Kind Hero

Winter Knight by L. Valko Review

  Winter Knight by L. Valko 3 Stars!

fter three years living as a rich man’s toy, Micah Zaine is on his own again and struggling to salvage both his career and a shattered sense of self-worth. Accepting a position as a substitute kindergarten teacher seems like an excellent start, until he develops a crush on a student’s father.

Two years after the death of his beloved wife, Jacob Lournigran’s life revolves around work and raising his young son—a social life is nowhere in the picture. Until his meddling sister extends a holiday dinner invitation to his son’s handsome kindergarten teacher.

Spending time with Micah makes Jacob wonder if a friend could be just what he needs to start rebuilding his broken heart. And when financial difficulties and an angry ex put Micah in distress, Jacob has all the makings of a knight in shining armor.

Except Jacob is straight, and Micah is no damsel.

Review

This is a slow burn with Micah who is starting over after leaving an affair with a married man and Jacob whose is still grieving for his wife while raising his child.

Jacob is likely demisexual but the novella doesn’t talk about it much. This is mainly a book about falling in love, healing, and a bit of fairy tale love makes everything okay.

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.

HeartShip by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Star Review!

   HeartShip by Amy Jo Cousins 4 Stars!

Benji never meant to catfish a hot college football player in Minnesota when he met a fellow anime fan online. But when @joshfortytwo announces he’s coming to Miami for a spontaneous visit, Benji is pretty sure the left tackle—whatever that is—expects to meet a cute girl in a bikini, not an aging twink hoping to finally get his life together when he finishes massage therapy school.

Josh doesn’t let himself wonder about questions like:
•why don’t you want to ask @princessglitter if she’s a girl?
•why don’t you tell your friends that you can’t hang on Sunday nights because you’ve got a date to watch anime with your new BFF?
•why do you call it a date?
All he knows is that he needs to escape from the stress of having been injured just before the bowl game, and @princessglitter has somehow become his best friend.

But when Josh’s secrets and Benji’s sex appeal smash together for forty-eight scorching hours, they’re going to feel the heat from Miami to Minnesota.

Review

Awwwww. I loved every minute of this all in met on line friends to lovers romance.

It is a big old snuggle of a comfort read with really great character development, loads of couple time and sweet sexy relationship to believe in.

I am so glad these heroes found each other and were all in.

A pleasure of a romance.

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.

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.

Baked Fresh (Portland Heat) Annabeth Albert Review

Review:

Baked Fresh (Portland Heat) - Annabeth Albert

Vic Degrassi is a baker on the rise, and it’s all thanks to his rare ability to make—and keep—his New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s losing weight, giving up smoking, or graduating from culinary school, Vic goes after what he wants—and gets it. This year? He wants Robin Dawson, the sweet-hearted hottie who volunteers with him at the local homeless shelter. When he learns that Robin is suddenly single after being unceremoniously dumped, Vic is more than happy to offer a shoulder to cry on—or at least a fresh-baked pastry to bite into. But it’s been a long time since Vic’s gone on a date, and he’s nervous about risking his friendship with Robin. So when their flirtation turns into a steamy night together, Vic and Robin have to figure out if they’re friends with benefits or lovers in the making, and if Robin is ready for something more than just a rebound. There’s only one way to find out: turn up the heat…

 

Review

 

This is another great character driven romance with Annabeth Albert.

 

A wonderful love story about what it means to be in love with a person with a fully realized past. Both Vic and Robin carry a lot of their old selves into their romance.

Here we get a nice friends to lovers tale with the blending for two lives and taking risks to trust and love.

 

Very well written and engaging and as always with Albert the best parts of the book are in the details I don’t want to give away.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1581488/baked-fresh-portland-heat-annabeth-albert-review

Cherry Bomb (Mercury Rising, #2) by Samantha Kane 4.5 Star Review!

     Cherry Bomb (Mercury Rising Book 2) by Samantha Kane 4.5 Stars!

Officially, Turnstiles billionaire CEO Brian Curland is in Mercury to set up a new data center. Unofficially, he’s using this trip to re-evaluate his life, because for a man who has everything, he’s feeling pretty empty.

He could buy any car he wants. But no, he had to rent a piece-of-crap Chevy—which is now broken down on the side of the road. When he’s rescued by a sexy local, Brian does what he always does. Go for what he wants, even if it’s just temporary.

Evan Michaels stops to help because that’s what good guys do. He grew up in Mercury, eventually becoming minister of the local Unitarian church. Though everyone knows him, being gay and being in a gay relationship are two different things. He wants Brian, but their affair has to be secret or he can’t play.

When Evan unleashes his long-suppressed sexuality, Brian is more than up to handling the heat. Yet even though they fall hard for each other, it might take the whole town to convince them it’s a forever kind of love.

Warning: Contains an inexperienced minister, gay comic-book role play, dirty dancing in antebellum mansions, and some very naughty fireworks. Protective gear recommended.

Review

Dang, I really like this series! The writing is spot on on, setting and the world compelling, the characters complex and the romance hot, tender and complex.

So, I love me some clergy heroes. LOL. I enjoy them because it means they have thought carefully about and invested in the spiritual (what are we all here for) aspects of their life. Evan is just amazing. Human and loving and strong.

I like grown ups in my romance too. Brian and Evan are both grown and they talk and they acknowledge their shortcomings and the barriers to their relationship.

There wasn’t much I didn’t love about this book. I am not sure how many times I will reread it which is why it isn’t a 5 star but this is a great couple. I can’t to read the next book in the series and would really love more books after that.

The Other Side of the Roses by R. Cooper Review

  The Other Side of the Roses by R. Cooper 3 Stars!

Sami is twenty-seven and happy to live at home with his family, even if he is a little lonely and dissatisfied with his job at a nursing home. Caring for people is what Sami does. Unfortunately, putting his loved ones first is also part of the reason Sami is single. As accepting as his parents are, he isn’t sure how they’d react if he brought home a boyfriend. So he spends more time than he should dreaming of what might be, and fighting with his younger sister over the perfect sunny spot on the couch. Which is probably why the perfect potential boyfriend chooses that moment to move in across the street.

There’s just one problem—his new neighbor isn’t really new. He’s the son of the woman Sami’s mother has had a feud with for years. Toby and Sami grew up together but were never allowed to say more than a few words to each other despite Sami’s repeated efforts. Quiet, serious Toby was Sami’s first and biggest crush, and everyone knew it—a big part of their reason their mothers didn’t get along. Toby’s mother went as far as planting dozens of thorny rose bushes around her house to ensure Sami couldn’t even see Toby anymore.

But Toby’s mother is long gone, and Toby has no interest in reviving the feud. If anything, he seems determined to end it. Finding out why, and if it has anything to do with the way he looks at Sami, means Sami will have to raise the issue with his family—and dare to step beyond the wall of roses that kept him out all those years ago.

Review

While I was utterly charmed by this funny sweet romance of Sami getting his high school crush of a nieghbor and loved every moment of it, this love story is too short to be satisfying.

There is a cute re meet, a great family, flirting, romantic gesture and then we get to a first date and a yes I like you and then we are done.

Gah. So, much more fun could have been had.

Love Lessons (Love Lessons, #1) by Heidi Cullinan 4 Star Review

Review:

Love Lessons: Love Lessons Series, Book 1 - Heidi Cullinan, Iggy Toma

Love doesn’t come with a syllabus.

Kelly Davidson has waited forever to graduate high school and get out of his small-minded, small town. But when he arrives at Hope University, he realizes finding Prince Charming isn’t so easy. Everyone here is already out. In fact, Kelly could be the only virgin on campus. Worst of all, he’s landed gay campus Casanova as a roommate, whose bed might as well be equipped with a revolving door.

Walter Lucas doesn’t believe in storybook love. Everyone is better off having as much fun as possible with as many people as possible…except his shy, sad little sack of a roommate is seriously screwing up his world view. As Walter sets out to lure Kelly out of his shell, staying just friends is harder than he anticipated. He discovers love is a crash course in determination. To make the grade, he’ll have to finally show up for class…and overcome his fear that love was never meant to last.

 

Review

 

 am pretty convinced that Heidi Cullinan can’t write a bad book,.

This is a lovely New Adult romance with a shy hero and and a not shy hero. The hero with the chip on his shoulder ends up being super nurturing and kind. The shy hero ends up being mega sexy.

I love this romance which looks at intimacy and falling in love along with the real dramas of becoming a grown up. 

Good stuff!

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1581422/love-lessons-love-lessons-1-by-heidi-cullinan

Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water #1) by E.J. Russell Review

    Cutie and the Beast (Fae Out of Water Book 1) by E.J. Russell 4 Stars! 

Temp worker David Evans has been dreaming of Dr. Alun Kendrick ever since that one transcription job for him, because holy cats, that voice. Swoon. So when his agency offers him a position as Dr. Kendrick’s temporary office manager, David neglects to mention that he’s been permanently banished from offices. Because, forgiveness? Way easier than permission.

Alun Kendrick, former Queen’s Champion of Faerie’s Seelie Court, takes his job as a psychologist for Portland’s supernatural population extremely seriously. Secrecy is paramount: no non-supe can know of their existence. So when a gods-bedamned human shows up to replace his office manager, he intends to send the man packing. It shouldn’t be difficult — in the two hundred years since he was cursed, no human has ever failed to run screaming from his hideous face.

But cheeky David isn’t intimidated, and despite himself, Alun is drawn to David in a way that can only spell disaster: when fae consort with humans, it never ends well. And if the human has secrets of his own? The disaster might be greater than either of them could ever imagine.

 

Review

I was looking for a light paranormal romance and this just hit the spot.

Grumpy vs Sunny Hero is always a joy and a nice retelling of Beauty and the Beast.

The world building is good and the cast of others is a lot of fun,. I love how David is so much himself. He makes this book for me and his Aunts.

The end of the book gets a bit action adventure and I would love to pull back into the more character based stuff and the fun of the Other World which is much for intersting that Fairy to me and there are some plot holes  but all in and all a pleasure of a read.