university setting

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.

Antisocial by Heidi Cullinan 5 Star Review

Review:

Antisocial - Heidi Cullinan

A single stroke can change your world.

Xander Fairchild can’t stand people in general and frat boys in particular, so when he’s forced to spend his summer working on his senior project with Skylar Stone, a silver-tongued Delta Sig with a trust fund who wants to make Xander over into a shiny new image, Xander is determined to resist. He came to idyllic, Japanese culture-soaked Benten college to hide and make manga, not to be transformed into a corporate clone in the eleventh hour. 

Skylar’s life has been laid out for him since before he was born, but all it takes is one look at Xander’s artwork, and the veneer around him begins to crack. Xander himself does plenty of damage too. There’s something about the antisocial artist’s refusal to yield that forces Skylar to acknowledge how much his own orchestrated future is killing him slowly…as is the truth about his gray-spectrum sexuality, which he hasn’t dared to speak aloud, even to himself.

Through a summer of art and friendship, Xander and Skylar learn more about each other, themselves, and their feelings for one another. But as their senior year begins, they must decide if they will part ways and return to the dull futures they had planned, or if they will take a risk and leap into a brightly colored future—together.

 

Review

While I love the romance in this in this book, the discussion of art is so powerful, it often steals the show.

 

This romance is a slow burn and not just because one of the heroes is asexual. The fall in love is really pretty magical as they take down wall after wall for each other.

 

It is also a very well done New Adult with the kinds of conflict that have to do with finding new understanding of your family of origins and becoming your fuller self.

 

The setting is compelling as the circle of friends that builds and the mythology contained in the manga and an exploration of toxic masculinity from all parts of the policatal spectrum that is explored.

 

The writing is lyrical and lovely and while the pace might be too slow for some, it really worked for me.

 

At the heart of this book is the love story which is all about intimacy.

 

So very good!

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1597181/antisocial-by-heidi-cullinan-5-star-review

My Roommate’s a Jock? Well, Crap! (Jock #1) by Wade Kelly Review

Review:

My Roommate's a Jock? Well, Crap! - Wade Kelly

It’s easy to become cynical when life never goes your way. 

Cole Reid has been a social recluse since he was fifteen, when he was outed by his high school baseball team. Since then, his obsessive-compulsive behavior and sarcastic nature have driven away most of the population, and everyone else hates him because he’s gay. As he sees it, he’s bound to repulse any prospective friends, let alone boyfriends, so why bother? 

By the time Cole enters college, he’s become an anal-retentive loner—but it’s not a problem until his roommate graduates and the housing department assigns Ellis Montgomery to move in with Cole. Ellis is messy, gorgeous, straight, and worst of all, a jock! 

During a school year filled with frat buddies, camping expeditions, and meddling parents, Cole and Ellis develop a friendship that turns Cole’s glass-half-empty outlook on its head. There must be more to Ellis than a fun-loving jock—and maybe Cole’s reawakening libido has rekindled his hope for more than camaraderie.

 

Review

Okay. Wade Kelly is killing me a little bit. The parts of her books and this book that are good are so very good and this there is these little bits and pieces that are off putting, out of place, not resolved and as another review put it haphazard. This makes it hard to recommend her books as I know someone will want to throw them across the room and to ask for the high price of Dreamspinner books even tougher. 

I love mean witty Cole. I love his funny and his personality and even how difficult and yet assertive and brave he is. I was charmed by his nerd self.

I like sunny Ellis a great deal as well as he learns who he is and how to be with himself and Cole. His lack of communication and freak outs seem out of character and took too long. 

The cast of friends is interesting and I kind of would like them to get their own romance. MF for the super nice future pastor. The next books in the series takes place when Ellis (now well adjusted and married to Cole awwww) is coaching and teaching (cause that happens in a university so easily lol)

There is some crazy sauce that is not needed but the romance is sweet and hot overall with lots of couple time. I liked it a lot. 

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1582574/my-roommate-s-a-jock-well-crap-jock-1-by-wade-kelly-review

Practice Makes Perfect (Housemates, #3) by Jay Northcote Review

     Practice Makes Perfect (Housemates Book 3) by Jay Northcote 4 Stars! 

Getting experience with the guy next door seems like a great idea—until the lines blur.

Dev, a geeky first year physics student, has zero sexual experience and he’s determined to change that ASAP. After a bad time in halls of residence, he’s starting the summer term with different housemates and a new plan of action.

Ewan lives in the house next door to Dev. He’s young, free and single, and isn’t looking to change that anytime soon. When awkward circumstances throw them together, Ewan offers to help Dev out in the bedroom in return for maths tutoring, and Dev jumps at the chance.

They work their way through Dev’s sex-to-do list, but what starts as a perfect no-strings arrangement gets more complicated as their feelings for each other begin to grow. If they’re going to turn their lessons in lovemaking into something more permanent, they need to work out how they feel about each other—before they get to the end of Dev’s list.

Review 

Oh, I love this book. What a joyful romance!

I like the heroes so much. This romance is sexy and equal. There is a little bit of communication problems but those makes sense.

A great ginger hero who is thoughtful and sexy geek. Sigh.

Frat Boy and Toppy (Theta Alpha Gamma, #1) by Anne Tenino Review

Review:

Frat Boy and Toppy - Anne Tenino

Brad is great at meeting other people’s expectations. But his own? Not so much. Take the gay thing. Okay, so yeah. It took a morning meeting with a frat brother’s hairy, naked ass for him to admit it, but he knows the truth about himself now. Let the gay life commence.

Unfortunately, it’s not that easy. He hasn’t quite determined how to come out to anyone, even Sebastian, the geeky-hot TA in his history class. Sebastian is everything Brad is not. Intellectual, suave, hairy. Out. And he doesn’t seem interested in Brad, even when Brad makes a fool of himself trying to catch his notice.

Score one for foolery: Sebastian does more than notice Brad; he takes him to bed. Brad’s been with plenty of girls, but with Sebastian, the sex is something else entirely—hot, mind-blowing, affirming, and a little domineering in a way that drives him wild. But when great sex turns into something more—dare he admit the “L” word?—Brad must face the crushing realization that Sebastian doesn’t feel the same. Unless, of course, he does. After all, even grad students can be idiots about matters of the heart.

 

Review

 

This is an interesting tale of self awareness.

 

Brad comes to an understanding about his own sexuality and Sedation comes to an awareness about his emotionial life.

 

I know that there is a second book in the series that will deal with the fact that Sedation has a bit to go yet and doesn’t value Brad (who is emotionally brave as heck) as much as he should.

 

There is also a good look at what happens to a person who is conditioned to please people rather than themselves.

 

This is one of many books In have read where the parents have an idea that their child is gay before the child but doesn’t say anything about it to them. It this case it cost Brad a lot.

 

I wonder what you all think of this choice? In this case, it isn’t as if the parent isn’t accepting and just doesn’t want it to be true.

 

Interesting read with an engaging hero in Brad.

Original post:
northamericanwordcat.booklikes.com/post/1575696/frat-boy-and-toppy-theta-alpha-gamma-1-by-anne-tenino-review

Watching and Wanting (Housemates Book 4) by Jay Northcote Review

     Watching and Wanting (Housemates Book 4) by Jay Northcote 3 Stars! 

Shawn is adrift. Recently graduated, he’s stuck in a dead-end job that barely pays the bills. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends have moved on, and he’s still in Plymouth–going nowhere.

Jude is a student living in the same shared house. Out and proud, he’s everything Shawn’s been running from since he hit puberty. When Shawn discovers Jude works as a cam boy, he can’t resist the urge to watch one of his shows. It makes Shawn want things that scare him, yet his fascination forces him to confront his attraction to Jude.

Keen to explore his bicurious side, Shawn suggests they do a show together. Jude agrees, and things get complicated–and kinky–fast. But Jude isn’t looking to get involved with someone so deep in the closet. If Shawn’s going to get what he wants, he needs to find the courage to stop hiding from himself and be honest about who he is.

Review

Shawn has been a bit of a growl in past books in the series and while this is a sweet romance that I liked more time could have been spent on his backstory and transformation.

Shawn accepting himself as bisexual could have been made richer with more time spent in some of the aspects that Northcote hints at, however, the more intersting part of the love story is Shawn coming to terms with his acceptance of himself as a sub. This is very well done and hot.

Jude is a great character. There is a bit more sex in this book but the romance is about being vulnerable and it works well.

Starting from Scratch by Jay Northcote Review

    Starting from Scratch (Housemates Book 5) by Jay Northcote 4 Stars!

Starting over isn’t easy, but Ben is ready to live his life as the man he was always meant to be.

Ben is transgender and back at university after hormone treatment and chest surgery. His new housemates have no idea about his history and Ben would prefer to keep it that way. He’s starting from scratch and his life is finally on track, except in the romance department. The idea of dating guys as a guy is exhilarating but terrifying, because if Ben wants a boyfriend he’ll have to disclose his secret.

Sid is drawn to Ben from the moment they meet. He normally gets what he wants—in the short term at least. Ben’s guarded at first, and Sid’s not used to guys rejecting his advances. He eventually charms his way through Ben’s defences and helps Ben on his journey of sexual awakening.

It doesn’t matter to Sid that Ben is trans. He’s attracted to the whole person, and isn’t worried about what is—or isn’t—in Ben’s pants. They’re good together, and both of them are falling hard and fast, but Ben’s insecurities keep getting in the way. If Sid can convince Ben he’s committed, will Ben finally be able to put his heart on the line?

 

Review

As always a lovely character driven romance with a lot of tenderness from Jay Norhcote.

This one is made special by a slow burn and the housemates are really showcased here. The trans hero is dealing with a relationship for the first time in a body he likes and the other hero is all in.

A lovely happily ever after you can believe in.

Like a Lover (Housemates Book 2) by Jay Northcote Review

    Like a Lover (Housemates Book 2) by Jay Northcote 3.5 Stars! 

Josh has a plan: get through uni with a good degree and no debts. Focused on his goals, he’s working as an escort to pay his way. He enjoys the no-strings sex and doesn’t have the time or inclination for a relationship. Falling in love definitely isn’t part of the deal–especially not with a client.

When Rupert meets Josh in a bar, he’s smitten on sight. He’s never paid for sex before, but when Josh propositions him, he can’t resist. He should have known one night would never be enough. Luckily for him, he has an inheritance to support his addiction to Josh, because his job in IT wouldn’t cover the cost.

With each appointment the lines get increasingly blurred. Something is developing between them that feels more like a relationship than a business transaction, but they come from different worlds and to go from client-and-escort to lovers seems impossible. If they want a future together, Josh and Rupert have a lot to overcome.

 

Review

 This is another sweet character driver romance form Northcote.

I am not a huge fan of the escort troupe but Josh is so okay with it and Rupert is a doll.

There is no too much drama and a lovely sexy romance.

Helping Hand (Housemates, #1) by Jay Northcote Review

    Helping Hand  by Jay Northcote 3 Stars! 

Jez Fielding and James MacKenzie–Big Mac to his mates–are in their second year at uni. After partying too hard last year, they make a pact to rein themselves in. While their housemates are out drinking every weekend, Jez and Mac stay in to save cash and focus on their studies.

When Jez suggests watching some porn together, he isn’t expecting Mac to agree to it. One thing leads to another, and soon their arrangement becomes hands-on rather than hands-off. But falling for your ‘straight’ friend can only end badly, unless there’s a chance he might feel the same.

Review

This is a sweet m/m character driven friends to lovers romance between roommates.

The sexy builds and builds and then the love. I like both heroes a great deal and I like the fact that they actually study and write papers like real college students!

A fun read.

Play On (Glasgow Lads, #0.5) by Avery Cockburn

    Play On by Avery Cockburn 4 Stars! 

Duncan Harris is on the edge. Scandal has shredded his LGBT soccer team’s history-making season, and now the once-unflappable striker is lashing out. Only one person can tame Duncan’s rage and make him feel like himself again…

Bullied by schoolmates in his wee village, Brodie Campbell lurked deep in the closet before coming to the city of Glasgow. Here at university he’s out and proud, but the years of abuse have left him emotionally paralyzed. Can flatmate Duncan help Brodie escape his past and heal his wounded heart?

As the two lads grow closer, Brodie can’t forget how athletes like Duncan once tortured him. When Duncan attacks an opponent who threatens Brodie, the situation escalates. Soon Brodie doesn’t feel safe anywhere—especially in Duncan’s arms.
To defeat the bullies who’ve wrecked his life, his mind, and his ability to love, Brodie must find the strength to fight his own battles. And Duncan must find the strength to let him.

Review

I really like this New Adult romance. Duncan is in hot pursuit of Brodie and takes care of him while he is sick. It is sweet.

There is a lot going on in this novella. Brodie comes more fully into himself and Duncan learns empathy (or he is working on it) and anger management.

A tender intersting romance.

I love how sex isn’t perfect at first in Cockburn’s books and I love getting understand different facets of Scottish culture.