Thursday, May 31, 2018

Love By the Numbers by SL Danielson





Blurb:

Jared Adams is the smokin' hot darling of the school baseball team. Girls fawn all over him and the world is at his feet.

Except he can’t do math.

Enter Scott Williams: nerd and mathlete. He’s only supposed to help Jared with math, but the help - and friendship - go further than that. 


Fate made them friends, but is friendship all they have?


REVIEW
My Rating - 4 stars

I found this re-release of Love By The Numbers by SL Danielson to be a very sweet high school romance.

I found the pace to be fast, but it is still enjoyable. My only complaints would be that I wish there was more packed into their relationship in the beginning. That part felt rushed and missing some of the chemistry. That said, I still really enjoy this story.

The basis of the story is great. Two teens, one popular and great looking, the other overweight and a loner. Both boys are actually very insecure and are very derogative to themselves. One of my favorite quotes of the book is "'Dude, don't say things like that about yourself, you'll grow to believe them forever." What a wonderful, profound piece of advice.

Jared is lucky to find Scott, who he can open up to and whose family is loving and supportive.  Jared's life might look wonderful from the outside, but on the inside his life is hell. Spending a lot of time at Scott's house gives him a place where he can relax, be himself (sort of), and to not be scared. With Scott, he finds his first true friend. He may seem to be very popular, but having pretenders by your side doesn't satisfy a person.

Scott is also lucky to find Jared. He never expects to find his first true friend in Jared, but that is exactly what happens. Scott knows he is overweight and constantly puts himself down because of it. Jared's encouragement is the push he needs to get healthy. He is happy to have this new friendship, but he wishes that Jared was gay, so they could be more than friends.

A moment that I found to be so damn touching is when Scott complains to Jared that he has nothing. Scott claims that Jared has everything, as he is popular and always surrounded by girls. Scott's response, telling Scott that he has a family that loves him, is super smart, and has a true heart, is so stirring. It is truly an emotional moment that is both so real and raw.

The issues that Jared has to deal with in secret are sad and ugly. He may appear to have it all, but he is suffering and has never been able to tell anyone.

Overall, I really like Love By The Numbers. I wish SL Danielson could have added some to the story, but she does a great job with telling a story that is poignant and inspirational. 




Home Skillet by Cate Ashwood & Sandra Damien





Amazon Link



Blurb:

Sometimes the only way to move forward… is to go back.

JAMES

I don't know what's more shocking—the sudden end to my marriage, or the fact that I'd married a woman at all. But now I'm broke and homeless, kicked out of my Upper West Side apartment while my ex-wife walks away with everything we've ever worked for.

So what's an executive chef stripped of his dignity gonna do?

Go back to Jersey with his tail between his legs, that's what.

BEN

I can’t say that spending a decade pining after my best friend was the best use of my time. While I'd pretty much become an expert at the whole unrequited love thing, I'd resigned myself to the fact that Jimmy and I were never gonna happen. But when Jimmy turned up on my doorstep in his hour of need, I jumped at the chance to offer him my bed—er, couch. I mean, what are friends for, right?

Now that he's released from the shackles of matrimony, I can't wait to show him exactly what he's been missing out on all these years.

What I didn't anticipate was him showing me that maybe I'd been missing out too.



REVIEW

I am so happy to have discovered Home Skillet by Cate Ashwood and Sandra Damien. It is a wonderful, sweet surprise. 

Past decisions are not always the right decision. Does one learn from their mistakes or stay on their current path?

James and Ben are best friends, who also have added some benefits to their friendship.  But James leaves, to get married and pursue his dream of owning a restaurant.  When he suddenly finds that his wife wants a divorce, he runs back to his hometown, where Ben allows him to move in temporarily, even at the risk of his own sanity. 

I love and adore Friends to Lovers stories. This one holds up. There are some twists and turns along the way. It definitely deviates from the normal storyline of a friends to lovers book, which is refreshing. I find it to be well written, with a light and fast style, a great plotline and some fantastic men! 

James and Ben are super together. Unfortunately James struggles with being out. As the story takes place 20 years ago, this addition to the story is even more relevant. At first, we have no clue why James makes the decisions that he does, but in time, it all makes sense.

In the end, their relationship is fantastic. I love that they are able to pursue their dreams together and support each other emotionally. They are truly a meant-to-be-together couple.

Cate Ashwood and Sandra Damien both do a fantastic job with Home Skillet.
Be sure to check it out.








A Right Royal Affair by Helen Juliet



Amazon Link


Blurb:

Theo Glass used to believe that love was just a fairy tale. Orphaned and disowned by his homophobic step-family, he and his grandma make ends meet as best they can. But when his grandma’s tireless charity work is honoured, Theo makes sure he spends his last pennies to get her to the palace, hosted by none other than the gorgeous Prince James himself.

James is sixth in line to the throne of the United Kingdom and a disappointment to just about everyone. He never felt at home at school, on the rugby pitch, or even in the Army. Being royalty means he’s been forced to keep a lid on his bisexuality. But when he meets Theo at the honours ceremony, he knows he’s in serious trouble.

Needing to find purpose, James convinces Theo to use his charity event savvy to throw a fundraiser ball in a secluded castle. All James has to do is behave himself around the sassy twink. But soon the chemistry between them is too strong to resist.

Their lives are too different and there’s no chance James can come out as the first Prince of the United Kingdom with a boyfriend. But James knows if he doesn’t show Theo how much he means to him, he’ll lose him forever. Can love conquer all? Or is that something just for fairy tales?

A Right Royal Affair is a steamy, standalone MM romance novel featuring a pack of unruly royal terriers, a romantic ball, feisty swans, a wicked step-father and a guaranteed HEA with absolutely no cliffhanger.





REVIEW
My Rating - 5 out of 5 Stars


A Right Royal Affair by Helen Juliet is a sweet, romantic story. I was excited to read it when I saw the blurb, and it held up to be a good, enchanting story.

Theo finds the whole idea of the royal family to be quite pointless. Nonetheless, he is excited to be seeing Prince James in person. You'd have to be blind to not find the prince to be an extremely handsome man and completely mesmerizing. 

Prince James has always lived a pampered life. He has always lived in luxury and has been afforded every opportunity. He felt like something was missing from this life however.

I really admire Theo's grandmother. She lives her life devoted to helping others, basically living a lifetime of never-ending charity. When she receives an award for all her hard work, it is handed to her by none other than the prince himself. 

After the ceremony, Theo and the prince meet in an awkward way. While Theo is actually trying to help avoid damage at the palace, James makes the assumption that Theo is actually up to no good. I find this to be a fun little way for them to meet.

Later, as they work together, attractions are hard to fight and interest in one another is clear.  I absolutely love their sexual relationship. I find it so perfect that the prince desires giving up control. His days are full of stress and he finds freedom in letting go.  I enjoy this dynamic a lot. And, they are definitely hot together too!

Their time together is not an easy one. How can a prince be gay? James is so exhausted from hiding his sexuality, but he feels that he has no choice. If he chooses to come out, there could be global consequences. 

Theo? Poor, lovable Theo. He just had to go and fall for someone he could never have. Theo didn't wish for this to happen, but now he has to suffer the consequences. He also has a difficult time knowing that the person he loves is stuck living a life full of meeting expectations instead of being honest in what he desires. 

I absolutely enjoyed devouring A Right Royal Affair. Helen Juliet does a fantastic job with this forbidden, royal romance. I definitely recommend it.


 








Edge of Forever by Barbara Elsborg




Amazon Link


Blurb:
When you stand on the edge, you might just find yourself falling.

Teaching Russians how to be cowboys? Levi thinks his father is joking when he tells him that’s what he wants him to do for the next six months. Working in the frozen desolation of southwest Russia he’ll earn enough to buy a new barn for their Montana ranch. But there’s a deeper agenda for sending him to the edge of nowhere. It will stop him sloping off on Saturday nights to gay bars and clubs for threesomes with strangers.

Pasha finally pushes his father too far and is banished to a remote ranch in the middle of a snowy Russian winter. Stripped of all the trappings of his privileged Moscow lifestyle, he has nothing at his disposal but a suitcase of designer clothes and a whole lot of sass. Pasha hates the countryside, hates physical work, hates the cold and hates cows. But de-prived of money, phone, and access to anyone who might help him, he’s screwed and not in a good way.

Levi’s counting down the days till he can return to the States and his Saturday night hook-ups. Then Pasha arrives at the ranch wearing eyeliner, retching every time he walks into a barn, and Levi is amused, irritated—and attracted. After a vicious attack on Pasha throws them into close quarters, both men are forced to re-evaluate not just who the other is, but whether they truly want to return to the lives they left behind.

When you stand on the edge, you just might find yourself falling in love.




REVIEW:

I had no idea what to expect going into this book. Reading it, I was wowed!


There is so much packed into this beautiful story! 



Two men, Pasha and Levi,  each sent to a remote ranch in Russia by their fathers.  Neither man wants to be there.

When Posha arrives, no one even talks to him. He wears eye-liner and just can't fit in with this group of cowboys. And one guy in particular, starts bullying him. Things are really ugly and dangerous for Posha for a time. 

The two men aren't a likely match, as Pasha is openly gay and Levi fears being out. His family would never allow it. In the past he was even subjected to conversion camp. He was raised hearing his brother telling him to pray the gay away. So, when they do hook up, it is all done in secret.

They start to get closer though, and their time together as a end date, which is quickly approaching, as Levi is headed home to the states. 

Add in the drama caused by a very determined ex who was abusive, dealing with the Russian police, expired visa, blackmail, and the two fathers who exiled them there in the first place.  As I mentioned before, there is a lot happening.

Both men are just so damn lovable. The author does a terrific job of building their backstories and making us fall for these two men who have been through so much in their lives. My heart absolutely broke upon learning all that Pasha had to endure. So much is explained about these two men and we have a wonderful understanding of who they are and what makes them tic.

The romance between Pasha and Levi is amazingly touching. Watching these two men go from a just-sex relationship to basically not being able to live without each other is enchanting. 

A favorite part of mine is their banter. It is fantastic throughout the book. In fact, at the end of the book, their banter just made me so happy.

I am so glad to have stumbled upon The Edge of Forever. I absolutely enjoyed every single second of it. I highly recommend it when you are in the mood for a packed, romantic story. 



  






Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Cocky, Stock & Barrel by Lina Langley




Blurb:
They say you never get over your first love.
For Ethan Zhong, that's painfully true. His relationship with Alois was near-perfect, his fiance everything he could ever want--until cruel fate took Alois away. Even after years, Ethan isn't ready to move on. He's happier single than walking away from the memory of Alois's name.
Until his sister hooks him up with a powerful one. One who is running for State's Attorney.
One who is close to the governor of Georgia. 
Ethan's brother-in-law.
And the worst man Ethan could ever agree to date.
Good thing it's only for show. 
One arranged dinner date he can't wiggle out of, a few minutes of political schmoozing, and Max Walter should have his political career in the bag. But Ethan's not prepared for the shock when Max could be Alois's doppleganger, and rouses desires and longings Ethan just can't shake.
He hopes a one-night-stand will get it out of his system, and give him so closure. After all, he's heard the best way to get over someone is to get under someone--but Max isn't someone he can walk away from after one night. Max wants Ethan. Max wants more.
And more than anything, Max wants Ethan to beg.




REVIEW:


Cocky, Stock and Barrel is quick fun read.

There are very sad moments in the story. Ethan's fiancée suffered a horrific death in front of him. Ethan hasn't been attracted to anyone since.

Ethan's set up on a date with Max by his family. They are attracted to each other. But, to Ethan, Max reminds him so much of Alois. And, as much as Max would like to be with Ethan, he doesn't want them to be together just because he's a reminder of Alois. If Ethan is going to be with him, it has to be Max who he is with, not Alois.

They only knew each other a few days, but Max definitely left an impression on Ethan and Ethan finds that he cannot stop thinking about Max.

The interactions between Ethan and Max are hot! Max wants Ethan to beg. And he will wait until he does so. And, then, we have some puppy play. 

The underlying plot in this story revolves around politics, and what a politician needs in a partner.

I definitely enjoy Cocky, Stock and Barrel is you are looking for a quick read. I really enjoy the ending. Ethan and Max are just super sweet together.





Alcove by Rosalind Abel




Blurb:

Jasper Getty is living his dream as the owner of the charming bookshop, Lavender Pages. For seven years, he’s enjoyed the safety and freedom to be himself, selling books by day and curling up and getting lost in novels by night. But a dark page from the past comes back to haunt Jasper as his ex begins stalking him.
Russell Wallace hit reset on his life in Nashville and became a bodyguard after decades of living according to family expectations. But even years later, he doesn’t believe he deserves happiness. When Russell is asked to travel to the beautiful seaside town of Lavender Shores to protect a friend’s brother, he expects nothing more than a job and a paycheck.
But Lavender Shores reveals a world Russell never imagined, and his immediate attraction to the adorably geeky Jasper complicates an already difficult job. Jolted by the memory of a shared moment and paths that crossed years ago intensifies the sparks into a bonfire of passion and hope. 
When danger comes pounding at the door, Jasper is in danger of losing his life… and his heart.

(Contains Lavender Shores maps and family trees.)



REVIEW
My Rating - 5 Stars!

Jasper needs a bodyguard to protect him from an ex. His brother hires Rusell. Jasper is not happy about this. Thinking having Russell around will be sufacating, he is surprised to find himself actually more at ease in his presence.

This isn't the first time they have met. They have a history. A short, brief, sexual history seven years ago. Now they are avoiding the sexual tension between them. Avoiding it though, starts to seem pointless. After all, they have a sexual history and heavy sexual tension between them.

Jasper and Russell are two very different kind of men. They have a large age difference, but that never seems to matter. Jasper is a book worm who finds solice in his books. Russell is a former cop who hasn't read since school.

One of my favorite parts of this story, is the way Jasper describes books. As a book lover myself, this part was just so touching and resonated with me to my core.

The Alcove is a fantastic addition to this series. The entire series is just fantastic. I absolutely adore the town of Lavendar Shores. They people who live there are all such unique people. Of course, one of my absolute favorite secondary characters, Robert, continues to make he laugh. He is truly an amusing and brilliant character!  

If you haven't read any of the Lavender Shores series, do so now!


BOOK BLAST - Just a Year by Jena Wade





BOOK 1
Book Title: Just A Week (#1)
Author: Jena Wade
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Silver Heart Design Studio www.silverheartstudio.com
Release Date: May 12, 2018
Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Romance
Book 1 of 2

Blurb
Just a week is not enough time to fall in love, but Fate doesn’t care. Seth’s carefully crafted plan for how his life will go doesn’t include falling in love with a guy in his horrible hometown. He wants to start a new life anywhere but at home. Until Maddox storms in with his multi-colored hair and carefree attitude.
Long distance relationships don’t work and Seth isn’t into gambling with his future. But the more time he spends with Maddox, the more he’s willing to throw caution to the wind. Now his plan for the rest of his life has been turned upside down and seems to include things Seth never thought possible, including a lifetime of happiness in his hometown.

Buy Link - Available on Kindle Unlimited

BOOK 2

Book Title: Just A Year (#2)
Author: Jena Wade
Publisher: Self Published
Cover Artist: Silver Heart Design Studio www.silverheartstudio.com
Release Date: May 12, 2018
Book 2 of 2
Genre/s: Contemporary Gay Romance
Length: 22,000 Words



Blurb
Just a year is too much time to spend apart from the man you love, but Seth has a carefully crafted plan for how to make it work. Taking an internship four hours away from Maddox may not have been the smartest choice Seth has ever made, but he is determined to make it work. Until life throws a wrench in his plans and turns his and Maddox’s world upside down.

REVIEW:
Just a Year is a wonderful follow up to Just a Week!

We get to read about the year that Seth and Maddox will spend apart while Seth accepts a job 4 hours from Maddox.

There are many complications. Seth accepts the job without talking to Maddox about it. This is the way Seth works.  He has a plan and remains faithful to this life plan. Maddox wants to stay in town. He is happy here and is spending more and more time working for Seth's father. And Seth is concerned as to why his father is working less.

I really enjoyed this story.  Jena Wade did a fantastic job with these two men. They are in love, completely devoted to one another, and totally faithful to each other. But they have to deal with the distance between them. And when Seth starts to regret his choice, the distance starts taking it's toll on him.

I am so happy to have found this book, and the first in this series, Just a Week. Just a Year is a sweet, and sad, story of two men who have different approaches to life, trying to decide what is actually important. Are plans made to be broken? Is it okay if your plan isn't actually what you want anymore?

I recommend this book and hope you enjoy it as much as I do!



Excerpt from Just a Year
Just a year. No more, no less. Three hundred sixty-five days. Five hundred, twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes.
Great, now I would have the Rentsoundtrack playing in my head throughout the entire ceremony.
I took a deep breath and focused on the commencement speaker. After five long years, the last one and a half being the longest by far, I’d finished my degree. No more term papers, no more eight a.m. classes, no more all-nighters in the library so I could have a homework free weekend with my boyfriend.
Maddox.
He sat out there in the crowd with my parents. I felt his eyes on me, but I couldn’t see him. I’m not even sure which section they were in. The Breslin Center was filled to the brim with graduates and their families. All waiting for their individual name to be called so they could walk across the stage and collect a fake diploma. The real one wouldn’t arrive in the mail for a few weeks.
Just a year. That wasn’t that long, was it?
Maddox and I had survived the past year and a half getting to know each other over Skype and Facetime, chatting, Snapchatting, the works. Thank God for the digital age. On the rare occasions that we physically saw each other, well, I mean, I don’t really have to explain how those encounters went.
Jobs right out of college were hard to come by, everyone knew that. Maddox would understand.
Just a year.
“Seth Brown, Masters of Science in Marketing Research.”
I took a deep breath, walked across the stage, accepted my fake diploma from the university president, smiled for a picture and then I was done.
Five years, would have been six if I hadn’t busted my ass taking summer courses, done.
I smiled as I looked around the crowd, searching for Maddox.  He’d make this whole thing worthwhile. It was his idea for me to walk at graduation. I was all set to skip it, but he insisted that I needed to do the traditional thing, and he and my parents would drive up for a nice visit.
Against the odds, I found him. His pink spiked hair stood out. How could it not? He grinned and waved frantically.
Worth it. Totally worth it. I would do anything to see that smile. To earn that smile.
Let’s hope it stayed in place after I told him about the job offer.
Just a year.

Buy Links-  Available on Kindle Unlimited

About the Author
Jena began writing in January of 2013 as a New Year's Resolution--and so far she has stuck to it!

She lives in Michigan. By day she works as a web developer, and at night she writes. Born and raised on a farm, she spends most of her free time outdoors, playing in the garden, or riding her horses. She also helps run the family dairy farm.

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