Review: “Hearts and Flour” by Tara Lain

TITLE: Hearts and Flour
AUTHOR: Tara Lain
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Reese Dante
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 87 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 14, 2018
PRICE: $3.99 – e-book

BLURB:

Can a raw food enthusiast find love with a guy who bakes cupcakes?
When Micah Truveen’s devoted health-food customers start showing up with white flour, Micah wants to chew nails! To make his misery worse, he finds his yoga teacher boyfriend in bed with another guy the day before Valentine’s Day. Micah decides to drown his misery at a friend’s anti-Valentine’s Day orgiastic hookup party—and meets the beautiful Queen, a gorgeous cross-dresser who’s got Southern sugah in his mouth and the right equipment under the dress. But when the hookup turns serious, Micah has to compromise to protect Queen’s secrets from his beloved grandmother. With everything against them, can two hearts rise above the flour?


Second Edition
First Edition published by Etopia Press, January 2013.


Hearts and Flour by Tara Lain is a fabulous Valentine’s Day story. This story hit a bunch of my personal favorite genres. It’s got instant-love, cross-dressing, a southern accent and southern charm, even if it is around Valentine’s Day. Although the anti-Valentine’s Day orgy that Micah’s friend Yancy throws every year went a long way to making me forget about the holiday that is only for couples. Sorry, single by choice so aside from all of the yummy chocolate, Valentine’s Day isn’t my favorite holiday. But I do love to read books by Tara Lain, and I just couldn’t pass up on reading this one, especially when I read the blurb and saw that one of the main characters is a cross-dresser. There’s just something about a hot gay guy dressing up in women’s clothing and lacy undergarments that just does it for me. If it does it for you also then I recommend reading this book. Oh, and did I mention that the cross-dresser, Queen, is also a southern lady with an accent that bakes sinful cupcakes during the day?

As we find out in the blurb, Micah Truveen is the owner of The Place a raw foods restaurant. He’s a raw food enthusiast, and he’s devoted to educating his health-food customers and teaches classes using raw foods, so he’s devastated when some of his most devoted customers start showing up with these huge cupcakes made out of what he considers poison aka white flour and refined sugar. From his customers and employees, he knows that the owner of Charismatic Cupcakes is Quentin. He keeps meaning to go to the bakery and meet him, but so far he hasn’t found the time. Won’t he be in for a real surprise when he finally meets him?

The story starts out with Micah coming home the night before Valentine’s Day to find his yoga teacher boyfriend in bed with another guy. All of his friends are happy that he’s kicked him to the side since they all think he’s a lowlife user, which he is. His friend Yancy invites him to his annual anti-Valentine’s Day party aka orgy to help him drown his misery. At the party, he meets the beautiful Queen, and it’s love at first sight. Micah isn’t sure what it is about Queen that intrigues him so much, he’s never been attracted to a cross-dresser before, but he has a powerful connection to Queen, and their chemistry is off the charts. But Queen isn’t out to his grandmother as either gay or a cross-dresser. As their relationship progresses, he finds out a secret that Queen has been keeping from him, and they part ways, and then Micah ends up getting blackmailed by his ex-boyfriend. His ex-boyfriend is threatening to expose who and what Queen is to his grandmother, who is one of his yoga students, unless he takes his ex back.

Will he take him back so that his ex doesn’t out Queen to his grandmother or will he allow Queen to be outed and possibly disowned by his grandmother?

A truly delightful story that I’m sure that I will be reading again.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Smoldering Flame” by Andrew Grey

TITLE: Smoldering Flame
AUTHOR: Andrew Grey
SERIES: Rekindled Flame
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: L.C. Chase
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: Yes
LENGTH: 200 pages
RELEASE DATE: February 13, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 – e-book/ $14.99 – paperback

BLURB:

Sometimes the strongest flames take the longest to ignite.
Firefighter Dean’s life revolves around his very ill son, Sammy. Caring for Sammy and working to make ends meet leave Dean time for little else, and romance isn’t something he can even consider—no matter how much he longs for someone special to join their family. Because money is tight, Dean couldn’t be more grateful to the photographer who does Sammy’s session free of charge.
After growing up in the foster care system, Marco knows how to rely on himself, and his hard work is about to pay off—he’s poised on the cusp of fame and success he could only have imagined as a lonely child. When Dean brings Sammy into Marco’s studio, Marco can see they’re struggling, and both the boy and his father stir Marco’s heart. The slow burn between the two men isn’t something either expected, but neither wants to lose the possibility of a loving future. With Dean’s dangerous and possibly life-threatening career and Marco’s demanding one, can romance and forever find a place to fit?


Smoldering Flame by Andrew Grey is the third book in the Rekindled Flame series. I haven’t read the other two books in the series, but this book is very much a standalone read. I have read quite a few books by Andrew Grey, and he has this way of writing that just engages all of my emotions. I can’t help but become invested in his characters and what they have to go through to get to their happily ever after. I just knew this was going to be a special book when Marco meets Dean and Sammy for the first time at his studio and he does a photo shoot with Sammy and Sparky, a giant stuffed Dalmatian dog. The scene brought tears to my eyes, and I was glued to the book until the very end. The book was everything that I wanted and more.

Smoldering Flame starts out, and we meet Marco and get a look into his hopes and dreams for his photography career. He’s on the cusp of making it big and getting all of his hard work and dreams realized. Marco hasn’t had an easy life growing up. He lost his mother to cancer and entered the foster system. He also had leukemia as a child and was able to beat it. However, he didn’t have any family, and so he had to battle all of the treatments by himself with just the nurses and doctors to keep him company while he was in the hospital. There was a very nice firefighter that would come in and visit with the children, but he was later killed on the job. After beating leukemia, he was fortunate enough to have wonderful foster parents that were very supportive of his photography passion.

Dean’s a firefighter, and his life revolves around his very ill son, Sammy. Dean’s a single father, and his parents help out with babysitting while Dean’s at work. His mother’s very supportive of Dean being gay. However, his father is retired military and believes that Dean just needs to find the right woman again. He doesn’t support his son being gay and has very bigoted views. However he does love his grandson, in his mind he just wants his son to find the perfect woman to be Sammy’s new mother. He feels that Sammy needs to have a mother in order to have a well-balanced life.

During his treatments, Sammy sees a picture in the children’s ward with a little girl and a giant stuffed Dalmatian dog. He’s taken with the dog, and so his father finds out who shot the photo, and they visit the studio in the hopes that Sammy can see and interact with the stuffed dog in person. When Marco sees Sammy, he’s moved to offer an impromptu photo session with the dog. Marco can empathize with Sammy, and he loves how Dean cares for Sammy. Marco finds the way Dean cares for Sammy to be very attractive. And it’s Sammy and his love of Marco’s stuffed dog, Sparky, that keeps bringing Dean and Marco back together until they start dating. But Marco has trust and loss issues, and Dean has a very dangerous job. Can Marco handle the stress of Dean’s job? Can their new relationship handle how busy Marco’s job is and how much traveling comes with it? I know that I enjoyed getting the answers to those questions. I fell in love with Sammy, Dean, and Marco and of course, Sparky and Spotty, the hand puppet. I can’t wait to read the first book in the series about Marco and Richard, who are friends of Dean and Marco’s.

So for me, it’s 5 OptimuMMs for Fire Daddy, Fire Papa, Sammy, Sparky, and Spotty for stealing my heart.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “Back Where He Belongs” Isobel Starling

TITLE: Back Where He Belongs
AUTHOR: Isobel Starling
SERIES: –
PUBLISHER: Isobel Starling
COVER ARTIST: Isobel Starling
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 138 pages
RELEASE DATE: November 3, 2017
PRICE: $3.99 -e-book

BLURB:

Back in Scotland after five years working in Australia, Kier Campbell finds himself stranded on a road in the Scottish Highlands on Christmas Eve. He has to get to the next village urgently or freeze to death in his broken down hire car. Kier hikes down the icy road and as he walks memories of the life he’d run from-and the love he’d abandoned in Scotland return to haunt him.
With a blizzard fast approaching, a passing motorist finds Kier and offers him a lift. He is surprised to recognize the driver. As the weather worsens he realizes they is no way he will reach his parent’s farm, and so is stranded with his savior for the holidays.
Kier’s one Christmas wish is to make up for the mistakes he made all those years ago, but, curiously, he finds he has an unexpected rival for his lovers’ affections…
FYI: This story contains graphic descriptions of Gay sex (YAY!)
This book comes with an additional free short story “The Christmas Bonus”


Kier lives in Australia for the last 5 years. He decides to come back home for Christmas, to his family living in Scotland.
When his rental car stops in the middle of nowhere, he starts to walk praying to be safe before the storm.

He’s rescued by Doug, his ex-boyfriend, and the love of his life.
Can Kier and Doug have a second chance? Their own Christmas miracle?
It was a super sweet novella and smoking hot.

Kier and Doug have known each other since they were little kids, they were best friends before being lovers, until Kier walked away from Doug and their future. For 5 years, they live apart, no contact, no news, but the moment they reconnect together, everything settled back between them. I love how the author wrote this book, how she developed the feelings between them. It’s not insta-love, it was “resurrect-love” (Yes, yes! I created this expression, I’m cool like that).

She sweeps all emotions perfectly, nostalgia, guilt, regret, hope, and of course Love. It was just enough, not too much, not too enough.

The sex is hot, and when I say hot, I mean Holy F*** Hot and kinky. I can’t tell you the kink, no, I can’t. But I can tell you, that it was a first time for me, and It was hot, I was blushing like a Whore in a Church (Of course I have to read this particular scene in the Metro), and I really enjoyed it, surprisingly. Like I said, it was a first time with this particular kink, and she nailed it. Oh, and before I forget, Kier is a red-hair, A red-hair!!!! My personal Kink

It’s 5 OptimuMMs for this 2 hot Highlanders

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

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Review: “Sweet Thing” by Isobel Starling

TITLE: Sweet Thing
AUTHOR: Isobel Starling
SERIES: Pretty Boy
PUBLISHER: Decent Fellow Press
COVER ARTIST: Isobel Starling
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; BDSM,
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 237 pages
RELEASE DATE: September 8, 2017
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book

BLURB:

M/M Romance sequel to ‘Fall Together’
**This can be read as a standalone novel**
French male model Simeon Duchamp has a lot of explaining to do
Two years after a breakdown fueled by unrequited love, drugs, and booze, Simeon is clean and wants to stay that way. On his road to reclaiming his life and modeling career, Sim first needs to apologize to the man he hurt the most -his ex-best friend Pieter Bayer.
Pieter now has a long-term partner, artist Emily Raven with whom he shares a baby son, and so Simeon is amazed when Pieter accepts his apology and invites him into his life again.
Closeness to the object of his obsession sees’s Simeon’s longing for his friend rekindled, but then Simeon meets a troubled older man who turns his world upside down. Simeon has to decide whether to allow himself to fall for the man who wants him or pine for the man he can never have.


Sweet Thing is the second book in the Pretty Boy series by Isobel Starling. I enjoyed reading this book, and I liked the main characters, Simeon and Bastian, and the secondary characters, Pieter, Emily, and baby Lukas.

The story starts out with Simeon getting out of rehab for his drug and alcohol problem and being treated for Addictive Personality Disorder and moving back to Berlin where his ex-best friend Pieter lives with his artist girlfriend, Emily, and their young son, Lukas. Simeon has come to apologize for what he had done to Pieter three years ago and to get closure as his therapist has advised him to do. Simeon is forgiven and invited to a gallery showing that night by Pieter’s girlfriend. It’s at this exhibition opening that Simeon meets Bastian for the first time.

Bastian and Simeon are both drawn to the pain, sadness, and heartache that they see in each other’s eyes and want to help each other. But both men have strong issues that they are trying to work through and what was supposed to be a simple hookup turns into abuse and ends up hurting Simeon physically and emotionally.

For Bastian, he also can’t believe what he did to Simeon, and he will do anything to make it up to Simeon if he can only get Simeon to talk to him. I wasn’t sure if I could like Bastian after what he did, but he managed to redeem himself and then he messed it up again with a misunderstanding, but everything got worked out.

I did enjoy the bromance between Pieter and Simeon, and I won’t lie, I was kind of hoping they would hook up, but they never did. I also loved Emily and baby Lukas. The book also has the characters speaking in French and German, but there are English translations, so I was able to know what they were saying. Something that I would have liked developed further was how they handled the Dom-sub aspect of their relationship, especially after what Bastian did. They had one small scene of spanking with only four smacks after the incident, but it didn’t really address the issue for me. From what I’ve read about the BDSM lifestyle, it isn’t something you can just turn off. It’s a part of your personality and how you are wired. So I would have figured they would have worked it out after being together for three years. Otherwise, the book had lots of sexy scenes and was enjoyable to read.

***I would like to thank the author for the privilege and opportunity of reading this ARC. My review is an honest opinion of the book ***

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Review: “His Confession” by Cameron Allie

TITLE: His Confession
AUTHOR: Cameron Allie
SERIES: Our Love Story
PUBLISHER: eXtasy Books
COVER ARTIST: Angela Waters
GENRE: Contemporary Romance
E-BOOK: Yes
PAPERBACK: No
LENGTH: 35 pages
RELEASE DATE: October 6,2017
PRICE: $2.37 – e-book

BLURB:

After two years, Lance still refuses to tell his family he’s gay and Jordan has had just about enough. At Christmas dinner, Lance’s parents try to set him up with a family friend. For Jordan, that’s the breaking point. Walking out on a good meal, and a great relationship, Jordan leaves Lance to figure out just what their relationship is worth. Is this the last Christmas they’ll spend together?
.


This was a powerful short read about the reality of coming out of the closet as a gay man. It’s hard for me to imagine that in this day and age, people are still so scared of just being who they are. I tend to be in my bubble of life and love people for who they are and not what I expect them to be. I read my MM books and love the concept of gay or not, people deserve their happy forevers and be allowed to love whoever they want. Then a story like this is written, and reality slaps me in the face. People are not accepting of others, and people get hurt for trying to be who they are.

Jordan and Lance have known each other since they were children. As we learned in the last book, Lance wrote love letters about Jordan and Jordan found them and read them. They have been in a relationship for the past two years and have been so in love. But as time goes on, Jordan gets more frustrated that their relationship has to remain a secret.

Jordan has been spending Christmas with Lance’s family for several years now. But this Christmas is different because Lance’s mom has brought a family friend’s daughter in to set him up with. They had a big fight before arriving about Lance needing to be honest with his family and tell them that they are in a relationship. He refuses, and this woman that is pining over Lance is the absolute last straw for Jordan. He ends their relationship and goes to his mother’s.

How will they move on without each other? How will Jordan get over the hurt? Will Lance be able to come out to his family? Will these two ever find happiness again? My heart goes out to people that fear what others think of them. Of what expectations will lead to our judgments of others. And of what right do we, as fellow human beings, what right do we have to judge. Be kind to each other and love everyone equally.

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

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