Kind Hero

Ruck Me (A Play On series short) by C.D. Brennan Review

    Ruck Me by C.D. Brennan  3.5 Series 

Dependable and hard-working Dave Marsden is the loose-head prop for the Traverse City Blues. A big man with an even bigger heart, Dave doesn’t let the other players’ ribbing bother him about owning the premier flower shop in town. In fact, little in life bothers him…that is until his world collides with Sierra Richards, a teammate’s sister.

Now Dave is questioning everything. Thanks to their fierce physical attraction, his world has gone askew. Could a sexy siren like Sierra really fall in love with a big oaf like him? Sierra challenges Dick’s concept of normal with her slightly criminal attitude. With her computer hacking skills, she constantly pushes the boundaries of the law. And when Sierra’s hacking finally catches up to her, will Dave rescue her from her own misdeeds?

Because there is a right and there is a wrong, right?

Review

Dave is a wonderful hero. He is thoughtful, kind, respectful, appreciative, and sexy. He has a great deal of complexity to him as he loves rugby and loves running his flower business.

It is fun to be in this rugby world again. This love story is on the hotter end of the scale and Brennan is again exploring characters with some pretty serious flaws which I like.

The heroine is kind of Dave’s opposite but for the sexy part. She has reason for being suspicious and rude. I think if I had had a better idea of her age I might have warmed up to her faster.

Here is the thing though the novella and the set up for the romance don’t give her the room she needs to grow up, heal, and become less reactive and more her best self.

Dave loves her because she is hot, fierce, bold, smart, and protective which are all good qualities but she is also co dependent, enabling, angry, and has some issues with selfhood (which all makes total sense).

I want her to evolve and to really see her and David in a relationship with its day to day struggles after the first weeks.

We spend a good amount of time with another character who even though we are suppose to have some empathy for I still find repulsive. lol

I will keep reading in this series but hope great character like Dave get more of a love story than this novella offers.

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

Sweet Topping (Cattle Valley #3) by Carol Lynne Review

    Sweet Topping by Carol Lynne 3 Stars! 

Wheelchair-bound, Kyle Brynn loves his home above the bakery he owns and runs. He’s proud of everything he’s managed to accomplish since the accident six years ago that took the use of his legs. At the age of twenty-six he’s an independent man living on his own, despite the protests from his family. However, with his independence comes loneliness. It’s not the townspeople’s fault that they see him as less of a man, it’s his.

Darshawn ‘Gill’ Gilling quit professional football at the height of his career without a word to the press as to why. Now settled in Cattle Valley, Gill’s happy running his garage and gas station. His life is much easier since coming out of the closet to his friends and family. He just wishes he’d had someone to come out for. Most folks in town tend to be a little awestruck when Gill comes around, but if he wanted fans he’d have stayed in football. What he really wants is that cute little baker down the street.

 

Review

This is a sweet romance. It does a decent job looking at a love life after an accident that left the one of our heros using a wheelchair.

Nicely, the books begins several years after the injury and he has a fully life and a hot man with a huge crush on him.

There is nothing really wrong with this book but the setting, the characters, and the plot are pretty thin. As with a lot of long running series, it likely relies on the series as a whole to build depth.

This is my first book in the series. I may or may not read more.

Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins Review

 Five Dates by Amy Jo Cousins  4 Stars! 

Helping his sister Lucy raise her kid has put Devin’s love life on hold. When he loses a bet to her and the penalty is to go out on five dates with men she’s chosen from Guys4Guys.com, he thinks that’s bad enough. Finding out she used a thirteen-year-old picture of him to score a date with a young guy who looks like a rock star? Epically bad.

Jay thought he wanted to fall for an older man. But his last boyfriend left him feeling humiliated and determined to stick to guys his own age. When he realizes he’s been conned into a date with exactly the kind of man he’s sworn to avoid, he’s ready to walk away on the spot. Only Devin’s swift apologies convince Jay to accept dinner to make up for the deception.

“The date doesn’t count for the bet unless you get a goodnight kiss.” After one not-a-date dinner with Jay, Devin isn’t worried about his sister’s rules. He just wishes he could convince Jay to go out with him for real. Jay wants no part of Devin, but Devin wants every part of Jay . . . so he asks Jay to help update his look for the rest of his dates. But once Jay’s made Devin over into the perfect date, will he be able to let him go?

Review

This is a lovely push and pull romance between an older hero and a younger hero. The set up to the romance is great.

Every character is well developed and intersting. This is a charming character driven romance which deals fairly with age gap issues and dating after a long time tending family obligations.

It is sweet and hot and a really great way to spend your afternoon.

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.

Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow Review

    Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow  4 Stars! 

The bigger they come, the harder they fall … in love.

Cambridge academic Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed — literally and figuratively. Next morning, he can’t rest until he’s apologised to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant.

Larry’s intrigued to find there’s more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry’s class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair.

It’s deliciously physical, but also much more — which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends, and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.

Review

I want to reread this book right now. It made me happy.

It is a grand opposites attract romance and it is full of love and kindness and sexy.

The love story starts with an uncute meet and moves all the way through a very happily even after.’

It is told from Al’s point of view which makes somethings really wonderful but also makes the world a bit muted. I think if Larry’s point of view were woven in the book might be even better.

From Al’s point of view we can’t really tell if he is a super slow processor or something else.

What I love about the book is that kindness counts. Actions of love count. Adoring someone is okay.

It is a sweet tender romance. Wanders off to reread…

Blowing Off Steam by Joy Lynn Fielding Review

     Blowing Off Steam  by Joy Lynn Fielding   3.5 Star! 

Sam Chancellor has been in love with the steam engine Old Bess since he was six years old. Well, maybe not literally, but even when he’s lost everything else in his life, he’s always had her. But now her place in his heart has been unexpectedly challenged. Her new driver, Ryan Saunders, is the embodiment of all Sam’s fantasies.

Ryan has written off Sam as just another geeky trainspotter—until the moment Ryan sees him without his usual shapeless hoodie and realizes that, for a nerd, Sam’s pretty built. When Ryan overlooks Sam’s awkwardness long enough to suggest a hook-up, Sam seizes the opportunity—and Ryan—with both very eager hands. Finding common ground in their shared love of Bess, their time together is better than Sam ever dared dream.

But there’s a reason Ryan never talks about his past. And when Ryan’s job is threatened, Sam’s well-meaning intervention endangers more than just their fragile relationship.

 

Review

I should admit right up front, I like the nerdy hero Sam in this book, love trains. I am not a trainspotter like Sam but I like them enough to go to every train museum I see and take long and short train trips whenever I can.

So, this book had me at trains. lol

The old steam train and Sam are wonderful in this book. I love me a nerdy shy hero. Ryan is a lot more selfish and unkind than I think Sam deserves but it he grows.

There is a plot afoot which adds drama to the story but I would have been content with Ryan growing much more in his character and Sam valuing himself more but all in all a fun love story.

Brute by Kim Fielding Review

   Brute by Kim Fielding  3.5 Stars!

Brute leads a lonely life in a world where magic is commonplace. He is seven and a half feet of ugly, and of disreputable descent. No one, including Brute, expects him to be more than a laborer. But heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and when he is maimed while rescuing a prince, Brute’s life changes abruptly. He is summoned to serve at the palace in Tellomer as a guard for a single prisoner. It sounds easy but turns out to be the challenge of his life.

Rumors say the prisoner, Gray Leynham, is a witch and a traitor. What is certain is that he has spent years in misery: blind, chained, and rendered nearly mute by an extreme stutter. And he dreams of people’s deaths—dreams that come true.

As Brute becomes accustomed to palace life and gets to know Gray, he discovers his own worth, first as a friend and a man and then as a lover. But Brute also learns heroes sometimes face difficult choices and that doing what is right can bring danger of its own.

  Review

I like everything this romance very much. You can’t ask for a better hero than Brute. It is a joy to see his life improve. His kindness is is heroic

Gray is a great hero too if a kind of redeemed one.

Their love story is sweet.

What I wanted more of was a better understanding of the world, magic systems, and much more couple time.

Big in Japan: Accidental Sumo by Jennifer Griffith Review

Big in Japan: Accidental Sumo by Jennifer Griffith 3.5 Stars! 

Buck Cooper is big.

So big, in fact, that people don’t see him anymore—not at work, not in his love life. He’s become 300+ pounds of invisible. But when a family situation shanghais this Texan to Tokyo, suddenly being big makes him a spectacle—in a good way, especially when the spotlight at a sporting match lands on Buck and forces him into the sumo ring. Will this accident of fate be Buck’s chance of a lifetime, making him Big in Japan?

 

 

 

Review

The parts of this book that are good are so good that it warrant this high rating. I completely loved the book while I was reading it. However, as I have mulled over the book my enjoyment dims a bit because of some truncated elements of the plot that make it less fulfilling and silly in places.

What I loved: This book takes a deep dive into Sumo culture. I show up for this kind of detailed exploration in my romance novels. Clap my hands and give me a cool drink, I settle in.

Sumo hazing is crazy. I love me some Sumo (yeah not a sentence that most Westerns say but there it is) and was thrilled to to seek out this book based in the world of Sumo. It was really wonderful. The story showcases the sport, the athleticism and the culture.

The setting in Japan through our hero Buck’s (clearly and American) eyes well done. I got very hungry reading this story. All the senses are used to tell the tale of living in a vastly different place than he is use to and it is well done.

His hero’s journey is lovely to trace. Buck is the best person. His motivation are human and he is good without being saccharine. He does the right thing because that is his nature but the writer is gifted at showcasing how hard these choices can be for so many reasons.

The body issues that are explored here are powerfully rendered looking at culture, self worth masculinity, bullying and other nuances.

Buck works hard and is open minded. Love him!

When he falls in love, it is sweet. (FYI this book never gets past kisses which is a nice break from hotter fare).

However, the romance could have been way more developed, They are hardly ever together. We needed more couple time, I really would have liked some of the book from the heroine’s point of view. She remains pretty idolized.

There is crazy side plots of all kinds that are way over the top. Those are sort of fun but need to be balanced with more relationship development.

So, 3.5!

This Guy Kills Me by Anlyn Hansell Review

  This Guy Kills Me  by Anlyn Hansell 3.5 Stars!

She has the face that could launch a thousand ships.

And the personality to sink every last one of them.

He sells his own special brand of life insurance, as in…death.

What happens when the one person you find you can’t live without is the same person that is eventually going to kill you?

Jane Hamilton is one hot mess until she meets the World’s most well-adjusted killer. He needs her help and he’s not above kidnapping her to get it. What he doesn’t expect is a woman who isn’t at all what she seems. Except crazy, that is.
She’s definitely crazy.
But then again, in his world? Crazy is the norm.

Review

This book is a great deal of fun. If I took it seriously, I wouldn’t have enjoyed it. I didn’t and it was wonderful.

The heroine is living in utter poverty and has a psychic gift that makes her blurt out the awful things she see about people.

The hero is a hitman.

This is a mad cap romp with tons of humor and great characters all around. The romance is very sweet as they fall in love with each other despite each other.

It would have had a higher score if had resolved a few issues around the hero’s work and the heroine’s family but it really a hoot.

Building a Bad Boy by Colleen Collins Review

   Building a Bad Boy by Colleen Collins 2 Stars

Her own custom-made bad boy

When Kimberly Logan makes men over to find their mates, she knows the type of guy women want. However, Nigel Durand, an all-around beautiful hunk of man, might be her toughest client yet. He’s got the droolworthy look, but his nice-guy personality and sweet ways make him too available. Looks as if she’s in for a lot of hands-on coaching.

Too bad the more she has her hands on him, the more tempted she is. And when he throws himself into being “Nicky,” his charming and sexy alter ego, Kimberly can’t resisL.especially when he delivers steamy kisses and whispered promises. After hitting the sheets with him, she knows this is one bad boy she’s not letting go!


Review

The hero is wonderful. He is thoughtful, funny, nerdy, hot.

The heroine works my last living nerve.

The basic plot that he comes to her for a makeover because he is sick of not getting the woman he wants is fine.

How slow she is to realize he is great as is and how dumb she is about her job to the point of immorality is a no go for me.

I didn’t want her to get him. Grow and change I am all for but it is never good when I want to snatch the HEA out of one of the leads hands and give it to anyone else.