New York

The Arrangement by Felice Stevens Review

     The Arrangement by Felice Stevens 3 Stars!

Carter Haywood lives for the weekends—specifically the one weekend every month when he escapes real life, with all the pressures of work and caring for his special needs brother, to do whatever he wants, with whomever he wants. Sex is only a release; he’s not looking for love, a relationship or even a second night with the same man, until he walks into a bar and finds someone who makes leaving it all behind impossible. After one incredibly passionate encounter, he breaks his rule and goes back. He needs to see this man again. And again.

Damaged goods. That’s all Reed Kincaide sees and hears when he looks in the mirror. Anxiety and ADHD define his life and he’s learned to keep people at a distance, never letting them get close enough to know who he really is. When Carter proposes a monthly weekend of sex without strings, it’s the ideal arrangement for him. Or so he thinks. Every month, leaving Carter proves to be more and more difficult. It’s not only the intensely hot sex they have in their hotel suite; Reed wonders about the secret life Carter refuses to share.

As months pass and they grow closer Reed finds himself falling for Carter, but he needs more than hurried hugs and farewell kisses. He wants it all. Letting Reed into his carefully constructed family life could upset Carter’s whole world, but it might be the risk he’s finally willing to take, if it means keeping Reed. Once bodies are engaged, the heart is sure to follow, and Carter and Reed discover that holding on to each other is the first step in letting go of the past.

Review

I liked each of these characters but the idea so common in Romance novels that one of the heroes can’t even give a hint at what is happening in his home life with his brother is tiring.

Why does it have to be a secret? So, for me the main conflict of this book is too drawn out and it would have been a richer love story if we got more time with them as couple living their lives.

They are both complex enough people that conflict could come from who they are and adjusting to being a family.

Emergency Contact by Elle Brownlee Review

Review:

Emergency Contact - Elle Brownlee

When Liam’s best friend has to leave town on business, he asks for a favor—be an emergency contact for his cousin who is new in town. Liam doesn’t think twice before he accepts. He’s great with numbers and confidently plays the odds, because nobody ever uses those emergency contacts, right? Wrong. The very next Sunday, cousin Garrett shows up at Liam’s apartment, fresh-faced, devastatingly gorgeous, and nothing like Liam had dismissively assumed.

Garrett arrived in New York City hoping to make it in the modeling world, and Liam isn’t sure what to do with him. While he eventually warms to welcome the distraction, he’s not prepared to have his steady, predictable world overturned. Liam is sure Garrett will soon tire of him and find someone closer in age and less eager for the quiet, settled life Liam prefers. But Garrett is too sweet-natured and naïve to recognize Liam’s dismissal, and he’s not as shallow as Liam presumes.

Although Garrett sees a future for the two of them, Liam manages to push him away. It is only then Liam sees the Garrett-shaped hole in his life.

 

Review

 

I really like the characters in this book but the lack of communication on both their parts gets old. It would have been a richer book if we could have seen them be vulnerable to each other for a few chapters at the end.

 

I like a Math based character a lot but whoa does Liam have trust issues.

 

Garrett is wonderful but even he needs to speak up more.

 

I would read more books by this writer.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1592528/emergency-contact-by-elle-brownlee-review

The Only Guy (The Guy, #2) by Skylar M. Cates Review

Review:

The Guy From Glamour - Skylar M. Cates

Aaron Weiss knows how to escape. Years ago, he ran from a romantic disappointment and impulsively joined the Army. Now, he’s forced to take a medical discharge and readjusting to life at home proves a challenge.

Jesse Ross knows how to hide. He realizes he’s an oddball, and that he’s an outsider within his own family. He also knows his secret love since childhood, Aaron, only wants his good-looking, favored older brother. Yet Jesse could never completely abandon his intense feelings for Aaron. Over the years, Jesse was a faithful pen pal to him. Still, he’s shocked to his core to find Aaron on his doorstep.

As long-buried secrets and past hurts take center stage, the two are overwhelmingly drawn to each other. But it’s their future that may force them to risk everything.

 

Review

 

I  liked this romance well enough that I bought the rest of the series. Loved forever romances are a treat. 

Jesse is a great artist hero and I love who he is as a kid. Aaron took a long time to get a clue but when he did it was worth it.

Both our heroes need to work on communication but it is a fine romance with lots of great details.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1618301/the-only-guy-the-guy-2-by-skylar-m-cates-review

Hot Head (Head #1) by Damon Suede 4 Star Review!

Review:

Hot Head (Head #1) - Damon Suede

Where there’s smoke, there’s fire…

Since 9/11, Brooklyn firefighter Griff Muir has wrestled with impossible feelings for his best friend and partner at Ladder 181, Dante Anastagio. Unfortunately, Dante is strictly a ladies’ man, and the FDNY isn’t exactly gay-friendly. For ten years, Griff has hidden his heart in a half-life of public heroics and private anguish.

Griff’s caution and Dante’s cockiness make them an unbeatable team. To protect his buddy, there’s nothing Griff wouldn’t do… until a nearly bankrupt Dante proposes the worst possible solution: HotHead.com, a gay porn website where uniformed hunks get down and dirty. And Dante wants them to appear there—together. Griff may have to guard his heart and live out his darkest fantasies on camera. Can he rescue the man he loves without wrecking their careers, their families, or their friendship?

 

Review

 

It is easy to see why this is such a popular romance novel. It has everything. Friends to Lovers, firefighters, ginger hero, hot sexy times, great dialogue, wonderful setting, connection to important history…

 

It is a bit over the top but it is a also grand and passionate and loving. There are several plot turns and some how it remains believable because of the loving connection between our heroes.

 

There are things I wanted more of because we were only in Griff’s head and Dante didn’t even really talk about his feelings until the end. I love the end of this book and hope some of the secondary characters get a story.

 

Good hot stuff!

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1612166/hot-head-head-1-by-damon-suede-4-star-review

Flax’s Pursuit (Aura #2) by Angel Martinez and Bellora Quinn

     Flax’s Pursuit (AURA) (Volume 2) by Angel Martinez  and Bellora Quinn 4 Stars!

A murderer haunts the city, turning the unwary to stone. Between hunting this evil and corralling new arrivals, Flax struggles to guard both his life and his heart.

 

Quinn and Valerian have come through the trials of facing an undead lich queen and the perils of falling in love. Now they work to restore AURA to its previous strength and efficiency while navigating their new life with each other. Fortunately, they’re not in this alone.

 

Kai Hiltas has taken over as the head of the research department at AURA and has become everyone’s favourite workaholic, everyone except his lover Tenzin, who has had enough of his late nights and broken promises. As Kai tries to salvage his relationship, he finds a teacher for Quinn, who also happens to be one of Valerian’s new officers, Flax Wolfheart, a sexy elf with trouble written all over him.

Flax has motives beyond simply teaching Quinn to control his magic. He’s trying to recover from his own losses and failures, but he has a plan. The two newest elvish crossovers, Ash and Sage, are sizzling hot and might even like him. With them as backup as he tracks a deadly stone mage and figures out how to teach Quinn, Flax sees his chance to impress Val and snag a place by his captain’s side. On the hunt for both danger and redemption, Flax’s pursuit leads him ultimately down trails he never expected.

Review

In Flax’s Pursuit, we get three romances. Each one is compelling. However, Flax’s romance in some ways gets the least page time and it would have been a stronger book if we got more pages with Ash, Sage, and Flax after their bonding.

This is not a stand alone. You really much read the first book in the series to enjoy this one and enjoy it you will.

While there is a very well built world and a serial killer magic mystery to be solved, this series is character and romantic love driven. Which I like the most.

Kai and Tenzi from the first book hit troubled times and it makes for a wonderful romance. However, I am not against sexy times with a Yeti which we don’t get.

Quinn and his elf` deepen their relationship. It is really lovely and tender

Flax meets a newly crossover pair of Bonded Elves. And he is clueless for a long while but that is okay. The adjusting to new possibilities and cultural is well done.

The murder mystery could be clearer in the end but the plot adds interest.

A very nice entry.

I bought the next book but I am not thrilled that on of a set of mate’s gets killed off.

Where We Left Off (Middle of Somewhere Book 3) by Roan Parrish Review

 Where We Left Off (Middle of Somewhere Book 3) by Roan Parrish  4 Stars!

Leo Ware may be young, but he knows what he wants. And what he wants is Will Highland. Snarky, sophisticated, fiercely opinionated Will Highland, who burst into Leo’s unremarkable life like a supernova… and then was gone just as quickly.

For the past miserable year, Leo hasn’t been able to stop thinking about the powerful connection he and Will shared. So, when Leo moves to New York for college, he sweeps back into Will’s life, hopeful that they can pick up where they left off. What begins as a unique friendship soon burns with chemistry they can’t deny… though Will certainly tries.

But Leo longs for more than friendship and hot sex. A romantic to his core, Leo wants passion, love, commitment—everything Will isn’t interested in giving. Will thinks romance is a cheesy fairy tale and love is overrated. He likes his space and he’s happy with things just the way they are, thank you very much. Or is he? Because as he and Leo get more and more tangled up in each other’s lives, Will begins to act like maybe love is something he could feel after all.

 

Review

Leo and Will.

This romance unspools and it ends up being quite lovely and tender. However, it takes a long time to be sure of the love story and we have to trust in Roan Parrish to get us there.

She does.

Will and Leo are precarious. Leo is young and has a crush and is romantic. Will is closed off and use to people hanging ideas on him.

How do they become fuller selves? How do they both grow? They do.

There is a ton negotiate here a lot of philosophical ground is covered in the novel. What does it mean to romantic? What are scripts we follow? How beauty works? What is love? How to be yourself and let some one else be their self? How to be together and apart?

Will and Leo don’t really get together in a full emotionial way for a lot of the book. There are lots of fits and starts.

It is still sexy and very loving and its humanness hurts a bit as well.

This would have been a stronger romance for me if it had been told with changing points of view between Will and Leo. We get Leo’s voice mainly and because Will struggles to open emotionially, I struggled with a full embrace of the love I know he must feel.

I look forward to the series continuing and hope to see Will and Leo even further along in other books. The last scene is great.

Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan Review

  Disasterology 101 by Taylor V. Donovan 4 Stars!!

Kevin Morrison had it all. A house he worked hard for, a loving wife, and three beautiful children. But it wasn’t until his marriage ended that he realized what the void he’d felt almost all his life meant. Coming out as a gay man at thirty-six is not an easy feat, but he is determined to be true to his heart. Meeting a man who shares his values, and is good with his children would be a bonus, but when the guy arrives in a uniquely wrapped package, and has very specific handling instructions, Kevin needs to decide if he’s up for that kind of love.

Obsessed with order and symmetry, and a paralyzing fear of germs, Cedric Haughton-Disley has lived with isolation and loneliness as long as he can remember. Desperate to be normal, he makes some much-needed changes in his life. If he can commit to his treatment, he might very well be able to procure some quality of life… even if that’s all he can get, as finding love and having a relationship are only possible in Cedric’s wildest dreams. But when a chance encounter leaves Cedric wishing for more, he decides to take a leap of faith, and pursue the guy he wants.

Together the two men make an unlikely match. Cedric needs organization, and Kevin represents chaos. In order to stay together they both need to compromise, but will they be able to deal with Cedric’s issues and the potential disaster, or let it break them apart?

Review

This is a tremendously good book.

At the center of its goodness is the weaving in of topics that don’t often get discussed in romance novels but should. Realistic sex with differing sex drives or interfering issues. The impact of anti depressants which are needed to manage chemical imbalance but play havoc with your sex life.

This is a romance book and like life the sexy times are still hot as hell but they are in context of having other factors and how we manage and don’t mange them.

As over the top as this book is, in terms of Cedric’s wealth and Kevin’s wonderfulness, at the heart of that fantasy is a compelling look at intimacy, trust, and vunerabilty.

Kevin, while he doesn’t have OCD, brings his own complications to the relationship with Cedric. Cedric has to figure out how to be Kevin’s safe place as well.

This is a moving and intimate romance with compelling conflicts, great secondary characters and wonderful love story.

Fast Connection by Megan Erickson and Santino Hassell Review

Review:

Fast Connection (Cyberlove) (Volume 2) - Megan Erickson, Santino Hassell

 

 

After a decade of serving in the Army, everyone still expects me to be Dominic ‘Nicky’ Costigan–the skirt-chasing player. They don’t know I’ve been spending my days trying to figure out my post-military life. Including how to pick up guys.

When I meet Luke on a hookup app, he makes it clear it’s for one-night only. That’s fine with me, because I’m down to see what this silver fox can do. But after I arrive at his doorstep, it doesn’t take long to realize we have serious chemistry, and we end up meeting again.

He’s got more walls around his heart than a military base, but I think he’s as addicted to me as I am to him. He can’t resist me for long. I mean, who can? Except Luke’s rules exist for a reason, and when I test his limits, things get complicated. Maybe too complicated

 

Review

 

This is a great book with an unlikely hero in Nick.

This book tackles a lot of crazy topics and it comes out on top. What is it like to be a working class guy in all the ways who discovers he is bisexual? How do you readjust to leaving the service? How do you come home when the messy family life you left behind is still there and you have grown up but no one else has? How do you balance your needs and wants against your kin’s?

Nick is brash and rude and a real jerk in the first book in the series but we see that he is a heart of gold character who really risks himself in all ways and loves deeply. He is charming and silly and intense.

Lucas has been burned in relationships and is raising his teens. He doesn’t see Nick coming and has to learn to love and trust again to really have joy.

Oh, and it is all hot as hell.

Wonderful!

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1576407/fast-connection-by-megan-erickson-and-santino-hassell-review

Sutphin Boulevard by Santino Hassell Review

Sutphin Boulevard (Five Boroughs Book 1) by Santino Hassell

Michael Rodriguez and Nunzio Medici have been friends for two decades. From escaping their dysfunctional families in the working-class neighborhood of South Jamaica, Queens, to teaching in one of the city’s most queer-friendly schools in Brooklyn, the two men have shared everything. Or so they thought until a sweltering night of dancing leads to an unexpected encounter that forever changes their friendship.

Now, casual touches and lingering looks are packed with sexual tension, and Michael can’t forget the feel of his best friend’s hands on him. Once problems rear up at work and home, Michael finds himself seeking constant escape in the effortless intimacy and mind-blowing sex he has with Nunzio. But things don’t stay easy for long.

When Michael’s world begins to crumble in a sea of tragedy and complications, he knows he has to make a choice: find solace in a path of self-destruction or accept the love of the man who has been by his side for twenty years.

 

Review

Santino Hassell is a wonderful writer with great dialogue, great turns of phrase, and intersting characters.

That said, I could not settle into this book. I wanted to wack Micheal up side the head so often. I wanted him get get it together much earlier in the book so the real work of a real relationship could begin.

I am very interested in his brother’s book but this book and its angst on high just irrated me.

Training Season (Training Season, #1) by Leta Blake Review

  Training Season by Leta Blake  3 Stars!

Unquestionably talented figure skater Matty Marcus is willing to sacrifice everything for his Olympic dream, but his lack of discipline cost him the gold once before. Now the pressure’s on. He needs a coach who can keep him in line, but top coaches don’t come cheap, and Matty can’t afford to stay in the game no matter how badly he wants to win.

When a lucrative house-sitting gig brings him to rural Montana, Matty does his best to maintain his training regimen. Local residents turn out to be surprisingly tolerant of his flamboyant style, especially handsome young rancher Rob Lovely, who proves to be much more than a cowboy stereotype. Just as Matty requires a firm hand to perform his best on the ice, Rob shows him how strong he can be when he relinquishes control in the bedroom. With new-found self-assurance, he drives himself harder to go straight to the top.

But competition has a timetable, and to achieve his Olympic dream, Matty will have to join his new coach in New York City, leaving Rob behind. Now he must face the ultimate test. Has he truly learned how to win—on and off the ice—during his training season?

 

 

Review

I have mixed feelings about this book. If you like angsty romance, you will love this one. If you like BDSM well done, you will like it as well.

Rob is a wonderful complex character with all kinds of intersting pockets of who he is.

Matty is super messed up. I have trouble setting into a book when the lead needs therapy and does not get it nor is it really talked about. He is messed up in intersting ways though.

It is very rough road for this couple and because the other book I had read by Blake was so funny, I longed for more light at least in parts.