighbor (Tucker Springs Book 4) by L.A. Witt 3.5 Stars! 

Opposites attract, but heaven help these two.

Tattoo artist Seth Wheeler thinks he’s struck gold when Darren Romero rents the apartment across the hall. The new guy is gorgeous, witty, and single, plus he’s just the right blend of bold and flirtatious. Perfect.

Except then Darren reveals that he moved to Tucker Springs to take a job as the youth pastor at the New Light Church. Seth is not only an atheist, but was thrown out by his ultra-religious family when he came out. He tends to avoid believers, not out of judgment but out of self-preservation.

But Darren doesn’t give up easily, and he steadily chips away at Seth’s defenses. Darren is everything Seth wants in a man . . . except for that one massive detail he just can’t overlook. Is Darren’s religion the real problem, or is it just a convenient smoke screen to keep him from facing deeper fears? It’s either see the light, or risk pushing Darren away forever.

Review

 

I am really enjoying the Tucker Springs Series which are by different authors and I am a fan of LA Witt’s

Everything in this book I really like. The love story is sexy and the conflict is interestingly explored and I care for each of the heroes.

What I want more of is exploration of the clergy hero’s work life and less of annoying stuff from Seth and lusher resolve.

Good stuff all around!

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!

Take Me Home (Belladonna Ink, #2) by Lorelie Brown Review

    Take Me Home (Belladonna Ink Book 2) by Lorelie Brown 3.5 Stars! 

Thanksgiving arrives in one week and one day. Feeling hemmed in by parental expectations? Are they disappointed by your sapphic proclivities? I can help! The only pay I want is the holiday meal!

I didn’t know what I was looking for until I saw her Craigslist ad.

I love my family. I’m lucky to have them — well, most of them. But my aunt? I’m so tired of her giving my mom crap because I happen to be a lesbian. So one pink-haired tattoo artist pretending to be my girlfriend will annoy my Christian fundamentalist aunt right back and make my Thanksgiving perfect.

Only . . . Brooke turns out to be cuter and more complicated than I expected. And before you can say “yorkiepoo,” we kiss . . . and abduct a dog together. I want to keep them both — but Brooke isn’t the kind to be kept. Lucky for me, I’m the kind to chase what I want.

Review

There is a lot to love about this book. The cute meet and first date is epic. The chemistry explosive.

The heroines are funny. However, the love story stalls and ends just when I think there should at least 6 more chapters. We need more.

I love that Brooke goes to the UU church for example. It would be great that after the I love yous we got to see them as a real couple and this was an aspect of the plot. Brooke is really closed off and we are in Kayleigh’s head so I really needed more to be content in the love story. Let’s see the work life balance in action.

And so on until some other kind of HEA

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

Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North Review

   Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North 

Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.

Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.

Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.

 

Review

Filled with lovely details of setting and personality as well as the complication of family, this is is sexy sweet romance between a city boy and country boy.

I love that Jed is devout. It is wonderful to see faith woven into this book and how it figures into the plot in critical and intersting ways.

The romance is one you will root for and the happily ever after is believable and hard won.

There are lot of relationships and details that aren’t resolved or provided enough context (for example I can’t tell how old anyone is)  and detail for this book to be as rich as it could be for me but I enjoyed the central love story very much.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor? by Vanessa Gray Bartal Review

  Won’t You Be My Neighbor?  by Vanessa Gray Bartal 4 Stars!

Sullivan Evans has had it up to here with needy, pushy women. His one goal is to live a peaceful life devoid of females. So when his formerly quiet neighbor–a woman so elusive he calls her Bigfoot–begins talking to him, it can only mean one thing: she’s on the prowl.

Blair has no idea her neighbor is eligible and wary. After being jolted from her self-contained world by the death of a local recluse, she decides to change her life and reach out. First on her list: say hello to the neighbors she has never spoken to. Her only goal is to not die alone, but a freak crossing of paths will change everything.

As Sully misreads Blair’s every signal, they seem more destined to be enemies than friends. Over time, the two people who seemingly don’t need anyone else just might learn they need each other the most.

Review

I really enjoyed this book and love story. It feels like a throw back to the old Harlequin Romances.

The heroine is great. Her journey to reconnecting and working through her social anxiety is well written. We get to see what a great person she really is and all the secondary characters that come in are also special.

Our hero is a real ego manic jerk at first. Rather than annoying, it is funny. He gets peeled like and onion and his backstory is engrossing.

The friends to lovers theme is well done. Very funny and sweet (kisses only) pleasure.

Can’t wait to read more by this writer!

A Seal Upon Your Heart by Pepper Pace Review

  A Seal Upon Your Heart  by Pepper Pace 4.5 Stars!!

Jane used to have a different name, a different life—but that was before she was rescued from the refugee camp after the Rwandan genocide and brought to the convent to be raised. Now she is being dismissed, told to go out into the world. But how does she do that when all she knows is the convent?
Sometimes she wants to scream, I am a child of Africa! And sometimes she wants to dream about a love that will save her from her loneliness…but mostly she wants to fit in.

Tim Singleton lost his wife to breast cancer less than a year ago and yet the pain and anger is still fresh in his mind. He hates the sympathetic looks from his colleagues and tolerates the invitations from friends with their good intentions. When Corrine died, so did Tim’s faith…so when he received the call from the convent that his wife had focused her charitable endeavors, Tim isn’t quite sure why he agreed to help the young African girl with a job.

She didn’t quite fit in with the others at the law firm that wore thousand dollar Chanel suits while her clothes were picked with care from the donation bin at the church. At nearly six feet tall, the shy girl tried to become invisible in the hectic world around her. But if her ill-fitting clothes didn’t draw attention to her, then it was a beauty that couldn’t be hidden so easily.

Soon Jane sees Tim as not only her benefactor, but her one true love. But can Tim finally open up and allow someone else to touch his heart? Can he forget their difference in race and age? And more importantly, would being with him mean the loss of her innocence?

Review

This is the kind of book that lingers with you long after you have put it down.

It starts with seemingly trite themes that one might find in an old Mills and Boon: a much older man (a grieving widower) and a his new personal assistant (naive and convent raised).

Then, the layers build. We are in Ohio. She is black and he is white. She is a Catholic and devout and he is non religious He drinks from grief. She has PTSD. She survived the Rwandan genocide as a young child and witnessed its horrors.

It is a powerful book and a powerful romance where they don’t heal each other but themselves.

The heroine isn’t perfect. She is young and struggles to find her full and complex self. The power issues bsased on age, money, race, gender and class are sometimes so intersting handled and sometimes clumsy.  She resilient and kind.

The hero too falters and errs and then becomes more. He contradicts himself and  doesn’t always do what he knows he should

There are no cookie cutter characters here and nothing is simple. The heroine is smart and so is the hero in terms of common sense, knowledge of profession, and emotionial intelligence.  Its glorious.

Racism and sexism are a large part of this tale.

I wish the sexism of the law firm and the hero’s privilege in it (he is never the issue but while he takes on a role protector and punisher, he doesn’t attack the issue at the systematic level that would be much more satisfying) had been more closely examined.

This romance is moving and a wonderful piece of writing as usual from Pepper Pace.