Friends to Lovers

Off Campus (Bend or Break, #1) by Amy Jo Cousins Review

     Off Campus   by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Stars! 

Everyone’s got secrets. Some are just harder to hide.

With his father’s ponzi scheme assets frozen, Tom Worthington believes finishing college is impossible unless he can pay his own way. After months sleeping in his car and gypsy-cabbing for cash, he’s ready to do just that.

But his new, older-student housing comes with an unapologetically gay roommate. Tom doesn’t ask why Reese Anders has been separated from the rest of the student population. He’s just happy to be sleeping in a bed.

Reese isn’t about to share his brutal story with his gruff new roommate. You’ve seen one homophobic jock, you’ve seen ’em all. He plans to drag every twink on campus into his bed until Tom moves out. But soon it becomes clear Tom isn’t budging.

Tom isn’t going to let some late-night sex noise scare him off, especially when it’s turning him on. But he doesn’t want any drama either. He’ll keep his hands, if not his eyes, to himself. Boundaries have a way of blurring when you start sharing truths, though. And if Tom and Reese cross too many lines, they may need to find out just how far they can bend…before they break.

Review

If you like New Adult angst, you will love this book. It is New Adult in the best ways

The problems our heroes have a real ones with have to do with owning sexuality, still being tied to parents for good and bad, and healing.

This is a hot read with heroes who fall in love with each other hard.

There is a lot of pain to get through but you will root for them.

I like less drama in my love stories but I still really liked this book even though I wanted a richer HEA,

Cousins is a really good writer!

Quiet Nights (Mangrove Stories #2) by Mary Calmes Review

Review:

Quiet Nights - Mary Calmes

It’s a lovely little life Kelly Seaton leads. He’s got his own landscaping business, a nice little house, and his best friend, Cosimo Renaldi, and Coz’s goofball family who have adopted Kelly as their own. Sure, it’s a little lonely at night, but it’s a sweet deal, and Kelly can’t chance ruining it by letting on that he wants more—has always wanted more—with Coz.

Then Kelly’s past comes to town, bringing bad memories and hurt feelings that start to break Kelly down, and Coz just doesn’t understand why Kelly won’t let him be the support and strength that Kelly’s always been for him. They’ve already been through war, Coz’s devastating injury, and starting new careers in Mangrove, Florida. Why shouldn’t they face their chaotic pasts and build their future of quiet nights… together?

 

Review

 

There is a ton to like in this little novella. Its funny and charming. The family is wonderful. I like small towns and love friends to lovers.

The plot zips along and the heroes both grow and change.

What isn’t that enjoyable as I don’t really understand what held them back I don’t get to enjoy them being together. It is a bit slap dash in this way.

 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1585269/quiet-nights-mangrove-stories-2-by-mary-calmes-review

Blue Days (Mangrove Stories, #1) by Mary Calmes Review

Review:

Blue Days -  Mary Calmes

Falling for a coworker is rarely a good idea, especially for a man getting a last chance at salvaging his career. But from the moment Dwyer Knolls sees the beautiful but socially awkward Takeo Hiroyuki, he seems destined to make bad decisions.

 

Takeo’s life is a string of failed attempts to please his traditional Japanese father. Unfortunately, succeeding in business turns out to be just as difficult for Takeo as changing from gay to straight. In fact, the only thing Takeo seems to truly excel at is taking notice of Dwyer Knolls.

 

When Dwyer and Takeo head to Mangrove, Florida on a real estate buying trip, their tentative friendship combusts and becomes much more. Is their sudden connection real enough to bank their futures on, or should they chalk the whole thing up to the daze inspired by the blue ocean breeze?

 

Review

 

This is a very sweet slow burn romance. I love a socially awkward hero and we get that in every way while have the fun of a stunningly attractive man and great friends to lovers story. 

They sort of combust which is fun. However, this love story had a ton of places it could have been richer with Japanese culture and LGTBQ issues for example and we know nearly nothing of one the hero’s past romantic life. 

Sex is pretty much off page but not totally and I wanted more after such a build up. 

The epilogue is awesome but more couple time would have been great. 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1585268/blue-days-mangrove-stories-1-by-mary-calmes-review

A Second Harvest (Men of Lancaster County, #1) by Eli Easton Review

   A Second Harvest  by Eli Easton 4 Stars! 

David Fisher has lived by the rules all his life. Born to a Mennonite family, he obeyed his father and took over the family farm, married, and had two children. Now with both his kids in college and his wife deceased, he runs his farm alone and without joy, counting off the days of a life half-lived.

Christie Landon, graphic designer, Manhattanite, and fierce gay party boy, needs a change. Now thirty, he figures it’s time to grow up and think about his future. When his best friend overdoses, Christie resolves to take a break from the city. He heads to a small house in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, to rest, recoup, and reflect.

But life in the country is boring despite glimpses of the hunky silver fox next door. When Christie’s creativity latches on to cooking, he decides to approach his widower neighbor with a plan to share meals and grocery expenses. David agrees, and soon the odd couple finds they really enjoy spending time together.

Christie challenges the boundaries of David’s closed world and brings out feelings he buried long ago. If he can break free of the past, he might find a second chance at happiness

 

Review

A lovely romance between a Mennonite farmer and a younger man.

I loved the building of a friendship that allowed Christie and David to fall in love before our eyes. All the details of the farm are wonderful.

David’s life and Christie’s life are full and rich before they meet each other and have powerful impacts on their relationship.

This is a wonderful slow burn romance with a great Happily Ever After pay off that you will root for and believe in.

Pull Me Under by Zarah Detand Review

   Pull Me Under by Zarah Detand   4.5 Stars!!

 As the first British footballer to come out at the prime of his career, it helps that Ben Jimmer is in a long-term, committed relationship with university student Henry Brown. Even if that relationship is fake.

Or: A cheerfully clichéd tale of romance, tattoos, football, and friendship (both with and without benefits). Also, tea. And stupidly complicated feelings, of course. Let’s not forget about those.


Review

 Oh, this is so good.

This love story is a great sports romance with a wonderful pretend relationship theme played with a twist of two heroes.

The soccer scene are great as are the plot points about dealing with coming out when you are a famous athlete.

The leads are pretty young so this has a bit of New Adult feel to it but in a good way.

I like both heroes a great deal though the lack of communication is what knocks off half a star.

The romance is a nice slow burn where friends fall in love.

Great read!

Project Daddy by Kate Perry Review

   Project Daddy by Kate Perry 2 Stars

Katherine Murphy needs to know. Her obsessive, demanding supervisor has given her an assignment that goes way beyond the call of duty: find her a man. But not just any man—he must have the perfect combination of good looks, job security, and solid genes to make him daddy-worthy. So, with a lofty promotion being dangled in front of her, Katherine dives back into the dating pool to find another woman’s Mr. Right. . .

There is, however, a problem with Katherine’s approach: for some reason, going up to strange guys and asking if they’re ready for fatherhood is getting her nowhere. Which is why she recruits her best friend Luc to help with the man hunt. As he drags her out to gallery openings and bars, Katherine develops a new appreciation for Luc. But when Katherine strikes out in her search and Luc steps up to the plate as her boss’s next date, she realizes he’s perfect. Maybe too perfect to waste on someone else. . .

 

Review

I love me a socially awkward heroine. I love fact spewing as well and friends to lovers and a clueless that he likes her romance but this one was too much of everything, Well, not the fact spewing…I love that.

The level of cluelessness was crazy and then kind of cruel and self involved. I get that she had a real need to achieve but she ended up being stupid instead of clueless and then mean.

The hero and the nieghbor I loved in this book but I have no idea why he why he didn’t just tell her how he felt. This was dumb as well. There was no character of plot base of his choice.

Oh, the Daddy Project plot made me nuts too. LOL. A wall banger for me with some funny moments.

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 Flirty Dozen Box Set by JL Merrow Review

    A Flirty Dozen Box Set  by JL Merrow 3 Stars! 

 

Read about boys from the wrong side of town, boys from the right side of town, and boys from a town you really wouldn’t want to live in. Meet a rent boy with a secret, a very earthly version of Cupid, and men with a definite tinge of the supernatural. Opposites attract, wishes come true, and old enemies find forgiveness in this variety pack of eight contemporary stories and four paranormal tales that’s a perfect introduction to the writing of a very British author.

Contains the stories: Love Found on Lindisfarne, Free Ride, Light the Fire, Dead Shot, Stronger Where it Counts, Jack in the Green, A Ghoul Like You, Batteries Not Included, Making it Pay, Trick or Treat, Good Breeding, and A Pint of Beer, a Bag of Chips, and Thou.

 

Review

Love Found on Lindisfarne is my favorite of the bunch with a Viking re enactor and and single father Funny and sweet.

I like the paranormal ones the least but they are all good and make for a lovely read.

Virgin (A Real Man, 2) by Jenika Snow Review

 Virgin (A Real Man, 2)  by Jenika Snow 3 Stars! 

She’s the only one he’ll ever want.
He is the first boy she fell in love with.
Quinn
I met Isabel when I was ten.
I fell in love with her before I even knew what that meant.
I knew from the moment I saw her she was it for me. No one else compared to her, and I’d do anything to make her mine. But I was afraid of losing the friendship we have, so I’ve kept my mouth shut.
But she’s leaving me, and I know I can’t keep how I feel inside any longer.
Saving myself for the girl I love isn’t a hardship, but it’s something I’m proud of. When it comes to Isabel, giving her my virginity, and making her see we belong together, is all that matters.
Isabel
Quinn is like the other half of my soul, the one person I can talk to about anything. He has the bad boy thing going on but is also respectful as much as he is a rebel.
He is the first and only boy I will ever love.
Being forced to move across the country, and leave him behind, is like leaving a piece of myself in the process. But telling Quinn I am madly in love with him could put a strain on our friendship. I don’t know if that’s something I could handle or risk.
Quinn
Nothing can keep me from Isabel. She is it for me, and I mean that in every conceivable way. Nothing can keep me from her. I hope she’s ready because there isn’t anything or anyone that will stop me from having her as mine.

Review

This is an erotica read with a fierce sweet alpha who happens to be saving himself for the woman he loves.

I like that this series is set in working class spaces with economic realities They are a great bit of completely devoted hero fantasy with heroines who are pursuing their dreams.

Nice epilogue for a for sure HEA.

Size Matters (A Perfect Fit #1) by Alison Bliss Review

    Size Matters (A Perfect Fit) by Alison Bliss

Leah Martin has spent her life trying to avoid temptation. But she’s sick of low-fat snacks, counting calories, and her hyper-critical mom. Fortunately, her popular new bakery keeps her good and distracted. But there aren’t enough éclairs in the world to distract Leah from the hotness that is Sam Cooper – or the fact that he just told her mother that they’re engaged . . . which is a big, fat lie.

Sam sometime speaks before he thinks. So what started out as defending Leah’s date-ability to her judgmental mother soon turned into having a fiancee! Now the plan is to keep up the fake engagement, stay “just friends,” and make Leah’s family loathe him enough to just call the whole thing off . But Sam has an insatiable sweet tooth, not only for Leah’s decadent desserts but her decadent curves. Her full lips. Her bright green eyes. Yep, things aren’t going quite according to plan. Now Sam has to convince Leah that he’s for real . . . before their little lie turns into one big, sweet disaster.

Review

This book has all sorts of cat nip for me with a curvy heroine, friends to lovers and a fake engagement.

However, all that fun could not overcome a lack of a body positive point of view and tedious self esteem issues around weight that kept popping me out of the story.

I just couldn’t settle in because I was hoping for a book that had a richer understanding of size.

Sigh.