shy hero

Wallflower by Heidi Belleau Review

 Wallflower (Rear Entrance Video Book 2) by Heidi Belleau

4 Stars! 

This gamer geek has a pretty little secret.

Art student and MMORPG addict Robert Ng has always been a loner, but he’s recently made it his goal to make more (IRL) friends. Which is how he winds up working nights at Rear Entrance Video, shilling sketchy porn and blowup dolls as a favor to his roommate. The longer he works there, though, the more he realizes he’ll never be truly happy until he becomes the person he is online: his female persona, Bobby.

Bobby is cuter and funnier than Rob is, and a thousand times more popular with boys. Becoming Bobby IRL presents its own set of challenges, though . . . especially when you’re sitting on the fence between two genders, only one of which has caught the attention of your seriously cute customer/classmate.

Dylan Ford is a six-foot Inuit comic book artist who always says what’s on his mind, and screw anyone who doesn’t like it. As rough as he appears, though, Dylan has a soft spot for Rob. But will out-and-proud Dylan still want Rob if he’s not all man?

Review

This was a angsty New Adult Romance where we along with both heroes are trying to figure out exactly what is going on in terms of gender identity.

The heroes are great and though this book looks carefully at a range of “issues” from indigenous adoption, asian immigration, sex shops, gender binaries, art, these discussions are well woven into the fabric of the characters lives.

Dylan is charming and charing. Bobby/Rob is more snarky and guarded but comes into his own.

This is a very New Adult Romance so I am not sure how long the Happily will last but I am glad they found each other.

Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard, #4) by Christina Lauren Review

 Beautiful Secret (The Beautiful Series) by Christina Lauren 3.5 Stars! 

When Ruby Miller’s boss announces he’s sending her on an extended business trip to New York City, she’s shocked. As one of the best and brightest young engineers in London, she knows she’s professionally up to the task. The part that’s throwing her is where she’ll be spending a month up close and personal working alongside—and staying in a hotel with—Niall Stella, her firm’s top urban planning executive and The Hottest Man Alive. Despite her ongoing crush, Ruby is certain Niall barely knows she’s alive…until their flirty overnight flight makes him sit up and take notice.

Not one for letting loose and breaking rules, recently divorced Niall would describe himself as hopeless when it comes to women. But even he knows outgoing California-girl Ruby is a breath of fresh air. Once she makes it her mission to help the sexy Brit loosen his tie, there’s no turning back. Thousands of miles from London, it’s easy for the lovers to play pretend. But when the trip is over, will the relationship they’ve built up fall down?

 

Review

I liked a great deal about this romance. Being in Ruby’s head was fun. I loved her sexual confidence. Playing in a STEM field is always a good time. Her crazy crush was great.

The hero is wonderful, fair, and smoking hot.

The parts of the romance driven by their personalities and experience were great.

What I didn’t like were the outside forces (the ex, the evil partner) that made them both act out of character, added in drama that push them away from each other rather than solving problems together.

Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North Review

   Blueberry Boys by Vanessa North 

Connor Graham is a city boy—a celebrated fashion photographer in New York. When his uncle’s death drags him back to the family blueberry farm, all he wants to do is sell it as quickly as he can. Until he meets his uncle’s tenant farmer.

Jed Jones, shy and stammering, devout and dedicated, has always yearned for land of his own and a man to share it with. Kept in the closet by his church, family, and disastrous first love, he longs to be accepted for who he is. But now, with his farm and his future in Connor’s careless hands, he stands to lose even the little he has.

Neither man expects the connection between them. Jed sees Connor—appreciates his art and passion like no one else in this godforsaken town ever has. Connor hears Jed—looks past his stutter to listen to the man inside. The time they share is idyllic, but with the farm sale pending, even their sanctuary is a source of tension. As work, family, and their town’s old-fashioned attitudes pull them apart, they must find a way to reconcile commitments to their careers and to each other.

 

Review

Filled with lovely details of setting and personality as well as the complication of family, this is is sexy sweet romance between a city boy and country boy.

I love that Jed is devout. It is wonderful to see faith woven into this book and how it figures into the plot in critical and intersting ways.

The romance is one you will root for and the happily ever after is believable and hard won.

There are lot of relationships and details that aren’t resolved or provided enough context (for example I can’t tell how old anyone is)  and detail for this book to be as rich as it could be for me but I enjoyed the central love story very much.

Blowing Off Steam by Joy Lynn Fielding Review

     Blowing Off Steam  by Joy Lynn Fielding   3.5 Star! 

Sam Chancellor has been in love with the steam engine Old Bess since he was six years old. Well, maybe not literally, but even when he’s lost everything else in his life, he’s always had her. But now her place in his heart has been unexpectedly challenged. Her new driver, Ryan Saunders, is the embodiment of all Sam’s fantasies.

Ryan has written off Sam as just another geeky trainspotter—until the moment Ryan sees him without his usual shapeless hoodie and realizes that, for a nerd, Sam’s pretty built. When Ryan overlooks Sam’s awkwardness long enough to suggest a hook-up, Sam seizes the opportunity—and Ryan—with both very eager hands. Finding common ground in their shared love of Bess, their time together is better than Sam ever dared dream.

But there’s a reason Ryan never talks about his past. And when Ryan’s job is threatened, Sam’s well-meaning intervention endangers more than just their fragile relationship.

 

Review

I should admit right up front, I like the nerdy hero Sam in this book, love trains. I am not a trainspotter like Sam but I like them enough to go to every train museum I see and take long and short train trips whenever I can.

So, this book had me at trains. lol

The old steam train and Sam are wonderful in this book. I love me a nerdy shy hero. Ryan is a lot more selfish and unkind than I think Sam deserves but it he grows.

There is a plot afoot which adds drama to the story but I would have been content with Ryan growing much more in his character and Sam valuing himself more but all in all a fun love story.

First Class Package by Jay Northcote Review

   First Class Package  by Jay Northcote 3 Stars!

A geeky science writer has a crush on his postman—but will he ever make a move?

Working from home suits introvert Jim until he gets a special delivery—an extremely cute, temporary postman called Patrick. Jim’s drawn to his wide smile and sexy legs, while Patrick can’t keep his eyes off Jim’s package.

Their doorstep attraction seems mutual, so asking Patrick out on a date should be easy. There’s just one problem—Jim could fit all the pick-up lines he knows on the back of a postage stamp.

As Christmas approaches, Jim knows the end of Patrick’s postal-delivery contract is looming. Taking a chance might be worth it if it keeps Patrick coming to his door.

 

Review

Buwhaahaa on the title of this book. The whole short story is fun and sweet.

Love me a geeky hero. Turns out the other guy is a geek too. The little details about modern life and working at home make this romance a bit more special.

Its free! Pick it up!

Embattled Minds (Lost and Found #2) by J.M. Madden Review

   Embattled Minds by J.M. Madden  3 Stars!

Zeke Foster has little to no experience with women over the past couple of years, after being injured in Afghanistan. Brutally scarred, he has no expectation that he’ll ever find a woman capable of accepting him the way he is. But he can’t help but be enamored of Ember, the waitress of a local watering hole.
Ember Norton’s life has turned into one devastating catastrophe after another. When the scarred soldier with the kind eyes brings some security to her life, she’s afraid to trust her luck. She’s been self-sufficient for a long time. But his wounded soul calls to her and she finds herself falling for him.
In spite of the secrets he continues to keep.

Review

The portrayal of PTSD mirrored differently in several characters is very engaging in this romance.

The heroine crush on the hero and struggle with her loving but troubled father makes her endearing.

The hero has self esteem issue that while reasonable are a bit one note.

I like this book slightly better than the last one as it was more character driven which I prefer.

Big in Japan: Accidental Sumo by Jennifer Griffith Review

Big in Japan: Accidental Sumo by Jennifer Griffith 3.5 Stars! 

Buck Cooper is big.

So big, in fact, that people don’t see him anymore—not at work, not in his love life. He’s become 300+ pounds of invisible. But when a family situation shanghais this Texan to Tokyo, suddenly being big makes him a spectacle—in a good way, especially when the spotlight at a sporting match lands on Buck and forces him into the sumo ring. Will this accident of fate be Buck’s chance of a lifetime, making him Big in Japan?

 

 

 

Review

The parts of this book that are good are so good that it warrant this high rating. I completely loved the book while I was reading it. However, as I have mulled over the book my enjoyment dims a bit because of some truncated elements of the plot that make it less fulfilling and silly in places.

What I loved: This book takes a deep dive into Sumo culture. I show up for this kind of detailed exploration in my romance novels. Clap my hands and give me a cool drink, I settle in.

Sumo hazing is crazy. I love me some Sumo (yeah not a sentence that most Westerns say but there it is) and was thrilled to to seek out this book based in the world of Sumo. It was really wonderful. The story showcases the sport, the athleticism and the culture.

The setting in Japan through our hero Buck’s (clearly and American) eyes well done. I got very hungry reading this story. All the senses are used to tell the tale of living in a vastly different place than he is use to and it is well done.

His hero’s journey is lovely to trace. Buck is the best person. His motivation are human and he is good without being saccharine. He does the right thing because that is his nature but the writer is gifted at showcasing how hard these choices can be for so many reasons.

The body issues that are explored here are powerfully rendered looking at culture, self worth masculinity, bullying and other nuances.

Buck works hard and is open minded. Love him!

When he falls in love, it is sweet. (FYI this book never gets past kisses which is a nice break from hotter fare).

However, the romance could have been way more developed, They are hardly ever together. We needed more couple time, I really would have liked some of the book from the heroine’s point of view. She remains pretty idolized.

There is crazy side plots of all kinds that are way over the top. Those are sort of fun but need to be balanced with more relationship development.

So, 3.5!

Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc., #1) by L.A. Witt Review

Review:

Back Piece (Skin Deep Inc.) - L.A. Witt

4.5 Stars 

 

Colin Spencer is a tattoo artist with a past he’d prefer to keep a secret. Actually, he has a few secrets that he’d rather people didn’t know about, which is why Colin doesn’t do commitment. But when a shy sailor approaches him at the gym, Colin finds this guy pushing all his buttons.

 

Growing up in a conservative family, then escaping with the Navy, Daniel Moore is an unsure virgin who feels like he can’t share his true self with anyone. Seeing Colin—and his tattoos—at the gym are the sign Daniel needs to finally get those tattoos he’s always wanted, and maybe try his hand at flirting.

 

As Colin and Daniel spend more time together, their awkward hesitations turn into a deep passion neither expected. But with both men harboring secrets, will their relationship be able to survive their insecurities and become something beautiful?

 

Review

This is a slow careful romance that really lets you fall in love with both heroes.

Both heroes have a ton of baggage and Witt allows both of them wonderful individual journeys as well as sexy sweet journey as a couple. The blurb gives a number of the details of who they are away but it doesn’t tell just what great real people they are.

This is an angsty read but no one does anything stupid or out of characters and I want so much for them to find the happiness they deserve and they do.

We get lots of couple time and while some might feel the book a bit slow in the middle, I loved the lingering over details and time together.

A great romance!

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

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Waiting for the Flood (Spires Universe) by Alexis Hall Review

     Waiting for the Flood by Alexis Hall 4.5 Stars!!

People come as well as go.

Twelve years ago, Edwin Tully came to Oxford and fell in love with a boy named Marius. He was brilliant. An artist. It was going to be forever.

Two years ago, it ended.

Now Edwin lives alone in the house they used to share. He tends to damaged books and faded memories, trying to build a future from the fragments of the past.

Then the weather turns, and the river spills into Edwin’s quiet world, bringing with it Adam Dacre from the Environment Agency. An unlikely knight, this stranger with roughened hands and worn wellingtons, but he offers Edwin the hope of something he thought he would never have again.

As the two men grow closer in their struggle against the rising waters, Edwin learns he can’t protect himself from everything — and sometimes he doesn’t need to try.

 

Review

 Gah. This is novella is so good!

All the nerdy engineering stuff mixed in with book restorations and the the perfect etching of the setting.

The lyrical writing mixes in with exquisitely drawn characters. Gah. Just the best!

The shy, heartbroken caretaker of rare journal and everyday paper objects and the ginger civil engineer.

Such lovely flirting.

I wished for a longer timeline of the romance and more of an epilogue but really this is an amazing love story housed in the most lovely of writing.

The Red Scot (A Curvy Girls Club Novel, #1) by Twyla Turner Review

The Red Scot (A Curvy Girls Club Novel Book 1) by Twyla Turner  2.5 Stars! 

She’ll be the greatest fight of his life…

Bradyn ‘The Red Scot’ MacTavish is the best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world, despite his humble beginnings as the fat kid growing up. A tragedy that befell his life changed him and made sure that he never felt helpless again. He spent years making a name for himself in the octagon as an alpha beast, but when it comes to the ladies he is a fumbling mess. Always feeling like the unpopular kid. The day that Payton Bailey walks into his gym changes everything.

When it comes to men, Payton is as clueless as she is with social cues. She prefers to stick with what she knows: Sci-Fi, comic books, video games and web design. After a heartbreaking incident her freshman year of college, she was never able to look at big muscular men the same way again. So imagine her surprise and absolute fright when she catches the eye of the massive, hulking MMA fighter, who she secretly nicknames The Red Giant.

The computer geek has done her best to avoid, ignore, and even maim Bradyn but the stubborn Scot has no intentions of letting the skittish lass slip through his fingers. And with the help of her three friends, he just might win the fight of his life.

Review

I enjoyed this book a lot but there are writing errors and almost all the tropes of the book are heavy handed.

What saved it was fun dialogue, a great circle of friends, a wonderful sweet hero, and a geeky heroine.

Our hero and heroine are both shy which is fun. The hero is very self aware and kind. The heroine has PTSD from a past attempted rape.

The hero’s lovely wooing of the heroine plus the fact that that he is a super hot Scot let me enjoy the book despite the telling passages, lack of complexity, and typos.