ginger man

Play It Safe: A Glasgow Lads Story by Avery Cockburn Review

  Play It Safe by Avery Cockburn  3.5 Stars! 

fter living together for three months, Fergus Taylor and John Burns have come to love each other’s quirks, and the bond between them is starting to look permanent. But when John wants to take things to the next level, Fergus balks, haunted by the betrayals in his own past.

John knows if he’s not careful, he could lose Fergus. If only he weren’t so bad at being careful.

To overcome his fears, Fergus must embark on an epic journey, a journey that will test his faith, his trust, and his ability to keep a cool head in a hot, hot place.

 

Review

I thought I might get annoyed at an extra helping of angst but this short story is a sweet peek back in on John and Fergus and the gang.

Fergus is still working through trust issues and they go somewhere that makes me want to wash with disinfectant (and this is because I have been to places like this in my misspent youth) but this is really a sweet, tender, and funny little follow up.

Playing for Keeps (Glasgow Lads Book 1) by Avery Cockburn Review

    Playing for Keeps by Avery Cockburn 3.5 Stars! 

Fergus Taylor is damaged goods. Reeling from a brutal breakup, he’s determined to captain his LGBT soccer team out of scandal and into a winning season. For that, he needs strict rules and careful plans. He does NOT need a brash, muscle-bound lad messing with his head and setting his body afire.

John Burns has a rule of his own: Don’t get attached. Boyfriends are for guys with nothing to hide. Nobody—not his university mates, not the men he beds—knows his family’s shame. Now his double life is starting to unravel, thanks to a certain Highlander whose storm-riddled eyes turn John inside out, who wears a kilt like he was born in it.

Fergus is the first man John wants to share his secret with—but he’s the last man who could handle it. John knows the truth would shatter Fergus’s still-fragile heart. But how can he live a lie when he’s falling in love?

Review

This is my first book by Avery Cockburn but it won’t be my last.

I love the idea for the series which is an  LGBTQA soccer team in Scotland. The series has a lads title but I hold the lassies get a series as well.

I expected the book to be a bit lighter than it was but the angst here is well down and powerful.

This is an inter faith star crossed lovers romance more than the heartbroken romance that that the blurb conveys.

The love story deals with the tensions between Protestants and Catholics in current Scotland and it also deals with refugees from hate coming to Britain (though not in its leads characters though I hope the series will one day)

I don’t want to give too much away but it is a compelling love story and super hot as well. We get kilts. Grrr.

The love is a bit rushed but the heroes form a deep like as well as lust and secondary characters are great.

Off Base (Out of Uniform, #1) by Annabeth Albert Review

   Off Base (Out of Uniform) by Annabeth Albert  4 Stars! 

After trading the barracks for a fixer-upper rental, navy SEAL Zack Nelson wants peace, not a roommate—especially not Pike, who sees things about Zack he most wants to hide. Pike’s flirting puts virgin Zack on edge. And the questions Pike’s arrival would spark from Zack’s teammates about his own sexuality? Nope. Not going there. But Zack can’t refuse.

Pike Reynolds knows there won’t be a warm welcome in his new home. What can he say? He’s an acquired taste. But he needs this chance to get his life together. Also, teasing the uptight SEAL will be hella fun. Still, Pike has to tread carefully; he’s had his fill of tourists in the past, and he can’t risk his heart on another, not even one as hot, as built—and, okay, yeah, as adorable—as Zack.

Living with Pike crumbles Zack’s restraint and fuels his curiosity. He discovers how well they fit together in bed…in the shower…in the hallway… He needs Pike more than he could have imagined, yet he doesn’t know how to be the man Pike deserves.

Review

We have met Zack and Pike in other books that Albert has written but they haven’t met each other.

This is a very New Adult vibe which is unusual for Albert but it really works here.

Pike and Zack are young and stubborn and kinda of life dumb in the ways of the early twenties. They don’t seek help when they should. They are working on becoming who they are. Zack in terms of his sexuality and Pike in terms of work.

Watching them being tender with each other is a really pleasure. This is a sweet human romance that I enjoyed very much despite my non love of the coming out theme. A few of the details about teaching at a community college are odd but I can suspend my disbelief.

I am so glad they met and fell in love.

Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers #4) by Penny Reid Review

   Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers Book 4) by Penny Reid 4 Stars!

All is fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words. Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity–exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity–and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

 

Review

I love Penny Reid’s writing and romance between Shelly and Beau is compelling.

There is a ton going on in this book and it is best read as part of the series to get the most pleasure and impact out of it.

Shelly is a wonderful, capable character who struggles with intense OCD and obsessive thoughts.

Beau is a a very charming man who is polite in a near compulsive way and who is struggling as his twins prepares to move away from him for the first time in their lives.

Beau and Shelly do not get along at first and then they do but being with Shelly means working very hard not to be codependent and being there for her why she does the very hard work of living with her condition. Turns out Beau has his own quirks as well. There is a lovely metaphor that runs through out the book about how to do that.

This is a touching (and hot) romance about loving someone as they are.

There is a pile of series plot in this one and while it was good and interesting (avoiding spoilers), the couple time with Shelly and Beau got taken over a bit. I want more time of them dating and being.

A great addition to the series with all the folks we love and couple you can root for.

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

Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna, #1) by Tara Lain Review

    Knight of Ocean Avenue  by Tara Lain  3.5 Stars! 

How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgment blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising-star celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

 

Review

I liked this book a lot because of the heroes Chase and Billy. Oh, and the cats.

Their love story is a sweet one about falling in love with who you fall in love with despite the picture in your head.

Billy is just a wonderful person. It is very sad that he spent so much time surprising a part of himself from himself. Chase is pretty great too.

There are a lot of side dramas in this book but they are well done. Plus, a cool scripture battle.

There is a element of insta love despite the slower burn.

I wish more had been done with Billy’s dad who is accepting and also I didn’t believe in the mom’s turn around.

Overall, a tender romance.

Waiting for the Flood (Spires Universe) by Alexis Hall Review

     Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall 4.5 Stars!!

People come as well as go.

Twelve years ago, Edwin Tully came to Oxford and fell in love with a boy named Marius. He was brilliant. An artist. It was going to be forever.

Two years ago, it ended.

Now Edwin lives alone in the house they used to share. He tends to damaged books and faded memories, trying to build a future from the fragments of the past.

Then the weather turns, and the river spills into Edwin’s quiet world, bringing with it Adam Dacre from the Environment Agency. An unlikely knight, this stranger with roughened hands and worn wellingtons, but he offers Edwin the hope of something he thought he would never have again.

As the two men grow closer in their struggle against the rising waters, Edwin learns he can’t protect himself from everything — and sometimes he doesn’t need to try.

 

Review

 Gah. This is novella is so good!

All the nerdy engineering stuff mixed in with book restorations and the the perfect etching of the setting.

The lyrical writing mixes in with exquisitely drawn characters. Gah. Just the best!

The shy, heartbroken caretaker of rare journal and everyday paper objects and the ginger civil engineer.

Such lovely flirting.

I wished for a longer timeline of the romance and more of an epilogue but really this is an amazing love story housed in the most lovely of writing.

The Red Scot (A Curvy Girls Club Novel, #1) by Twyla Turner Review

The Red Scot (A Curvy Girls Club Novel Book 1) by Twyla Turner  2.5 Stars! 

She’ll be the greatest fight of his life…

Bradyn ‘The Red Scot’ MacTavish is the best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world, despite his humble beginnings as the fat kid growing up. A tragedy that befell his life changed him and made sure that he never felt helpless again. He spent years making a name for himself in the octagon as an alpha beast, but when it comes to the ladies he is a fumbling mess. Always feeling like the unpopular kid. The day that Payton Bailey walks into his gym changes everything.

When it comes to men, Payton is as clueless as she is with social cues. She prefers to stick with what she knows: Sci-Fi, comic books, video games and web design. After a heartbreaking incident her freshman year of college, she was never able to look at big muscular men the same way again. So imagine her surprise and absolute fright when she catches the eye of the massive, hulking MMA fighter, who she secretly nicknames The Red Giant.

The computer geek has done her best to avoid, ignore, and even maim Bradyn but the stubborn Scot has no intentions of letting the skittish lass slip through his fingers. And with the help of her three friends, he just might win the fight of his life.

Review

I enjoyed this book a lot but there are writing errors and almost all the tropes of the book are heavy handed.

What saved it was fun dialogue, a great circle of friends, a wonderful sweet hero, and a geeky heroine.

Our hero and heroine are both shy which is fun. The hero is very self aware and kind. The heroine has PTSD from a past attempted rape.

The hero’s lovely wooing of the heroine plus the fact that that he is a super hot Scot let me enjoy the book despite the telling passages, lack of complexity, and typos.

Trust Me (Paris Nights, #3) by Laura Florand Review

 Trust Me (Paris Nights Book 3) by Laura Florand 4 Stars!!

She’s nobody’s damsel in distress…
Top Parisian pastry chef Lina Farah is used to fighting for her success. But when a violent attack shatters her security, she needs a new tactic to battle her dragons. What better way to banish the monsters under her bed than by inviting a sexy SEAL to tangle the sheets?

He’s a professional dragon slayer…
Elite operative Jake Adams has never stayed in one place long enough to form a lasting relationship. Lina’s fire and beauty tempt him to give her the hot affair she craves. But her spirit and courage make him long for more. Can he convince a woman seeking forgetfulness to dream of ever after…with him?

 

Review

Our heroine Lina is recovering  from a terrorist attack which she foiled in the kitchen of her restaurant where she is an acclaimed pastry chef.

Our hero is an American on a black ops team working with the French to prevent such things from happening.

He fell in love with Lina when he witnessed her bravery and her deep caring for her friends oh and she is hot and fierce as well.

The wonderfulness of this book is all the little details like a flower opening that I don’t want to ruin. It is a quiet book that charts the coming to turns with a new reality, two career driven people falling and love, and emotionial healing.

There are moving and complex exploration of war, politics impact of each life, racism, sexism, gender relation all with a deft and gentle hand.

Lina just wants Jake for sex at first and he rightly resents it and I adore that start but I also adore how Lina knows mistakes can be corrected and we all can begin again.

A really lovely read!

PS Jake and his freckles are hella hot

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

Champion (Galactic Gladiators, #5) by Anna Hackett Review

Champion: A Scifi Alien Romance (Galactic Gladiators Book 5)  by Anna Hackett 3 Stars!

Space marine Blaine Strong enjoyed being a composed, controlled member of space station security…until he was abducted by alien slavers. Forced into underground fight rings and pumped full of drugs, he’s now seething with anger and out for revenge.

Rescued by gladiators and fellow humans on the desert world of Carthago, Blaine is fighting to be the man he once was. But when the House of Galen is attacked, he must focus on joining the gladiators to fight back. That means teaming up with a tough, competitive female gladiator who not only challenges him at every turn, awakens a fierce desire he’s never felt before, but a woman who can sense the churning emotions inside him.

Gladiator Saff Essikani is the best net fighter in the Kor Magna Arena. Raised from young to fight, she bows to no man and uses her empathic abilities to win at whatever cost. With her House targeted and people under their care threatened, she’ll stop at nothing to find those responsible. But then she finds herself face to face with a big, tortured man from Earth who affects her like no man before. As Saff and Blaine head into the desert to uncover a conspiracy, their incendiary desire flares hotter than the desert suns. But as Blaine’s angry emotions rage out of control, Saff knows that unless he learns to embrace the man he is now, he has no chance of survival.

Review

Happy to see a human male get matched with an alien female. The fact that they are both amazing warriors is great as well.

I like the romance between them as the hero heals from his emotionial wounds from being a captive.

The action is fast paced but it sometimes out balanced the love story and wasn’t as interesting as it repeated some events in the earlier books.

However, new characters that I am interested in do get introduced. I will keep reading

Iron (Rent-a-Dragon #2) by Terry Bolryder Review

Iron (Rent-A-Dragon Book 2) 2 Stars

A Dragon Mechanic? Unheard of.

Unless you’re Magnus Ironside, a metal dragon who just awakened in the modern world and happens to be obsessed with cars and their inner workings. Add in the fact that his mate just walked in to hire him to work at her auto shop, and Magnus is one happy dragon. Now he just has to flex his pecs, show her his huge ‘axe’, and everything will work out, right? Wrong.

Lindy Dunn doesn’t have time for a relationship, not while she’s working herself to the bone trying to make ends meet. She doesn’t have time to notice the huge muscles or gorgeous, jade-green eyes of the oddly sexy handyman she just hired. No matter that he’s seriously good with cars, and fun to be around. With someone sabotaging her dad’s shop, it’s not the right time to fall into any man’s arms, even if it’s someone as capable as Magnus.

Magnus knows he can win over Lindy, as long as he doesn’t move too fast with talk of dragons and destiny. The heat between them is too blazing to deny. But though Magnus thought he’d left the past far behind him, one big storm is still approaching, bringing a dark figure that threatens to destroy everything the iron dragon holds dear,

 

Review

I wanted to like this book. Dragon Shapeshifter. Mechanic heroine and hero. Good Stuff!

But the writing style just doesn’t work for me despite being full of fun fated mated cat nip. The prose is too jumpy and there is too much telling rather than letting characters develop.

Sigh.