Disabled Hero

The Arrangement by Felice Stevens Review

     The Arrangement by Felice Stevens 3 Stars!

Carter Haywood lives for the weekends—specifically the one weekend every month when he escapes real life, with all the pressures of work and caring for his special needs brother, to do whatever he wants, with whomever he wants. Sex is only a release; he’s not looking for love, a relationship or even a second night with the same man, until he walks into a bar and finds someone who makes leaving it all behind impossible. After one incredibly passionate encounter, he breaks his rule and goes back. He needs to see this man again. And again.

Damaged goods. That’s all Reed Kincaide sees and hears when he looks in the mirror. Anxiety and ADHD define his life and he’s learned to keep people at a distance, never letting them get close enough to know who he really is. When Carter proposes a monthly weekend of sex without strings, it’s the ideal arrangement for him. Or so he thinks. Every month, leaving Carter proves to be more and more difficult. It’s not only the intensely hot sex they have in their hotel suite; Reed wonders about the secret life Carter refuses to share.

As months pass and they grow closer Reed finds himself falling for Carter, but he needs more than hurried hugs and farewell kisses. He wants it all. Letting Reed into his carefully constructed family life could upset Carter’s whole world, but it might be the risk he’s finally willing to take, if it means keeping Reed. Once bodies are engaged, the heart is sure to follow, and Carter and Reed discover that holding on to each other is the first step in letting go of the past.

Review

I liked each of these characters but the idea so common in Romance novels that one of the heroes can’t even give a hint at what is happening in his home life with his brother is tiring.

Why does it have to be a secret? So, for me the main conflict of this book is too drawn out and it would have been a richer love story if we got more time with them as couple living their lives.

They are both complex enough people that conflict could come from who they are and adjusting to being a family.

Getting Him Back (Ethan & Wyatt, #1) by K.A. Mitchell Review

   Getting Him Back (Ethan & Wyatt) by K.A. Mitchell 3 Stars!

Ethan may have followed his high school sweetheart to college only to get dumped his first day there, but he’s not going to let that stop him from exploring all his new life has to offer. Sex-only hookups, his photography, new friends and a campus-wide game of zombies vs humans all help keep his mind off his broken heart and move him toward building a new, better life without his ex.

And then there’s Wyatt. Mysterious, grouchy—hot. And possibly not gay. But Ethan’s not going to let that stand in the way of figuring out what makes Wyatt tick. New college goal? Get Wyatt into bed and into Ethan’s life.

Step one: arrange a “tutoring” date. Step two: “accidentally” bump into Wyatt as often as possible. Step three: explore the sexy body under that ever-present hoodie. And when their friendship deepens into something neither of them expect, convince Wyatt he’s not just a pity fling or a one-time hookup, but that Ethan is in it for the long haul.

 

Review

Hmm.

I like Wyatt a lot. I like the premise of following your boyfriend to college only to get dumped.
There is some college like stuff that is fun. I like the romance when it is happening. I enjoyed Ethan’s coming into self awareness and growing up.

There is a lot of stuff that is just not great though. This is a three part series with the same couple. It would have been much better as one book. Also, while the college stuff is handled nicely the overall setting is generic. Ethan’s ex is made too simple and what happen not really resolved. And too much insta love.

Sooo, I will read this writer again but likely not the rest of the books in this series.

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.

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.

Tender Mercies (Men of Lancaster County, #2) by Eli Easton 4 Star Review!

Tender Mercies (Men of Lancaster County Book 2) by Eli Easton 4 Stars! 

Eddie Graber’s dream of a sanctuary for rescued farm animals was about to come true when his partner backed out at the last minute. Now Eddie risks losing the twenty-five acre property in Lancaster County—and all the hopes he held for it—before the project even gets off the ground. He needs help, he needs money, but most importantly, he needs to rediscover the belief in a higher purpose that brought him here in the first place.

Samuel Miller worked hard to fit into his Amish community despite his clubfoot. But when his father learns Samuel is gay, he is whipped and shunned. With just a few hundred dollars to his name, Samuel responds to an ad for a farmhand and finds himself employed by a city guy who has strange ideas about animals, no clue how to run his small farm, and a gentle heart.

Samuel isn’t the only lost soul to serendipitously find his way to Meadow Lake Farm. There’s Fred and Ginger, two cows who’d been living in a garage, a gang of sheep, and a little black pig named Benny who might be the key to life, love, money—and even a happily ever after for two castoffs.

Review

I was so excited for this book that I read it on the day it came out. And it lived up to my expectations.

This is a quiet sweet book about Samuel and Eddie. The heroes comes from very different walks of life and show each other a better way to be.

The love story between them is tender and wonderful. There are all sorts of curves snd detail that make this book great. It is a low angst book about series subjects. The animals, farm, setting and dialogue are great.

I do wish Samuel had gotten a little more time in coming terms with his faith and deeply changed way of life and an epilogue of greater length would have make me happy but this is a really wonderful romance.

I liked it even better than the first one in the series and can’t wait for the next one!

Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan Review

  Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan 4 Stars!!

Kevin Morrison had it all. A house he worked hard for, a loving wife, and three beautiful children. But it wasn’t until his marriage ended that he realized what the void he’d felt almost all his life meant. Coming out as a gay man at thirty-six is not an easy feat, but he is determined to be true to his heart. Meeting a man who shares his values, and is good with his children would be a bonus, but when the guy arrives in a uniquely wrapped package, and has very specific handling instructions, Kevin needs to decide if he’s up for that kind of love.

Obsessed with order and symmetry, and a paralyzing fear of germs, Cedric Haughton-Disley has lived with isolation and loneliness as long as he can remember. Desperate to be normal, he makes some much-needed changes in his life. If he can commit to his treatment, he might very well be able to procure some quality of life… even if that’s all he can get, as finding love and having a relationship are only possible in Cedric’s wildest dreams. But when a chance encounter leaves Cedric wishing for more, he decides to take a leap of faith, and pursue the guy he wants.

Together the two men make an unlikely match. Cedric needs organization, and Kevin represents chaos. In order to stay together they both need to compromise, but will they be able to deal with Cedric’s issues and the potential disaster, or let it break them apart?

Review

This is a tremendously good book.

At the center of its goodness is the weaving in of topics that don’t often get discussed in romance novels but should. Realistic sex with differing sex drives or interfering issues. The impact of anti depressants which are needed to manage chemical imbalance but play havoc with your sex life.

This is a romance book and like life the sexy times are still hot as hell but they are in context of having other factors and how we manage and don’t mange them.

As over the top as this book is, in terms of Cedric’s wealth and Kevin’s wonderfulness, at the heart of that fantasy is a compelling look at intimacy, trust, and vunerabilty.

Kevin, while he doesn’t have OCD, brings his own complications to the relationship with Cedric. Cedric has to figure out how to be Kevin’s safe place as well.

This is a moving and intimate romance with compelling conflicts, great secondary characters and wonderful love story.

Dance With Me (Dancing, #1) by Heidi Cullinan 4 Star Review

Review:

Dance With Me - Heidi Cullinan

Sometimes life requires a partner.

Ed Maurer has bounced back, more or less, from the neck injury that permanently benched his semipro football career. He hates his soul-killing office job, but he loves volunteering at a local community center. The only fly in his ointment is the dance instructor, Laurie Parker, who can’t seem to stay out of his way.

Laurie was once one of the most celebrated ballet dancers in the world, but now he volunteers at Halcyon Center to avoid his society mother’s machinations. It would be a perfect escape, except for the oaf of a football player cutting him glares from across the room.

When Laurie has a ballroom dancing emergency and Ed stands in as his partner, their perceptions of each other turn upside down. Dancing leads to friendship, being friends leads to becoming lovers, but most important of all, their partnership shows them how to heal the pain of their pasts. Because with every turn across the floor, Ed and Laurie realize the only escape from their personal demons is to keep dancing—together.

 

Review

 

This book hovers between 3 Stars and 4 Stars for me but keeps sneaking back up to a 4 Star read.

This book does a relationship really well.

Laurie and Ed have a lot of stuff they need to work out in their own heads and yet they are able to make a wonderful space for each other to have a loving relationship while they heal and grown as individuals. This dynamic makes for a very good romance.

The cover is amazing as is all the dancing in the book. The thinking about failure and self and career is engaging. Ed’s struggle with his new identity as a disable person is powerful. There is a really moving scene about life goals that is so tender and wonderful example of seeing oneself through the eyes of love.

What makes the book less successful isn’t the love story but some dangling threads and just some weirdness.

We get hints that Laurie struggles with sex (its messiness for example but other things as well) and this doesn’t really get addressed or worked through in a way that would be up to the rest of the work Instead, we get a very out of character moment with another couple (not cheating) and really its has an eww factor (on several levels) that really knocked me out of the book. I am not sure why this scene survived the editing of the book.

The Mom stuff Laurie has going on as well as the Dad stuff and business partner stuff is left a mess and maybe it just stays a mess but it felt unfinished.

There other little irritants like that that keep the book from being flat out wonderful.

However, I am glad I read it and enjoyed it overall.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1577820/dance-with-me-dancing-1-by-heidi-cullinan-review

Loving Jay (Loving You, #1) by Renae Kaye 4 Star Review

Review:

Loving Jay - Renae Kaye

One thing Liam Turner knows for sure is that he’s not gay—after all, his father makes it very clear he’ll allow no son of his to be gay. And Liam believes it, until a chance meeting with James “Jay” Bell turns Liam’s world upside-down. Jay is vivacious and unabashedly gay—from the tips of his bleached hair to the ends of his polished nails. With a flair for fashion, overreaction, and an inability to cork his verbal diarrhea, Liam believes drama queen Jay must have a screw loose.

An accident as a teenager left Liam with a limp and a fear of driving. He can’t play football anymore either, and that makes him feel like less of a man. But that’s no reason to question his sexuality… unless the accident broke something else inside him. When being with Jay causes Liam’s protective instincts to emerge, Liam starts to believe all he knew in life had been a convenient excuse to stay hidden. From intolerance to confrontations, Liam must learn to overcome his fears—and his father—before he can accept his sexuality and truly love Jay.

 

Review

 

Like most readers of the this book, I adore Jay. I end up adoring Liam as well.

Jay is kind, loud, hyper, and loving, Liam is kind, steady, mellow, and loving.

They are super sexy together. I love that they crush on each other.

Jay’s wonderful embrace of all he is makes the book joyful.

Liam struggle with all he is in teeth grinding at first. Not because of his internal conflict but because of the way its written. Its tedious, doubles back, and unthoughtful while trying to be thoughtful about sexuality. I get the feeling Liam is homo romantic on the asexual spectrum perhaps demisexual since his long crush and watching of Jay has bonded him. However, Liam (who is very bright) never does any research into his sexuality. Instead, we get this gay not gay don’t want to be gay, I am gay, I love Jay loop. Which again I don’t hate because of what is doing so much as the way it is written.

In this book and a later one in the series, Liam talks elegant about outwardly accepting a label that doesn’t really fit and its well done but the first several chapters of this book are not on this issue.

However, the rest of the book is great. Sexy, charming, tender, fun. Everything you would want.

Jay and his car and his family rock. Liam is such a quiet badass with his own great friends and family.

Together, wow. Power couple. Adore.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1577541/loving-jay-loving-you-1-by-renae-kaye-review

Rescued by an Alien by Amanda Milo Review

Rescued by an Alien  by Amanda Milo 3.5 Stars! 

ZADEON
When my human mate was auctioned, she was sold to a savage lot of aliens.
I rescued her body from her tormentors.
But her mind…
She is hurt.
She’s afraid I will abandon her; but I’ve been waiting all my life for my mate.
I am not going to walk away. I’m going to help her heal.
And I will help her fight for us.

Review

I really enjoyed this book. I read it an afternoon and was happy as can be. It had dark topics as the heroine didn’t escape being abducted by slavers as a sexual object without horrors.

I like that she didn’t. I like the time in takes here to work through the issues (what she can) I like that everyone knows she needs therapy and they do the best that can for her (don’t want to spoil). I like that not all reaction to her trauma are supportive.

I like the heroine very much and the hero is great.

However, you have to have read the first book to really understand what is happening in this book in terms of culture, events, and even what the hero looks like.

The camera lens needed a bit pulling back. But the other book is a sweeter on the run type alien romance so you should read that too.