hate crime

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!

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Too Stupid to Live (Romancelandia Book 1) Anne Tenino 4.5 Stars Review

Review:

Too Stupid to Live: Romancelandia, Book 1 - Riptide Publishing, Tobias Silversmith, Anne Tenino

t isn’t true love until someone gets hurt.

Sam’s a new man. Yes, he’s still too tall, too skinny, too dorky, too gay, and has that unfortunate addiction to romance novels, but he’s wised up. His One True Love is certainly still out there, but he knows now that real life is nothing like fiction. He’s cultivated the necessary fortitude to say “no” to the next Mr. Wrong, no matter how hot, exciting, and/or erotic-novel-worthy he may be.

Until he meets Ian.

Ian’s a new man. He’s pain-free, has escaped the job he hated and the family who stifled him, and is now — possibly — ready to dip his toe into the sea of relationships. He’s going to be cautious, though, maybe start with someone who knows the score and isn’t looking for anything too complicated. Someone with experience and simple needs that largely revolve around the bedroom.

Until he meets Sam.

Sam’s convinced that Ian is no one’s Mr. Right. Ian’s sure that Sam isn’t his type. They can’t both be wrong…can they?

 

Review

This isn’t a perfect book but its delightful and if you are a romance novel nerd like I am it is a must read for the meta commentary on the genre, the love of the gerne, and the playfulness Plus, it is a sexy romantic love story.

 

Same and Ian. I love that Ian isn’t attracted to Sam at first because he is shallow but really more because he isn’t attuned to himself yet. A great deal of this book his Ian’s journey to become emotionally connect to himself and others after having lived a closeted life and believed the cultural lies told by hyper masculinity.

 

His journey is moving as his is falling deeper and deeper in love and lust with Sam. I am so happy Ian is already seeking therapy and continues to do so as the plot develops. I love his relationship with his cousin and the developing relationships with the people at his new job.

 

He tries and grows and does great romantic gestures and emotionial bravery and this makes him a wonderful deserving hero for Sam even when he struggles.

 

Sam is everything I love. A nerd, socially awkward bookworm with great friendships and a loving heart. He is super smart and his thinking of the world through romantic novels themes is at once funny, charming, and wise. He is brave and takes risk as Ian learns. Sexy as hell.

 

This is a well plotted book with great charters and love you can believe in. I liked the second book in the series much better after reading this one and can’t wait for a third book.

 

The flaws are slight really. A weird lack of setting in an extra place. Western US not California. We never get to see Same as a grad student, writer, and teacher…just as a reader, friend, and waiter. This leaves some depth out of the novel that matters.

 

This will be a long time comfort read for sure. I am resisting the urge to reread right now!

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Redesigning Max (Foothills Pride #2) by Pat Henshaw Review

    Redesigning Max (Foothills Pride Stories Book 2) by Pat Henshaw 2 Stars

Renowned interior designer Fredi Zimmer is surprised when outdoorsman Max Greene, owner of Greene’s Outdoors, hires Fredi to revamp his rustic cabin in the Sierra Nevada foothills. Fredi is an out-and-proud Metro male whose contact with the outdoors is from his car to the doorway of the million-dollar homes he remodels, and Max is just too hunky for words.

When Max comes on to Fredi, the designer can’t imagine why. But he’s game to put a little spice into Max’s life, even if it’s just in the colors and fixtures he’ll use to turn Max’s dilapidated cabin into a showplace. Who can blame a guy for adding a little sensual pleasure as he retools Max’s life visually?

Max, for his part, is grateful when Fredi takes him in hand, both metaphorically and literally. Coming out is the most exciting and wonderful time in his life, despite the conservative former friends who think they’re saving him from sliding into hell.

Review

This is my second time trying this writer and like the first time, this book didn’t work for me, It isn’t awful and I like the basic writing but it is too shallow and doesn’t do the work needed to make it a love story to believe in.

Again, I like the heroes. Max has inherited wealth for outdoor rec stores and some hidden talents, Fredi is at the top of his profession (a little young for that but okay).

Max had realized he is gay and pursues Fredi. This is very sweet and up front. And again if the characters where developed and the story driven by the characters it would be a good book. I like the slow burn dating. I like the Fredi protects himself. There is cool stuff in both books about recording and reporting hate crimes.

Max and Fredi both have awful pasts and we don’t really get to see that. We are told that.

Again the love scene are off page and this hurts the development of the connection between them and the love story.

Then there is crazy homophobia that is resolved but takes up the place of better character work. And then saccharine stuff that isn’t earned.

So. Not great.

 

PS The “droopy mustache” on Max…ewww.

What’s in a Name? (Foothills Pride #1) by Pat Henshaw Review

    What’s in a Name? by Pat Henshaw 2 Stars 

Barista Jimmy Patterson thinks it’s a good idea to get rip-roaring drunk on his birthday after he’s dumped by his boyfriend. When the burly owner of Stonewall’s Bar rescues Jimmy, the night starts to look up.

Now Jimmy just wants to know the bartender’s first name since he’s worn a different name tag every time Jimmy’s seen him. “Guy” Stone gives Jimmy seven guesses, one for each night he takes Jimmy out on a date.

While Jimmy’s trying to come up with his name, he’s distracted by the destruction of his coffee shop and what looks more and more like a hate crime.

Review

There are seeds of a good book in here. I didn’t not enjoy it but the plot took the easy way out too many times and several ideas were undeveloped.

Here is what I liked: The setting in the foothills of the Sierra’s during the migration out of the Bay Area for a portion of the queer community. The heroes are kind. I like that even though this romance is super fast, they have really been falling in love for months. I like the friends and businesses.

The wish fulfillment of dating and courting is a bit saccharine but I enjoy that sometimes. The villains are cartoonish–especially the ex boyfriend.

If the characters had been more developed, out side of the Twink and the Bear, then the book’s plot would have been driven more by internal factors rather than a bit manic external ones.

The sex is off page. I don’t mind that but sex scenes based in their character would have let us seem them intimately and moved the romance plot forward in ways that this book lacked.

I liked the writing so I will try again with this author.

Don’t Feed the Trolls by Erica Kudisch Review

  Don’t Feed the Trolls by Erica Kudisch 3 Stars

Gaming while female is enough to incur the wrath of the dude-bros, and they’ve come for me. Instead of fighting back, I’ve created an alternate account. Male name, male pronouns. And I’ve met this girl. I’ve always liked girls, and Laura’s adorable and smart and never gives up, and she likes me back. Or rather, she likes the man I’m pretending to be. But I can’t tell her I’m a woman without the mob coming after her too.

And besides: I might not be a woman, not really.

The truth is, I don’t know what I am anymore. I’ve spent my whole life being told how I’m supposed to act and what I’m supposed to be, but none of it feels right. And my lie is starting to feel truer than anything I’ve ever been.

There’s a convention coming up, but the closer it gets, the more I have to choose: lie or fight. But if I don’t stand my ground as a girl, am I letting the haters win?

Then again, those aren’t the only two ways to live.

Reviews

While this is a pretty intersting caper with a tone of action and some good thinking on on line bulling and the gaming industry, the romance is pretty lack luster.

We get an intersting coming of age and self discovery story but while there is a love plot it takes a backseat.

The writing didn’t quite work for me in terms of point of view but it was an intersting book.

Kayson (Kennedy Ink. #1) by Jenny Wood Review

   Kayson (Kennedy Ink.(by Jenny Wood 3 Stars

Kayson Kennedy and his family pack up shop and move to tiny town, Georgia in order to get to know his newly found baby sister.
After the passing of their mother, Kayson and his brother Kingsley are determined to hold on to the only family they have left.
Opening up their tattoo shop in a small, conservative, town; Kayson never imagined he’d find love at all, most especially not right across the street…

Conner Allen owns his own bookstore in a plaza of other small stores, directly across the street from gorgeous, tatted up, Kayson Kennedy. Daydreaming for days about what it would be like to see him up close; his wish comes true when he’s attacked outside of his bookstore by a scared, angry teenager.

Now that the ice has been broken between the two, Kayson realizes he’s pretty smitten with the bookstore owner from across the street…. and his overweight cat, named, Pickles!

What will they do when the threat may not be over? Will the backlash of conservative, small town bigots keep Conner from the real life fantasy, he’s been dreaming about since Kayson moved in across the street? Or will Kayson do everything in his power to make those daydreams a reality?

Review

Okay. This book is a hot mess and ridiculous. But notice I still gave it 3 Stars. Hold on and I will explain.

It needs editing. The author has a little note about that. However, its is crazy sauce. The errors are about plurals and possessives and not about regional speech. I am not a grammar fiend and the errors made my eye twitch so if you have grammar based trauma, please avoid this book. It is really the first few chapters that are terrible and teeth gritting with these issues. Please let a copy editor reach out to Ms. Wood.

There is a both a slow burn and an insta love here. Slow seduction and then WHAM crazy intense love. So, what I am saying it the love story is tonally irregular.

We get the start of a small town gay romance and yay out characters who aren’t commitment phobic. Then, WHAM, crazy stalker/crime action. This is sorta of fun (if that kind of thing can be fun) but again tonal shift in these scenes and we never get back to the fun couple time we were having.

I am promised a lot of cat action. There is some but really I need more hero and cat time.

The reason the brothers move to the town are a little ….far fetched but whatever.

Both heroes are great–not man whores and they really like and value each other.

The circle of friends is good.

The romance just gets jerked around a bit.

Sooooo, far from stellar but lol I will likely pick up the next one and see if the ride is less all over the place.

Loving Jay (Loving You, #1) by Renae Kaye 4 Star Review

Review:

Loving Jay - Renae Kaye

One thing Liam Turner knows for sure is that he’s not gay—after all, his father makes it very clear he’ll allow no son of his to be gay. And Liam believes it, until a chance meeting with James “Jay” Bell turns Liam’s world upside-down. Jay is vivacious and unabashedly gay—from the tips of his bleached hair to the ends of his polished nails. With a flair for fashion, overreaction, and an inability to cork his verbal diarrhea, Liam believes drama queen Jay must have a screw loose.

An accident as a teenager left Liam with a limp and a fear of driving. He can’t play football anymore either, and that makes him feel like less of a man. But that’s no reason to question his sexuality… unless the accident broke something else inside him. When being with Jay causes Liam’s protective instincts to emerge, Liam starts to believe all he knew in life had been a convenient excuse to stay hidden. From intolerance to confrontations, Liam must learn to overcome his fears—and his father—before he can accept his sexuality and truly love Jay.

 

Review

 

Like most readers of the this book, I adore Jay. I end up adoring Liam as well.

Jay is kind, loud, hyper, and loving, Liam is kind, steady, mellow, and loving.

They are super sexy together. I love that they crush on each other.

Jay’s wonderful embrace of all he is makes the book joyful.

Liam struggle with all he is in teeth grinding at first. Not because of his internal conflict but because of the way its written. Its tedious, doubles back, and unthoughtful while trying to be thoughtful about sexuality. I get the feeling Liam is homo romantic on the asexual spectrum perhaps demisexual since his long crush and watching of Jay has bonded him. However, Liam (who is very bright) never does any research into his sexuality. Instead, we get this gay not gay don’t want to be gay, I am gay, I love Jay loop. Which again I don’t hate because of what is doing so much as the way it is written.

In this book and a later one in the series, Liam talks elegant about outwardly accepting a label that doesn’t really fit and its well done but the first several chapters of this book are not on this issue.

However, the rest of the book is great. Sexy, charming, tender, fun. Everything you would want.

Jay and his car and his family rock. Liam is such a quiet badass with his own great friends and family.

Together, wow. Power couple. Adore.

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In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish 5 Star Review

Review:

In the Middle of Somewhere - Roan Parrish

Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.

When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

 

Review

 

Whoa. This is a good book. The kind I am going to read again and again.

Rex and Daniel are great nuanced characters. Each chapter reveals more and more about each hero. As their love grows, we love them more.

 

This is romance is a lot about emotional intimacy and being vulnerable. Rex has suffered and so has Daniel. But for all that the book is cheerful and funny as much it is shadowed. Just like life.

 

Dialogue, main character development and setting as well as a cast of characters that make each of these men’s lives full, rich and complicated make this book a joy to read. Watching them fall and love and hope for a live together is a real pleasure. Oh, and it is super sexy too!

 

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Twist (Dive Bar #2) by Kylie Scott Review

      Twist: A Dive Bar Novel (Dive Bar Series Book 2) by Kylie Scott 3.5 Stars!

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they’re emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets…except the one that really matters.

When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it’s always better with a twist.

 

Review

 

I liked Twist epically more that Dirty the first book in this series.

It has a wonderful first meet with the hero and heroine. Wonderfully awful.

I really liked how messed up our hero and heroine are in different ways and how loved they are by their circle of friends. I love the you are not my type attractions.

And then the book goes sideways in the end. They are dumb dumbs. Sigh. And then we have a huge jump in time and thing work out. Sigh. I am glad things work out.

There are two other couples featured in the book that it seems sad we won’t get their stories.

I need at least two other books before I can read the next hero’s romance because he needs a lot of growth before I want to spend time with him.

My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! (Jock #1) by Wade Kelly Review

Review:

My Roommate's a Jock? Well, Crap! - Wade Kelly

It’s easy to become cynical when life never goes your way. 

Cole Reid has been a social recluse since he was fifteen, when he was outed by his high school baseball team. Since then, his obsessive-compulsive behavior and sarcastic nature have driven away most of the population, and everyone else hates him because he’s gay. As he sees it, he’s bound to repulse any prospective friends, let alone boyfriends, so why bother? 

By the time Cole enters college, he’s become an anal-retentive loner—but it’s not a problem until his roommate graduates and the housing department assigns Ellis Montgomery to move in with Cole. Ellis is messy, gorgeous, straight, and worst of all, a jock! 

During a school year filled with frat buddies, camping expeditions, and meddling parents, Cole and Ellis develop a friendship that turns Cole’s glass-half-empty outlook on its head. There must be more to Ellis than a fun-loving jock—and maybe Cole’s reawakening libido has rekindled his hope for more than camaraderie.

 

Review

Okay. Wade Kelly is killing me a little bit. The parts of her books and this book that are good are so very good and this there is these little bits and pieces that are off putting, out of place, not resolved and as another review put it haphazard. This makes it hard to recommend her books as I know someone will want to throw them across the room and to ask for the high price of Dreamspinner books even tougher. 

I love mean witty Cole. I love his funny and his personality and even how difficult and yet assertive and brave he is. I was charmed by his nerd self.

I like sunny Ellis a great deal as well as he learns who he is and how to be with himself and Cole. His lack of communication and freak outs seem out of character and took too long. 

The cast of friends is interesting and I kind of would like them to get their own romance. MF for the super nice future pastor. The next books in the series takes place when Ellis (now well adjusted and married to Cole awwww) is coaching and teaching (cause that happens in a university so easily lol)

There is some crazy sauce that is not needed but the romance is sweet and hot overall with lots of couple time. I liked it a lot. 

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