socially awkward

Blue Days (Mangrove Stories, #1) by Mary Calmes Review

Review:

Blue Days -  Mary Calmes

Falling for a coworker is rarely a good idea, especially for a man getting a last chance at salvaging his career. But from the moment Dwyer Knolls sees the beautiful but socially awkward Takeo Hiroyuki, he seems destined to make bad decisions.

 

Takeo’s life is a string of failed attempts to please his traditional Japanese father. Unfortunately, succeeding in business turns out to be just as difficult for Takeo as changing from gay to straight. In fact, the only thing Takeo seems to truly excel at is taking notice of Dwyer Knolls.

 

When Dwyer and Takeo head to Mangrove, Florida on a real estate buying trip, their tentative friendship combusts and becomes much more. Is their sudden connection real enough to bank their futures on, or should they chalk the whole thing up to the daze inspired by the blue ocean breeze?

 

Review

 

This is a very sweet slow burn romance. I love a socially awkward hero and we get that in every way while have the fun of a stunningly attractive man and great friends to lovers story. 

They sort of combust which is fun. However, this love story had a ton of places it could have been richer with Japanese culture and LGTBQ issues for example and we know nearly nothing of one the hero’s past romantic life. 

Sex is pretty much off page but not totally and I wanted more after such a build up. 

The epilogue is awesome but more couple time would have been great. 

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Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers #4) by Penny Reid Review

   Beard in Mind (Winston Brothers Book 4) by Penny Reid 4 Stars!

All is fair in love and auto maintenance.

Beau Winston is the nicest, most accommodating guy in the world. Usually.

Handsome as the devil and twice as charismatic, Beau lives a charmed life as everyone’s favorite Winston Brother. But since his twin decided to leave town, and his other brother hired a stunning human-porcupine hybrid as a replacement mechanic for their auto shop, Beau Winston’s charmed life has gone to hell in a handbasket.

Shelly Sullivan is not nice and is never accommodating. Ever.
She mumbles to herself, but won’t respond when asked a question. She glares at everyone, especially babies. She won’t shake hands with or touch another person, but has no problems cuddling with a dog. And her damn parrot speaks only in curse words. Beau wants her gone. He wants her out of his auto shop, out of Tennessee, and out of his life.

The only problem is, learning why this porcupine wears her coat of spikes opens a Pandora’s box of complexity–exquisite, tempting, heartbreaking complexity–and Beau Winston soon discovers being nice and accommodating might mean losing what matters most.

 

Review

I love Penny Reid’s writing and romance between Shelly and Beau is compelling.

There is a ton going on in this book and it is best read as part of the series to get the most pleasure and impact out of it.

Shelly is a wonderful, capable character who struggles with intense OCD and obsessive thoughts.

Beau is a a very charming man who is polite in a near compulsive way and who is struggling as his twins prepares to move away from him for the first time in their lives.

Beau and Shelly do not get along at first and then they do but being with Shelly means working very hard not to be codependent and being there for her why she does the very hard work of living with her condition. Turns out Beau has his own quirks as well. There is a lovely metaphor that runs through out the book about how to do that.

This is a touching (and hot) romance about loving someone as they are.

There is a pile of series plot in this one and while it was good and interesting (avoiding spoilers), the couple time with Shelly and Beau got taken over a bit. I want more time of them dating and being.

A great addition to the series with all the folks we love and couple you can root for.

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

Connection Error (#gaymers #3) by Annabeth Albert Review

 Connection Error by Annabeth Albert 4.5 Stars! 

It’s typical of video game programmer Josiah Simmons to be the last one on the plane on the way to the biggest meeting of his career. Though he’s (mostly) coping with his ADHD, he can’t handle another distraction. But he also can’t ignore his rugged seatmate—especially once he learns the military man’s a fan of his game.

Ryan Orson refuses to let his severe injuries pause his career as a navy SEAL. He’s got hours of grueling physical therapy ahead of him, and no time for anything that might get in the way of his return to active duty. But that doesn’t mean he’s above a little first-class flirtation with geeky-cute Josiah.

When a delay strands the pair in St. Louis, they agree to share a hotel room and a night of gaming. Neither expects their new connection to move to the next level in the light of day. Opposites may attract, but is this game over before it’s even begun?

 

Review

This is a great romance. It is realistic and romantic. Ryan is adjusting to life without legs and relationship that ended some time ago but not well. Jos is much younger, has ADHD and is adjusting to the demands of a leadership position in his job as a game designer.

They meet on a plane. Jos has no filter and crushes hard on Ryan. Things work certain ways and they develop a strong friendship and more online and off as Ryan is doing rehab at Walter Reed and Jos is on the West Coast.

They each have rich lives of friends and family.

They grown into a wonderful relationship with each other and become their better selves. There is no miracle for either hero’s disability but rather adjustments and integration. Sigh. Good stuff.

Albert does a grand job as a storyteller and you will believe in this sexy happily even after.

Such a great read! Would have loved more in the epilogue but we get to see them in the series and spin off series so all is well.

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.

Carry the Ocean (The Roosevelt, #1) by Heidi Cullinan 5 Star Review

    Carry the Ocean  by Heidi Cullinan 5 Stars! 

Normal is just a setting on the dryer.

High school graduate Jeremey Samson is looking forward to burying his head under the covers and sleeping until it’s time to leave for college. Then a tornado named Emmet Washington enters his life. The young man with a double major in math and computer science is handsome, forward, wicked smart, interested in dating Jeremey—and he has autism.

But Jeremey doesn’t judge him for that. He’s too busy judging himself, as are his parents, who don’t believe in things like clinical depression. When Jeremey’s untreated illness reaches a critical breaking point, Emmet is the white knight who rescues him and brings him along as a roommate to The Roosevelt, a quirky new assisted living facility.

As Jeremey and Emmet find their feet at The Roosevelt, they begin to believe they can be loved for the men they are beyond their disabilities. But before they can trust enough to fall head over heels, they must trust their own convictions that friendship is a healing force and love can overcome any obstacle.

 

Review

I love this book. Sitting down to write this review, I just want to go and read it again.

Each character is complex, human and complete. They inhabit a full world. The writing is beautiful and dialogue compelling.

The details weave together in wonderful layer upon layer to create a love story with all the kinds of love.

This is not a light hearted romance but the ache here is really just the ache of being human.

As a disabled person, I really valued to discussion of adaptations, modification, and normality that are part and parcel of living in with a different t body, chemistry and/or mind that the majority.

Depression and anxiety are explored here better than I have ever read. They are part of the character but not all of him. And while there are things that are common to people with this disorder, the understanding that he is unique is clear as well.

The exploration of autism is just as powerfully done. I love that fact that even though the autistic hero seems outwardly more disabled, it is the more “normal” hero that is newer to journey of living with his disability rather than around it.

I love the layers of the parental reaction to this very young couple. The romance told in alternating points of very is beautiful. The writer shows the difficult of the relationship and its joy.

My favorite part of the book aside from the characters is the therapy sessions. Both heroes go and the parents.

I wish everyone had support like this to shine the light on love and self acceptance and the pain of being human. And the science of it all. So good.

I highly recommend this book for the romance and everything else.

Why Love Matters by Jay Northcote Review

Why Love Matters by Jay Northcote 3 Stars! 

Alastair needs help overcoming issues with touch and physical intimacy in order to clinch a business deal with some demonstrative Italians who prefer hugging to handshakes.

Martin, his assistant, has the perfect solution. His mother runs cuddle workshops, which could help Alastair overcome his fears–if he’s brave enough to try. Alastair is nervous not only about the workshop, but also because he will be sharing a room with Martin, who’s starred in his fantasies more often than an assistant should.

Alastair reluctantly decides to give it a try, so they head to a commune in Wales where Martin grew up. The weekend at the commune with Martin proves to be transformative in more ways than one.

 

Review

This was a compelling and sweet romance about a boss and his personal assistant. The issue that Alastair had seemed a bit to easily resolved but it was a good read anyway.

The commune that the other hero grew up in was an intersting setting and I love his mom!

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!

How To Be A Normal Person by T.J. Klune Review

  How to Be a Normal Person by T.J. Klune 4.5 Stars!!!

Gustavo Tiberius is not normal. He knows this. Everyone in his small town of Abby, Oregon, knows this. He reads encyclopedias every night before bed. He has a pet ferret called Harry S. Truman. He owns a video rental store that no one goes to. His closest friends are a lady named Lottie with drag queen hair and a trio of elderly Vespa riders known as the We Three Queens.

Gus is not normal. And he’s fine with that. All he wants is to be left alone.

Until Casey, an asexual stoner hipster and the newest employee at Lottie’s Lattes, enters his life. For some reason, Casey thinks Gus is the greatest thing ever. And maybe Gus is starting to think the same thing about Casey, even if Casey is obsessive about Instagramming his food.

But Gus isn’t normal and Casey deserves someone who can be. Suddenly wanting to be that someone, Gus steps out of his comfort zone and plans to become the most normal person ever.

After all, what could possibly go wrong?

 

Review

 So, it looks like TJ Klune will just be getting all my money. I love discovering a new to me writer that is this good. My bank account has other feelings.

The comic pacing and imagination of this book amazes. There is such much fun and detail.

If you don’t like quirky characters, don’t read this. Every character in the book is quirky turned to 11 even the albino ferret. I delight in zane and oddball and here me roar so I was clapping with glee but they are all very strange, bright, and complexly human. Love me an old lady Vespa gang.

But under all the silly, quirk, and randomness is a very tender love story about friendship, grieving a partner, and being odd and human.

The fact that one of our heroes is asexual is thoughtfully explored and the other hero’s relationship with his beloved father is everything.

I did wish for just a bit more in terms of getting an epilogue or just more HEA but really this is the most endearing book and I can’t wait to reread it.

Someone Else’s Love Story (Shandi Pierce #1) by Joshilyn Jackson Review

  Someone Else’s Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson 4 Stars! 

Shandi Pierce is juggling finishing college, raising her delightful three-year-old genius son Nathan, aka Natty Bumppo, and keeping the peace between her eternally warring, long-divorced parents. She’s got enough complications without getting caught in the middle of a stick-up and falling in love with William Ashe, who willingly steps between the robber and her son.

Shandi doesn’t know that her blond god Thor has his own complications. When he looked down the barrel of that gun he believed it was destiny: It’s been one year to the day since a tragic act of physics shattered his world. But William doesn’t define destiny the way others do. A brilliant geneticist who believes in facts and numbers, destiny to him is about choice. Now, he and Shandi are about to meet their so-called destinies head on, making choices that will reveal unexpected truths about love, life, and the world they think they know.

Review

There is a so much to love about this b0ok. The lyrical writing, amazing characters, details of place and time.

This isn’t a romance really (exactly) as the actual couples (there are two) spend most of the book apart but we do get Happily Ever Afters that are well earned,

Our hero is a brilliant neurodivergent and utterly wrecked with grief and rage. We get his love story in flashback. He is the king of romantic gestures and has an amazing bestie.

The heroine is much younger (and not his heroine it will turn out. Not a spoiler! The title gives this away). You have to read the book to get her story (cause that would be a spoiler) but the writer has a very interesting exploration of a pile of topics with her. You may or may not like it but it will make you think.

I wish her love story had been given more page time and after time. I am a romance reader and I want my romance. lol

It is a great book with a lovely ending.

Project Daddy by Kate Perry Review

   Project Daddy by Kate Perry 2 Stars

Katherine Murphy needs to know. Her obsessive, demanding supervisor has given her an assignment that goes way beyond the call of duty: find her a man. But not just any man—he must have the perfect combination of good looks, job security, and solid genes to make him daddy-worthy. So, with a lofty promotion being dangled in front of her, Katherine dives back into the dating pool to find another woman’s Mr. Right. . .

There is, however, a problem with Katherine’s approach: for some reason, going up to strange guys and asking if they’re ready for fatherhood is getting her nowhere. Which is why she recruits her best friend Luc to help with the man hunt. As he drags her out to gallery openings and bars, Katherine develops a new appreciation for Luc. But when Katherine strikes out in her search and Luc steps up to the plate as her boss’s next date, she realizes he’s perfect. Maybe too perfect to waste on someone else. . .

 

Review

I love me a socially awkward heroine. I love fact spewing as well and friends to lovers and a clueless that he likes her romance but this one was too much of everything, Well, not the fact spewing…I love that.

The level of cluelessness was crazy and then kind of cruel and self involved. I get that she had a real need to achieve but she ended up being stupid instead of clueless and then mean.

The hero and the nieghbor I loved in this book but I have no idea why he why he didn’t just tell her how he felt. This was dumb as well. There was no character of plot base of his choice.

Oh, the Daddy Project plot made me nuts too. LOL. A wall banger for me with some funny moments.