small town romance

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

Kayson (Kennedy Ink. #1) by Jenny Wood Review

   Kayson (Kennedy Ink.(by Jenny Wood 3 Stars

Kayson Kennedy and his family pack up shop and move to tiny town, Georgia in order to get to know his newly found baby sister.
After the passing of their mother, Kayson and his brother Kingsley are determined to hold on to the only family they have left.
Opening up their tattoo shop in a small, conservative, town; Kayson never imagined he’d find love at all, most especially not right across the street…

Conner Allen owns his own bookstore in a plaza of other small stores, directly across the street from gorgeous, tatted up, Kayson Kennedy. Daydreaming for days about what it would be like to see him up close; his wish comes true when he’s attacked outside of his bookstore by a scared, angry teenager.

Now that the ice has been broken between the two, Kayson realizes he’s pretty smitten with the bookstore owner from across the street…. and his overweight cat, named, Pickles!

What will they do when the threat may not be over? Will the backlash of conservative, small town bigots keep Conner from the real life fantasy, he’s been dreaming about since Kayson moved in across the street? Or will Kayson do everything in his power to make those daydreams a reality?

Review

Okay. This book is a hot mess and ridiculous. But notice I still gave it 3 Stars. Hold on and I will explain.

It needs editing. The author has a little note about that. However, its is crazy sauce. The errors are about plurals and possessives and not about regional speech. I am not a grammar fiend and the errors made my eye twitch so if you have grammar based trauma, please avoid this book. It is really the first few chapters that are terrible and teeth gritting with these issues. Please let a copy editor reach out to Ms. Wood.

There is a both a slow burn and an insta love here. Slow seduction and then WHAM crazy intense love. So, what I am saying it the love story is tonally irregular.

We get the start of a small town gay romance and yay out characters who aren’t commitment phobic. Then, WHAM, crazy stalker/crime action. This is sorta of fun (if that kind of thing can be fun) but again tonal shift in these scenes and we never get back to the fun couple time we were having.

I am promised a lot of cat action. There is some but really I need more hero and cat time.

The reason the brothers move to the town are a little ….far fetched but whatever.

Both heroes are great–not man whores and they really like and value each other.

The circle of friends is good.

The romance just gets jerked around a bit.

Sooooo, far from stellar but lol I will likely pick up the next one and see if the ride is less all over the place.

How to Raise an Honest Rabbit by Amy Lane 5 Star Review

   How to Raise an Honest Rabbit   by Amy Lane 5 Stars!

Everything about Jeremy has always been a lie—including his last name. When one grift too many ends in tragedy, Jeremy goes straight. But life’s hard for an ex-con, and Jeremy is down to panhandling and hope when Rance Crawford offers him work at a tiny alpaca farm and fiber mill. Jeremy takes him up on the job, thinking this could be his last chance to be a good man, and meets Aiden, who is growing into a better one.

As Aiden comes of age, Jeremy finds himself desperate to grow up, too, because Aiden starts looking to him for things Jeremy doesn’t know how to give. Being honest is terrifying for a man who’s learned to rabbit at the first sign of conflict—more so when Aiden gives Jeremy a reason to stay that can’t be packed up and carried in a knapsack. When Jeremy’s past comes knocking at their door, can Jeremy trust enough in Aiden and his new home to answer bravely back?

Review

I think this is one of those you love it or you don’t romances. Jeremy is a chatty (hyper) person and we are in his head so that is not for everyone. I loved it.

Despite, Amy Lane’s unfortunate use of “boy’ as a term of endearment (and even explained it is unfortunate, I was utterly charmed by this sweet, achey, slow burn romances between a much older beta hero and a much younger alpha hero.

What I loved is what good friends Aiden and Jeremy are. I loved how much of his own person Aiden is and that age doesn’t matter as much in some people’s development. I really valued how the story takes its time and Jeremy healing and the impact of his trauma are well details and just don’t magically go away,

I really liked all the kinds of love here and the talents. The farming, knitting, and shop stuff are just cool as are all the friends.

The best part is the romance. Aiden is steadfast and tender and tough. Jeremy despite being older and having a pile more trauma is less adult but comes into is wonderful own.

I have already reread it feeling I had gone to fast the first time.

In the Middle of Somewhere by Roan Parrish 5 Star Review

Review:

In the Middle of Somewhere - Roan Parrish

Daniel Mulligan is tough, snarky, and tattooed, hiding his self-consciousness behind sarcasm. Daniel has never fit in—not at home in Philadelphia with his auto mechanic father and brothers, and not at school where his Ivy League classmates looked down on him. Now, Daniel’s relieved to have a job at a small college in Holiday, Northern Michigan, but he’s a city boy through and through, and it’s clear that this small town is one more place he won’t fit in.

Rex Vale clings to routine to keep loneliness at bay: honing his muscular body, perfecting his recipes, and making custom furniture. Rex has lived in Holiday for years, but his shyness and imposing size have kept him from connecting with people.

When the two men meet, their chemistry is explosive, but Rex fears Daniel will be another in a long line of people to leave him, and Daniel has learned that letting anyone in can be a fatal weakness. Just as they begin to break down the walls keeping them apart, Daniel is called home to Philadelphia, where he discovers a secret that changes the way he understands everything.

 

Review

 

Whoa. This is a good book. The kind I am going to read again and again.

Rex and Daniel are great nuanced characters. Each chapter reveals more and more about each hero. As their love grows, we love them more.

 

This is romance is a lot about emotional intimacy and being vulnerable. Rex has suffered and so has Daniel. But for all that the book is cheerful and funny as much it is shadowed. Just like life.

 

Dialogue, main character development and setting as well as a cast of characters that make each of these men’s lives full, rich and complicated make this book a joy to read. Watching them fall and love and hope for a live together is a real pleasure. Oh, and it is super sexy too!

 

Original post:
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Imago by N.R. Walker Review

   Imago by N.R. Walker 4 Stars!

Nerdy, introverted genius lepidopterist, Lawson Gale, is an expert on butterflies. He finds himself in a small town in Tasmania on a quest from an old professor to find an elusive species that may or may not even exist.

Local Parks and Wildlife officer, Jack Brighton, is an ordinary guy who loves his life in the sleepy town of Scottsdale. Along with his Border collie dog, Rosemary, his job, and good friends, he has enough to keep from being lonely.

But then he meets Lawson, and he knows he’s met someone special. There’s more to catching butterflies, Jack realises. Sometimes the most elusive creatures wear bow ties, and sometimes they can’t be caught at all.

Lawson soon learns there are butterflies he can’t learn about it in books. They exist only in a touch, in a kiss, in a smile. He just has to let go first, so these butterflies can fly.
Imago is the story of finding love, bow ties, and butterflies.

 

Review

I loved this so hard I want to roll around in it!

Everything: nerdy genius, opposites who don’t feel like opposites, courting, heroes who appreciate and value each other, not man whores, butterflies, field work, banter…

So good!

Quibbles: I would have liked meet the families a some other details. The next book in the series features them which I am bummed about because I would have loved another butterfly scientists or other genius and there are things in that book that I wanted in here.

A great read. Charmed!

Unscripted Love (Road to Blissville, #1) by Aimee Nicole Walker Review

Review:

Unscripted Love  - Aimee Nicole Walker

Kyle Vaughn had three goals in life: become a vet, find the man of his dreams, and start a family. He easily checked off the first item on the list when he took over his grandfather’s veterinary practice. Too bad he wasn’t as lucky in love. 

Chaz Hamilton took a leap of faith when he decided to pursue a career in writing, but one best seller didn’t mean he could quit his day job. All work and no play threatened to make Chaz a very dull man when the only romantic action he saw was in the pages of his manuscript. Too bad he couldn’t write his own happily every after.

Circumstances pushed the two men together, and one magical kiss beneath fireworks and stars changed everything. Kyle knew his luck had finally turned around and Chaz found a man far better than any book boyfriend ever written. There was just one problem. Chaz has kept a secret from Kyle that could ruin their chance at a beautiful life together. 

Kyle and Chaz learn that the best-laid plans often go awry, the heart has a mind of its own, and the greatest love is unscripted. 

 

Review

 

This wasn’t a bad read but it was clunky. The pacing was slow and then fast, drawn out and then rushed. 

There were lovely parts like the heroes personality, the circle of friends, the family, the pets.

It was sometimes charming but certain aspects were just uneven. The secret went on too long despite the promising opening. The hot and cold was annoying. 

It dragged and then we didn’t get enough of what was good.

So, uneven. 

Original post:
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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.

Sweet Topping (Cattle Valley #3) by Carol Lynne Review

    Sweet Topping by Carol Lynne 3 Stars! 

Wheelchair-bound, Kyle Brynn loves his home above the bakery he owns and runs. He’s proud of everything he’s managed to accomplish since the accident six years ago that took the use of his legs. At the age of twenty-six he’s an independent man living on his own, despite the protests from his family. However, with his independence comes loneliness. It’s not the townspeople’s fault that they see him as less of a man, it’s his.

Darshawn ‘Gill’ Gilling quit professional football at the height of his career without a word to the press as to why. Now settled in Cattle Valley, Gill’s happy running his garage and gas station. His life is much easier since coming out of the closet to his friends and family. He just wishes he’d had someone to come out for. Most folks in town tend to be a little awestruck when Gill comes around, but if he wanted fans he’d have stayed in football. What he really wants is that cute little baker down the street.

 

Review

This is a sweet romance. It does a decent job looking at a love life after an accident that left the one of our heros using a wheelchair.

Nicely, the books begins several years after the injury and he has a fully life and a hot man with a huge crush on him.

There is nothing really wrong with this book but the setting, the characters, and the plot are pretty thin. As with a lot of long running series, it likely relies on the series as a whole to build depth.

This is my first book in the series. I may or may not read more.

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.

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.