Friends to Lovers

Winter Chill by Aria Grace and J.J. Hunter Review

  Winter Chill by Aria Grace and J.J. Hunter 3 Stars! 

Indie Walker started college with a basketball scholarship and a plan to stay focused on his studies. His roommate and best friend, Daniel, is one of the most popular guys on the wrestling team. When a power outage during a winter storm forces them to get closer than ever before just to survive the night, their relationship changes forever. Neither are gay but the physical chemistry they have is undeniable. Unfortunately, Daniel’s issues at home might be too severe for them to overcome.

 

Review 

This was good quick read for an chilly afternoon. Blackout stories are always fun. I am not a fan of “gay for you” but this is a sweet friends to lovers romance.

The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You, #3) by Renae Kaye Review

Review:

The Straight Boyfriend (Loving You Book 3) - Renae Kaye

 

Aaron Hall has never been able to remain faithful to a single woman, and for most of his life, he’s dated two women at once. Recently his girlfriend tracked him down and knocked on his door—and his live-in girlfriend answered. Now he has no girlfriend and a mortgage he can’t pay by himself.

Vinnie Rosello needs to change his life—get a better job, stop drinking all his money away, find himself a serious boyfriend… and move out of his parents’ house. Aaron needs help with his expenses, so they become housemates.

Even though Aaron harbors some misconceptions about gay men and Vinnie misses his large Italian family, both men find comfort in their friendship. It’s a good arrangement until everything between them changes.

Vinnie falls in love with Aaron, and Aaron is shocked to realize he feels the same. There’s only one problem—he’s still straight. He’ll have to overcome his fear of labels in order to love the man who’s captured his heart.

 

Review

I have lots of conflicting feelings about this one. There are a number of pros.

 

We get to seeing Jay and Liam who are in the first book in this series and who I adore. They are wonderful here. The whole circle of friends are great.

 

Vinnie’s family is wonderful and it is a great look at a non traditional family from a child of one’s perspective. I love how much a part of his family Vinnie is and who much they love him.

 

Aaron has a great family as well though we see less of them and he is a all around great guy.

 

The banter, friendship and love between Vinnie and Aaron is great. Christmas is very well done. 

 

Rene Kaye is thinking a lot about the spectrum of sexualities in this book Aaron though slowing in love with Vinnie and sexaully attracted to him identifies as straight. He is not attract to any other men but Vinnie and is attracted to women from porn to really life.

Vinnie is a gold star gay having never been with a woman or been interested.

 

Part of this romance is achey because Vinnie just makes himself so vulnerable as he flat out loves Aaron and will take what he can get. As you can imagine, it takes Aaron a while to get his head around where he is at with Vinnie.

 

I believe in their HEA (though I am a bit confused but something in the epilogue though I think it just means they married and had a child way down the road) and this speaks to good writing on Kaye’s part.

 

But like the first book in the series, I wanted a little more. I wanted more exploration of Aaron’s habit of dating two women at the same time beyond a high sex drive or if that was it, I wanted more time devoted to talking about it than we get.

 

I wanted more thinking inside the book on the range of sexualities and more time with them after they become an out couple.

 

I read that there was a lot of grrrrrr about this book and author antics. I can see why. If I didn’t like the first book in the series so much, I wouldn’t have picked it up and wouldn’t advice anyone to do so without having read the other books. 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1577814/the-straight-boyfriend-loving-you-3-by-renae-kaye-review

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.

Infamous (Famous, #2) by Jenny Holiday 4.5 Star Review!

   Infamous by Jenny Holiday 4.5 Stars!

All that up-and-coming musician Jesse Jamison has ever wanted is to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. When a gossip website nearly catches him kissing someone who isn’t his famous girlfriend—and also isn’t a girl—he considers the near miss a wake-up call. There’s a lot riding on his image as the super-straight rocker, and if he wants to realize his dreams, he’ll need to toe the line. Luckily, he’s into women too. Problem solved.

After a decade pretending to be his ex’s roommate, pediatrician Hunter Wyatt is done hiding. He might not know how to date in the Grindr world, how to make friends in a strange city, or whether his new job in Toronto is a mistake. But he does know that no one is worth the closet. Not even the world’s sexiest rock star.

As Jesse’s charity work at Hunter’s hospital brings the two closer together, a bromance develops. Soon, Hunter is all Jesse can think about. But when it comes down to a choice between Hunter and his career, he’s not sure he’s brave enough to follow his heart.

Review

nfamous is a great friends to lovers romance with all the pleasure of the Rock Star theme as well.

Jenny Holiday hits all the right notes with this touching romance about Jesse, the rock star, and Hunter, the doctor.

Watching them become such close friends while crushing on each other is a joy. I love how Hunter’s life as a doctor is shown to be as complex and important (maybe more in some ways) than Jesse’s famous job as a singer and songwriter.

Jesse makes a choice early in this book not be out as bisexual in exchange for getting the agent he wants/needs to make his band successful. He also fears being out in terms of the damage it might due to his ability to make a living in music. Hunter won’t be with another closeted man.

The conflicts is realistic as is the way there two men fall more and more in love until something has to give.

It is a slow burn romance with a number of compelling elements outside the romance.

I just loved Hunter and Jesse and the connection they had.

I am not sure that the last flash of drama was needed or that Jesse wouldn’t have told Hunter that he was bi and the agreement he had made with his agent and that kept it from being a 5 Star read for me but every other moment made this a shining gem of a love story.

Can’t wait for more in the series!

I was given this book for my honest review. So, there you have it!

Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane 5 Star Review!

  Christmas Kitsch by Amy Lane  5 Stars!

Sometimes the best thing you can get for Christmas is knowing what you really want.

Rusty Baker is a blond, rich, entitled football player in a high school full of them — just the type of oblivious jock all the bullied kids hate. And he might have stayed that way, except he develops a friendship with out-and-proud Oliver Campbell from the wrong side of the tracks. Rusty thinks the friendship is just pity — Oliver is very bright, and Rusty is very not — but then Oliver kisses him goodbye when Rusty leaves for college, and Rusty is forced to rethink everything he knows about himself.

But even Rusty’s newfound awareness can’t help him survive a semester at Berkeley. He returns home for Thanksgiving break clinging to the one thing he knows to be true: Oliver Campbell is the best thing that’s ever happened to him.

Rusty’s parents disagree, and Rusty finds himself homeless for the holidays. Oliver may not have much money, but he’s got something Rusty has never known: true family. With their help and Oliver’s love, Rusty comes to realize that he may have failed college, but he’ll pass real life with flying rainbow colors.

Review

Wow. At first, I was leery. I don’t love New Adult. I am not always a fan of characters who are not self reflective. But this book is lush and keeps going and going and gives me all the love.

Rusty (awful name but then he has awful parents) is a slow processor who works hard, has been taught to have good manners, and is miserable as he doesn’t even see himself in an effort to get along with parents who see him as an asset rather than a person.

Oliver is quick witted, determined, and loved. And he loves Rusty because Rusty is kind and hot.

This is a very New Adult Romance as our heroes meet in high school. We get a wonderful friends to lovers troupe with a lot of finding yourself. There are all sorts of amazing moments in this book.

Rusty is wonderful and his struggle to become himself powerful and endearing. Oliver is just the best. I wish we were in his head as well. The cast of characters are just great.

The happily ever after is well earned and left me so happy.

Sink into this lovely, sexy, sweet romance.

Blame It on the Mistletoe by Eli Easton Review

 Blame It on the Mistletoe  by Eli Easton 3.5 Stars! 

When physics grad student Fielding Monroe and skirt-chaser and football player Mick Colman become college housemates, they’re both in for a whole new education. Mick looks out for the absent-minded genius, and he helps Fielding clean up his appearance and discover all the silly pleasures his strict upbringing as a child prodigy denied him. They become best friends.

It’s all well and good until they run into a cheerleader who calls Mick the ‘best kisser on campus.’ Fielding has never been kissed, and he decides Mick and only Mick can teach him how it’s done. After all, the physics department’s Christmas party is coming up with its dreaded mistletoe. Fielding wants to impress his peers and look cool for once in his life. The thing about Fielding is, once he locks onto an idea, it’s almost impossible to get him to change his mind. And he just doesn’t understand why his straight best friend would have a problem providing a little demonstration.

Mick knows kissing is a dangerous game. If he gives in, it would take a miracle for the thing not to turn into a disaster. Then again, if the kissing lessons get out of hand they can always blame it on the mistletoe.

Review

Adorable. This romance has a lot of things I like, genius, geeky hero. Yes! Friends to lovers. Yes! Roommates! Woo hoo!

The writing is crisp and fun. I love both heroes. It has just a dab of angst as one hero comes to terms with being bisexual and maybe a little more toward men on the spectrum.

I wish it wasn’t as short at the end and we got more HEA after the angst but it is really good!

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

Baked Fresh (Portland Heat) Annabeth Albert Review

Review:

Baked Fresh (Portland Heat) - Annabeth Albert

Vic Degrassi is a baker on the rise, and it’s all thanks to his rare ability to make—and keep—his New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, or graduating from culinary school, Vic goes after what he wants—and gets it. This year? He wants Robin Dawson, the sweet-hearted hottie who volunteers with him at the local homeless shelter. When he learns that Robin is suddenly single after being unceremoniously dumped, Vic is more than happy to offer a shoulder to cry on—or at least a fresh-baked pastry to bite into. But it’s been a long time since Vic’s gone on a date, and he’s nervous about risking his friendship with Robin. So when their flirtation turns into a steamy night together, Vic and Robin have to figure out if they’re friends with benefits or lovers in the making, and if Robin is ready for something more than just a rebound. There’s only one way to find out: turn up the heat…

 

Review

 

This is another great character driven romance with Annabeth Albert.

 

A wonderful love story about what it means to be in love with a person with a fully realized past. Both Vic and Robin carry a lot of their old selves into their romance.

Here we get a nice friends to lovers tale with the blending for two lives and taking risks to trust and love.

 

Very well written and engaging and as always with Albert the best parts of the book are in the details I don’t want to give away.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1581488/baked-fresh-portland-heat-annabeth-albert-review

Love Lessons (Love Lessons, #1) by Heidi Cullinan 4 Star Review

Review:

Love Lessons: Love Lessons Series, Book 1 - Heidi Cullinan, Iggy Toma

Love doesn’t come with a syllabus.

Kelly Davidson has waited forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he realizes finding Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus. Worst of all, he’s landed gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.

Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view. As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class…and overcome his fear that love was never meant to last.

 

Review

 

 am pretty convinced that Heidi Cullinan can’t write a bad book,.

This is a lovely New Adult romance with a shy hero and and a not shy hero. The hero with the chip on his shoulder ends up being super nurturing and kind. The shy hero ends up being mega sexy.

I love this romance which looks at intimacy and falling in love along with the real dramas of becoming a grown up. 

Good stuff!

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1581422/love-lessons-love-lessons-1-by-heidi-cullinan

Walk With Me (Home, #7) by Cardeno C. Review

     Walk With Me by Cardeno C. 4 Stars!

Serious, responsible Seth longs for sexy, outspoken Eli but must decide if he’s willing to veer from his safe life-plan. When Eli Block steps into his parents’ living room and sees his childhood crush sitting on the couch, he starts a shameless campaign to seduce the young rabbi. Unfortunately, Seth Cohen barely remembers Eli and he resolutely shuts down all his advances. As a tenuous and then binding friendship forms between the two men, Eli must find a way to move past his unrequited love while still keeping his best friend in his life. Not an easy feat when the same person occupies both roles. Professional, proper Seth is shocked by Eli’s brashness, overt sexuality, and easy defiance of societal norms. But he’s also drawn to the happy, funny, light-filled man. As their friendship deepens over the years, Seth watches Eli mature into a man he admires and respects. When Seth finds himself longing for what Eli had so easily offered, he has to decide whether he’s willing to veer from his safe life-plan to build a future with Eli.

Review

Sigh. So good.

This is a perfect light, romantic, moving romance. It is a great friends to lovers with Jewish leads. It takes places of a span of many years as the younger hero grows up.

It is funny with the weddings the rabbi hero attends. He is great in always but so is the other hero.

It is so loving. The book also looks at biphobia in intersting ways. The writer so a good job keeping the drama low and the characters evolving.

Once the heroes get together after a really slow burn, its hot.

I loved every moment and this will become a comfort read.

It could have been more. The religious aspects could have been explored and Seth should have had a much more detailed conversation about his feelings but so nice overall.