jewish lead

Played! (The Shamwell Tales #2) by J.L. Merrow Review

   Played! (Shamwell Tales Book 2) by J.L. Merrow 2 Stars

Posh boy Tristan Goldsmith has one last summer of freedom before he joins the family firm in New York—no more farting around on stage, as his father puts it. But the classically trained actor can’t resist when the Shamwell Amateur Dramatics Society begs him to take a leading role in their production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. As an added incentive, he’ll be giving private acting lessons to a gorgeous local handyman who’s been curiously resistant to Tristan’s advances.

As a late-diagnosed dyslexic still struggling with literacy, Con Izzard’s never dared to act before. With arrogant yet charming Tristan helping him with his lines, he finally has his chance to shine. But Con’s determined not to start a romance with a man he’s convinced only wants a casual fling.

Tristan’s never been one to back down from a challenge, especially when he realises his attraction to the tall, muscular handyman isn’t just physical. Just as he thinks he’s finally won Con’s heart—and given his own in return—disaster strikes with a slip of the tongue that shatters Con’s trust and sends him running for cover. This show may be over before the curtain’s even opened.

Review

There are some lovely moments in this book but overall its very unsatisfying.

Tristan is not very self reflective, entitled, self centered, arrogant and often cruel. He is 24 not 6 and as an actor one would hope be way more in touch than he is.

I think Merrow sets him up to be a study in unexamined privilege but he but he is mean and so thoughtless his road back to redemption needs to be longer than this book allows. We also have to spend time with his even more awful friends Amanda and that is not a pleasant way to spend an afternoon.

Con is lovely but a bit of a doormat. The rest of the plot is engaging which is why I finished it but Tristan should have had to work harder and longer on his change to get a HEA.

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.

 

Paint the Stars (Free Fall #3) by Christina Lee and Nyrae Dawn 4 Star Review

Review:

Paint the Stars - Nyrae Dawn, Christina  Lee

Ezra Greene has made a pretty decent life for himself. He has a nice apartment and spends his days doing the one thing he’s always loved—creating art. Despite being somewhat of a grumpy recluse, he’s even made a few loyal friends. When he takes a side job painting a mural at a local holistic center, he can’t help being curious about a certain friendly and self-assured yoga instructor, even if he doesn’t buy into any of that Zen crap. His holier-than-thou family already tried fitting him inside a box, and he swore he’d never be molded into anybody’s belief system again.

For Daevonte Randall, adulthood has worked out pretty well. He’s close to his parents and lives with an awesome roommate. He’s content with weekend hookups, teaching yoga, and taking college courses. What he doesn’t expect is to be so intrigued by the brooding and reserved painter he’s been tasked to stay after hours with at the center. Something fascinates him about Ezra, even after Daevonte’s attempts at flirting gets him friend-zoned on the spot.

As weeks pass, Ezra and Dae get to know each other, and soon their friendship catches fire. But Ezra’s been burned pretty badly before so trust and intimacy has to be earned. Daevonte feels up to the task, but it proves difficult as Ezra continues to keep his emotions in check. Dae’s only willing to wait so long, and when they’re dealt a surprising blow, Ezra needs to decide if love is worth the risk, that is…if it’s not too late.

 

Review

 

This is a great romance between grumpy artist Ezra and warm Daevonte the yoga instructor.

We get to visit the friends in this series and watch a love story unfold. Erza’s sexuality and personality make a great tension with Daevonte sexuality and personality. They like each other and it a treat to read.

All the little details of this book and work make it a really lovely tender and hot read.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1614178/paint-the-stars-free-fall-3-by-christina-lee-and-nyrae-dawn-4-star-review

College Boys (Men of Holsum College #1) by Daisy Harris Review

Review:

College Boys / Diva and the Frat Boy - Daisy Harris

When soccer star Chris Fischer moves next door to an openly gay classmate, he doesn’t realize the wall between their rooms will be so thin he’ll hear his neighbor’s every move. But soon he and Peter become friends, and Chris is intrigued—imagining what happens on the other side of the wall. Active on the Queer Student Council, Peter Cohen wishes he wasn’t so damn hot for his straight neighbor. He can’t tell if Chris is flirting or in denial or what, but Chris’s innocent overtures lure Peter into flirtation that throws his world into chaos. Peter doesn’t want to date a closet case, but he desperately, passionately wants Chris. Soon Chris must choose whether to run away from his new feelings or embrace a relationship with the guy he loves. And Peter must decide if he can give his heart to a guy who hasn’t yet figured it all out.

 

Review

 

 

This is a hot and sweet romance. It is a great tale of falling in love and takes particular care with showing how someone comes to understand their sexuality varies and there is no one correct way.

 

We get to see Chris’ process while Peter supports him. There is a sweetness to this romance and you will believe in how in love they are.

 

Peter is a great character and we could have spent more time with him outside his relationship and relationship angst. Chris is a great guy as well.

 

I love the message of finding community in the book.

 

A nice start to a new adult series. 

 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1616243/college-boys-men-of-holsum-college-1-by-daisy-harris-review

Sex Ed by Z.B. Heller Review

    Sex Ed by Z.B. Heller 4 Stars!!

Jaxson Dane is harboring a secret.

Not the fact that he’s a geeky comic book lover, or that he secretly draws his own comic, Bunny Fu Ninja Warrior. It’s not even classified information that he’s out and proud!

His secret is the shame that he’s a twenty-three-year-old virgin.
Jaxson isn’t waiting for marriage or even afraid of taking that step, he just hasn’t found the one guy who will accept all of his adorkable qualities. Due to an unfortunate mishap with a self-pleasuring apparatus and his favorite appendage, Jaxson meets
Tyler Mason. The emerald-green-eyed nurse is a witness to the mortifying incident, leaving Jaxon both grateful and disappointed in their one-time meeting.

And then Tyler somehow shows up at Jaxon’s family dinner. The very dinner at which Jaxson’s hidden virginity is revealed to everyone, including the captivating nurse.

Even though he secretly found the ER situation hilarious, Tyler is also able to look past it to see Jaxson’s genuine nature and is drawn to the charming and hapless comic book artist. He’s tempted to pursue the inexperienced Jaxson, but a recent and life-altering decision puts a damper on his wants and desires. However, the more time they spent together, the more willing he is to take the risk of juggling his new commitments and winning Jaxon’s affections.

A large, insane, and meddlesome family, two prying co-workers, and a sexy nurse are all trying to give Jaxson a crash course in Sex Ed. Will he pass?

Review

 really loves this romantic comedy. I smiled and laugh and read the best lines out loud.

It is adorable and sweet and zany. A bit over the top, yes, but super fun and light with characters that although they feel kooky also feel real.

I had no idea when I picked this up the ZB Heller had already told the Mom and Dad love story and the Uncles as well. I didn’t need those to enjoy this one but I will be picking them up.

Jaxson and Tyler are pretty normal in the vortex of the crazy that is Jaxson foul mouthed, oversharing, sex positive, very loving family.

Tyler just is really into Jaxson and its grand. Who wouldn’t be into this super smart sexy geek? He holds his own by electing to raise his nephew and being really witty,

Jaxson is everything. I love the virgin hero trope and the accident prone trope and I love why Jaxson is still a virgin He is super witty too.

There is a late in the book conflict that lasts a bit too long and I could use more Tyler and Jaxson time in relation to the wonderful secondary characters but overall this is a real charmer of a book.

There is great quote about comedy that opens the book and I think Heller does a great job of letting the situations be funny and the emotion be real.

Good stuff! Can’t wait for more!

Small Change (Small Change, #1) by Roan Parrish Review

    Small Change  by Roan Parrish 4 Stars! 

Ginger Holtzman has fought for everything she’s ever had—the success of her tattoo shop, respect in the industry, her upcoming art show. Tough and independent, she has taking-no-crap down to an art form. Good thing too, since keeping her shop afloat, taking care of her friends, and scrambling to finish her paintings doesn’t leave time for anything else. Which … is for the best, because then she doesn’t notice how lonely she is. She’ll get through it all on her own, just like she always does.

Christopher Lucen opened a coffee and sandwich joint in South Philly because he wanted to be part of a community after years of running from place to place, searching for something he could never quite name. Now, he relishes the familiarity of knowing what his customers want, and giving it to them. But what he really wants now is love.

When they meet, Christopher is smitten, but Ginger … isn’t quite so sure. Christopher’s gorgeous, and kind, and their opposites-attract chemistry is off the charts. But hot sex is one thing—truly falling for someone? Terrifying. When her world starts to crumble around her, Ginger has to face the fact that this fight can only be won by being vulnerable—this fight, she can’t win on her own.

Read

Pick up this book and read it. It is a great romance which mediates within this great love story on gender roles, sexism, introversion, female community, women’s rights, tattoos, relationship of all kinds, innate personalty…

Ginger and Christopher are in their 30’s and both small business owners. Ginger is a lot of things like we all are. But so is Christopher even though he seems a lot more clear cut than Ginger but really he is just as complex.

I don’t want to go into all the complexities because this is a plot driven by internal conflicts and character development with outside forces sometimes changing the course or pace of events and emotions. Those complexities make up the heart of the book.

The romance centers around seeing love as illuminating a life and worth the risk.

Christopher is a super hot ginger who has an intersting past and is a great listener. He is steady but very much himself. I love him. I wish there was more sex in this book because that part of Christopher was riveting.

Ginger has a pile of anger and she works too much and she is funny and loving.

I adore how bisexuality is discussed in this book. I love having a bisexual heroine and the discussion on the differences between dating men and women.

All the tattoo stuff is grand as well. This is a better book if you have read at least the first two books in the series but it is very good on its own.

There are a bunch of romances that should spin off from this one (Farron and Jude, Phee +?, Marcus and his partner) and word at the back of the book is we shall get a second Christopher and Ginger book. I think it would have been richer to get a little more couple time into this book and not have another book but I look forward to that book too

Mature Content by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell Review

   Mature Content  by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell 4 Stars! 

My life plan is to be brutally honest all the way to the bank. Don’t believe me? I run a popular YouTube channel called TrashyZane, and my claim to fame is oversharing about every aspect of my personal life. Sometimes while tipsy. Not everyone loves my style, but I have a long history of icing out people who can’t handle me. I have no time for judgmental foolishness.

Except, apparently, when it comes to Beau Starr. His channel is the polar opposite of mine, and so is he. Wholesome, inspirational, and clean-cut. Everything about him should turn me off, but when we hook up following a confrontation at a convention, my world flips upside down. Not only does Beau Starr turn me on, he uses the exact combination of dirty talk and roughness needed to turn me out.

But we still hate each other. I think.

 

Review

 

I liked a great deal about this book. Beau and Zane have an intense sexy connection that is realistic and compelling. I like the circle of friends and the exploration of internet fame and communities. The writers do a good job thinking about persona, brand, self, and authentic selves, and the right to privacy. There are some good discussion on the need for varied representation of gayness and I particularly like the rant about gay sex being seen as more dangerous the het sex. Good stuff.

I believe in the romance. This is by far the most erotic of the series and nice work is done thinking about sexual desire as well.

I wish the book had more character details here and there. Zane’s relationships romantic and otherwise in particular.

Beau keeps to a really annoying point of view and allows himself to be controlled for way too long. This time in the book could have been better spent with Zane and Beau in a public relationship.

But there is an epic grovel so that is good.

The series is taking a rest but I can see a number of characters that could use their own stories so I hope it picks up again!

Knit One, Girl Two by Shira Glassman Review

      Knit One, Girl Two: by Shira Glassman  3.5 Stars! 

Small-batch independent yarn dyer Clara Ziegler is eager to brainstorm new color combinations–if only she could come up with ideas she likes as much as last time! When she sees Danielle Solomon’s paintings of Florida wildlife by chance at a neighborhood gallery, she finds her source of inspiration. Outspoken, passionate, and complicated, Danielle herself soon proves even more captivating than her artwork…

Review

Oh, this is an adorable romance! It is as cute as its cover.

The yarn dying parts are super intersting and both heroines are witty and fun.

The heat level is kisses. I do wish the romance went on into a relationship in all its glory (not just the sexy stuff) and I hope that others of the knitting circle might get a story.

Someone Else’s Love Story (Shandi Pierce #1) by Joshilyn Jackson Review

  Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson 4 Stars! 

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn’t define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

Review

There is a so much to love about this b0ok. The lyrical writing, amazing characters, details of place and time.

This isn’t a romance really (exactly) as the actual couples (there are two) spend most of the book apart but we do get Happily Ever Afters that are well earned,

Our hero is a brilliant neurodivergent and utterly wrecked with grief and rage. We get his love story in flashback. He is the king of romantic gestures and has an amazing bestie.

The heroine is much younger (and not his heroine it will turn out. Not a spoiler! The title gives this away). You have to read the book to get her story (cause that would be a spoiler) but the writer has a very interesting exploration of a pile of topics with her. You may or may not like it but it will make you think.

I wish her love story had been given more page time and after time. I am a romance reader and I want my romance. lol

It is a great book with a lovely ending.

Look to the Stars by Olivia Kelly Review

 Look to the Stars by Olivia Kelly 3 Stars! 

Leonato Blakeley, heir to the earldom of Pennyworth, has no intention of marrying any time soon. He’s not against marriage, unless the term is being paired with his name. His great-uncle, the matchmaking Duke of Danby, has arrived in town, and Leo needs A Plan.

Romance review site Smart Bitches, Trashy Books gives this novella an A rating and called it “exactly the book I needed to read at exactly the right moment I needed to read it”. Reviewer Elyse says “Look to the Stars was the perfect Regency novella to reset my mind.”

American heiress Miriam Rosenbaum has crossed an ocean to study the stars with the best scientists in the field. Well, perhaps her mother thinks they’re in London to find husbands for the scandalous Madcap Rosenbaum sisters. But Miriam is determined not only to visit the Royal Observatory, but participate in their groundbreaking research.

Together, they might have a chance at accomplishing their goals. But when the Season is over, walling away from each other might be their greatest challenge yet.

 

Review

A great little Regency romance with a Jewish heroine who just wants to study the stars and a hero who realizes he wants more from life and want he wants is a life with her.

Very nice banter!

This novel could have been more robust but every thing here is well done.