hard working

Illegal Contact (The Barons, #1) by Santino Hassell 4.5 Star Review!

   Illegal Contact (The Barons) by Santino Hassell 4.5 Stars!

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

Review

Yea! So good! Yea! Gavin and Noah are awesome and watching them fall in love is a joy.

This is a great sports romance with so much couple time. We get a “cabin”romance with two detailed and complex heroes.

Everything about this book shines. The writing is excellent as is the cast and the romance is swoony.

Gavin works hard and is admirable and watching his character develop is pure pleasure. Noah is really great and his internal conflicts are realistic and compelling.

They are a wonderful couple. I really like how Hassell gives us a bisexual hero and full build contemporary world.

If you like Marina Zapata’s The Wall of Winnipeg and me, you will love this book.

 

 

Grounded by Aidan Wayne Review

     Grounded by Aidan Wayne 3.5 Stars!

Between raising his daughter Camille, his work as a full-time pastry chef, and his hobby of capoeira, Baz’s life is pretty full. He may be a little lonely, but he’s too busy to think about it all that much.

When his cousin Alaina introduces him to Terry, another capoeira student, Baz is instantly drawn to him. Though quiet and withdrawn, Terry ends up being a fun, interesting person who Baz can’t help but fall for. And when Baz does things, he doesn’t do them halfway.

Terry is a successful voice actor and a talented martial artist. But the fact that he’s shy, on top of being a trans man, has kept him from really dating. He likes Baz, he does—he just doesn’t want to mess up their friendship by failing at romance. Still, Baz is nothing if not stubborn, and Terry is willing to give things a try.

Review

I liked everything that was in this book but to make this romance really sing I need much more to make an emotionial investment.

I like the slow unspooling of Terry’s character. I enjoyed the details of how Baz’s manages single fatherhood and the scenes with his daughter. The details of each hero’s job were were well done. I like how sexual desire and romantic affection is handled.

I like Baz and Terry and their courtship and relationship.

However, so much floated in this story that I couldn’t engage. Setting needed much more developed. Baz’s sexuality isn’t really discussed as well as many aspects of his back story. A great deal about Terry is shadowed as well. We don’t get much martial arts really either.

So, it is sweet and gentle romance with great everyday details but I needed more emotionial intimacy.

Off the Ice (Hat Trick, #1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn Review

Review:

Off the Ice (Hat Trick) - Avon Gale

Tristan Holt is nothing if not pragmatic. Despite a flourishing career as a defenseman for the Atlanta Venom, Tristan knows he can’t play hockey forever. One day he’ll retire — if an injury doesn’t force him to hang up his skates first. His backup plan? Finishing his business degree. But he doesn’t count on a very inappropriate attraction to his standoffish sociology professor, Sebastian Cruz.

Sebastian is on the bottom rung of the Sociology Department at Georgia State. He has his sights set on tenure, and he can’t afford to be distracted, especially not by a sexy student with a body straight out of Sebastian’s dreams. No matter how much Tristan tempts him, that’s one line Sebastian won’t cross. At least not until summer classes end. After that, everything is fair game.

But Sebastian lives loud and proud, and Tristan is terrified of being the first out player in the NHL. Neither of them can afford to risk their hearts when they can’t imagine a happily ever after. The problem is, unlike hockey, when it comes to love, there are no rules.

 

Review

 

I love a good hockey romance and this is a very enjoyable read. My favorite parts were how thoughtful Tristen, self determined, and how he navigated his coming out. 

Seb is less likable but that is okay. I get why Tristen likes him so much and he is an intersting character. I do wish that professor would show up in books as more empathic than they are often portrayed. 

This is a solid love story with some sweet and super hot moments.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1616245/off-the-ice-hat-trick-1-by-avon-gale-and-piper-vaughn-review

One Small Thing by Piper Vaughn and M.J. O’Shea 4 Star Review

Review:

One Small Thing - Piper Vaughn O'Shea, Finn Sterling

Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.

Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny—and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.

Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.

 

Review

 

I loved this feel good romance with hidden depths. I adored the premise.

 

Rue is a wonderful hero. He works hard and loves his baby. He is fun and loving. This is book is a compelling look at single parenthood particularly with an infant.

 

I like romance novels that balance family life and friendship with the love story. One Small Thing does this well.

 

Erik is a great hero too who blooms as he falls in love and friendship.

 

I love the nerd aspect and the becoming friends and then lovers as well as the acceptance of each hero exactly how he is.

 

I wanted more time after they got together and after the first major couple crisis I honestly wanted more sexy times as well but what I got was very good and I know I will see more of this family in the next book in the series.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1588858/one-small-thing-kindle-edition-by-piper-vaughn-and-m-j-o-shea-review

Knit Tight (Portland Heat) Annabeth Albert Review

Review:

Knit Tight - Annabeth Albert

One of Portland’s hottest young baristas, Brady is famous for his java-topping flair, turning a regular cup of joe into a work of art. Every Wednesday—aka “Knit Night”—hordes of women and their needles descend on the coffeehouse, and Brady’s feeling the heat. Into the fray walks a tall, dark, and distractingly handsome stranger from New York. His name is Evren, and he’s the sexy nephew of Brady’s sweetest customer, the owner of the yarn shop down the street. He’s also got a killer smile, confident air, and masculine charm that’s tying Brady’s stomach in knots. The smitten barista can’t wait to see him at the next week’s gathering. But when he tries to ask Evren out, his plans unravel faster than an unfinished edge. If Brady hopes to warm up more than Evren’s coffee, he’ll have to find a way to untangle their feelings, get out of the friend zone, and form a close-knit bond that’s bound to last a lifetime…

 

Review

 

I like a great deal about this romance.

 

Brady is wonderful hardworking young man. He is providing for his family when his world collides with Evern a famous knit blogger who has come home to care for his Aunt and her yarn shop as she fights cancer.

 

Evern nor Brady have time to fall in love. When they decided its too late this becomes a compelling and kind romance about make room.

 

However, Evern is really closed in and the aspects of his character like his art and cultural background don’t get explored as much as I would like. The issues with Brady’s younger sister are really left tangled (this might be a reality but it didn’t make for the best read.)

 

I love Brady but I wanted to feel as strongly about Evern for the book to be a real success. It still adds nicely to the series.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1581486/knit-tight-portland-heat-annabeth-albert-review

Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan Review

  Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan 4 Stars!!

Kevin Morrison had it all. A house he worked hard for, a loving wife, and three beautiful children. But it wasn’t until his marriage ended that he realized what the void he’d felt almost all his life meant. Coming out as a gay man at thirty-six is not an easy feat, but he is determined to be true to his heart. Meeting a man who shares his values, and is good with his children would be a bonus, but when the guy arrives in a uniquely wrapped package, and has very specific handling instructions, Kevin needs to decide if he’s up for that kind of love.

Obsessed with order and symmetry, and a paralyzing fear of germs, Cedric Haughton-Disley has lived with isolation and loneliness as long as he can remember. Desperate to be normal, he makes some much-needed changes in his life. If he can commit to his treatment, he might very well be able to procure some quality of life… even if that’s all he can get, as finding love and having a relationship are only possible in Cedric’s wildest dreams. But when a chance encounter leaves Cedric wishing for more, he decides to take a leap of faith, and pursue the guy he wants.

Together the two men make an unlikely match. Cedric needs organization, and Kevin represents chaos. In order to stay together they both need to compromise, but will they be able to deal with Cedric’s issues and the potential disaster, or let it break them apart?

Review

This is a tremendously good book.

At the center of its goodness is the weaving in of topics that don’t often get discussed in romance novels but should. Realistic sex with differing sex drives or interfering issues. The impact of anti depressants which are needed to manage chemical imbalance but play havoc with your sex life.

This is a romance book and like life the sexy times are still hot as hell but they are in context of having other factors and how we manage and don’t mange them.

As over the top as this book is, in terms of Cedric’s wealth and Kevin’s wonderfulness, at the heart of that fantasy is a compelling look at intimacy, trust, and vunerabilty.

Kevin, while he doesn’t have OCD, brings his own complications to the relationship with Cedric. Cedric has to figure out how to be Kevin’s safe place as well.

This is a moving and intimate romance with compelling conflicts, great secondary characters and wonderful love story.

Cover Up (Skin Deep Inc. #3) by L.A. Witt 4 Star Review!

   Cover Up: A Skin Deep, Inc Novel (Skin Deep Inc.) by L.A. Wit 4 Stars! 

After ten years of blissful marriage, Navy Pilot Nate Chandler is divorcing his cheating husband. Single for the first time in years, Nate is numb to all emotion and kisses any chance of another relationship goodbye.

Not only is Nate struggling to get through this divorce, but his body is branded with a permanent reminder of his failed marriage: a matching tattoo with his ex. Searching for a place to cover up his old tattoo, Nate finds himself at the Skin Deep, Inc., where he meets the young and charming cover-up tattoo apprentice, Lucas Brandt.

From just flirty glances to steamy hot encounters, Nate and Lucas dive headfirst into a fling of hookups. But worried that he’ll forever be Nate’s “cover up” rebound relationship, Lucas fears that their love won’t be anything more than just skin deep. What was once just a casual attraction, Lucas now hopes to turn into a real relationship. But will he be able to convince the still tender-hearted Nate to fall in love again?

Review

I  read this in one sitting. I am fan of the series and I hope there will be more books though it doesn’t look like there is another couple teed up.

Lucas is a wonderful hero who is struggling to regain his feet after two divorces and starting his tattooing career. I love the way his bisexuality is presented in the book.

Nate is in the process of getting a divorce. This love story pivots on the question of rebound or not rebound.

It is a lot about loss inherent in a divorce as well. I really liked this part of the book.

The circle of friends is a real treasure in this book as is the tattooing and Navy aspects.

There could have been more depth with the family of the two heroes but overall this is a really nice read from a great series.

All the Wrong Places (Bluewater Bay, #14) by Ann Gallagher Review

   All the Wrong Places (Bluewater Bay Book 14) by Ann Gallaghe 4 Stars! 

Three cheating girlfriends in a row have given skateboarder Brennan Cross the same excuse: he wasn’t meeting their needs. Desperate and humiliated, he goes to the professionals at the local sex shop for advice.

Zafir Hamady, a sales clerk at Red Hot Bluewater, has an unusual theory: he doesn’t think Brennan is a bad lover. In fact, he doesn’t think Brennan is heterosexual. Or sexual at all, for that matter. He also can’t stop thinking about Brennan. But even if he’s right and Brennan really is asexual, that doesn’t mean Zafir has a chance. Brennan’s never dated a man, and Zafir’s never met anyone who’s game for a Muslim single father with a smart mouth and a GED.

Brennan’s always thought of himself as straight. But when sex is explicitly out of the mix, he finds himself drawn to Zafir for the qualities and interests they share. And Zafir can’t help enjoying Brennan’s company and the growing bond between Brennan and his son. They work well together, but with so many issues between them, doubts creep in, and Brennan’s struggle with his identity could push away the one person he didn’t know he could love.


Review

This book does a lovely job capturing love in your late twenties when your job isn’t great and you have a lot of responsibilities.

This is a sweet and tender romance that I enjoyed very much.

A large part of the story is one hero coming understand and accept his asexuality but the equally important part is an exploration of single fatherhood with little means.

Each hero is carefully creating and it is a a really pleasure to watch them fall in love. The conflict late in the book is taken a little to far as the freak out could have remained inside the hero’s head but overall really well done.

Wait for It by Mariana Zapata Review

 

4.5 Stars!

If anyone ever said being an adult was easy, they hadn’t been one long enough.

Diana Casillas can admit it: she doesn’t know what the hell she’s doing half the time. How she’s made it through the last two years of her life without killing anyone is nothing short of a miracle. Being a grown-up wasn’t supposed to be so hard.

With a new house, two little boys she inherited the most painful possible way, a giant dog, a job she usually loves, more than enough family, and friends, she has almost everything she could ever ask for.

Except for a boyfriend.

Or a husband.

But who needs either one of those?

Review

I am officially a Zapata fangirl with this book.

I don’t think anyone does slow burn romances better than her. The power of the slow burn is that there is always a good reason the couple doesn’t go all the way to sexy town right away and that reason is sane. Thus, our hero and heroine become friends, fall in love, and all the time we get grand sexual tension and love that we can believe in.

Zapata launches us back into the contemporary interconnected world she is building. You don’t have to had read all of her books but there are easter eggs if you have.

Our heroine is raising her brother’s kids. She is working class and the hero is working class. Thank you. The hero is also not a man whore (thank you again) and is going through a divorce with a marriage that has been done (and separated) for a long time.

They are neighbors and become friends. He is her nephew’s baseball coach.

He is a defensive jerk at first She has a bad temper. Everyone is funny.

The heroine is a bit dense about what the hero is up to when he starts falling in love with her but we’re not and that makes it a pleasure to read.

The kids are great and there is fun little league sports politics and great cast of characters. The hero and heroine have full lives outside each other and best friends.

The whole book is a great with just a few wishes for more of this and less of that overall. I have already reread it and reread all her books.

Good stuff!