dreamspinner

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.

Nothing Special by Jay Northcote Review

   Nothing Special by Jay Northcote 3 Stars!

Noah thinks he’s nothing special. Average height, a bit on the skinny side, and cute but rather geeky, he’s relentlessly ordinary. He certainly doesn’t expect to be noticed by Sol, the gorgeous dark-haired stranger Noah sees on his commute home most days. But when Noah’s friend, Dom, persuades Noah to take a huge risk in a bid to get Sol’s attention, things turn out better than Noah dared to hope. Noah and Sol start dating, and much to Noah’s surprise, his feelings seem to be reciprocated.

But Noah’s insecurities make him doubt Sol. He doesn’t believe he’s interesting enough or sexy enough to hold Sol’s attention, and as Sol tries to get closer, Noah’s instinct is to pull away to protect himself. If their relationship is going to survive, Sol needs to convince Noah that he sees Noah very differently than Noah sees himself. Because to Sol, Noah is something very special indeed.

Review

This is sweet wish fulfillment where the hero gets is daily commute crush. They fall in love fast–too fast for the kind of character development that would make this a better romance and there could be a higher heat level but I enjoyed this story.

Out! (The Shamwell Tales #3) by J.L. Merrow Review

Review:

Out! (The Shamwell Tales) - J.L. Merrow

Mark Nugent has spent his life in the closet — at least, the small portion of it he hasn’t spent in the office. Determined to make amends to his neglected teenage daughter from a failed marriage, Mark swears off work — and love — so he can give her a stable home environment. But Mark’s resolve to keep his heart under wraps is tested when he meets an out and proud young man he’s instantly drawn to.

Patrick Owen is a charity worker with strong principles. He doesn’t trust easily, but he’s blown away by his attraction for the older man who’s so new to his own sexuality. Yet Mark is adamant he’s not coming out to his daughter — and Patrick refuses to live a lie.

What with Mark’s old-fashioned attitudes and his flirtatious ex-colleague who’s determined to come between them, Patrick begins to wonder if they’ll ever be on the same page. And when Mark’s career as a tax advisor clashes with Patrick’s social conscience, sparks really start to fly — in all the wrong ways.

 

Review

I liked this romance between with older man with a very grumpy teenager and a young man.

 

The most intersting part of me, aside of the setting and the cast of characters in the series which I like very much, was the aspect of the story that dealt with what it meant to be queer and coming of age in different decades. This conflict between the heroes was meaningful and compelling.

 

There is a lot of fun and dashing around and push and pull.

 

It make me happier this book need to be longer. I wanted much more couple time after Mark and Patrick were all sorted out and really together. I wanted to see them in a full on relationship to earn the I love you.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1588870/out-the-shamwell-tales-3-by-j-l-merrow-review

Winter Ball (Winter Ball #1) by Amy Lane Review

   Winter Ball by Amy Lane 4 Stars!!

Through a miserable adolescence and a lonely adulthood, Skipper Keith has dreamed of nothing but family. The closest he gets is the rec league soccer team he coaches after work—and his star player and best friend, Richie Scoggins.

One brisk night in late October, a postpractice convo in Richie’s car turns into a sexual encounter neither of them expected—nor want to forget. Soon Skip and Richie are living for the weekends and their winter league soccer games—and the games they enjoy off the field. Through broken noses, holiday decorating, and the killer flu, they learn more about each other than they ever dreamed possible. Every new discovery takes them further beyond the boundaries of the soccer field and into the infinite possibilities of the best relationship of Skipper’s life.

Skipper can’t dream of a better family than Richie—but Richie’s got real family entanglements he can’t shake off. Skipper needs to convince Richie to stay with him beyond winter ball so the relationship they started on the field might become their happy future in real life!

Review

Awwww.

I love a friends to lovers romance. This is a wonderful one between Richie and Skip. These two heroes have both had really not satisfying romantic relationships in their past with women. The premise here is that because of their backgrounds (less educated with less resources exposing them to a wider point of view and language to think about things) and the hyper masculinity and homophobia of their home cultures, it didn’t occur to them that they were gay–that their sexuality was not heterosexual.

It is an intersting premise which I struggle to match to my own set of truths and feel classism at work here, I thought for these characters the idea worked. Especially for Richie who had so much to lose if he even let in the glimmer of the thought that he might not be straight.

Richie and Skip have been falling in love for years and here we get to see it move into romantic and sexual., They also both need comfort and home.

The soccer bits are great as is the circle of friends. Richie and Skip do a wonderful job communicating inside and outside of the bedroom and it is lovely.

Body imagine is discussed in compelling ways as Skio use to be overweight and Richie is a short man. It is a very loving book where the villains get what they have coming but there is a realism too,

I bought the next book right away and hope there is a third or more in this series.

Don’t Twunk With My Heart (Loving You, #2) by Renae Kaye

Review:

Don't Twunk With My Heart (Loving You Book 2) - Renae Kaye

Kee Smith isn’t sure who he is anymore. He knows who he used to be—the ignored gay son who chose a blue-collar job just because no one expected it, the submissive bottom who enjoyed large, masculine jocks who put him in his place, the sleek, fashionable twink who partied all night. But after his ex-boyfriend hit Kee and called him names, Kee retired from the social scene.

Back after a year’s hiatus, Kee still doesn’t know where he fits. His friends say he’s a twunk—a twink who put on muscle and turned into a hunk—but Kee is searching for somewhere to belong. Instead of going back to his usual type, Kee hooks up with twink Tate Stevens—a fashion-industry professional who works the image hard. It proves to be the best decision he’s ever made, and not just because he’s starting to regain his sexual confidence.

With Tate, Kee can open up about his fears and confusion without ridicule. Tate has his own fears about putting on weight and getting old. It will take work to make a relationship of opposites succeed, but they begin to realize the compromises will be worth it if they can be together.

 

Review

 

This is an interesting and enjoyable romance. I picked it up because I love Jay from the first book in the series and knew he would show up in here. He did and he is wonderful. 

This couple is the kind that accidentally fall in love. They aren’t really each other’s types until they are. They don’t have much in common until they do. It is lovely.

The dancing and friend scenes are the best.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1581821/don-t-twunk-with-my-heart-loving-you-2-by-renae-kaye

One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea 4 Star Review

Review:

One Small Thing - Piper Vaughn O'Shea, Finn Sterling

Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.

Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny—and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.

Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.

 

Review

 

I loved this feel good romance with hidden depths. I adored the premise.

 

Rue is a wonderful hero. He works hard and loves his baby. He is fun and loving. This is book is a compelling look at single parenthood particularly with an infant.

 

I like romance novels that balance family life and friendship with the love story. One Small Thing does this well.

 

Erik is a great hero too who blooms as he falls in love and friendship.

 

I love the nerd aspect and the becoming friends and then lovers as well as the acceptance of each hero exactly how he is.

 

I wanted more time after they got together and after the first major couple crisis I honestly wanted more sexy times as well but what I got was very good and I know I will see more of this family in the next book in the series.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1588858/one-small-thing-kindle-edition-by-piper-vaughn-and-m-j-o-shea-review

The Last Guy Breathing (The Guy, #3) by Skylar M. Cates Review

Review:

The Last Guy Breathing (The Guy Series) - Skylar M. Cates

Henry Clueley doesn’t want to be in Glamour, not after moving far away to overcome a difficult, if privileged, childhood. He’s no longer that pudgy kid desperate to escape his hometown, but it still holds painful memories. When his recently widowed mother needs him, however, “dependable Henry” does the right thing—even if it means leaving the IRS to take a boring corporate position. Things don’t stay boring for long. Soon Henry helps the local sheriff’s department unravel a crime. Posing as half of a fake couple seems like a fun idea… until Henry learns he already knows the deputy playing his other half.

Deputy Locke may be new to the Glamour Sheriff’s Department, but he’s fought his way up in the world and is determined to make a good impression. He keeps his private life quiet, even from his beloved younger brother. Locke knows better than most the need to protect what’s his.

Henry resents the arrogant, gorgeous cop, and Locke thinks Henry is sheltered and spoiled. Their secret and steamy encounter only adds to the animosity. As they join forces, Henry thinks a relationship with Locke would be catastrophic, but the white-hot passion between them makes it hard to resist.

 

Review

 

I am very much enjoying this series. We Met Henry in earlier books and it is nice to see him get his happily ever after.

Locke is a bit of a jerk. He stays pretty locked down and judgemental for a bit too long. Henry also assumes too much.

But the pretend romance is fun and the lack of drama around it turning into more is nice. I like watching Henry become more of who he is and Locke taking emotionial risks.

A nice read.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1616251/the-last-guy-breathing-the-guy-3-by-skylar-m-cates-review

Hot Head (Head #1) by Damon Suede 4 Star Review!

Review:

Hot Head (Head #1) - Damon Suede

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…

Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish.

Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do… until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty. And Dante wants them to appear there—together. Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?

 

Review

 

It is easy to see why this is such a popular romance novel. It has everything. Friends to Lovers, firefighters, ginger hero, hot sexy times, great dialogue, wonderful setting, connection to important history…

 

It is a bit over the top but it is a also grand and passionate and loving. There are several plot turns and some how it remains believable because of the loving connection between our heroes.

 

There are things I wanted more of because we were only in Griff’s head and Dante didn’t even really talk about his feelings until the end. I love the end of this book and hope some of the secondary characters get a story.

 

Good hot stuff!

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1612166/hot-head-head-1-by-damon-suede-4-star-review

Redesigning Max (Foothills Pride #2) by Pat Henshaw Review

    Redesigning Max (Foothills Pride Stories Book 2) by Pat Henshaw 2 Stars

Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene’s Outdoors, hires Fredi to revamp his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Fredi is an out-and-proud Metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes he remodels, and Max is just too hunky for words.

When Max comes on to Fredi, the designer can’t imagine why. But he’s game to put a little spice into Max’s life, even if it’s just in the colors and fixtures he’ll use to turn Max’s dilapidated cabin into a showplace. Who can blame a guy for adding a little sensual pleasure as he retools Max’s life visually?

Max, for his part, is grateful when Fredi takes him in hand, both metaphorically and literally. Coming out is the most exciting and wonderful time in his life, despite the conservative former friends who think they’re saving him from sliding into hell.

Review

This is my second time trying this writer and like the first time, this book didn’t work for me, It isn’t awful and I like the basic writing but it is too shallow and doesn’t do the work needed to make it a love story to believe in.

Again, I like the heroes. Max has inherited wealth for outdoor rec stores and some hidden talents, Fredi is at the top of his profession (a little young for that but okay).

Max had realized he is gay and pursues Fredi. This is very sweet and up front. And again if the characters where developed and the story driven by the characters it would be a good book. I like the slow burn dating. I like the Fredi protects himself. There is cool stuff in both books about recording and reporting hate crimes.

Max and Fredi both have awful pasts and we don’t really get to see that. We are told that.

Again the love scene are off page and this hurts the development of the connection between them and the love story.

Then there is crazy homophobia that is resolved but takes up the place of better character work. And then saccharine stuff that isn’t earned.

So. Not great.

 

PS The “droopy mustache” on Max…ewww.

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!