poverty

The Blinding Light (The Tav #1) by Renae Kaye 4 Star Romance

Review:

The Blinding Light - Renae Kaye

Jake Manning’s smart mouth frequently gets him into trouble. Because of it, he can’t hold a job. Combined with some bad luck, it’s prevented him from keeping steady employment. A huge debt looms over him, and alone he shoulders the care of his alcoholic mother and three younger sisters. When a housekeeping position opens, Jake’s so desperate he leaps at the opportunity. On landing, he finds his new boss, Patrick Stanford, a fussy, arrogant, rude… and blind man. 

Born without sight, Patrick is used to being accommodated, but he’s met his match with Jake, who doesn’t take any of his crap and threatens to swap all the braille labels on his groceries and run off with his guide dog unless he behaves. 

Jake gets a kick out of Patrick. Things are looking up: the girls are starting their own lives and his mum’s sobriety might stick this time. He’s sacrificed everything for his family; maybe it’s time for him to live his life and start a relationship with Patrick. When his mother needs him, guilt makes his choice between family and Patrick difficult, and Jake must realize he’s not alone anymore.

 

Review

 

Oh this is so much fun! Nothing like a grumpy hero paired with a sunny one. Love the banter in this one. 

Jake is a great character. Dedicated to his family, hard working, with strong boundaries. 

Patrick is less charming but the slow burn chemistry and notes between the heroes in not to be missed in this Australian set romance. 

We get a full love story and as Patrick opens up and Jake learns to let some one take care of him, we get a great Happily Ever After. 

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Illegal Contact (The Barons, #1) by Santino Hassell 4.5 Star Review!

   Illegal Contact (The Barons) by Santino Hassell 4.5 Stars!

New York Barons tight end Gavin Brawley is suspended from the team and on house arrest after a video of him brawling goes viral. Gavin already has a reputation as a jerk with a temper on and off the field—which doesn’t help him once he finds himself on the wrong side of the law. And while he’s been successful professionally, he’s never been lucky when it comes to love.

Noah Monroe is a recent college grad looking for a job—any job—to pay off his mounting student debt. Working as Gavin’s personal assistant/babysitter seems like easy money. But Noah isn’t prepared for the electrifying tension between him and the football player. He’s not sure if he’d rather argue with Gavin or tackle him to the floor. But both men know the score, and neither is sure what will happen once Gavin’s timeout is over…

Review

Yea! So good! Yea! Gavin and Noah are awesome and watching them fall in love is a joy.

This is a great sports romance with so much couple time. We get a “cabin”romance with two detailed and complex heroes.

Everything about this book shines. The writing is excellent as is the cast and the romance is swoony.

Gavin works hard and is admirable and watching his character develop is pure pleasure. Noah is really great and his internal conflicts are realistic and compelling.

They are a wonderful couple. I really like how Hassell gives us a bisexual hero and full build contemporary world.

If you like Marina Zapata’s The Wall of Winnipeg and me, you will love this book.

 

 

The Mistletoe Effect by Cate Ashwood Review

  The Mistletoe Effect by Cate Ashwood 3 Stars

Although Christmas is his favorite time of year, all is not merry and bright for Danny Ellis. After being laid off and facing eviction, he’s eager to make a fresh start. When a friend mentions an opportunity in Sin City, he packs up and heads west. Unfortunately, plans run awry when his truck breaks down a little more than halfway there and he’s stranded in the cold with no money, nowhere to stay, and no way to get to Vegas.

‘Tis the season, but not for Merrick Holland, who loves being a part of the community in the small town of Rowley Bridge. Christmas has been a little tainted since his father died three years ago, and when people start to deck the halls, he withdraws. When Merrick finds a man asleep inside his bakery one morning, rather than call the police, Merrick makes him a cup of coffee, and after hearing his story offers him a job and a place to stay.

The two men strike up an unlikely friendship, but with Christmas only three weeks away, could a little holiday magic bring them together?

Review

A sweet little Christmas romance with a down on his luck and a broken down car hero and a baker hero who takes a chance on him. Both heroes are kind and the novella is a bit like a gingerbread cookie–fast and sweet.

Just Like Heaven by Suki Fleet Review

    Just Like Heaven by Suki Fleet

One rainy night in December, David helps a busker with pretty eyes get his stolen money back. He doesn’t imagine the strong attraction he feels is mutual. But after overcoming his shyness, David discovers Jess is definitely interested.
Jess just isn’t interested in anything but a one night stand. Or maybe two. Falling for David is definitely not part of his plan. But when David gets trapped in a snowstorm the night before Christmas Eve, Jess realises a night or two is never going to be enough.

Proceeds of this sale will be divided between two UK charities working to support homeless youth: Shelter and Centerpoint.

Review

This is a quick New Adult christmassy story where a very shy hero finds a hero who needs a break. There is a snowstorm and a hot hook up and a connection.

Nice quick read.

Tied Together (Tied Together, #1) by Z.B. Heller Review

     Tied Together by Z.B. Heller 3 Stars!

Ryan Keller has it all: a great supportive family, friends, and no limit to his self-confidence. Coming out of the closet was not as traumatic as he would have thought. In fact, it was glitter, unicorns and rainbows. Navigating through life isn’t easy for any man, let alone a gay one. Rest assured that Ryan has it handled.

Brandon Ford comes from the wrong side of the tracks. With a dark past, he doesn’t have much going for him, no money, no friends, definitely no charisma, and his family makes people on Jerry Springer look like total winners. Life can’t be worse—until it becomes unbearable.

When Ryan helps Brandon out of a bad situation, chemistry sparks between them. Only Brandon has one problem: He’s hiding in the closet with no way of finding his way out.

After years apart, Ryan run’s into Brandon as he has his head in-between his friend’s lady business to deliver her baby. This spells emotional turmoil for both Ryan and Brandon. Can years of resentment and bad feelings pull them apart or force them to work on their relationship so they can end up Tied Together.

Review

I loved Sex Ed by this writer so I thought I would try her back list.

This is the story of the uncles in that book and it takes place over many years. I think it would have been a richer book if it open with the scene of Ryan and Brandon meeting as adults and then just referencing their.

It would have been a stronger love story for me to have them come together as healthy grown ups. Instead, this part of the romance is smooshed (with a great epilogue) and we spend a great deal of time with the heroes as very young and very dumb. lol

I still like them.

Summer Lessons (Winter Ball, #2) by Amy Lane Review

    Summer Lessons (Winter Ball Book 2)by Amy Lane 4 Stars!

Mason Hayes’s love life has a long history of losers who don’t see that Mason’s heart is as deep and tender as his mouth is awkward. He wants kindness, he wants love—and he wants someone who thinks sex is as fantastic as he does. When Terry Jefferson first asks him out, Mason thinks it’s a fluke: Mason is too old, too boring, and too blurty to interest someone as young and hot as his friend’s soccer teammate.

The truth is much more painful: Mason and Terry are perfectly compatible, and they totally get each other. But Terry is still living with his toxic, suffocating parent and Mason doesn’t want to be a sugar daddy. Watching Terry struggle to find himself is a long lesson in patience, but Mason needs to trust that the end result will be worth it, because finally, he’s found a man worth sharing his heart with.

Review

Terry’s and Mason’s love story and individual development are in turns delightful, painful, and tender.

We have age and class difference and in really knowing that a better way of being exists for both of them. They are both use to a certain kinds of the relationship. For Terry, it is simply sexual and for Mason, it has more to do with status or assumed behaviors. They both have to learn to be in a truely loving equal partnerships.

They each have dependents of a sort and the book doesn’t soft sell what it means to love someone who is bi polar or someone who is toxic.

The circle of friends is wonderful and expands. As always I love the Sacromento area setting. There is a secondary romance that I hope gets its own book.

This is a love story you will get more out of if you read the first book in the series. I hope there is more!

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.

The Space Merchants (The Space Merchants, #1) by Wendie Nordgren Review

    The Space Merchants by Wendie Nordgren  2.5 Stars

Teagan Green dreams of escaping the drudgery of Earth and traversing the stars.

How will her dreams come true when events from her past are intent on destroying her?

As soon as Teagan Green turns eighteen, she leaves her painful childhood behind and travels as far as her credits will take her. In Union Port City, she is homeless until she becomes a reclamation worker. Teagan’s only dream is to one day make it up into the stars. She gets her wish when she is hired as a domestic assistant on Tora, a merchant starship. On Tora, Teagan meets Yukihyo Lee, an alien who survived the brutal slaughter of his entire clan at the hands of the Parvac Empire. Yukihyo is of a race in which the males require emotional bonds with their females in order to control their aggressive tendencies. He finds that bond in Teagan. While exploring the Galaxic Expanse with the crew of Tora, Teagan discovers a universe full of beauty and danger, true love, and her own personal worth.

Review

This is long and slow and the idea that it goes on to at least four more books with same heroine is really more than I can take,

There are things I really like about it. The world building is good. I love the pets.

However, there is so much wish fulfillment in the writing I just don’t feel like a real character gets developed for anyone. There is a lot of plat but who people are doesn’t really move that plot.

Its sweet but not compelling or warming.

The Truth As He Knows It (Perspectives #1) by A.M. Arthur Review

    The Truth As He Knows It: (Perspectives #1) by A.M. Arthur 3 Stars! 

Lies are the chains that keep you weighed down at rock bottom.

Officer Noel Carlson isn’t out to anyone in small-town Stratton, Pennsylvania, only to distant friends and family, so a relationship is out of the question. That doesn’t stop him from wanting one, though.

When a night-shift call brings him face to thonged butt with a hired stripper whose girl-party gig went terribly wrong, Noel takes pity on the guy and lets him go. But he can’t get the encounter out of his mind.

Shane has big-time debts to repay, especially to the brother who sacrificed nearly everything for him. His two jobs, in a deli and as a stripper, leave him no time for a social life. But a non-date of hot sex and takeout food with Noel? He can squeeze that in.

The bond they form is stronger than either expected or wanted. Especially since the step Shane’s about to take to put his brother—and his soul—back in the black isn’t quite legal. And he never calculated just how much his determination to make things right will cost him in the end.

Review

I am not a huge fan of this amount of awful in a story. It is a tear jerker for sure and the HEA part of the story doesn’t get stretched out enough for me to make up for the ugly cry.

I was clearly engaged (thus the crying). But I am not sure if that was over the issues themselves–medical debt, poverty, prison, abuse, death of a loved one as it was the story its self.

I liked everyone but needed a breather between all the awful

Stuff (The Bristol Collection, #2) by Josephine Myles Review

   Stuff (The Bristol Collection Book 2) by Josephine Myles  4 Stars! 

Tobias “Mas” Maslin’s doesn’t need much. A place of his own, weekends spent clubbing, and a rich boyfriend for love and security. Pity his latest sugar daddy turns out to be married with kids. Mas wants to be special, not someone’s dirty little secret.

When he loses his job and his flat on the same day, Mas’s world starts unravelling… until he stumbles across a down-at-heel vintage clothes shop. Now he just needs to convince the delightfully shy owner he’s in need of a new salesman.

Perry Cavendish-Fiennes set up Cabbages and Kinks solely to annoy his controlling father. He’d much rather spend every spare moment on his true passion, art. That is until Mas comes flaming into his life, talking nineteen to the dozen and turning his world upside down.

Against his better judgment Perry offers Mas a job and a place to live, but it turns out he should have listened to his instincts. The shop is already financially on the brink, and Mas’s flirting makes him feel things he’s never felt for a man. Yet Mas seems convinced they can make a go of it—in the shop, and together. That is, until Mas’s past starts to catch up with him…

 

Review

This book looks like it might be a rom com because the characters are writ fairly large and quirky as all get out but these is an ache in this book that takes it deeper.

Perry is an artist but a very passive (for the most part) person who let things happen to him and uses inaction to make choices. This is balanced against how very driven and quirky he is at the same time.

Mas is an pretty assertive person who needs much more self reflection and is young and reactive but also very clever and wise. The time with Perry gives time to grow up a bit and soften.

The lack of communication and false drama of misunderstanding hurt my enjoyment of the romance but I love the writing and the characters.