Review: “Fool of Main Beach” by Tara Lain

TITLE: Fool of Main Beach
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
SERIES: Love in Laguna
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 274 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 21, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 –e-book / $16.99 paperback
  

BLURB:

Merle Justice wants to reach for the stars, but it’s tough to get respect when playing a teenybopper vampire on TV. Then he meets a famous director anxious to give him all he thinks he wants—and maybe a bit more. Everything’s looking up until a life-threatening encounter with some homophobes on Main Beach puts Merle face-to-face with a Sasquatch-sized hero in a pink puffer coat.

Tom Henry defies description. As unsophisticated and simple as an angel, he walks through life content with who he is and asking for very little except to care for his sister, Lily, and the dogs he loves. Then he meets Merle, the embodiment of dreams he barely knows he has. Merle knows the people who hold his future in their hands might love Tom—but they’ll never understand Merle and Tom together. Tom knows it too.


Fool of Main Beach is the fifth book in the Love in Laguna series by Tara Lain. It’s the first book in the series that I have read, but I can already tell you that it won’t be the last. I enjoyed the glimpses that I got into the lives of Merle’s friends, and I can’t wait to go back and read their stories. The Fool of Main Beach is a standalone book, and you don’t have to have read the other books in the series to thoroughly enjoy this one but reading the other books in the series could only enhance your reading experience. I can’t express how much I enjoy Tara Lain’s writing style and how loveable her characters are. I still haven’t read a book of hers yet that I haven’t loved.

Merle Justice is a TV actor looking to get his break in the movie industry. He’s the black sheep in a family of intellectuals. As a result, he doesn’t get a whole lot of support or respect for the success that he has gotten for his reoccurring role as a teenybopper vampire on TV. I also greatly enjoyed that for once the movie actor doesn’t have to hide the fact that he’s gay to be considered for the great movie roles. I also loved how down to earth Merle is and that he can’t stand how snobbish other actors are and is tired of dating them. He’s recently bought a house in Laguna to be close to his friends and is having one of his friends remodel it completely before he can move in. While waiting for that to be completed, he’s staying with his best friend Ru and his husband. When he’s nominated for best supporting actor for his TV series, his friends throw him a congratulations party even though he didn’t win. Needing some space from all of the well-wishers, he takes a walk on Main Beach and gets accosted by four homophobes. Things aren’t looking great until he’s saved by a Sasquatch-sized hero wearing a puffy pink coat with the innocent smile of an angel.

Tom Henry’s been on his own since he was fifteen when his parents told him to leave after finding out that he was gay and that he had no desire to be anything but gay. His parents are all about the church and appearances. He has a younger sister Lily that calls him when she needs something that requires money. Although, she does redeem herself throughout the book. Tom’s a certified electrician, and he works for Bill who happens to be Merle’s friend and doing the remodel on his house. I’m not sure how to describe Tom, I kept trying to categorize him throughout the book, and the best I can come up with is he reminds me of Forest Gump. He has that innocent, naive, always happy, believe the good in everybody, would never hurt a fly unless they were hurting one of his friends or family, always putting everybody else’s needs before his own, personality. At times I wanted to shake him especially when he would put himself down, but he was such a lovely character especially around his dogs and the dogs at the shelter that I couldn’t help but fall in love with him.

But will his tendency to put everybody else’s needs before his own come at the cost of what he wants most in the world or will he finally agree that sometimes it’s okay to be selfish in what you want?

****The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****

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Review: “Ebb and Flow” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Ebb and Flow
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Love’s Charter
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 18, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 –e-book / $14.99 paperback
  

BLURB:

To achieve happiness, they’ll have to find the courage to be their own men.

As first mate on a charter fishing boat, Billy Ray meets a lot of people, but not one of them has made him as uncomfortable as Skippy—because he’s drawn to Skippy as surely as the moon pulls the tides, and he’s almost as powerless to resist. Billy Ray has spent his life denying who he is to avoid the wrath of his religious father, and he can’t allow anyone to see through his carefully built façade.

Skippy is only in town on business and will have to return to Boston once he’s through. After all, his father has certain expectations, and him staying in Florida is not one of them. But he doesn’t count on Billy Ray capturing his attention and touching his heart.

Billy Ray doesn’t realize just how much he and Skippy have in common, though. They’re both living to please their fathers instead of following their own dreams—a fact that becomes painfully obvious when they get to know each other and realize how much joy they’ve denied themselves. While they can’t change the past, they can begin a future together and make up for lost time—as long as they’re willing to face the consequences of charting their own course.


Ebb and Flow’s the sequel to Setting the Hook by Andrew Grey. The book’s well written and nicely edited and has a great flow to it and kept me entertained. I like how realistic the characters are in the book and the problems that they have to go through to get to their happily ever after. I liked Ebb and Flow, but I didn’t love it like I did Setting the Hook. Maybe it’s because Harcourt Anson III—Skippy to his friends—is a lawyer which has never been my favorite profession. I did like how he is around his small group of best friends. I enjoyed seeing him have fun and relax, and I like how he finally dealt with his father. I loved Billy Ray. He has such a strong personality, and he’s a master at hiding who he is. Which he has to do since he’s the son of a homophobic pastor. It hasn’t been easy for him to come to terms with who he is. He’s also grown up with a reading disability, and he’s had it drilled into his mind that he’s stupid and it has affected his self-esteem to the point that he doesn’t believe that can be the captain of his own ship. I loved how supportive Skippy was and how he made suggestions that could help him with his reading disability.

We first met Kyle, Jerry, Steven, and Skippy in Setting the Hook when they chartered an all-day fishing trip and became friends with William and Mike. They were very flamboyant, and they helped Mike realize that it’s okay to be who he really is. We also get to see Skippy and his group of friends again when they book another fishing trip when the firm Skippy works for is hired by an oil company to be their lawyer, and he’s assigned to smooth the way for them putting in an oil station right where the docs are at. However, client confidentiality doesn’t allow Skippy or his assistant Alex to warn Mike or anybody else about what they are planning to do. They have rented the same house as before and have another party afterward and invite Mike, William, Bubba, and Billy Ray to join them.

In this book, Mike’s expanded his business and bought another boat. Bubba’s the new captain and his assistant’s Billy Ray. Billy Ray’s been working with Bubba for six months, and nobody knows that he’s gay. He loves his job and dreams of someday being a captain. But being around Skippy and his friends shows him what he has been missing by not being true to himself. And he finds that he isn’t sure that he can go back to the way he was before. Not with his attraction to Skippy and how supportive he is.

If you enjoyed reading Setting the Hook, then I would recommend giving the sequel Ebb and Flow a try. I know I’m glad that I did. I can’t wait to see who the third book’s going to be about. My hope is that it will be about Steven and Alex. They were so cute in this book that I would enjoy reading more about them.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Out of the Shadows” by K.C. Wells

TITLE: Out of the Shadows
AUTHOR: K.C. Wells
SERIES: Dreamspun Desires
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Bree Archer
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 250 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 15, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book/ $9.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Can he step out of the shadows and into love’s light?

Eight years ago, Christian Hernandez moved to Jamaica Plain in southern Boston, took refuge in his apartment, and cut himself off from the outside world. And that’s how he’d like it to stay.

Josh Wendell has heard his coworkers gossip about the occupant of apartment #1. No one sees the mystery man, and Josh loves a mystery. So when he is hired to refurbish the apartment’s kitchen and bathrooms, Josh is eager to discover the truth behind the rumors.

When he comes face-to-face with Christian, Josh understands why Christian hides from prying eyes. As the two men bond, Josh sees past his exterior to the man within, and he likes what he sees. But can Christian find the courage to emerge from the darkness of his lonely existence for the man who has claimed his heart?


Do you ever read a book and think that it was exactly what you needed in that moment in time? Like a mug of hot chocolate on a cold winter’s night, filling your whole body with warmth and happiness, or a big hug from someone when you’re feeling low, letting you know that you are loved, and everything will be okay. Well, this book gave me all of that and more. Every atom of me was practically radiating joy, comfort and love while reading this stunningly beautiful story. I can’t believe the way I’m feeling now that I’m finished. It’s strange because I’m not sad that it’s done because I seriously can’t stop smiling. Normally I would be having a bit of mood dip because I loved the book and didn’t want it to end, but this story had the opposite effect, it’s left me with an emotional high that I really didn’t expect. It was bliss.

Christian Hernandez is basically a recluse. After an accident eight years ago that left him with serious burns and scarring, he hides away in his apartment and never leaves. He’s so afraid of other people’s reactions to how he looks, that he’s cut off all physical contact with the outside world. His groceries are delivered to the outside of his door, where he then takes them in after the delivery person has left. If he needs to leave the house when he feels like the walls are closing in, he leaves it until late at night when most people are back in their homes, and he can disappear in the shadows. The highlight of his days is watching one of the handymen that works around the grounds of his apartment building tending to the gardens. Christian has an attraction to the man but knows he’s safe being able to admire him from behind his patio blind. When he receives a letter from the apartment housing association telling him that his kitchen and bathrooms are going to be renovated, Christian’s world is thrown into a tailspin. He resigns himself to being locked away in his bedroom for as long as the work takes.

Josh Wendell has heard the stories and gossip about the resident in building 197. How he never leaves the house and how no one has ever seen him. But Josh never usually pays attention to rumours or other people’s opinions and likes to make up his own mind. When Josh is promoted by the housing association to upgrade the apartments, he discovers that he’s going to be working in the home of the mystery man. After a couple of days of conversation through locked doors, Josh and Christian start to become friendly and are able to laugh and joke with each other. But when Christian falls coming out of the shower and injures himself, the two men finally have their first face to face encounter.

Through their common interests, and with the help of Josh’s friends, Christian begins to come out of his self-imposed solitude and to become part of the big world again. He pushes his boundaries far beyond what he ever thought possible and learns that life can be so wonderful if you let your worries go and just enjoy what it has to offer.

There’s so much I want to say about this book, but I really don’t think I can fully express how much I loved it with just words. Christian made my heart want to break into a million pieces. His loneliness was often too much to take because he was just existing and not living each day. Josh was like sunshine on a rainy day when he entered Christian’s life. He gave Christian something he needed, but that he didn’t realise he was missing until that day. There were so many parts throughout the story that had me giggling and grinning, you would think I was a love-struck schoolgirl. The connection between Josh and Christian was so incredibly sweet that I couldn’t help but feel all warm and fuzzy with each and every word I read.

A huge and very well deserved 5 stars for this book and author. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this happy and joyful at the end of a book, and I think it’ll be a while before I come down from the cloud I’m currently floating on. But while I’m here, I’m going to enjoy every second of it, just like I did with this story.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “The Long and Winding Road” by TJ Klune

TITLE: The Long and Winding Road
AUTHOR: TJ Klune
SERIES: Bear, Otter, and the Kid Chronicles
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Paul Richmond
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 346 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 11, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / 17.99$ -paperback
  

BLURB:

Family is not always defined by blood. It’s defined by those who make us whole—those who make us who we are.

And here, at the end, Bear and Otter will be tested like they’ve never been before.

There’s a knock at the door from a little girl who has nowhere else to go.

There’s a phone ringing, bringing news they do not expect.

There’s a brother returning home after learning how to stand on his own.

As these moments converge, all of their lives will change forever.

Beginning in Bear, Otter, and the Kid, and continuing in Who We Are and The Art of Breathing, TJ Klune has told a saga of family and brotherhood, of love and sacrifice. In this final chapter, the events of the past pave the long and winding road toward a future no one could have imagined.


I just finished the last line of the story of Bear, Otter and the Kid…

The first half of the book it really annoyed me, I’m honest here!
I know I know how dare I?! …but I do because I was so damn curious what happens after the doorbell rings and the twins?!

But no, TJ had to go back in time! Okay, it was beautiful, but whatever!
So as I said, in the first one hundred or so pages, will cover about the 4 years where the Thompson’s were gone in New Hampshire. I was glad to see what these three went through in those four years, but I must say that probably belonged to the previous book better.

Then we get where we are, in the present and there a little girl and things happen. Now, before you go jumping on me demanding details, you know I can’t do that. No, no I’m not a bad person, not at all! Tease?! Well, I can’t say no to that though.
I could talk about Bear or the Kid or Otter or even Izzy, but I don’t because there is a character that it seems we all like to ignore… Yes, I’m talking about It, the little voice we are so familiar with.
It who is more constant in their life than any other person. And it’s strange that we all have It, and don’t you dare deny it that, you have it, and we are so familiar with it. Maybe it tells us different things, but there it is, a constant in our life…

So I would like to talk about It, about those whispers, the hateful things that it whispers to us constantly try to bring us down. And sometimes it is right but sometimes is so very wrong.

As Ty and Bear learned the art of breathing, we, my fellow readers who tend to create our own little universes, we need to learn to know when it is full of shit. To look beyond It, and to see the righteousness in ourselves. To accept ourselves. To love ourselves. As We Are!

And now we say good bye to these amazing characters. We may share a few tears, we may shake a bit, feel a bit of pain in our hearts, and I know you, you so do! And we…ohh we need to not listen when It says that this is just a book and you will never ever have what Bear and Otter have, we need to not listen to it, because we are a little bit like Bear or little bit like Otter and one day, I promise you, one day we will be as happy as they are!

****The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****

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Review: “Somewhere to Belong” by Caitlin Ricci

TITLE: Somewhere to Belong
AUTHOR: Caitlin Ricci
SERIES: Thornwood
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Caitlin Ricci
GENRE: Paul Richmond
E-BOOK: Contemporary Romance
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: Yes
RELEASE DATE: 200 pages
PRICE: August 7, 2017
  

BLURB:

Needy. Obsessive. Clingy. Twenty-five-year-old Eli Walker has heard it all. That’s why he doesn’t bother calling back the guys he’s been with anymore. Sex should be about fun, not a relationship, and no one has complained about him getting overly attached in years. If only he actually felt wanted for once instead of empty and used when guys are done with him.

Grayson Pendleton is a wealthy business consultant with clients all over the world. His life is often glamorous, but it leaves him no time for a relationship, and at forty-eight, he’s starting to notice the lack of romance in his life. His only romantic connection is Eli, but they’re just two guys who have sex occasionally. It took him months to get Eli’s first name, and even now they only communicate through a hookup app.

When Grayson inherits a house in Thornwood, Colorado, it’s one more thing he doesn’t need in his life, and he knows he won’t be there enough to enjoy it. Still, the old house has the potential to be a home, and more importantly, it gives Grayson a chance to save Eli when he needs it most


I liked Somewhere to Belong by Caitlin Ricci. It had a good flow to the story. It was nicely edited, and I enjoyed the characters. I liked the storyline about a horse rescue worker, Eli, and wealthy business consultant, Grayson, and how they start out as just casual hook-ups through an app and then through circumstances and persistence from Grayson they begin to be more. First friends and then boyfriends. But it’s definitely a slow process fraught with miscommunication and angst and Grayson having to show Eli how to let him in and that Eli is worthy of more than what he’s been settling for which is being used by anybody who wants him for sex, and Grayson will have to convince him that he is worthy of being loved.

Eli has only known guys from the hook-up app. He’s never had a relationship or even a date. But he’s found that the more needy and clingy he is, the faster his hook-ups stop responding to him and start ignoring him. So he’s learned over the years to go in and get what he’s there for and leave and wait for them to contact him again. He has learned to close off his emotions and not to want more to keep from getting hurt. During his days he works as a full-time assistant to a horse rescue. He gets to do home evaluations and evaluate all of the new horses that come in and decide what kind of training they have had, which results in him being thrown or kicked on a daily basis. And all I have to say to that he must have one high threshold for pain because it definitely doesn’t slow him down or keep him from hooking up.

Grayson’s always wanted more from Eli since they first started hooking up through the app but he can sense from Eli that if he pushes too hard too fast for more then he will lose him forever. But he can’t help wanting more. Eli is everything that he’s ever wanted. He is just his type, and they have awesome chemistry together. So he will just have to slowly chip away at the wall that Eli has up between them. He’s impressed with Eli’s work ethic and his passion for his job, and it inspires him to want to do something that will also matter instead of his consultant job. He isn’t perfect by any means but he is quick to learn from his mistakes, and that’s all that Eli asks for. I loved how protective Grayson is toward Eli and how he wants to help him.

My only problem with this story is a couple of things that only a person who lives, works, and trains horses would question. The part about Eli not wearing glasses because they get broken when he gets thrown is believable and a good reason to wear contact lenses. However, he wouldn’t wear contacts because the arena was too dusty and his glasses would get dusty. If anything, he would have to wear sunglasses while riding in the dusty arena with contact lenses. Dirt in the eye with contact lenses would be murder on the eyes and also dangerous while evaluating a new horse. The other part that bugged me would be that Eli went commando under his riding jeans. I have had enough boyfriends that have tried to ride in boxers while trotting a horse to understand how painful that is and have to wear briefs while riding even if they normally prefer to wear different underwear or no underwear.

So I have a hard time believing that he would willing go commando. He could get away with wearing a jock strap but not going commando, he would need some form of support. The same would be true for a woman to ride without wearing a bra or sports bra, it just wouldn’t happen. So yeah for those little things that I am sure only a rider would notice or be bothered by I gave this book 4*s.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “The Teddy Bear Club” by Sean Michael

TITLE: The Teddy Bear Club
AUTHOR: Sean Michael
SERIES: The Teddy Bear Club
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Bree Archer
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 208 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 1, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 -e-book / $9.99 –paperback
   

BLURB:

Two lonely men. One perfect family.

Aiden Lake adopted his institutionalized sister’s two daughters, and he’s a good dad. He works nights on websites and gets in his adult time twice a week at the Roasty Bean, where he meets with other single gay parents.

Devon Smithson wants to be a good dad now that his sixteen-year-old sister asked him to babysit her newborn… three months ago. But he’s overwhelmed with the colicky baby. An invitation to the daddy-and-kid gatherings at the café is a godsend. The pot is sweetened when his friendship with Aiden develops into more—maybe even something that can last.

But the mother who kicked Dev out for being gay wants to get her claws into the baby, and she doesn’t care if she tears Dev, Aiden, and everything they’re building apart in the process.


I loved The Teddy Bear Club by Sean Michael. This book’s vastly different from the Iron Eagle Gym series that’s a BDSM series. The Teddy Bear Club’s a cute story about a group of single dads that are trying to find their way and keep their sanity. The book’s easy to read, kept me entertained, had lots of feels, and it looks like it’s the first book in a new series, so I am super excited that the other friends in the Teddy Bear Club will be getting their stories also. I can’t wait to see who Logan, Zack, and Dirk end up with. This book’s well written and nicely edited, and it was a joy to read. It has a great storyline and just enough stolen moments of ecstasy to make it realistic with two single dads that are juggling two babies that aren’t old enough to crawl yet and one older helpful 3-year-old.

I loved Aiden and his back story about how he ended up adopting his sister’s two kids when she had to be institutionalized and what a great dad he is to them. I love that they have a support group at a friend’s café called the Roasty Bean where he meets with other single gay parents at the daddy-and-kid gatherings held twice a week. He’s able to get his caffeine fix and his adult conversation fix at the same time. Aiden’s definitely the Mr. Fix-it of the group, and he develops a fast friendship with their newest single gay parent, Dev.

I loved Dev. He’s the new single dad of the group, and he’s at the end of his rope dealing with a 3-month-old colicky baby and is seriously sleep deprived. He’s been on his own since he was kicked out of the house at 16. He’s from a very religious family. And his mother’s a piece of work. His 16-year-old sister asked him to babysit for her new born son three months ago and hasn’t been back for the baby since. Devon’s excited when he gets invited to the daddy-and-kid gatherings at the café. He isn’t sure what to expect but what he finds is a great group of guys that are willing to help him in any way that they can. Logan’s a lawyer and is willing to help him with adopting his sister’s baby and helping him locate her so that she can sign her rights over to him.

His biggest fears are realized when his mother comes for the baby. But Dev will do everything in his power to keep that from happening, and Aiden’s there for him when he needs a place to stay. And they find that their families work well together.

I loved the story. It had just enough angst, just enough passion, and just enough of a heart-warming story that had me fall in love with both of Aiden and Dev, their kids, and the other members of the Teddy Bear Club. Great job, Sean Michael, on the start of a great new series. I can’t wait to read more.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Sparkle and Shine” by Julia Talbot

TITLE: Sparkle and Shine
AUTHOR: Julia Talbot
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; Western
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 72 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book
  

BLURB:

All that glitters is not gold. No-frills cowboy Evan learned that lesson the hard way while married to a rodeo princess, a relationship that was all flash and no substance. At least Evan held on to his daughter, Cheyenne, and his best friend, Brooks, when the sparkle wore off and things fell apart. Life could be a lot worse.

But it could also be better… if Evan and Brooks took a step beyond friendship. Just as they start to explore their feelings, Evan’s ex-wife sticks her nose in to sabotage them. Suddenly everything is up in the air, and they have difficult choices to make about the rodeo, Cheyenne, and the romance they both want so badly to pursue.

2nd Edition


Sparkle and shine was a short but fun little read. Yes, the plot was obvious and predictable, and sometimes a little bit too sickly-sweet, but I did enjoy reading it in the small amount of time that it took.

Evan has been a single dad to his smart and adorable little girl, Cheyenne, since his ex-wife left them 5 years ago. He has taken part in the rodeo circuit for most of his life along with his best friend, Brooks. But Evan hasn’t been at his best lately and thinks that he’s getting too old to take part now. Evan believes it’s time to settle down because Cheyenne is getting older and needs more of an education than he can provide on his own. At the same time, this life is all he’s known, and he doesn’t know if he can just walk away, especially because that means that he won’t be with Brooks all of the time. Unknown to Brooks, Evan has been hiding the fact that he has had a crush on him for a quite a long time, and he’s finding it harder to keep those feelings at bay.

When Evan tells Brooks that he’s thinking of leaving the circuit, Brooks can’t believe what he’s hearing. He doesn’t want to do the circuit without Evan because he loves spending time and travelling around the country with him, but Brooks has also become very attached to Cheyenne, and leaving the little girl and her father behind would break his heart. As far as Brooks is concerned, they’re like a family to him because he’s got no one left of his own anymore. Brooks has also been trying to push back the strong feelings that he’s having towards Evan because one day he started to look at him as more than just his friend. But Brooks doesn’t want to do anything that will ruin the friendship/bond that he has with Evan either.

When a few drinks after a show in Vegas leads from one thing to another, Evan and Brooks realise that there is no going back to just being friends, and decide to explore where the journey of being lovers will take them. In their case, what happens in Vegas will not being staying in Vegas. But the two men have a few challenges to face along the way, including homophobia and an ex-wife who only cares about herself and what she can get.

This book was the first I’ve read by this author, and I have to say I wasn’t disappointed. Both the characters and dialogue between them were really well written and felt true and natural. The accent and cowboy twang was very distinct in the writing and definitely added to how the story came across. I’m really glad I got the chance to read this book because it was a great little light-hearted, lift-your-spirits story that left me with a huge grin on my face and forgetting about all my worries when I was done.

****The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book****

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Review: “Valentine’s Day Resolution” by Ava Hayden

TITLE: The Valentine’s Day Resolution
AUTHOR: Ava Hayden
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Alexandria Corza
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 140 pages
RELEASE DATE: August 2, 2017
PRICE: $ 4.99 -e-book
   

BLURB:

Huxley carries invisible scars from a near-fatal car accident. He sleepwalks through a job at his father’s company, marking time until he can quit and pursue his own dreams.

Everything changes the moment he makes eye contact with a stranger while riding to work. It’s as if he’s been shaken out of his stupor, and Huxley vows to find the man.

Thanks to a thieving ex-lover, Paul’s florist shop is on the brink of closing down. He needs to milk Valentine’s Day for all it’s worth—and the irony that a day dedicated to love might help undo the damage of a failed relationship is not lost on him.

When Huxley finds Paul at his shop, both men feel an instant attraction. Before long, they’re falling hard, but Huxley holds back. If Paul knew all the baggage he’s carrying, he might run.

Paul’s gut tells him Huxley is hiding something. Huxley looks like a keeper, but Paul can’t go through another disastrous romance.

When Valentine’s Day arrives, will they have anything to celebrate?


I loved The Valentine’s Day Resolution by Ava Hayden. It sucked me in and wouldn’t let me go. The book is wonderfully written and nicely edited. I loved both Huxley and Paul although I wanted to shake Huxley and Paul a couple of times and may have yelled at my Kindle a time or two. But they both made me smile and also laugh and just made me feel. This is the first book that I have read by this author, but it won’t be the last. Hopefully, I enjoy her other books as much as I enjoyed this one. I liked her writing style and the way she unfolded her facts like how she didn’t tell us the exact facts about the near fatal car crash but revealed glimpses of them through Huxley’s nightmares.

I loved getting to watch Huxley progress as a character. He starts out after the accident just going through the motions in his life and job. His father has installed him as CEO and President at one of his companies. And he has to prove himself if he wants his father to release his trust fund money. He primarily lets his COO Bob do whatever he wants with the company much to the displeasure of the other associates at the company. I loved that Huxley started to wake up after meeting Paul and that Paul was the motivation he needed to re-join the living. But he is harbouring a secret that he is working with a therapist on that has a deadline of Valentine’s Day also. And he’s embarrassed by his limitations and doesn’t want Paul’s pity.

Paul has been having a hard time lately. His boyfriend embezzled all of the money from his family’s flower shop, and he is too ashamed to tell his parents that their beloved flower shop is in jeopardy of closing. He’s hoping that he can make enough during their busiest day of the year, Valentine’s Day, to keep them afloat and get them back on track. But that means working insane hours with only one helper and accepting any and all jobs that come in. Including the jobs the new hunk that keeps coming in and ordering different arrangements and gift baskets. But Paul doesn’t have any extra time to date even if he would like to. And Huxley is definitely somebody that he would like to get to know. But Paul has reservations about Huxley. He has a feeling that he’s hiding something from him which leads to a misunderstanding and might cost them their new relationship.

I also loved the supportive characters. Paul’s best friend, Carson, is a drag queen when he isn’t running his own custom built-ins business. He’s very flamboyant, and a riot and he makes sure that Paul is taking time to eat during his busy days and nights. I also liked Bishop, Huxley’s driver, and how he went from being an employee to being a friend. And the various people at Huxley’s office that start to be friendlier as he becomes more alive and outgoing.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Runner” by Parker Williams

TITLE: Runner
AUTHOR: Parker Williams
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 28, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback
  

BLURB:

Matt Bowers’s life ended at sixteen, when a vicious betrayal by someone who he should have been able to trust left him a shell of himself, fighting OCD and PTSD, living in constant fear and always running. When he buys a remote tract of land, he thinks he’s found the perfect place to hide from the world and attempt to establish some peace. For ten years he believes he’s found a measure of comfort, until the day a stranger begins to run on Matt’s road.

He returns every day, an unwelcome intrusion into Matt’s carefully structured life. Matt appeals to the local sheriff, who cannot help him since the jogger is doing nothing wrong. Gradually, after tentatively breaking the ice, Matt begins to accept the man’s presence—

But when the runner doesn’t show up one day, it throws Matt’s world into chaos and he must make the hardest decision of his life.


If it was possible to give a million stars, it still wouldn’t be enough for this book. From the first couple of pages you know it’s going to be a hard read, but it’s written so brilliantly that you can’t help but be totally drawn in, that you need to keep going. The subject matter of attempted rape and assault is going to be a trigger for some people. But the story mostly deals with the aftermath of the attack and how the main character copes with it, and we are only really given a description of the actual assault twice in the book.

Thirteen years ago, Matt was assaulted and almost raped by one of his teachers. Since that day he has become increasingly withdrawn from the people around him, and for the last ten years, he has been living in isolation on a piece of property he bought 20 miles from his hometown of Fall Harbor, Maine. He doesn’t leave the property at all and doesn’t have any visitors. The only person he still communicates with is his brother Clay, who’s now the town Sheriff, and even then, it’s only by phone. Due to the attack, Matt has developed severe OCD and PTSD, and anything that happens that is not part of his normal routine throws him completely off-kilter. Because of the remote location of his property, Matt never usually sees anyone near his house, but for a few months, there has been a man using the road near his property as a running track.

This makes Matt extremely uncomfortable, and he pleads with his brother to try and get him to stop, but Clay tells him that the man isn’t doing anything wrong unless he ventures onto Matt’s land. Clay really cares a lot about Matt and wishes he would get himself some help so as he can come back to town and be a part of their lives again. He suggests that Matt tries to talk to the man to prove that he’s okay on his own and doesn’t need any help/therapy.

Matt reluctantly agrees to this deal, and finally plucks up the courage to go and speak to the man. Matt discovers his name is Charlie and that he’s an author. The two men soon form a bond over their love of books and home-made lemonade. Matt realises that he’s actually so much lonelier than he thought, and seeing and speaking to Charlie every day becomes more important than some of the routines and schedule he normally has for himself. For some reason, even though he’s a stranger, Charlie makes Matt feel like he’s finally safe.

This whole story was just a whole spectrum of emotions. It was a very distressing and heart-breaking read at times, but then it was just so sweet and beautiful that my heart was almost bursting out of my chest with joy. The characters were amazing. I honestly can’t pick a favourite because they each had their own little thing that made me completely love them. Matt, although he was around 29 years old came across as a lot younger and almost naïve, but I think that’s because of everything he went through. He didn’t get a chance to experience his life as a teenager and young adult normally, those years were about survival and making it to the next day.

I don’t know how many times the tears were falling while reading this book, but it was so worth it. The ending couldn’t have been more perfect for this story or Matt and Charlie, it was so lovely and tender, just like them.

This book is most definitely a must-read for anyone who loves a story that will pull at your heartstrings but make you smile at the same time.

***The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book***

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Review: “Peepshow” by Clare London

TITLE: Peepshow
AUTHOR: Clare London
SERIES: London Lads
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Valerie Tibbs/Tibbs Designs
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 54 pages
RELEASE DATE: July 26, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 -e-book
  

BLURB:

2nd Edition

A London Lads Story

Ever wanted to spy secretly on other people’s lives?

Ken doesn’t have a choice: his student summer job is manning the CCTV screens for the new central London shopping mall. But instead of spotting criminals or vandals, he becomes fascinated by a cute waiter from the local bistro who sneaks out to the backyard for his break—and plays sexy to the camera.

Is he an old friend, or just an anonymous exhibitionist? Should Ken be excited by this naughty peepshow, or will people think he’s a voyeuristic pervert? Poor Ken’s confused and thrilled in turn. It’s like living in one of the movies he’s studying at university. He knows the man can’t see him, yet Ken feels a connection of some kind. It all encourages Ken to continue with his guilt-ridden Waiter Watch.

Ken bears the suspense as long as he can, until a chance meeting and an abortive blind date provide the explanation to the secret assignations. But will this guide Ken to a real-life chance of romance?

First Edition published by Amber Quill Press/Amber Allure, 2013. (less)


I like the London Lads series by Clare London, and Peepshow, number four in the series, was a good addition. I enjoyed it all the way up until it ended, but I was left wanting more. There was lots of build up to who the mysterious waiter was in the backyard portion of the restaurant that was teasing the CCTV cameras, but after the big reveal then the story went really fast and I wanted to know what happened to the couple afterward when they started dating.
I did really enjoy Ken and his group of friends. Simon the matchmaker, and Roger who’s just come out of the closet and is making up for lost time by sleeping with everybody. And as part of his matchmaking skills, Simon tells Ken about a former high school student that has come down from Oxford College on break and is trying to look up old students to find out what they have been up to.

But Ken can’t exactly remember what the former high school student looks like anymore, and his friend Simon says that he no longer looks like he did in high school. And, of course, Ken can’t help but wonder if the mysterious waiter’s actually the former high school student. But he can’t tell for sure because the waiter never gives him a clear shot of his face. I did like how conflicted Ken felt about watching the waiter and how he felt like a voyeur and a peeping tom. He’s both disgusted and excited by it and finds himself looking forward to his shifts to find out what the waiter’s going to do next. All the while, Simon’s trying to hook Ken up with the former high school student. But when Ken finally finds out the identity of the mysterious waiter, he still isn’t sure how he should feel. And he can’t help but feel that the waiter isn’t just performing for Ken like he says he is but that he’s performing for whoever’s watching. Will Ken be able to conquer his fears and trust the waiter and have a relationship with him or will he let his fears get the better of him and let it destroy the relationship before it has a chance to start?

There are a couple of hot scenes in this short story which I really enjoyed, but I wanted to know what happened next. Maybe the author will continue their story sometime, and I will get my questions answered. I would love to see what happens to these characters. I was also kind of disappointed that the story ended at page 42 when I thought it was going to page 54 and that 12 pages were used to promote the next book in the series and the other books in the series. That was part of the reason I was surprised that the story ended when it did. I thought I was going to have another 12 pages of story and then it was just over.

I was just like, no, I wanted more. But for those 42 pages, I was nicely entertained

*** The ARC was provided by Dreamspinner Press. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

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