homophobia

True Brit by Con Riley 4 Star Review

    True Brit by Con Riley 4 Stars!

Winning the United Kingdom’s favorite singing contest is a challenge for half-Afghani Pasha Trueman. He doesn’t have the best voice, but success would be life-changing. His strategy is simple—he’ll make the British public love him.

Ed Britten is an ex-soldier with a different agenda. Winning means he’ll keep a promise made after a deadly Afghan ambush. His voice is his weapon, but he leaves his heart unguarded.

Ed and Pasha’s discovery that the contest isn’t a fair fight calls for creative tactics. Staging a fake love story could bring victory, only there’s more at stake than the prestigious first prize. If winning means surrendering each other, they could both end up losing.

Review

I was utterly charmed by this book but it has some loose ends that were annoying because if these issues had been addresses it would have went from being a very good lover story to an excellent one.

Pasha and Ed are very different people. However, they are on a singing show together and end up needing each other and liking each other very much.

This a spot on pretend relationship plot for those of you who like me love those. It is great.

They communicate and are steadfast. There are lots of twists and turns that I don’t want to give away. Each character is detailed and the exploration of the heroes and falling in love is grand against the backdrop of the show.

They are both very smart but hurting and take time to show each other fully who they are.

It is a really good book.

The ends that that dangle: A better understanding of what happen to Ed in the army, more with Pasha’s auntie and his sexuality… And others stuff lol.

Very good overall.

Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Star Review

    Between a Rock and a Hard Place (Bend or Break Book 6)  by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Stars!

When friends lose the benefits, can the friendship be saved?

Love Me Like A Rock

With the right art tools, there’s almost nothing Austin can’t make real. Except an official relationship with his best friend, rowing teammate and occasional hookup, Vinnie.

Emotional and sexual frustration fuel a spark between Austin and Sean, the nude model in drawing class. After a quick and very dirty encounter, all the reasons Austin has been waiting for Vinnie go fuzzy in his mind.

But if Austin can’t get his head and his heart on the same page, he could lose both his friend, and his lover.

Hard Candy

Vincent always assumed he and Austin would eventually end up together. But now that Austin’s in love with another man, Vinnie is at a loss.

After the world’s most awkward one-night stand with Bryan, a dance major, Vinnie is drawn to his vibrant spirit and calm center.

Physically, the rowing jock and the glittery dancer can match each other stroke for booty pop. But for the lovers to meet on common ground, they’ll have to find a way to get moving in the same direction.

 

Review

This is a lovely pairing of a romance.

We get two best friends Austin and Vinnie who are not good romantic partners for each other. They each find love that helps them grow and become their richer selves.

I enjoyed Austin and Sean romance a great deal. I do wish that we had been in Sean’s head. He was a great character I loved how he went after his crush on Austin. This is a wonderful coming of age story for Austin where he learns to love and be loved. Sexy too with lots of fun moments.

Vinnie and Bryan’s romance is a bit more moody. As they come together to trust as well as like each other the tenderness of the romance comes in. There is an intersting discussion of sexual desire that I wish had more page time but overall I was really happy with this queer New Adult Romance.

The overlap and braid of the two love stories makes this book special.

Grind (The Riley Brothers #6) by E. Davies 4 Star Review

   Grind (The Riley Brothers Book 6)by E. Davies 4 Stars!

“My family could accept me being gay, but not trans.”
James is in trouble. His family turned their back on him after he transitioned, and he was forced to start his new life without them, but now he’s paying the price. Buried in debt, his last chance is to start a business with hunky carpenter Ryan and hope that they succeed. The one thing he can’t afford is a distraction, but what if Ryan is the only one to see past it all and love him inside and out?

“Strictly-business is hard around you.”
Ryan Hart doesn’t rattle easy. From lazy contractors to being the last single friend, nothing bothers him until he meets James. Ryan’s new business partner pushes him to follow his dreams, even though he faces problems Ryan’s never considered. Ryan doesn’t back down from a challenge or from threats to his business, James’s hard-won privacy, and their future together. As business partners, of course. Nothing more.

“I can’t believe they don’t see you as the man I love.”
They both know mixing business with pleasure is a bad idea, but the pull between them is too hard to resist. Can Ryan have it all with the clever, caring, bossy guy who’s won his heart?

Review

This is my favorite book in the Riley Brothers series.

I love James. I love the reality of how hard it is to find good work. I love how he uses his talent.

I love Ryan as well. I like how open and caring he is. I like how James and Ryan are better together than they are apart.

The aspect of their relationship that intersects with transgender issues is well handled.

This is a wonderful love story.

 

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.

Billionaire with Benefits (Romancelandia #2) by Anne Tenino Review

Review:

Billionaire with Benefits (Romancelandia) (Volume 2) - Anne Tenino

It’s just a friend thing.

Before confessing his gayness to his best friend, Tierney Terrebonne’s sex life is strictly restroom. After confessing his gayness to his best friend . . . it doesn’t improve much. Why bother trying when the man he’s loved for fourteen years (see: “best friend”) is totally unattainable? Good thing Tierney is an old hand at accepting defeat; all it takes is a bottle of bourbon. Or fifty. Repeat as needed.

Dalton Lehnart has a history of dating wealthy, damaged, closeted, lying, cheating, no-good, cowardly men, so of course he’s immediately attracted to Tierney Terrebonne. Fortunately, Tierney is so dissolute that even Dalton’s feelings for the man would be better described as pity. Which becomes sympathy as they get to know each other. Followed by compassion, concern, caring, and hopefulness as Tierney struggles to change his life. When the man comes out very publicly and enters rehab, Dalton finds himself downright attached to Tierney. And as everyone knows, after attachment comes . . .

Uh oh.

But post-rehab Tierney can’t handle more than friendship, so Dalton should be safe from repeating his own past mistakes, right? Right?

 

Review

 

Well, this book was intersting. I just bought the first one in the series as I loved the Romance loving hero who shows up here.

I struggled with this book because Tierney is exactly the kind of dude that you would beg Dalton not to date. Dalton would argue with you too like he does in this book that Tierney is worthy of time and love and because this is Romanceland, in the end he is right.

Closeted, homophobic, classist, drunk, with anger management issues with a dash of self centered, self hatred and cutting sarcasm. That is Tierney.

Dalton is not as round out of a character but he is isn’t a doormat which makes me hang in there with this romance.

The post rock bottom part of the this book is really engaging though I would have liked a full commitment to yeah he is had an addiction.

I struggle to figure out the setting of this book in places and it makes me a little nuts.

So, interesting read about a pretty messed up hero.

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Let It Snow (Minnesota Christmas Book 1) Heidi Cullinan Review

   Let It Snowby Heidi Cullinan 3.5 Stars! 

The weather outside is frightful, but this Minnesota Northwoods cabin is getting pretty hot.

Stylist Frankie Blackburn never meant to get lost in Logan, Minnesota, but his malfunctioning GPS felt otherwise, and a record-breaking snowfall ensures he won’t be heading back to Minneapolis anytime soon. Being rescued by three sexy lumberjacks is fine as a fantasy, but in reality the biggest of the bears is awfully cranky and seems ready to gobble Frankie right up.

Marcus Gardner wasn’t always a lumberjack—once a high-powered Minneapolis lawyer, he’s come home to Logan to lick his wounds, not play with a sassy city twink who might as well have stepped directly out of his past. But as the northwinds blow and guards come down, Frankie and Marcus find they have a lot more in common than they don’t. Could the man who won’t live in the country and the man who won’t go back to the city truly find a home together? Because the longer it snows, the deeper they fall in love, and all they want for Christmas is each other.

 

Review

I had a lot of fun reading this Christmas Romance because Frankie is a delight. He is kind and funny.

Marcus worked my nerves a bit as he stays gruff and grumpy a bit too long and it takes forever for him to see clear of his cheating ex.

Frankie is big hearted and takes risks. All the snowbound fun is great and good look in to North Minnesota culture.

While, I thought Marcus’s friends were a bit over the top, I am wishing them luck with other people in love.

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.

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.

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Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson 5 Star Review!

   Who’d Have Thought by G. Benson 5 Stars!

Top neurosurgeon Samantha Thomson needs to get married fast and is tightlipped as to why. And with over $200,000 on offer to tie the knot, no questions asked, cash-strapped ER nurse Hayden Pérez isn’t about to demand answers.

The deal is only for a year of marriage, but Hayden’s going into it knowing it will be a nightmare. Sam is complicated, rude, kind of cold, and someone Hayden barely tolerates at work, let alone wants to marry. The hardest part is that Hayden has to convince everyone around them that they’re madly in love and that racing down the aisle together is all they’ve ever wanted. What could possibly go wrong?

Review

 

This is one of the best romances I have read all year and I have read some fantastic books.

The love of the romance genre is alive and well on these pages and the book sings with the pleasure of a marriage of con and a private and uptight heroine vs a much more emotionial and blunt heroine.

It is grand. We get all that forced proximity joy. They know very little about each other and we get to learn about each of them as they learn each other.

It is a sexy as hell dance. Both are wonderful at their jobs in this amazing character driven love story.

The cast is great, the slow burn is great, the writing is spot on.

A 5 Star Romance to read again and again.

Living Out Loud by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn 4 Star Review!

Review:

Living Out Loud - Nyrae Dawn, Christina Lee

Ben Emerson has lived by his minister father’s rules most of his life. Born into an ultra-conservative church community, he’s finally brave enough to break free and move to San Francisco. Distancing himself certainly helps create a new mindset, but living as an openly gay man takes some getting used to. When he reaches out to Xavier, a childhood friend who lives in the city, Ben isn’t sure how he’ll respond given their thorny history. Ben hopes the familiar connection will help him right some wrongs as well as provide the solace he’s been craving. Xavier Ramos is who he is, and he doesn’t give a damn what anyone thinks. Whether it’s eyeliner, nail polish, tattoos or his love of hooking up, he uses his body as a form of self-expression but doesn’t let anyone get too close. When Ben reenters his life, Xavier helps him experience the city and feel comfortable in his own skin. Seeing the world through Ben’s eyes, he begins to wonder if he’s also not living as freely as he thought. When Xavier challenges Ben’s beliefs about sex, it becomes explosive—for both of them. Xavier breaks apart Ben’s sheltered world and shows him what it’s like to live out loud. The more time they spend together, the more Xavier begins to long for Ben in a different way—one that both surprises and scares him. But real life doesn’t fade into the background, so when Ben’s past comes knocking, old habits are hard to break. Testing the foundation of their deepening connection will take a trust that will either bind them…or tear them apart.

 

Review

 

This is a sweet, tender, hot and healing romance featuring Ben from the Free Fall series and Xavier. 

They are both complex heroes who need a happily ever after and get one. This book looks at conversion therapy and its horrors while celebrating the joy of love and touch.

Very well written and moving.

 

 

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