Working Class Hero

Rising Tides: Chesapeake Bay Saga Review

   Rising Tides by Nora Roberts 3.5 Stars! 

Ethan Quinn is a waterman. He wasn’t born to the tradition but has embraced it. He’s a quiet man whose heart runs as deep as the waters he loves. And now, with his father gone, Ethan is determined to make the family boatbuilding business a success. But amidst his achievements lie the most important challenges of his life…

There’s a young boy who needs him, and a woman and child he loves but never believed he could have. To shape his life around them, Ethan must face his own dark past—and accept not only who he is but what he hopes to become.

Review

I am often amazed when I read a Nora Roberts book. The opening of this book is just so lovely in terms of place, feeling, and character. How does she do this so prolifically?

I love that Ethan is a working class hero and so devoted to his family. The loved forever theme is a fun one and Grace is great as well.

Roberts writing shines but I am kept from falling in love with this book because I want to send Ethan to therapy and want what happens at the end of the book to occur in the middle of the book so that we get a love story of acknowledged equals rather than 95% of the story with Ethan doing what he thinks is best instead of evolving.

Femme by Marshall Thornton Review

  Femme by Marshall Thornton  3 Stars!

Queeny cocktail waiter, Lionel, wakes up to find himself in bed with Dog, a straight-acting softball player and the two embark on a rocky road to romance. A journey that requires coming out of the closet, going into the closet, a pair of red high heels, many pairs of red high heels, a failed intervention, a couple of aborted dates, and homemade pom-poms. Mostly, Lionel and Dog learn what it means to be a man.

Review

There is a lot I like about this book–Its Long Beach setting, the funny bits, the friendships, the characters, the exploration of intra dynamic in queer culture.

I wish there was more to the romance as why Lionel would love Dog and more time of them being together. Each hero’s personal journey is interesting and the plot is both mad cap and touching in place but the love story needed more time for me.

Knight of Ocean Avenue (Love in Laguna, #1) by Tara Lain Review

    Knight of Ocean Avenue  by Tara Lain  3.5 Stars! 

How can you be twenty-five and not know you’re gay? Billy Ballew runs from that question. A high school dropout, barely able to read until he taught himself, Billy’s life is driven by his need to help support his parents as a construction worker, put his sisters through college, coach his Little League team, and not think about being a three-time loser in the engagement department. Being terrified of taking tests keeps Billy from getting the contractor’s license he so desires, and fear of his mother’s judgment blinds Billy to what could make him truly happy.

Then, in preparation for his sister’s big wedding, Billy meets Shaz—Chase Phillips—a rising-star celebrity stylist who defines the word gay. To Shaz, Billy embodies everything he’s ever wanted—stalwart, honest, brave—but even if Billy turns out to be gay, he could never endure the censure he’d get for being with a queen like Shaz. How can two men with so little in common find a way to be together? Can the Stylist of the Year end up with the Knight of Ocean Avenue?

 

Review

I liked this book a lot because of the heroes Chase and Billy. Oh, and the cats.

Their love story is a sweet one about falling in love with who you fall in love with despite the picture in your head.

Billy is just a wonderful person. It is very sad that he spent so much time surprising a part of himself from himself. Chase is pretty great too.

There are a lot of side dramas in this book but they are well done. Plus, a cool scripture battle.

There is a element of insta love despite the slower burn.

I wish more had been done with Billy’s dad who is accepting and also I didn’t believe in the mom’s turn around.

Overall, a tender romance.

Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow Review

    Muscling Through by J.L. Merrow  4 Stars! 

The bigger they come, the harder they fall … in love.

Cambridge academic Larry Morton takes one, alcohol-glazed look at the huge, tattooed man looming in a dark alley, and assumes he’s done for. Moments later he finds himself disarmed — literally and figuratively. Next morning, he can’t rest until he’s apologised to the man who turned out to be more gentle than giant.

Larry’s intrigued to find there’s more to Al Fletcher than meets the eye; he possesses a natural artistic talent that shines through untutored technique. Unfortunately, no one else seems to see the sensitive soul beneath Al’s imposing, scarred, undeniably sexy exterior. Least of all Larry’s class-conscious family, who would like nothing better than to split up this mismatched pair.

It’s deliciously physical, but also much more — which makes Larry’s next task so daunting. Not just convincing his colleagues, friends, and family that their relationship is more than skin deep. It’s convincing Al.

Review

I want to reread this book right now. It made me happy.

It is a grand opposites attract romance and it is full of love and kindness and sexy.

The love story starts with an uncute meet and moves all the way through a very happily even after.’

It is told from Al’s point of view which makes somethings really wonderful but also makes the world a bit muted. I think if Larry’s point of view were woven in the book might be even better.

From Al’s point of view we can’t really tell if he is a super slow processor or something else.

What I love about the book is that kindness counts. Actions of love count. Adoring someone is okay.

It is a sweet tender romance. Wanders off to reread…

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.

Listen to the Moon (Lively St. Lemeston #3) by Rose Lerner Review

Listen To The Moon (Lively St. Lemeston #3)  by Rose Lerner 4.5 Stars!!

John Toogood dreamed of being valet to a great man…before he was laid off and blacklisted. Now he’s stuck in small-town Lively St. Lemeston until London’s Season opens and he can begin his embarrassing job hunt. His instant attraction to happy-go-lucky maid Sukey Grimes couldn’t come at a worse time. Her manners are provincial, her respect for authority nonexistent, and her outdated cleaning methods-well, the less said about them, the better. Behind John’s austere façade, Sukey catches tantalizing glimpses of a lonely man with a gift for laughter. Yet her heart warns her not to fall for a man with one foot out the door, no matter how devastating his kiss. Then he lands a butler job in town-but there’s a catch. His employer, the vicar, insists Toogood be respectably married. Against both their better judgments, he and Sukey come to an arrangement. But the knot is barely tied when Sukey realizes she underestimated just how vexing it can be to be married to the boss… Warning: Contains a butler with a protective streak a mile wide, and a maid who enjoys messing up the bed a whole lot more than making it.

 

Review

Oh this is so good!

A non London set Regency romance about a valet/butler and a maid. The themes are wonderful–opposites attract, marriage of convince to a much older man.

The characters are both lonely and charming with their own complex lives that come together.

The historical detail of holidays, food, class, women’s and servant’s rights in a small village are perfectly explored.

And it is very sexy. The banter and writing fierce and well paced.

There was some needless angst for me that took a little shine of the love story but overall all a really joy for any romance reader.

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

Pansies (Spires Book 4) by Alexis Hall Review

 Pansies (Spires Book 4) by Alexis Hall 4 Stars!

Alfie Bell is . . . fine. He’s got a six-figure salary, a penthouse in Canary Wharf, the car he swore he’d buy when he was eighteen, and a bunch of fancy London friends.

It’s rough, though, going back to South Shields now that they all know he’s a fully paid-up pansy. It’s the last place he’s expecting to pull. But Fen’s gorgeous, with his pink-tipped hair and hipster glasses, full of the sort of courage Alfie’s never had. It should be a one-night thing, but Alfie hasn’t met anyone like Fen before.

Except he has. At school, when Alfie was everything he was supposed to be, and Fen was the stubborn little gay boy who wouldn’t keep his head down. And now it’s a proper mess: Fen might have slept with Alfie, but he’ll probably never forgive him, and Fen’s got all this other stuff going on anyway, with his mam and her flower shop and the life he left down south.

Alfie just wants to make it right. But how can he, when all they’ve got in common is the nowhere town they both ran away from.

Review

This is my first Alexis Hall book and I was impressed.

The writing is lyrical and such a pleasure to sink into. I love the detail of the North of England Contemporary setting geographically, historically, culturally and in the dialect.

The romance is compelling. I have a great discomfort with the falling in love with my former bully theme but Hall does a good job of dealing with all the layers though even more self reflection and therapy on both their parts would not have hurt.

The grief and depression of Fen’s character and yet solid internal adulthood paired with Alfie’s outward adulthood with the seeking of a full recognition of self and needs and wants make for a compelling love story.

They are both great wounded loving. people and the cast is wonderfully complex as well. They have friends and family and jobs. Those things all evolve as they fall in love and choose a life together.

The main thing that keeps this from being an smashing success of a romance for me is that Alfie’s character is given more light than Fen’s so that when Fen makes some decisions, we are left a little uncomfortable as to if that his best self because we need to see more of Fen’s healing than we do,

Overall, I highly recommend this book for a lush and engrossing romance.

Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology by Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole , Lena Hart, Piper Huguley

   Daughters of a Nation: A Black Suffragette Historical Romance Anthology 4 Stars!!

The fight for suffrage was long, hard, and carried out on many fronts.In Daughters of a Nation, a black suffragette historical romance anthology, Kianna Alexander, Alyssa Cole, Lena Hart, and Piper Huguley bring you four novellas full of spirit, hope, and, most importantly: LOVE.

IN THE MORNING SUN by Lena Hart

With the election of 1868 underway, Madeline Asher’s mission is clear: educate and enlist the freedmen of Nebraska to vote. But when Union veteran James Blakemore comes back into her life, Madeline must choose either him and the future they’ve always wanted–or the chance to shape a greater nation.

THE WASHERWOMAN’S WAR by Piper Huguley ​

1881: Mamie Harper, a new teacher at Atlanta Female Baptist Seminary, hears of mistreatment from her washerwomen students and tells them to strike. She re-encounters summer pastor Gabriel Harmon, who has other ideas to help the washerwomen. Will these combatants be able to win in the war of love?

A RADIANT SOUL by Kianna Alexander

In 1881, Sarah Webster returns home to Fayetteville, NC for her mother’s milestone birthday. Her suffrage work is unknown to her family. Carpenter Owen Markham is intrigued by Sarah, and her father is playing matchmaker. When Owen discovers Sarah’s suffrage work, he’s not sure a love match can be made.

LET US DREAM by Alyssa Cole

​Harlem – 1917. Cabaret owner Bertha Hines is focused on women winning the vote, but when ornery chef Amir Chowdhury shows up in her kitchen, he proves to be a delicious distraction. Sparks fly, but between the vice squad and unfair immigration laws, can they hold on to their growing love?

 

 

Review

IN THE MORNING SUN by Lena Hart

This is a lovely reunion romance set in post civil war.

THE WASHERWOMAN’S WAR by Piper Huguley

The history of the washerwomen’s strike is a wonderful backdrop for this compelling romance.

A RADIANT SOUL by Kianna Alexander

A great exploration of women’s rights as the hero falls in love with a great heroine.

LET US DREAM by Alyssa Cole

My favorite of the collection. A fight for suffrage at the cross roads of race, class and gender. This is a compelling inter faith as well as inter racial romance with a tough intelligent heroine and hero who is worthy of her.

Buy this collection!

Virgin (A Real Man, 2) by Jenika Snow Review

 Virgin (A Real Man, 2)  by Jenika Snow 3 Stars! 

She’s the only one he’ll ever want.
He is the first boy she fell in love with.
Quinn
I met Isabel when I was ten.
I fell in love with her before I even knew what that meant.
I knew from the moment I saw her she was it for me. No one else compared to her, and I’d do anything to make her mine. But I was afraid of losing the friendship we have, so I’ve kept my mouth shut.
But she’s leaving me, and I know I can’t keep how I feel inside any longer.
Saving myself for the girl I love isn’t a hardship, but it’s something I’m proud of. When it comes to Isabel, giving her my virginity, and making her see we belong together, is all that matters.
Isabel
Quinn is like the other half of my soul, the one person I can talk to about anything. He has the bad boy thing going on but is also respectful as much as he is a rebel.
He is the first and only boy I will ever love.
Being forced to move across the country, and leave him behind, is like leaving a piece of myself in the process. But telling Quinn I am madly in love with him could put a strain on our friendship. I don’t know if that’s something I could handle or risk.
Quinn
Nothing can keep me from Isabel. She is it for me, and I mean that in every conceivable way. Nothing can keep me from her. I hope she’s ready because there isn’t anything or anyone that will stop me from having her as mine.

Review

This is an erotica read with a fierce sweet alpha who happens to be saving himself for the woman he loves.

I like that this series is set in working class spaces with economic realities They are a great bit of completely devoted hero fantasy with heroines who are pursuing their dreams.

Nice epilogue for a for sure HEA.

Starting Over: A Story by Ruthie Knox Review

Jessie Bellin’s business is failing, her house is falling apart, and the mortgage is ninety days overdue. With nothing left to offer, she’ll take what she can get from the handyman who wants nothing but her body. But when Mike Kaminsky suddenly asks for more, Jessie has to figure out exactly what she wants—and if it’s possible for a woman who’s lost everything to learn how to start over.

4 Stars!

Review

This is a an achy dream of a short story.

It is set deep in the recession. The hero and the heroine each are struggling personally and with money. Dreams are dying.

How do you manage love in the middle of this sadness, helplessness, and hopelessness. How do you keep going, trust, and risk yourself again?

This is a romance with the kind of realism that only adds to the truth of power of connection at the heart of the romance genre.