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Be My Best Man by Con Riley 4 star Review

  Be My Best Manby Con Riley 4 Stars!!

Will Jason’s third time as a best man lead to first-time love for Vanya?

After fleeing violence in Moscow, student teacher Vanya Petrov winds up lonely in a run-down London hostel. At least visiting the Bond Street store where his roommate works lets him practice his English, but as Vanya’s vocabulary expands, so does his isolation, especially when he sees happy couples planning their perfect weddings.

According to Jason Balfour, weddings are a waste of time and money. After all, he’s been best man for his brother twice already. Saying that a third marriage will end in divorce too leads to an angry ultimatum: to save his relationship with his brother, Jason must meet his fiancée, at last, and make a good first impression.

Jason’s need to dress to impress brings him and Vanya together. Language is no barrier to falling in love with the young and fragile Russian, and neither is their age difference. But Vanya’s bruised soul carries secrets that could rip them apart. As the wedding draws near, Vanya must confess, and soon, or risk losing Jason—his own best man in Britain.

Review

This is a very good romance that explores the issue of refugee status for queer people whose home countries.

Vanya is in an untenable position when he meets Jason an older man struggles to accept his brother’s pending marriage.

What is wonderful about this love story is how much these two heroes have in common and the emotion they share.

You can feel Jason’s respect for Vanya and Vanya’s admiration and empathy for Jason.

The conflicts that arise make sense.

The book wobbles in the end as Jason reacts instead of thinks and it doesn’t seem wholly in character. He clings to the lessons of a bad relationship in ways that though explained don’t seem on the nose. The end of the book would have been richer if we got to see more of Vanya together than apart.

Still, it is a very good romance and worth reading.

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.

The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters by Amy Lane Review

 The Winter Courtship Rituals of Fur-Bearing Critters  by Amy Lane 3 Stars!

Rance Crawford is an alpaca rancher, fiber mill owner, and self-proclaimed grumpy bastard. When sweet, charming tenderfoot Ben McCutcheon moves onto Crawford’s rural road, Rance is very aware that Ben makes it a grand total of two gay men in their tiny town, and even though he is instantly, painfully smitten, any move he makes could be simply chalked up to being hard up. Using his best weapon and favorite skill, Crawford launches an awkward, wordless effort to make sure Ben is kept warm during the cold Colorado winter, every last piece of him—especially his heart.

Review

I enjoyed this novella a lot and it is a great kick off this this series which I loved.

Rance is super gruff and social awkward and a badass sweetheart.

Ben is just charming.

The setting and the circle of friends and all the knitting are great and come on Alpacas.

This is a slow burn and we get much more of Rance and Ben in the other books in the series but the characters while engaging are pretty flat. The courtship is wonderful but the book would have been better with more after they are together time and insight into their pasts and day to day love story.

There is one crazy part that almost knocked me out of the book and I can’t believe it survived editing where Lane refers to being aroused is a very disconcerting way. It happens twice and then lucky NEVER AGAIN. lol

So, a must of the knitter and pretty fun for all.

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.

Why I Love Geeks (Why I Love… #1) by T.A. Chase Review

   Why I Love Geeks (Why I Love… Book 1) by T.A. Chase 3.5 Stars! 

New York City Homicide Detective Chuck Davidson is a guy’s guy. He likes sports, beer, and classic cars—fancy gadgets, not so much. When yet another high-tech phone goes on the fritz, he knows he needs help, and he meets a man who loves technology as much as he hates it—cute but awkward biochemist Herbert Pommerset.

Herb’s never been with a man—not even on a date. He hides behind his research, daydreaming about what it might be like to find someone special. A malfunctioning phone causes his path to cross with a sexy older detective, and Herb wishes he’d spent less time studying science and more learning how to flirt, because he can think of some experiments he’d like to conduct with Chuck. None of his considerable intelligence is helping him express his desires to the other man.

Just when it seems they might overcome their differences, Herb’s research puts him in danger. He’s made a discovery that could cost him his life, and Chuck must use his very different talents to rescue the geek he’s coming to love.

 

 

Review

This is a really fun book which is exactly what I wanted! Yea!

Chuck and Herb are awful hero names and that makes it so funny. Herb is chatty, socially awkward, virgin, geek genius. So, yeah! Love it. He is funny and sweet.

Chuck is really nice and really hot and a detective.

There a great deal of mayhem, secondary love story, a great family, and fun romance.

The books gets a bit manic and Chuck character could be more develop and there could be more emotionial connection but I had a blast reading this romp.

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.

Cherry Pie (Mercury Rising, #1) by Samantha Kane Review

      Cherry Pie (Mercury Rising Book 1) by Samantha Kane 4.5 Stars!!

You can go home again—if you can get a foot in the door.

A year after packing and moving from L.A. to Mercury, North Carolina, John Ford still hasn’t adjusted to the heat. Or to life without his long-time partner. As he fixes up the old house he bought, the quiet becomes his only companion, and he’s content with that—until a deep-voiced stranger plants himself under a tree across the street.

Eight years ago, Connor Meecham left someone behind in that house—himself. Now he’s back to find the man he used to be, before drugs and prison sent his life careening off the tracks. But it’s not his mother’s face peering through the window any more. It’s a man who seems as lost as Conn himself.

When John learns what the house—and the dying town—mean to Conn, he finds himself opening the door to his heart. Just a crack. But it’s enough to get mixed up in a world of emotions as complicated as the recipe for the perfect cherry pie. Where one misstep can turn something sweet and juicy into one hot mess.

Review

Given the iffy title, I wasn’t expecting a great deal out of this book and was really pleasantly surprised.

I knew the love story would hot because Samantha Kane is an excellent erotic writer who uses sexy times to deepen the connection between characters. And the book has that loveliness for sure but this romance is also emotionial rich and sexy.

Many themes are at play here but the one I think is exceptionally well down is returning to your Hometown. Connor as been in recovery for two years and out of prison for more than a year. He decides to go home (its been the the better part of a decade) to reclaim the parts of himself, heal others, and build himself anew. He has to deal with the fact that someone has bought his family home, his mom has passed while he was serving time for possession and selling sex (though the charge was changed to vagrancy), reckon with how the town has changed, pick up old connection, forge new ones and find work. He left town as a golden football star in a small Southern town. He returns as a much better man in recovery, mindful, out about his sexuality and his past.

John is new to town and healing from the grief of losing his partner.

Class, age , and power difference play out in this romance is a powerful and healing way. They are emotionial equals and the joy of this book is in watching John and Connor fall in love and become partners.

The small town stuff is great and there are some wonderful secondary characters.

The writing is superb. Emotionially compelling, realistic (with the fantasy of less homophobia than there might be and John being really rich), and sexy.

Can’t wait for the next in the series.

The Sumage Solution (San Andreas Shifters, #1) by G.L. Carriger 5 Star Review!

     The Sumage Solution: San Andreas Shifters by GAIL CARRIGER 5 Stars!!

Max fails everything – magic, relationships, life. So he works for DURPS (the DMV for supernatural creatures) as a sumage, cleaning up other mages’ messes. The job sucks and he’s in no mood to cope with redneck biker werewolves. Unfortunately, there’s something oddly appealing about the huge, muscled Beta visiting his office for processing.

Bryan AKA Biff (yeah, he knows) is gay but he’s not out. There’s a good chance Max might be reason enough to leave the closet, if he can only get the man to go on a date. Everyone knows werewolves hate mages, but Bryan is determined to prove everyone wrong, even the mage in question.

Delicate Sensibilities?
This story contains M/M sexitimes and horrible puns. If you get offended easily, then you probably will. The ¬¬¬¬San Andreas Shifter stories contain blue language, dirty deeds, and outright admiration for the San Francisco Bay Area. Not for the faint of heart (mouth/tongue/etc.).

 

Review

I had a grand time reading this book. Its over the top and madcap but charming, hot, and engaging.

Humor is tough and for me this overblown paranormal world with a sarcastic hero and quirky non humans of all kinds really worked for me. I think because the heart of the story is the romance between Bryan, a beta wolf shifter able to be out about his sexuality for the first time, and a cranky, lanky not well functioning civil servant mage who had an awful childhood and a pretty crap romantic life until Bryan.

All the quirky and crazy plot around them was kept steady by the realism and the truth of this romance. It is a character driven love story set in a pretty well built and enjoyable paranormal world.

Some of the world building is a bit wonky but all the characters, banter, hot sexy times, and romance make up any flaws in a big way.

I can’t wait for more couples in this series and more time in this world.

Strong Enough (Family, #2) by Cardeno C. Review

  Strong Enough  by Cardeno C. 3.5 Stars!

When a casual hookup turns into the potential for love, staid Spencer realizes he wants to build a life with vibrant Emilio.

When twenty-two-year-old Emilio Sanchez sees handsome Spencer Derdinger walking by his construction site, Emilio makes it his goal to seduce the shy professor. Getting Spencer into bed isn’t difficult, but Emilio soon learns that earning the trust of a man deeply hurt will take time and patience. With a prize like brilliant, sweet Spencer on the line, Emilio decides he is strong enough to face the challenge.

Spencer is surprised when he’s approached by the gorgeous construction worker he’s admired from the safety of his office window. Acting spontaneously for the first time in his thirty-eight years, Spencer takes Emilio home. When the casual hookup turns into the potential for love, Spencer realizes that if he wants to build a life with Emilio, he’ll need to be strong enough to slay his personal demons and learn to trust again.

Review

Awww. Emilo and Spencer are great. I love how Emilo was steadfast and sure in his pursuit of Spencer. I love his kindness and care taking.

Spence takes risks even though he is pretty damaged from abusive past relationships. There is some great sexual healing in this love story.

Emilo’s family and Spencer’s friends are great. We get a wonderful opposites attract and even though there is a age difference Emilo more emotionial stability makes him a great match for Spencer and there is nice equality in the relationship.

It is sexy sweet romance with a little eye rolling moments (like that Emilo just moves right in) but overall a reread for sure.

Bear, Otter, and the Kid (Bear, Otter, and the Kid #1) by T.J. Klune Review

Bear, Otter, and the Kid (Bear, Otter, and the Kid Chronicles Book 1) by T.J. Klune 3.5 Stars!

Three years ago, Bear McKenna’s mother took off for parts unknown with her new boyfriend, leaving Bear to raise his six-year-old brother Tyson, aka the Kid. Somehow they’ve muddled through, but since he’s totally devoted to the Kid, Bear isn’t actually doing much living—with a few exceptions, he’s retreated from the world, and he’s mostly okay with that. Until Otter comes home.

Otter is Bear’s best friend’s older brother, and as they’ve done for their whole lives, Bear and Otter crash and collide in ways neither expect. This time, though, there’s nowhere to run from the depth of emotion between them. Bear still believes his place is as the Kid’s guardian, but he can’t help thinking there could be something more for him in the world… something or someone.

 

Review

I liked this book much more after I read the sequel. Why? I think the characters are more developed in the second book and looking back at this book I could forgive the things that irrated me, the way I might forgive a teenager for annoying behavior. I will get to those behaviors later.

I picked this series up because I have read TJ Klune before and liked his quirky characters, We get that quirk here in spades with Bear and the Kid and some great side characters but there is a lot of angst as well.

The love in this circle of friends is amazing and Bear’s mile a minute brain and the genius Kid are charming,. Otter is a great romantic lead as well. Nice friends to lovers themes as well as in love with my best friends brother, raising my sibling, age difference, loved forever, and and class difference going on as well.

There is a bunch of drama but it is the kind of drama that comes from being raised in poverty with a neglectful alcoholic parent and being young so it made sense.

The annoying parts of the book were Bear’s hot cold and oblivious relationship with his sexuality and his own feelings. As well a lack of discussion of bisexuality, demi sexuality, or pan sexuality.

This resistance and ping ponging created false drama: the acceptance, denial, lack of communication, freak outs, embracing and running screaming all at the same time. You could say well Bear is young and doesn’t have good role models but that doesn’t explain Otter’s non direct communication or make it less irritating as it went on and on and happened again and again beyond what I thing the characters would honestly do. These moments soured the book in places for me where relationship building and dealing with the fall out of changing connections for everyone involved could have been in its place.

Never the less, I enjoyed the book well enough to read the next one but am happy I bought this one on sale.