sweet hero

Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall #1) by Tara Lain Review

   Volley Balls (Balls to the Wall Book 1) by Tara Lain 2 Stars

A double dose of alpha male might be better than one.

Despite just getting out of an abusive relationship with an asshole alpha, David Underwood’s wandering glance lands on two hot members of the Australian volleyball team on Laguna Beach and gets him harassed again. Still, when the delicious Gareth Marshall proves his interest by coming out to his team, David succumbs to his attraction. But Gareth’s volleyball partner, Edge, who’s equally hot, makes the lovers’ lives miserable.

For Gareth, a lifetime of hiding his orientation—and his attraction—from his best friend, Edge, as well as everyone else around him, adds up to hurt and frustration. David’s the first man to ever compete with Edge for Gareth’s passion. But Edge has secrets of his own, and David’s ex-lover will never be happy without David under his fist. With everything stacked against him, can a gay Laguna man find happiness with an alpha male–or two?

Review

I have liked several books set in this world but not this one.

It was too short for the kind of work it was trying to do: setting up a poly relationship, coming out, dealing with an abusive ex, internalized and then externalize homophobia, friends to lovers, loved forever.

Every move was just too fast.

Pricks and Pragmatism by JL Merrow Review

  Pricks and Pragmatism   by JL Merrow 3.5 Stars! 

Kicked out by his father at age sixteen, English student Luke Corbin’s used to trading on his looks and charm to keep a roof over his head until he can make it big as a journalist. He goes for men with money, power and looks, in that order, and he doesn’t let emotions get in the way. But when his lover tells him it’s over, Luke finds himself homeless—just as his final exams are looming.

Moving in with geeky chemical engineer Russell may be a step down for him, but Luke can’t afford to be choosy. Fully prepared to put out as usual, Luke’s confused and frustrated when Russell refuses to take advantage of him—and even more so when he finds out Russell’s saving himself for someone special.

The more time he spends with the shy, honourable man, the more Luke finds himself bowled over by Russell’s sweetness and integrity. But just as he’s coming to terms with his own wish to be that special guy for Russell, Luke has to face facts: he’s fallen for the one man he can’t seem to charm.

 

Review

I love a kind lead matched with a cynical one. We have that here is spades. Luke is beyond jaded and guarded. When he falls for the super sweet and open nerdy hero, it is the best.

Luke is with other people during the book but there is no cheating. This is a slow burn romance.

I wish we had more couple and relationship time after they get together to make this a really great romance.

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.

The Weight of It All by N.R. Walker 5 Star Review!

     The Weight Of It All  by N.R. Walker 5 Stars!!

After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.

He joins a gym.
Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.

As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.

Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.

Review

Bam! It is so rare to find a romance that deals with weight loss in a way that is no body shaming. This love story gets it spot on. It takes about weight for Henry (and Henry only not all people of size) being a way to hide away or not see himself anymore. And we know Reed loves him at all sizes and wants Henry simply to be happy and himself. Yea!

I am often in search of a plain Joe hero and we have it in the oh so funny Henry. I would like it better if Reed wasn’t such a perfect sexy beast but Reed’s history and the burden of those kinds of looks make great plot and character moments so it all works out.

Reed and Henry. Sigh. They are the best! Reed is hot, yes, but more than that he is thoughtful and he adores Henry. Henry, after years in a not great relationship, regains his super awesome self.

The food porn in this one is crazy good and its is all healthy. The heroes just like and and then love each other so much.

Ahhhgggh. I stayed up too late. I love all the little moments of this book. Sweet, sexy, and funny!

All Note Long by Annabeth Albert 5 Star Review!

   All Note Long by Annabeth Albert 5 Stars! 

Michelin Moses is a country music star on the rise. With a hit single under his Texas-sized belt buckle and a sold-out concert tour underway, his childhood dreams of making it big are finally coming true. But there’s one thing missing—a promise to his dying mother that he’d find it—him—when the time was right. With a little luck, he won’t have to wait too long . . .

Lucky Ramirez is a hunky boy toy who dances at The Broom Closet, one of West Hollywood’s hottest gay bars. He loves what he does, and he’s good at it—almost as good as he is at playing dumb when he spots Michelin Moses at the bar. What happens next is off the charts—and keeps Michelin coming back for more. He’s just not sure it’s the right move for his career. But if Lucky gets his way, Michelin will get Lucky—and no matter how the media spins it, neither of them will be faking it . . .

Review

M and Lucky. What is not to like?

They are both wonderful, talented, kind, loyal, sexy as hell heroes.

We get a fun pretend relationship trope that is so well managed by the writer with bringing all the joy of this theme with none of its pitfalls.

The work toward equity in this relationship is a joy to see as is M coming to terms with balancing his personality and being out as a famous person.

I love how Lucky recognizes M’s needs and attends to them and how M comes to be a wonderful partner.

Albert writes this romance layer by lovely layer. We get every sexy, sweet, real and hopeful thing fro this love story.

Glitterland by Alexis Hall Review

Glitterland  by Alexis Hall 4 Stars! 

Once the golden boy of the English literary scene, now a clinically depressed writer of pulp crime fiction, Ash Winters has given up on love, hope, happiness, and — most of all — himself. He lives his life between the cycles of his illness, haunted by the ghosts of other people’s expectations.

Then a chance encounter at a stag party throws him into the arms of Essex boy Darian Taylor, an aspiring model who lives in a world of hair gel, fake tans, and fashion shows. By his own admission, Darian isn’t the crispest lettuce in the fridge, but he cooks a mean cottage pie and makes Ash laugh, reminding him of what it’s like to step beyond the boundaries of anxiety.

But Ash has been living in his own shadow for so long that he can’t see past the glitter to the light. Can a man who doesn’t trust himself ever trust in happiness? And how can a man who doesn’t believe in happiness ever fight for his own?

Review

Alexis Hall makes the ending up to me by adding a short story that was really needed to make this book complete.

Darian. I love him. He is clever and knows himself. Ash has to grow a lot in this book to deserve him but he does.

This book has all the wonderful trademarks of a Hall book-contending with imperfect characters, setting, class and such love.

We get a great romantic gesture and a well needed grovel. As well as a wonderful look at how to let other people make their own choices and live (and thrive) with who we are.

Good stuff!

Twist (Dive Bar #2) by Kylie Scott Review

      Twist: A Dive Bar Novel (Dive Bar Series Book 2) by Kylie Scott 3.5 Stars!

When his younger brother loses interest in online dating, hot bearded bartender Joe Collins only intends to log into his account and shut it down. Until he reads about her.

Alex Parks is funny, fascinating, and pretty much everything he’s been looking for in a woman—except that she lives across the country. Soon they’re emailing up a storm and telling each other their deepest, darkest secrets…except the one that really matters.

When Alex pays Joe a surprise visit, however, they both discover that when it comes to love, it’s always better with a twist.

 

Review

 

I liked Twist epically more that Dirty the first book in this series.

It has a wonderful first meet with the hero and heroine. Wonderfully awful.

I really liked how messed up our hero and heroine are in different ways and how loved they are by their circle of friends. I love the you are not my type attractions.

And then the book goes sideways in the end. They are dumb dumbs. Sigh. And then we have a huge jump in time and thing work out. Sigh. I am glad things work out.

There are two other couples featured in the book that it seems sad we won’t get their stories.

I need at least two other books before I can read the next hero’s romance because he needs a lot of growth before I want to spend time with him.

Counterbalance by Aidan Wayne Review

Review:

Counterbalance - Aidan Wayne

John loves his job as head rigger for Cirque Brilliance. The heavy scarring over half his face makes it a little hard to meet new people, but John’s got a good crew and a nice found family, and he’s content with his lot in life.

When Cirque hires talent for a new show, John meets Bao, a bright, ever-cheerful acrobat. Bao seems drawn to John and becomes a constant presence at his side — talking to him during downtime, spending time with him at lunch, and generally seeking out his company.

John doesn’t know what to make of this. Sure, he likes Bao — maybe a little too much, honestly — but he’s had enough experience to know that Bao couldn’t possibly like him back. Or so he thinks, anyway. Fortunately, Bao seems determined to prove him wrong.

 

Review

 

I love Bao. He is one of those amazing sunny, kind heroes with a lot of talent. John is nice but I adore Bao.

This is a slow burn and as such need to be more than a novella so that we could really see this relationship flourish.

I also would have preferred alternating points of view. Being stuck in John’s head with Bao’s limited English makes less of Bao and thus racially colors in a negative way this sweet love story.

Bao is so awesome. Aidan Wayne, please write longer books!

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1572437/counterbalance-by-aidan-wayne-review

He Completes Me (Home #2) by Cardeno C. Review

Review:

He Completes Me (Home Collection Book 1) - Cardeno C.

Not even his mother’s funeral can convince self-proclaimed party boy Zach Johnson to tone down his snark or think about settling down. He is who he is, and he refuses to change for anyone. When straight-laced, compassionate Aaron Paulson claims he’s falling for him, Zach is certain Aaron sees him as another project, one more lost soul for the idealistic Aaron to save. But Zach doesn’t need to be fixed and he refuses to be with someone who sees him as broken.

Patience is one of Aaron’s many virtues. He has waited years for a man who can share his heart and complete his life and he insists Zach is the one. Pride, fear, and old hurts wither in the wake of Aaron’s adoring loyalty, and as Zach reevaluates his perceptions of love and family, he finds himself tempted to believe in the impossible: a happily-ever-after.

 

Review

 

I really, really enjoyed this book. It is a super sweet romance and it just soaks in the couple time and we get so many phases of the relationship. Agh. Love it.

 

Aaron is completely sweet and well a wish fulfillment hero for someone as hurt and angry as Zack. Zack’s voice in wonderful with great asides to the read and wry self reflection.

 

Aaron is a bit of a doormat but there is some nice conflict around making sure Zach and Aaron are partners in this relationship.

 

As much as I liked it, and I did, there are issues with the writing in terms of unresolved stuff,.

 

Aaron’s relationship with Zach’s brother and wife need to be discussed. There is so much co dependency in Aaron.

 

Zach needs therapy for his childhood trauma.

 

The plot pacing is sluggish so while even though I enjoyed it, others will be driven batty.

Aaron has no pets. He is a vet. We never get to see his love of animals.

 

And there is other weird stuff but I liked it anyway, A lot. lol.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1585475/he-completes-me-home-2-by-cardeno-c-review

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.