Friends to Lovers

Drawn In (The Family Jules, #1) by Sean Ashcroft Review

     Drawn In (The Family Jules Book 1) by Sean Ashcroft 3 Stars! 

Owen Jules isn’t gay, and the last thing he expects is to get married to his childhood best friend. But when he moves back to his hometown after losing his wife, he finds Jude sick and at risk of dying, all because his medical insurance was cancelled.

Between wanting to help Jude out and wanting to get custody of his daughter back, Owen takes the plunge into a fake marriage, hoping to solve everyone’s problems at once.

As Jude begins to recover and the two of them settle into married life, Owen starts to get a little toocomfortable with being married to his best friend. Owen begins to wonder if he missed out on a lot by getting married for the first time when he was eighteen–including the chance to explore his sexuality.

Jude seems like a safe person to experiment with, but will that put Owen’s little patchwork family at risk? And what happens when outside forces challenge their newfound stability?

Can Owen and Jude find a way to be happy and raise Kalya together?

Review

While I enjoyed this friends to lovers marriage of convenience romance, there are places that needed a great deal more development.

Owen and Jude make a great couple. And putting them in the intimacy of marriage is lovely to watch. However, we don’t get enough detail on Owen’s previous marriage or a thoughtful discussion of his sexuality. And this lack weakens the overall book.

What we do get is a great family setting, sweet romance and a critique of the sad state of the health care system.

My Hero by Max Vos Review

    My Hero by Max Vos  2 Stars

When he was sixteen years old, Rich Miller saved a young man from drowning at his local pool. Little did he know that years later, as a senior in college and Olympic diving hopeful, Rich would meet up once again with Johnny Milloway, now a big football player – and when Rich says big, he really means ‘bear’. The shy jock remembers his saviour, and the two men become friends. Johnny isn’t put off by the fact that Rich is gay. In fact, the more time he spends with Rich, the more curious he becomes. Johnny wants to know all kinds of things – what it’s like to kiss a guy, for instance. Only it doesn’t stop there… Rich finds it difficult to believe that this relationship can go anywhere. Johnny is straight, and Rich isn’t prepared to deal with the heartache he knows will come his way in the future. He has enough on his plate as it is – the Worlds are just around the corner, his father would rather watch a football game than spend time watching his son dive…. What he doesn’t count on is Johnny, who can be very determined. And having Johnny in his life proves to be a catalyst for some pretty earth-shattering changes.

Review

I didn’t hate this. It just ended up being ho hum. The emotionial conflict were pretty flat and the resolutions too fast but then they weren’t all that believable based on the characters to begin with.

I liked the heroes up until Johnny started acting not like himself. The come play in the sex scenes kept moving this toward erotica more than erotic romance which seemed both out of character and out of tone with a basically sweet romance.

I might try another book by this writer to see if character and plot development improves.

Dirty Mind by Roe Horvat Review

   Dirty Mind by Roe Horvat 3.5 Stars!

Alexander Popescu is a university lecturer in a quiet German town. He’s a respectable man in his thirties who stays fit, has a decent career and travels alone—his only vice is an occasional greasy meal. And beer. And violent computer games. Nobody has to know about the other Alex—the acclaimed porn writer. His ingenious erotic fantasies earn him good money and keep his capricious mind harmlessly entertained.

When his young friend and protégé Christian transfers to Freiburg for medical school, Alex is overjoyed…and terrified that Christian will find out about Alex’s indecent alter ego. The time they spend together, as lovely as it is, could overturn Alex’s carefully balanced life. Suddenly, the writing is not good enough, his hair seems to be thinning, his careful hookups leave him unfulfilled, and his dreams are haunted by the innocent young man he’s vowed to protect.

However, Christian is not a boy anymore. He’s a grown man of twenty-one, clever and deadly attractive. And he’s hiding some secrets of his own

 

Review

Oh, I liked this one. The conflict about the age difference is real as Alex met Christian when he was so young.

Alex is a bit clueless though to Christian’s affection and that gets a bit wearing,

I liked the setting and the friendships as well.

I wish the book had spent more time after they got together but it was a fun read.

Red Hot by Sean Ashcroft Review

   Red Hot by Sean Ashcroft 3 Stars!

“Red Hot? That’s the profile title we’re going with?”

Newly-out firefighter Red has a pretty average life—a job he loves, supportive friends, big dreams, and a little trouble finding a roommate. That is, until he rescues a slightly odd computer nerd from his burning apartment building.

Andy isn’t just any computer nerd. He’s the computer nerd who single-handedly built the up-and-coming dating app, M4M. Until now, Red’s been afraid to put himself out there—but with Andy as his new roommate, he’s not going to have any choice. Andy needs a test case, someone to prove his matching algorithms can find anyone the perfect partner.

When he discovers that Red’s never been on a date before, Andy makes him his pet project—he’s going to find Red the man of his dreams, whatever it takes.

The only problem is that Andy is the man of Red’s dreams, and Red can’t bring himself to face the embarrassment of telling him—after all, Andy isn’t interested, right?

Little does Red know that Andy’s been thinking the same thing. If only his algorithms agreed…

Review

While I liked each hero, they each felt more like sketches to me than fully developed characters and the conflict to their romance got a bit tiresome.

I loved the set up and who each man is but I needed more time of them being together as such different people to make this book work for me.

I will read more by this author thought because despite all of that I enjoyed the book.

Falling by Suki Fleet 4 Star Review

Review:

Falling - Suki Fleet

Josh’s idea of a romance is curling up alone and reading a novel with a happily ever after. He’s made his flat a safe haven where the walls are covered with beautiful words and his living room ceiling is a map of the universe.

Angus may be shy and inexperienced, but he’s incapable of hiding anything, especially his attraction to his older neighbor.

When Josh admits to Angus that he’s gay, he doesn’t expect Angus’s reaction. Angus’s obvious interest terrifies Josh. For years he’s managed to keep the world at arm’s length and avoid getting too close to anyone. Well, anyone except Eleanor, Angus’s mother, who helped Josh rebuild his life after he was hospitalized for depression. But Josh still thinks he’s broken. His past has left scars he thinks are too deep to heal. Despite Josh’s defenses, Angus begins to mean more to him than just the cute boy next door. If Josh can take a risk and let someone into his isolated world, he might have a chance for a real-life happy ending.

Review

 

A really lovely romance that deals tenderly with depression while simply making it a part of the Josh and not defining him.

You got to love Angus who goes after what he wants. 

A great friends to lovers romance with all the right touches. Complex secondary characters, excellent pacing, and an abiding love between the heroes.

So good!

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For Better or Worse by R. Cooper Review

     For Better or Worse by R. Cooper 3.5 Stars!

To the other firefighters in Montgomery, Javier is a quietly heroic figure with a reputation for staying calm and doing what needs to be done. To the small town gossips, he’s some kind of mysterious ladies’ man, despite how he hasn’t dated anyone in years. Truth is, Javier’s demisexual—it takes him a while to feel desire for someone, and most people don’t want to wait for that to happen. Tired of being hurt, he gave up on dating. He gave up with such determination that two years into spending nearly every free evening making dinners with his best friend, Jimmy, he’s only just realized that he’s in love with him.

Jimmy is noise where Javier is silent. He expresses his thoughts and feelings about every subject imaginable—except the reason he moved thousands of miles away from his family to start a new life in Montgomery. He spends his nights with Javier, cooking and jointly taking care of his rescue dog. If he’s noticed that he and Javier have been all but dating each other for the past two years, he hasn’t said, and Javier isn’t going to risk upsetting him by asking.

That is, until the very public romance between their fellow firefighter, Scotty, and school librarian, Cole, leads Jimmy to reveal more about his past. Suddenly, Javier has hope. If he has to change the minds of the entire town in order to woo his best friend, then so be it. He’s not someone to let a little fear get in his way, especially when it means a chance to make their date nights real.

Review

I like the tone of R. Coopers writing as it is a bit lush and character driven.

This book is best read after the first book in the series. It is really lovely friends to lovers romance featuring a demisexual and a closeted gay man who are best friends and fire fighters.

Jimmy and Javier share a strong connection but they both need to be much better at talking. I would have loved to hear them talk things out.

I liked the book a great deal but the lack of sharing of thoughts was frustrating. It is a great setting and circle of friends and I would like more in this series but more couple time (which was an issue in the first book as well).

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.

What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote Review

   What Happens at Christmas by Jay Northcote

When two friends pose as boyfriends, could what happens at Christmas turn into something more?

Justin is recently and unhappily single. Christmas is coming, and he doesn’t want to face his ex alone at their office party. So Sean—Justin’s best mate and long-time secret crush—volunteers to go with him and pretend to be his new flame.

Sean has always lusted after Justin from afar, but there’s never been a good opportunity to ask him for more than friendship. Posing as Justin’s boyfriend isn’t a chore, and if Justin wants to rebound onto him, Sean’s more than willing. At the party pretence and reality blur, and a kiss on the dance floor leads to a night of passion.

In the aftermath, they both assume it was a one-time thing until fate intervenes. Stuck together in London over the holidays, they give in to temptation again. But what happens at Christmas stays at Christmas… right?

Review

There are so many troupes here I love-friends to lovers, childhood friends, pretend relationship.

This is a joyful Christmas read with a great and sexy relationship between the heroes.

This is a happy read!

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.

Perfect Catch by N.R. Walker Review

Review:

Perfect Catch - N.R. Walker

Calvin Lynch and Troy Hoffman have been best mates since they were fourteen years old. They’re both hard-working tradesmen, both love weekends away fishing, both gay, but have never been single at the same time. Until now.

What is supposed to be a weekend away fishing with a group of mates, changes at the last minute when friends bail out in an attempt to give Cal and Troy some alone time.

With more than just hooks on the line, can these two see what’s been right in front of them the whole time?

The Perfect Catch is a short story about falling for your best friend hook, line, and sinker.

A 20K short story which was part of the It Was Always You anthology

 

Review

 

 

Awwwww. This is a super sweet and super hot friends to lovers romance with two best friends who finally take the risk of telling each other how they feel.

 

This is a feel good love story with a great setting. 

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