Music

Infamous (Famous, #2) by Jenny Holiday 4.5 Star Review!

   Infamous by Jenny Holiday 4.5 Stars!

All that up-and-coming musician Jesse Jamison has ever wanted is to be on the cover of Rolling Stone. When a gossip website nearly catches him kissing someone who isn’t his famous girlfriend—and also isn’t a girl—he considers the near miss a wake-up call. There’s a lot riding on his image as the super-straight rocker, and if he wants to realize his dreams, he’ll need to toe the line. Luckily, he’s into women too. Problem solved.

After a decade pretending to be his ex’s roommate, pediatrician Hunter Wyatt is done hiding. He might not know how to date in the Grindr world, how to make friends in a strange city, or whether his new job in Toronto is a mistake. But he does know that no one is worth the closet. Not even the world’s sexiest rock star.

As Jesse’s charity work at Hunter’s hospital brings the two closer together, a bromance develops. Soon, Hunter is all Jesse can think about. But when it comes down to a choice between Hunter and his career, he’s not sure he’s brave enough to follow his heart.

Review

nfamous is a great friends to lovers romance with all the pleasure of the Rock Star theme as well.

Jenny Holiday hits all the right notes with this touching romance about Jesse, the rock star, and Hunter, the doctor.

Watching them become such close friends while crushing on each other is a joy. I love how Hunter’s life as a doctor is shown to be as complex and important (maybe more in some ways) than Jesse’s famous job as a singer and songwriter.

Jesse makes a choice early in this book not be out as bisexual in exchange for getting the agent he wants/needs to make his band successful. He also fears being out in terms of the damage it might due to his ability to make a living in music. Hunter won’t be with another closeted man.

The conflicts is realistic as is the way there two men fall more and more in love until something has to give.

It is a slow burn romance with a number of compelling elements outside the romance.

I just loved Hunter and Jesse and the connection they had.

I am not sure that the last flash of drama was needed or that Jesse wouldn’t have told Hunter that he was bi and the agreement he had made with his agent and that kept it from being a 5 Star read for me but every other moment made this a shining gem of a love story.

Can’t wait for more in the series!

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

Exchange of Hearts by N.R. Walker Review

    Exchange of Hearts by N.R. Walker 4 Stars!

Eighteen-year-old Harrison Haddon has grown up alone. Surrounded by wealth, nannies, and material things, all he craves is the approval of his father. Sent away to the boarding school his father and grandfather attended, it’s assumed he will follow in their footsteps from Sydney’s prestigious Ivy League school straight into medical school.

But Harrison doesn’t want to be a doctor.

He dreams of music and classical piano. His only true happiness, his escape from the world expected of him, is dismissed by his intolerant and emotionally detached parents.

Levi Aston arrives from London for a three-month student exchange program. Free-spirited and confident in who he is and what he wants to do with his life, Levi convinces Harrison not give up on his dreams.

But convincing Harrison not to give up on his family might not be so easy.

 

Review

This is as perfect little comfort read about first and lasting love. It stars with a slow burn and then moves into the passion for young adult lives. They are 18 when the books begins.

The heroes are each others first true lovers. It is a wonderful story of making it work, growing up, and being in love.

Heartwarming and sexy.

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.

 

St. Nacho’s by Z.A. Maxfield Review

St. Nacho’s by Z.A. Maxfield  3 Stars

Cooper has spent the last three years running from a painful past. He’s currently moving from town to town, working in restaurant kitchens, and playing his violin for tips. As soon as he starts to feel comfortable anywhere–with anyone–he moves on. He’s aware that music may be the only human language he still knows. Ironically, the one man he’s wanted to communicate with in all that time is deaf.

Shawn is part of a deaf theater group at the nearby college. Shawn wants Cooper as soon as they meet and he begins a determined flirtation. Cooper is comfortable with down and dirty sex, just not people. As far as Shawn is concerned, dirty sex is win-win, but he wants Cooper to let him into the rest of his life as well.

Cooper needs time to heal and put his past away for good. Shawn needs to help Cooper forgive himself and accept that he can be loved. Both men find out that when it comes to the kind of healing love can bring, the sleepy beachside town of Santo Ignacio, “St. Nacho’s” as the locals call it, may just be the very best place to start.

Review

I loved the first section of this book. I would have liked it better if we had Sean’s pov as well as Copper. Sean is wonderful but I would have loved to know more about him. Cooper needs to ask but instead we get deep dipped into Connor’s awful past and he goes home.

The sections with his ex lover and his ex lovers connection to a church to help with his sobriety are teeth gritting in the level of angst and self punishment.

I think that Cooper needed to go through this fire but without Sean around for a portion of it and without Sean’s point of view (So he becomes St.Sean) this part of the plot is really hard to take.

We need much more after Cooper comes out the other side to make this a good romance for me.

Treble Maker (Perfect Harmony, #1) by Annabeth Albert 4 Star Review

Review:

Treble Maker (#PerfectHarmony, #1) - Annabeth Albert

Cody Rivers is determined to be a rock star, but couch-surfing between bar shows gets old fast. Joining an a cappella group for a new singing competition show could be his last chance at real fame—unless the college boy from the heart of the country messes it up for him. Lucas Norwood is everything gothy, glittery Cody is not—conservative, clean-cut, and virginal. But when a twist in the show forces them together, even the sweetest songs get steamy as the attraction between them lights up the stage. Lucas wants to take it slow, but Cody’s singing a different tune—and this time it may be a love song…

 

 

Review

I don’t like reality tv shows much but I am a bit of a fan of competitive singing shows. and I love a bass voice. So… I was in.

I think that this book could have stood to be longer in order to get the characters fuller arcs and in order for choices to be made more slowly but even though I don’t think Lucas would have moved so fast nor do I think Cody would have matured this fast, I really enjoyed the book.

I don’t want to give spoilers but Lucas is in an intersting pickle as to how he acts on what he wants. The idea of not seeing a spectrum of choice and behaviors instead of saint or sinner really is shown in Lucas upbringing. And this is a New Adult romance in terms of the pain of wanting to please your family especially when they are supportive but don’t yet see you as grown.

Cody has the same basic struggle with seeing the nuance and boy does he have trust issues.

Together, they are a sexy sweet couple that I wish only the best.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1576012/treble-maker-perfect-harmony-1-by-annabeth-albert-review

Full Exposure by Amy Jo Cousins Review

Review:

Full Exposure: A Don't Read in the Closet Novella - Amy Jo Cousins

There’s more than one way to be a rock star.

Evan Pak is a card-carrying geek (he even has the job to prove it), but when his photographer brother invites him to tag along on a photo shoot with rock star Riley Flood, he figures it will be two days of ogling and eye-rolling and nothing more. But the reckless bad boy is nothing like he expected, and Evan is mesmerized by the mix of cocky and sweet he sees in Riley. When a spontaneous idea ends with Evan stripping down under the hot lights for an intimate portrait for Riley’s next album cover, Evan is absolutely sure their connection won’t end when the lights are turned off. Especially since Riley can’t seem to keep his hands off the tattoos Evan hides under his clothes.

Even a spoiled rock star wants to give up control sometimes, if only for a weekend. The world is full of people who want things from Riley and the demands on him never stop. Evan knows exactly how to turn off the noise in Riley’s head and it starts by putting him on his knees.

Together, they will push each other higher and farther than either one of them have ever gone before. It’s easy to take risks when there’s a time limit on the game. But when their time is up, what comes next if they don’t want the game to end?

 

Review

 

A lot of little details come together to make this a very enjoyable romance.

Both of the heroes are well hmmm smug? It is hard to describe but they both act selfishly and a bit carelessly with others and yet they end up being very tender with each other and dedicated to those in their lives.

This is a nice novella that thinks about making a relationship work despite the internal and external pressures.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1572160/full-exposure-by-amy-jo-cousins-review

Ethan, Who Loved Carter by Ryan Loveless Review

Ethan, Who Loved Carter  by Ryan Loveless  3 Stars! 

By twenty-four, Carter Stevenson has stuttered and ticced his way to debilitating shyness. Although his friends accuse him of letting his Tourette’s dictate his life, Carter moves from Los Angeles to a quiet California town. He’ll keep his head down and avoid people. He doesn’t anticipate his new neighbor, Ethan Hart, crashing into his solitude and forcing him to get out and live.

From the beginning, Ethan makes his love for Carter clear. But he fears Carter won’t see past Ethan’s damaged brain, even though it makes Ethan more attuned to his emotions than most people. For Carter, there’s a bigger issue: he’s been burned by so-called “perfect” matches, and he won’t risk his heart again.

One way or another, Ethan’s determined to show Carter they belong together. Then Ethan receives tragic news. Suddenly he must turn to Carter for strength and support. Will Carter come through when Ethan needs him most?

Review

I have mixed feelings about this one but overall it is sweet book about two new adult heroes whose brains work differently for different reasons falling in love.

Ethan has a brain injury and at times he is too child like for my comfort but might simply be a “my comfort thing.

Carter makes good money doing something I am not sure someone so young would make good money doing and it drives me a little nuts as a fellow beach living Californian. lol

There is a plot twist I don’t want to spoil but something not explored there in term of the thoughts of the participants could have used way more development.

The book has a lovely look at friendships and anger as well.

However, their path to love is sweet and emotionial and I enjoyed this book.

Wake Up Married Serial, Episodes 1 – 6 by Leta Blake and Alice Griffiths

4.5 Stars!!!

Episode One: Will & Patrick Wake Up Married

After a drunken night of hot sex in Vegas, strangers Will Patterson and Dr. Patrick McCloud wake up married. A quickie divorce is the most obvious way out—unless you’re the heir of a staunchly Catholic mafia boss with a draconian position on the sanctity of marriage. Throw their simmering attraction into the mix and all bets are off!

Episode Two: Will & Patrick Meet the Family

Meeting the family is challenging for every new couple. But for Will and Patrick, the awkward family moments only grow more hilarious–and painful–when they must hide the truth of their predicament from the people they care about most. Throw in the sexual tension flaring between them and you’ve got a recipe for madcap laughs and surprisingly heartwarming feels.

Episode Three: Will & Patrick Do the Holidays

A couple’s first holiday season is always a special time. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are magical when you’re in love. Too bad Will and Patrick’s marriage is a sham and they’re only faking their affection for each other. Or are they? Sparks fly in this episode of the Wake Up Married serial. Will the sexual tension between Will and Patrick finally explode in a needy night of passion? Or will they continue to deny their feelings?

Episode Four: Will & Patrick Fight Their Feelings

Will and Patrick have embraced adding hot sexy-times to their fake marriage, but as their emotions deepen, they confront whether or not they want to be more than friends-with-benefits. The heat is high (and occasionally kinky) as Will and Patrick struggle to accept their mutual affection.

Episode Five: Will & Patrick Meet the Mob

Patrick has finally accepted that he’s in love with Will, but his newfound determination to do something about that runs up against his father-in-law’s mobster plans. Will must face the truth about his family before he can fully come to terms with his feelings for Patrick. And Patrick has to decide if this whackadoodle world is something he truly wants to be part of forever.

Episode Six: Will & Patrick’s Happy Ending

Sure, Will and Patrick are in love now, but they weren’t when they got married in Vegas. For Patrick, that’s no problem, but Will can’t shake his doubts that a relationship started through coercion can ever become the real deal. Since the Molinaro crime family has reversed their position on divorce, Will and Patrick have a chance to rectify their drunken mistake. But is divorce the right choice for them?

Review

This book has all the cat nip. It is a sheer joy to read as it plays with tropes through hyperbole and reversals while mixing in powerful psychological depth.

It is at once silly and moving with a grand love story at its heart.

It would have been a 5 Star read for me but its a Serial (I hate them with all my heart) and there is some sex aftermath body stuff that happens repeatedly and is just a bit ewww for me in the way that it is described.

There is a lot of silly here that makes it fun. We have a strangers marry Vegas while drunk fun with opposites attract joy through in. They have to stay married because of an inheritance clause from the Mob family of Will who is much younger than the Patrick. Fun!

And yet each of these standard (and great in my opinion) is explored at the same time with emotionial truths. Will was drunk that night because he was relapsing in his alcoholism after getting dumped by his long time boyfriend via a phone call. The book does a beautiful job with addiction, recovery, and family made more compelling because Patrick is a neurosurgeon and looks at addiction biologically.

The mob family stuff show layers of recklessness and disfunction of Will’s family. Will has diabetes and the book details the daily life of such a disease. Will’s last relationship was awful and Patrick’s gruff but steadfast treatment and care and eventual love of will is a wonderful display what love should be. He respects and treasures Will.

Patrick is his own gruff, arrogant, funny mess. I don’t want to give to many spoilers as to why but he has a hard time with so much feeling and yet…he is the very best. The friendships he develops are their own awesome love story.

There is a joy in this book too that while internalized homophobia does come up they fact that gay marriage is legal means that everyone in the book simply looks at their marriage as a marriage.  The end.

This is just such a wonderful read with so much healing and love. Read it.

I Want You to Want Me (Rock Star Romance, #2) by Erika Kelly Review

3 Stars

Derek Valencia finally has the success he’s worked so hard for. His band is touring its debut album and great reviews are rolling in. But when pictures of him tossing naked groupies off a balcony go viral, it’s damage-control time. He’s assigned a “babysitter” whose sole job is to keep him out of trouble.
Violet Davis swore she’d never work in the music industry again, but being a minder for a rock star will earn her enough to pay off the mortgage on her wildflower farm. And for a girl brought up in the foster care system, owning her own home means more to her than anything.

Though at first the two bang heads, the rocker and the farm girl soon grow close and realize that they make sweet music together. But can a girl who craves the stability of life on a farm really make it work with a man whose life is spent on the road with his band?

Review

I like a great deal about this book but I dislike about the same amount.

I love how competent the heroine is and the very real portral of how foster care system shapes her. I think it is intersting how her job as a minder grew out of her emotionial intelligence gained in the system.

The hero’s self esteem struggles are also interesting. I like the close look at addiction and denial in the other characters as well as group dynamics.

Who doesn’t love a wildflower farm?

What I did not like is how long it took the hero and heroine to evolve. They really needed to at least say out loud how they thought this thing between them might or might not work and then try. Given who they are they would stumble but this would be a much better book if they just adulted a little in terms of communication.

We get horrible drama instead which makes both of them undatable.

And the other band members are such wankers. Which is fine but there is all this talk of how close and what a family they are.

We have some good moments of recognition of wankerness but I needed way more.

There is too much red haze lust in here which gets in the way of plot for me.

So…. Calix looks like a great character and is up next but I am not sure I can take all the side stuff and more lack of TALKING.

Never Enough by Roxie Noir Review

4.5 Stars!!

It’s a simple enough transaction.
Marisol needs the money, and I need a nice girl to parade in front of the cameras.
No feelings. No strings. No falling for anyone.

I’ve been clean for months, but my record company’s not satisfied. Apparently it isn’t enough to only kick a heroin addiction – they’re insisting that I find a girlfriend as well.

If I don’t, they pull Dirtshine’s massive record deal.

It’s supposed to show that I’ve changed my ways, that I’ve turned over a new leaf, all that rubbish. But I’ve had it with suit-wearing wankers telling me what I’m to do, so I’m on the verge of telling them to go f*ck themselves.

And then she shows up.

Marisol locks me out of my own concert by accident. She’s wearing a suit at a rock show, searching for her lost law school textbook, has no idea who I am…

…and for the first time in years, I’m hooked.

She’s smart, driven, and utterly gorgeous. The sort of girl who earnestly believes in following the rules and hates when others don’t.

I’m a huge rock star, recovering addict, and general f*ckup.

Our relationship is for show, and that’s all. But with every smile, every laugh, and every breathtaking glance at her curves, I want her more.

Two months is all we agreed to. But it’s never going to be enough.

Review

I picked this book up because of my crazy “I can’t get enough Rock Star Romance” problem

It was really, really good. The “oh no I am going to read all this writer’s back list” kind of good.

Noir manages to make me trust her as a Romance writer because she never chooses the easy way out while dealing with fun themes and balance to dark and the light with enough complexity to the characters and the relationship to make for a really satisfying love story worth reading again and again.

The premise of a pretend relationship is silly but I love this troupe because I adore making strangers deal with each other and have to kiss. So sue me. lol

The theme is really well done with the truth of pretend media relationships making if more believable, the hero’s wanting choice in the matter, and the why the heroine agrees. Noir also messes with this theme in inventive ways that make the book a joy.

The Rock Star theme is handled with depth adds realism and conflict and characterization. The hero is in recovery for heroin addiction and it is a struggle. He is newly sober and his past and present and process deeply impact the relationship with the heroine as they would. This is realistic and moving look at what it means to be an addict, the scars of it, and the how it impacts others. I love this part of the book. There are little moments here and there such as Gavin’s relationship with his band mates and something that a new band members does that could have been richer but this aspect of the book is really a treasure.

The heroine, Marisol, is great. I love the nuances of Los Angeles where she as lived all her life (and I have lived there too) that come with her character. The impact of being a child of Guatemalan immigrants, a first generation college/law student, and the complexity of striving is so well done. She is comfortable with her self, very smart, and intellectually and emotionially curious. She often struggles with the right thing to do and does the best she can. I wish her sister and parents were a bit more present in the book and she had a close friend other than the one she is drifting away from but on the whole she is a fully realized person with her own goals and drives and this is why the hero loves her and we do as well.

The book is a slow burn but when they do get together the chemistry is off the hook. It is a super sexy book and yet Noir deals directly with the hero’s sexual past and the conflict around that as well.

There is a well earned happily ever after and I hope we get to stay in this LA World with other books.