flamboyant

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.

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.

Who We Are by Nicola Haken Review

   Who We Are by Nicola Haken 3 Stars! 

Since putting his life on hold ten years ago, Oliver Clayton doesn’t know who he is anymore. To his clients at the hair salon, he’s the sassy and confident stylist. To the crowds who come to watch his drag act at the club, he’s the fierce and fabulous Miss Tique. He’s popular. Talented. Out, proud, and self-assured.

He’s also a good actor.

Sebastian Day is content with life’s easy, if not a little monotonous, routine. After several failed relationships, he likes the simplicity of being alone in his truck at his job as a heavy goods driver, spending the weekends with his teenage son, and putting the world to rights with his cat, Marv. He’s not lonely. He isn’t hiding.

At least…he doesn’t think he is until he meets the mesmerising stranger with the red hair and purple lips.

Can Oliver and Sebastian help each other embrace who they are? Or will a cruel twist of fate end their journey before it’s even begun?

Review

So much going on in this book. We have a lot of angst but a good amount of joy too.

Our heroes are both raising teenagers. My favorite parts of this book actually deal with Tyler and Scott as much as Sebastian and Oliver. And I love the cat and the besties as well.

The romance is good too as it looks at two complicated adults leading full lives falling in love. Good stuff.

Owning It (Metropolis, #3) by Riley Hart and Devon McCormack 4 Star Review!

   Owning It  by Riley Hart and Devon McCormack 4 Stars!

Just out of an eighteen-year marriage, the last thing Jackson expects the first time he visits a gay bar is for a sexy, drunk, twenty-six-year-old twink to mistakenly climb into his Jeep. The twink part he’s good with, the drunk part…not so much. As far as Jackson’s concerned, the boy should come with a warning label. But Derek is not as flighty as Jackson thought…he’s actually pretty incredible. Getting to know the wild, funny man is a breath of fresh air. And when Derek calls him Daddy? Christ, he never thought something like that would feel so right.

Derek has serious daddy issues, and his name is Jackson. He’s stubborn and controlling…and ever since Derek woke up in the silver fox’s condo, he can’t get Jackson out of his mind. Maybe because no matter how many times he throws himself at him, Jackson doesn’t take the bait. And maybe because Jackson is the one person who sees him for who he really is. But Derek loves a challenge, and he’s eager to rock Jackson’s world.

Jackson isn’t interested in a meaningless hookup. He wants the real Derek, not just the sassy jokester everyone else sees. But it’s not easy for Derek to open up. He feels much safer guarding his heart. And Jackson needs to figure out the balance between living for himself and the mountain of responsibilities weighing him down. Derek and Jackson must find the common ground between hookup and commitment–if they can’t own their issues and work together to overcome their faults, they could smother the flame between them that’s just beginning to ignite.

Review

I love this romance between the over the top Derek and Jackson.

This romance really works because they allow each other emotionial intimacy as well as physical. Both heroes are complex and engaging and the chemistry is smoking hot.

This is a funny book but it is also tender. Derek gets the love he deserves and so does Jackson.

We also get close friendships. Good stuff!

Grind (The Riley Brothers #6) by E. Davies 4 Star Review

   Grind (The Riley Brothers Book 6)by E. Davies 4 Stars!

“My family could accept me being gay, but not trans.”
James is in trouble. His family turned their back on him after he transitioned, and he was forced to start his new life without them, but now he’s paying the price. Buried in debt, his last chance is to start a business with hunky carpenter Ryan and hope that they succeed. The one thing he can’t afford is a distraction, but what if Ryan is the only one to see past it all and love him inside and out?

“Strictly-business is hard around you.”
Ryan Hart doesn’t rattle easy. From lazy contractors to being the last single friend, nothing bothers him until he meets James. Ryan’s new business partner pushes him to follow his dreams, even though he faces problems Ryan’s never considered. Ryan doesn’t back down from a challenge or from threats to his business, James’s hard-won privacy, and their future together. As business partners, of course. Nothing more.

“I can’t believe they don’t see you as the man I love.”
They both know mixing business with pleasure is a bad idea, but the pull between them is too hard to resist. Can Ryan have it all with the clever, caring, bossy guy who’s won his heart?

Review

This is my favorite book in the Riley Brothers series.

I love James. I love the reality of how hard it is to find good work. I love how he uses his talent.

I love Ryan as well. I like how open and caring he is. I like how James and Ryan are better together than they are apart.

The aspect of their relationship that intersects with transgender issues is well handled.

This is a wonderful love story.

 

Spun! (The Shamwell Tales, #4) by J.L. Merrow Review

     Spun! (The Shamwell Tales)  by J.L. Merrow 3 Stars!

An ill-advised encounter at the office party leaves David Greenlake jobless and homeless in one heady weekend. But he quickly begs work from his ex-boss and takes a room in Shamwell with easygoing postman Rory Deamer. David doesn’t mean to flirt with the recently divorced Rory — just like he doesn’t consciously decide to breathe. After all, Rory’s far too nice for him. And far too straight.

Rory finds his new lodger surprisingly fun to be with, and what’s more, David is a hit with Rory’s troubled children. But while Rory’s world may have turned upside down in the last few years, there’s one thing he’s sure of: he’s straight as a die. So he can’t be falling for David . . . can he?

Their friends and family think they know all the answers, and David’s office party hookup has his own plans for romance. Rory and David need to make up their minds and take a stand for what they really want — or their love could be over before it’s even begun.

Review

I like a great deal about this book but it ends before we get a fully developed relationship. I wanted to see Rory and David as a couple and in love. They just basically start really being together when the books ends and it was frustrating.

Rory is a great guy. I love that he has shared custody and the underlying discussion of gendered childrearing. His sexuality could be better discussed between him and David for richer emotionial intimacy.

David is wonderful as well if we take him for his actions in this book. We might need a bit more self reflection as he grows up and gets what he really needs here. I like his interactions with his mom around love.

The circle of friends and the setting is great. Even though most of these books have had problems for me, I like this world and wouldn’t mind reading more but with more couple time and longer romance time.

Turkey in the Snow by Amy Lane Review

  Turkey in the Snow by Amy Lane 3.5 Stars!

Since Hank Calder’s four-year-old niece, Josie, came to live with him, his life has been plenty dramatic, thank you, and the last thing he needs is a swishy, flaming twinkie to complicate things. But when Justin, the daycare worker at his gym, offers to do something incredibly nice for Hank—and for Josie—Hank is forced to reconsider. Justin may be flamboyant in his speech and gestures, but his heart and kindness are as rock steady and dependable as anyone, even Hank, could ask for. Can Hank trust in his dramatic “turkey in the snow” to offer his heart the joy he and Josie have never known?

Review
I am a big fan of Amy Lane’s Christmas novellas. This one is particularly sweet.

We have a common troupe of a brother left to raise his sister’s young child. I particularly like the scene where Hank is trying to just have a minute for himself but always does his best to act with kindness.

He is a jerk to Justin at first. The character development gets uneven because this feels like it is coming from not like more femme men but is really coming from having a more dramatic ex boyfriend…but it is a bit of a mess in how it is presented. Hank needed to make up for his jerkiness and be much more appreciative of Justin imo.

Justin is a ray of sunshine character but very real feeling none the less. I love child care worker leads. He is kind, self knowing, tough, and thoughtful.

A nice plot and a good love story.

Glitter on the Garland by Helen Juliet Review

    Glitter on the Garland by Helen Juliet 3 Stars!

Matt Bartlett and his family have been pulled apart in the last year by his dad’s affair and the subsequent divorce. Now Christmas is looming, and Matt and his sister are expected to play nice and share the holidays with his dad’s new family.

Lucky for Matt, his best friend Aedan Gallagher arrives on his doorstep on Christmas morning, bringing with him a much-needed blast of festive cheer and plenty of sparkle.

As they navigate Matt’s vindictive step-mother and Aedan’s own family trouble, Matt starts to realise that Aedan might be more than just a friend to him. But with everything else threatening to fall apart around them, he’s not sure if he should dare risk taki

Review

This is a nice friends to lovers Christmas romance will warm you up like a cup of hot chocolate. It is angsty in the way of young lives.

Also, the books looks at discovering your sexuality as well as the racism against Irish Travelers. The divorce between one the hero’s parents shapes the story as he moves into adulthood dealing with it.

A lovely tale in many ways.

Let It Snow (Minnesota Christmas Book 1) Heidi Cullinan Review

   Let It Snowby Heidi Cullinan 3.5 Stars! 

The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota Northwoods cabin is getting pretty hot.

Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.

Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the northwinds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.

 

Review

I had a lot of fun reading this Christmas Romance because Frankie is a delight. He is kind and funny.

Marcus worked my nerves a bit as he stays gruff and grumpy a bit too long and it takes forever for him to see clear of his cheating ex.

Frankie is big hearted and takes risks. All the snowbound fun is great and good look in to North Minnesota culture.

While, I thought Marcus’s friends were a bit over the top, I am wishing them luck with other people in love.

HeartShip by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Star Review!

   HeartShip by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Stars!

Benji never meant to catfish a hot college football player in Minnesota when he met a fellow anime fan online. But when @joshfortytwo announces he’s coming to Miami for a spontaneous visit, Benji is pretty sure the left tackle—whatever that is—expects to meet a cute girl in a bikini, not an aging twink hoping to finally get his life together when he finishes massage therapy school.

Josh doesn’t let himself wonder about questions like:
•why don’t you want to ask @princessglitter if she’s a girl?
•why don’t you tell your friends that you can’t hang on Sunday nights because you’ve got a date to watch anime with your new BFF?
•why do you call it a date?
All he knows is that he needs to escape from the stress of having been injured just before the bowl game, and @princessglitter has somehow become his best friend.

But when Josh’s secrets and Benji’s sex appeal smash together for forty-eight scorching hours, they’re going to feel the heat from Miami to Minnesota.

Review

Awwwww. I loved every minute of this all in met on line friends to lovers romance.

It is a big old snuggle of a comfort read with really great character development, loads of couple time and sweet sexy relationship to believe in.

I am so glad these heroes found each other and were all in.

A pleasure of a romance.