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Empty Net (Scoring Chances Book 4) Avon Gale 4.5 Star Review!

Review:

Empty Net - Avon Gale

Spartanburg Spitfires’ goalie and captain, Isaac Drake, ended last season with an unexpected trip to the playoffs. He’s found a home and a family with his coach and mentor, Misha Samarin, and he’s looking forward to making a serious run for the Kelly Cup. But things take an interesting turn when Isaac’s archnemesis, Laurent St. Savoy, is traded to the Spitfires. After Laurent’s despicable behavior in the playoffs last year, Isaac wants nothing to do with him—no matter how gorgeous he is. But that changes when Isaac discovers the reason for Laurent’s attitude.

Laurent St. Savoy grew up the only son of a legendary NHL goalie in a household rife with abuse. He was constantly treated like a disappointment, on and off the ice. When a desperate attempt to escape his father’s tyranny sends him to the Spitfires, the last thing Laurent wants is to make friends. But there’s something about Isaac Drake that he can’t resist. Laurent has an opportunity to explore his sexuality for the first time, but he’s cracking under end-of-the-season pressures. When facing the playoffs and a rivalry turned personal vendetta, Isaac’s not sure he’s enough to hold on to Laurent—or their relationship.

 

Review

This is by far the darkest book of the series so far but this love story really shows off what an amazing storyteller Avon Gale is.

 

She takes the villain from the last book in the series Laurents and pairs him with the beloved scrappy Drake in an truely stellar enemies to lovers romance with a healing journey for all.

 

This book delves into the darkness of what happens when someone is exposed to systematic abuse and what it means to love someone enough to stand by as they heal.

Laurents is awful for a reason. However, he chooses to become aware and change and risk loving someone. He gets therapy. I can’t tell you how much I celebrate when a character gets professionial help in a book showing others the way. He works at his recovery from an eating disorder and self care from his abusive childhood and young adulthood.

 

His demisexuality is gently explored. He becomes his better self and a wonderful partner for Issac. I love the dating scenes.

 

Issac is so much a great emotionally brave character and sexy as hell (Lauren is broodingly hot). Issac just shines and finding romantic love and the love of an adopted father makes him even more compelling.

 

He falls in love but doesn’t try to solve Laurents problems. He is a partner.

 

I really adored their romance as always the hockey and the secondary characters and the pondering for friendship.

 

The books ends with a happily ever after that includes doing the right things for yourself as well as others.

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Unraveling Josh (Ellery College, #3) by Edie Danford 5 Star Review!

Review:

Unraveling Josh - Edie Danford

When the crown prince of bad boys hooks up with his former high school crush, he’s after just one kind of happy ending.

Nick McQueen just scored the perfect hookup—Ellery College ski champion, Joshua Pahlke. What better way for Nick to prove his transformation from high school loser to sexy sinner? He’ll gift golden-boy Josh with the hottest, dirtiest sex of his life and then leave him begging for more.

But his definition of happiness is about to change…

Josh needs to blow off steam. He’s spent years pushing himself in academics and sports, but nagging injuries and career doubts have him craving a new challenge. Nick might be the key—he sure as hell turns Josh’s crank. Josh eagerly rises to the task of winning over moody-broody Nick. But when new love and old secrets change the rules of their game, “winning” takes on a whole new meaning.

 

Review

 

This is a pitch perfect romance with wonderful characters, emotionial intimacy, healing, forgiveness physical trust, self discovery and so much love.

Josh and Nick. The journey they take together is wonderful but just as wonderful is the path they take as individuals. 

Josh might seems to perfect but he is self reflective and struggles with the burden of being so well rounded good in looks, attitude, sports, school that he is often unseen. He also struggles with his own set of issues as we all do.

Nick has crushed on Josh forever and has a lot of unexamined behaviors and painful past. Yet, he is very loving and kind with Josh. I love the different acts in this book and how we see Nick transform and become more himself and his best self not just in his relationship with Josh but to himself and others and even letting go of people that don’t support his better being. 

Josh and Nick together are red hot but also comforting and the time together a joy even in its painful moments.

The writing is lush and each character of the book compelling. A grand read.

I hope for more in the series especially with more difficult characters. 

A joy.

 

 

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Love By Number by D.J. Jamison Review

Review:

Love By Number - DJ Jamison

Aidan doesn’t have the best record with relationships, but he’s had a lifelong love affair with baseball. Player stats and computer simulations make sense. People don’t. But when he needs a ride to the World Series, he must rely on another person: a sexy artist who is as spontaneous as Aidan is predictable.

Jesse doesn’t care about baseball. As an artist, he’d rather paint a player than watch him at bat. But his grandpa loves the Kansas City Royals, so he takes him to every home game. He has no idea a fender bender in the parking lot is about to deliver new inspiration in the shape of a man with a whole bag of quirks.

Despite their differences, Jesse and Aidan hit it off, and their sexual chemistry is fantastic. But when Aidan’s numbers betray him, Jesse isn’t prepared for the fall-out. If Aidan continues to put his passion for baseball stats above everything else, he could miss out on the most important numbers in life: the sum total of smiles, kisses and laughs they could share in a journey of a lifetime.

 

Review

 

 like books about particular things set in particular places. Jamison writer this book about a baseball fan who loves the probability side of the game set during the World Series in Kanas City and St. Louis. 

I love those bits of the story. 

Aiden, the math nerd, may be on the spectrum for autism but Jesse, an artist and bartender, has as many social connection issues. 

They both have loving elders in their. 

I like this romance but it suffers from a rush at the end because of its short length. I will pick up another book by this writer.

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Small Change (Small Change, #1) by Roan Parrish Review

    Small Change  by Roan Parrish 4 Stars! 

Ginger Holtzman has fought for everything she’s ever had—the success of her tattoo shop, respect in the industry, her upcoming art show. Tough and independent, she has taking-no-crap down to an art form. Good thing too, since keeping her shop afloat, taking care of her friends, and scrambling to finish her paintings doesn’t leave time for anything else. Which … is for the best, because then she doesn’t notice how lonely she is. She’ll get through it all on her own, just like she always does.

Christopher Lucen opened a coffee and sandwich joint in South Philly because he wanted to be part of a community after years of running from place to place, searching for something he could never quite name. Now, he relishes the familiarity of knowing what his customers want, and giving it to them. But what he really wants now is love.

When they meet, Christopher is smitten, but Ginger … isn’t quite so sure. Christopher’s gorgeous, and kind, and their opposites-attract chemistry is off the charts. But hot sex is one thing—truly falling for someone? Terrifying. When her world starts to crumble around her, Ginger has to face the fact that this fight can only be won by being vulnerable—this fight, she can’t win on her own.

Read

Pick up this book and read it. It is a great romance which mediates within this great love story on gender roles, sexism, introversion, female community, women’s rights, tattoos, relationship of all kinds, innate personalty…

Ginger and Christopher are in their 30’s and both small business owners. Ginger is a lot of things like we all are. But so is Christopher even though he seems a lot more clear cut than Ginger but really he is just as complex.

I don’t want to go into all the complexities because this is a plot driven by internal conflicts and character development with outside forces sometimes changing the course or pace of events and emotions. Those complexities make up the heart of the book.

The romance centers around seeing love as illuminating a life and worth the risk.

Christopher is a super hot ginger who has an intersting past and is a great listener. He is steady but very much himself. I love him. I wish there was more sex in this book because that part of Christopher was riveting.

Ginger has a pile of anger and she works too much and she is funny and loving.

I adore how bisexuality is discussed in this book. I love having a bisexual heroine and the discussion on the differences between dating men and women.

All the tattoo stuff is grand as well. This is a better book if you have read at least the first two books in the series but it is very good on its own.

There are a bunch of romances that should spin off from this one (Farron and Jude, Phee +?, Marcus and his partner) and word at the back of the book is we shall get a second Christopher and Ginger book. I think it would have been richer to get a little more couple time into this book and not have another book but I look forward to that book too

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.

Permanent Ink (Art & Soul Book 1) by Avon Gale and Piper Vaughn 4 Star Review

Review:

Permanent Ink - Avon Gale, Piper Vaughn

At twenty-three, Poe Montgomery is going nowhere. He still lives in his father’s basement and spends most of his time tagging with his friends. When an arrest lands him in debt, Poe accepts the front desk job at Permanent Ink, the tattoo shop owned by his father’s best friend, Jericho McAslan. Jericho is nearly twice Poe’s age, but with his ink and prematurely graying hair, he quickly takes the starring role in Poe’s hottest fantasies.

Jericho is known for his ability to transform poorly designed tattoos into works of art, but he was once as aimless and misdirected as Poe. Wanting to pay it forward the way someone once did for him, Jericho makes Poe his apprentice and is determined to keep things strictly professional. Easier said than done when Poe makes his interest—and his daddy kink—abundantly clear.

Jericho can’t resist Poe or their intense chemistry for long. But between the age gap, tension with Poe’s father, and Poe’s best friend calling him a sellout, they’ll need to ensure they’re both on the same page before they can rewrite their rocky start into something permanent.

 

Review

I enjoyed this romance between a much older man and and a younger one much more than I thought I might.

 

I love Avon Gale’s writing which is why I picked it up and I have wanted to try Piper Vaughn.

 

I had heard a rumor of some Daddy kink and that is not my thing. And honestly Poe is young and aimless and really my ideal hero to read a love story about and the fact that Poe is Jericho’s best friends kid. A lot of no from me.

 

However, the Daddy Kink is light, Jericho didn’t know Poe as a child, and Poe grows up.

This is really a New Adult book to the max but with one of the heroes being much older so his journey is different. The New Adult, coming of age, growing up piece is really well done on most levels though I would have like more exploration of Poe’s sexual tastes or how something about his sexual self moving into a fuller adult hood.

 

I, like Poe, love Jericho, though I am not always sure why Jericho loves Poe, He explains it a couple times and it has to do with art a bit but I think the book would be richer if Jericho had more of an arc and though he has a backstory there is something missing.

 

I love the setting and can’t wait for more in this series. There are all these moments of emotional complexity seeded in this love story that make it a good read.

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Beta Test by by Annabeth Albert Review

  Beta Test (#gaymers Book 2) by Annabeth Albert 4 Stars! 

Brilliant graphic designer Ravi Tandel is ahead of the game—he’s just been asked to present a top secret project at a huge conference in Seattle. All systems are go…until he learns his buttoned-up office nemesis is coming along for the ride.

Tristan Jones isn’t really the gamer type, but he knows the back end of the video game business inside out. Together, he and Ravi will give an awesome presentation. If they survive the cross-country trip first.

Tossed together in close quarters, Ravi’s shocked to see Tristan’s sexy, softer side emerge from such a conservative shell. He’s less shocked to learn his handsome colleague’s prominent family would never support an out-and-proud son. But Ravi didn’t struggle through his own coming out to hide who he is now. To be together, Tristan will have to push past his fear and ultimately decide: Does he want a future with Ravi? Or is it game over before they’ve even begun?

 

Review

I am becoming a huge fan of Annabeth Albert! I have no doubt by the end of the year I will have read her entire backlist and being eagerly waiting for her next book.

This is another character driven book which is my favorite. It stars heroes we don’t understand very well at first but become more and more vulnerable and complex as the book moves on. I end up adoring both of them.

There are a few details I would have liked to spend more time with like Tristian panic attack early in the book but everything else in the romance is so detailed and lovely.

A super sexy opposites attract road trip office romance that deals with family obligations and the baggage left over from past relationships.

Such a wonderful read.

Blood Vow (Black Dagger Legacy, #2) by J.R. Ward Review

3 Stars

The Black Dagger Brotherhood continues to train the best of the best to join them in the deadly battle against the Lessening Society. Among the new recruits, Axe proves to be a cunning and vicious fighter—and also a loner isolated because of personal tragedy. When an aristocratic female needs a bodyguard, Axe takes the job, though he’s unprepared for the animal attraction that flares between him and the one he is sworn to protect.

For Elise, who lost her first cousin to a grisly murder, Axe’s dangerous appeal is enticing—and possibly a distraction from her grief. But as they delve deeper into her cousin’s death, and their physical connection grows into so much more, Axe fears that the secrets he keeps and his tortured conscience will tear them apart.

Rhage, the Brother with the biggest heart, knows all about self-punishing, and he wants to help Axe reach his full potential. But when an unexpected arrival threatens Rhage and Mary’s new family, he finds himself back in the trenches again, fighting against a destiny that will destroy all he holds most dear.

As Axe’s past becomes known, and fate seems to be turning against Rhage, both males must reach deep—and pray that love, rather than anger, will be their lantern in the darkness.

 

Review

Okay. I enjoyed the world as always. Lassiter needs his own romance. or I am going to scream.

We get the formula of a new couple and revisiting an old couple. I could have used much less of Rhage and Mary (even though I love them so) and much more of Axe and Elise.

I need much more exploration of Axe’s demons. You don’t just kick sex addiction. I wanted time of them living as a couple.

I am thrilled is looks like Saxon might get a romance.

This was a move forward in the series but needed much more time on the central love story.