Category: New Adult

Review: “In the Desert” by Elliot Joyce

TITLE: In the Desert
AUTHOR: Elliot Joyce
SERIES: States of Love
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Brooke Albrecht
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; New Adult
LENGTH: 106 pages
RELEASE DATE: May 4, 2018
PRICE: $4.99 – e-book


Can a Navajo trans teen and a nerdy Catholic find the place they belong… and maybe themselves? In the desert, anything is possible….
When Wren came out as transgender before his senior year, it cost him most of his friends. His father hopes joining a Boy Scout troop might help Wren meet other young men his age and be accepted for who he is.
Felipe Nieves wants the new guy in the troop to feel comfortable, and he reaches out to Wren. They become fast friends… with something more beneath the surface. Those feelings confuse Felipe, since his religion considers this a sin—and he’s always assumed he was straight—but he can’t help pining for Wren. Asking him out will take courage, and getting together won’t be easy… but through their friendship, both young men might find their identities… and learn to embrace them in a unique coming-of-age story set against the beauty of the American Southwest.

In the Desert by Elliot Joyce is a look into the life of a female-to-male transgender teen called Wren.

Wren used to be Danielle, and he used to be the oldest of three sisters and has a younger brother. Now he’s the oldest brother to two sisters and a younger brother, and it’s been a big adjustment for all of his family members getting used to saying a new name and new pronouns when referring to Wren. Wren is also at a new high school after being bullied and chased after using the guys’ locker room and bathrooms after coming out as trans. He’s lost most of his friends when he came out and so his dad has the idea that Wren should go with his younger brother to his Boy Scout troop to help make new friends that will accept him for being just another guy. It helps that there’s already another trans guy that’s part of the troop and so it shouldn’t be a problem that Wren is trans.

I liked the troop and how they treated Wren. They didn’t treat him any differently than the other guys. I really liked Felipe for reaching out to Wren and trying to get him to interact with the troop. And Wren ends up with three friends from the troop, Felipe and by default his two best friends in the troop also, one of which is the other trans teen. I liked getting to see how Wren gets more comfortable with himself and with how other people treat him. He really comes out of his shell, and it’s beautiful to see.

He has a crush on Felipe, but he thinks that he’s straight, so he’s just happy to be his friend. Felipe thinks that he’s straight until he meets Wren and finds himself developing feelings for Wren, but will he have the courage to tell Wren his feelings and ask him on a date? Felipe doesn’t even know if Wren is gay but with encouragement from his friends, he’s going to find out. The story is a slow burn, hand-holding and light kissing kind of a story that works great for a new-adult themed story. I liked the story for what it was—a look into Wren getting comfortable with who he wants to be and finding friends that will accept him for who he is.

I would have loved to see a prequel to this story about when Wren came out to his family and how he was bullied in school which led to him changing schools. I wanted to see all of the struggles that Wren had to go through to get to where he is now. I know that he still has a long way to go, he still has to convince his parents to allow him to start hormone injections and decided on whether he will have top or bottom surgery. But I just wish that I had gotten to see the struggle from the beginning of his coming out instead of having skipped that part.

I hope that the author will continue Wren and Felipe’s story. I would love to see how their relationship progresses as Wren continues through his transition.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “When Everything is Blue” by Laura Lascarso

TITLE: When Everything is Blue
AUTHOR: Laura Lascarso
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
GENRE: Contemporary Romance / New Adult
LENGTH: 216 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 6, 2018
PRICE: $6.99 e-book / $14.99 paperback


When they were kids, Chris Mitcham rescued Theo from the neighborhood bullies and taught him how to “be cool.” Now, years later, Theo’s developed feelings for his best friend that arise at the most inopportune times. Theo hates lying to Chris, but in coming out, he might lose the one person who understands him best, a risk he’s not willing to take.
When a relationship with another young man goes south, Theo is forced to confront his own sexuality along with his growing attraction to Chris and his stunted, tenuous relationship with his father. Will Chris abandon Theo when he learns the truth, or will he stand by him in this tumultuous season of self-discovery?
In this quirky coming-of-age romance, Theo’s path to manhood is fraught with awkward firsts and a few haters, but also the unexpected comfort of a friend turned lover.

Theo is 16 years old, gay and in love with Chris, his straight best friend and tries desperately to forget him. But when a picture outs him in front of all his school, Theo has no other choice than to reveal who he really is and deal step by step with the diverse reactions.
I liked this book; it was a great story.

Theo tries to understand who he is, how to deal with his sexuality, and his desire for Chris. He’s terrified to admit to him that he’s in love, scared to lose his only real friend. He’s also scared to come out to his dad. Theo and his father haven’t had a good relationship, and the communication between them is difficult. I loved Theo, this kid is lost at first, he tries to understand himself before coming out, but when his choice was taken from him, he decided to be himself, and not to hold back or change.

Chris is adorable. I love this kid because he’s there for Theo no matter what, and doesn’t hesitate to fight for him, literally. He’s so sweet. I so want to hug him for hours.

I love how the author tries to explain all the first times. First kiss, first sexy times, and first love. How those two young men, discover themselves, but also their sexuality and feelings together. I also love how she explains the difficulty of how young gay kids meet. Not only do they have to deal with their desires and hormones (like every teenager in the world), but also, they have to come out in front of everyone just because they love another boy, or girl, when straight teenagers don’t have to do that. They have to fear that their family will disown them, or worse, kick them out on the street.

The author did a good job with all of this palette of feelings, and she served them perfectly throughout the book.

It’s 4 OptimuMMs for all the Theo’s of the world.

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

Review edited by : Laura McNellis

Review: “An Island in the Stars” by Susan Laine

TITLE: An Island in the Stars
AUTHOR: Susan Laine
PUBLISHER: Dreamspinner Press
COVER ARTIST: Anna Sikorska
GENRE: New adult; Sci-fi
RELEASE DATE: June 12, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 –paperback


Sam, a geeky college freshman, has bigger problems than lusting after Marcus, sexy jock, college junior, and his big brother’s best friend. Chasing after a beanie caught in the winter wind turns into a tumble down the rabbit hole for them both—science fiction style.

Sam and Marcus find themselves trapped on a tropical island in the middle of a strange ocean on an alien moon. The sole structure is a ruined temple devoted to the art of love. Flustered, confused, and unable to return home, they need to figure out a means of escape from a hostile jungle teeming with dangerous life-forms.

In this tale where opposites attract and secret crushes are revealed, two very dissimilar young men discover they actually have a lot in common after all, but it will take their differences as much as their points of connection to survive on an island in the stars

One day, when they were heading home after college, Sam and Marcus fell in a rabbit hole which leads to an Island on a Moon.
Sam is a “geek” in love with Marcus, his brother’s best friend for years. Too shy, too unsure and too scared to confess his feelings, Sam, spends most of his time in defense mode or running away from Marcus.
Marcus tries his best to gain Sam’s attention but fails each time. He is crazy in love with the young geek but doesn’t know how to gain his trust and love.
When they end up on an Island on an alien moon, they don’t have other choices but to stick together in order to survive and find a way to come back to their home.
It was a sweet love story between Sam & Marcus. They are adorable together especially Marcus.
I like this big guy, he is sweet, brave and fights for what he wants. And he’s wanted Sam for years, when he has the opportunity, he takes it. I like his devotion for Sam too. I had a little crush for Marcus.

Sam is really smart, like super mega smart, and his brain sure helps them on this alien Island, but he has difficulty interacting with people, and especially with the guy he is in love with, Marcus. But this island will help him to face his fear, to surpass himself and fight for his life and that of Marcus.
The author mixes different genres, adventure, Sci-fi, Romance, the whole sprinkled with a dose of humor.

It’s a mix between Jules Verne, Daniel Defoe and Lewis Carroll. A fall in a rabbit hole that leads to an extraterrestrial room that leads to an island on an alien moon, populated with extraordinary alien creatures, add 2 gay men, horny and in love, and you have this sweet novel.

I recommend this book for younger people 14-18 years old.

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


Review: “Scar” by Baylin Crow

AUTHOR: Baylin Crow
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; New Adult
LENGTH: 122 pages
RELEASE DATE: December 19, 2016
PRICE: $2.99 -e-book



I just wanted to be left alone. After the disastrous turn my life took four years ago, I swore that I’d never let my guard down for anyone ever again. I left everything I knew behind and started over again. Things were going just fine until nearly six feet of pure temptation walked through the doors of my bar. It’s been a year and I’ve done a pretty good job of avoiding him. Things change when his friends get him drunk and leave him stranded on his birthday. I shouldn’t have given him a place to crash because now I can’t shake him.


He intrigued me from the moment we met, and I haven’t exactly been subtle about wanting him. The green-eyed bartender seems to want nothing to do with me, but I don’t miss the way he watches me when he thinks no one will notice. I’ve let him pretend long enough, and it’s definitely time to make my move. On the field, I face tough competitors every week, but this one will make me work harder than I ever have before. If I want to win, I’m going to have to up my game because he is a pro at pushing me away.

This is a standalone novella with no cliffhanger.

As a debut book, this story has set a high standard for the author to meet with future releases. It was a very sweet and incredibly sexy little romance that had me smiling from ear to ear, but also needing a fan to cool down (it’s pretty hot). Written in first person with dual POV, it grabbed my attention from the minute I saw the cover and read the blurb. As soon as I started reading the book, I just couldn’t stop. Football (soccer) is my joint favorite sport, so any book that includes it as part of the storyline then I’m going to read it, and this one definitely didn’t disappoint.

In this story, we have the two main characters, Beard (nicknamed because he has a thick and longish beard and no other reason) and Soccer (because he plays college soccer). The two men gave each other the nicknames because Soccer refused to call Beard by his proper name, even though he knows it. Beard played along with the game, and also refused to call Soccer by his name, now it’s a battle of wills, and they won’t back down or give in. Beard works at and owns a bar that used to belong to his grandfather where Soccer and his friends go mostly after playing their game on match-days. The team have become regulars at the bar, and Beard loves this, yet hates it at the same time.

Beard has quite a brooding and serious personality, and although he’s had a crush on Soccer since they first met, he tries to avoid him as much as he can to try and hide the attraction. He knows and accepts he’s gay, but due to an incident that occurred 4 years before, he’s in the closet and plans on staying that way. Soccer is almost the exact opposite of Beard, he’s happy and outgoing, yet fiercely competitive and determined. He’s also out to everyone he knows and is not shy about trying to get Beards attention. When Soccer’s friends hatch a plan to try and set the two men up, it doesn’t exactly work out as expected, but it ignites the spark of the smouldering feelings and chemistry that Beard and Soccer have. It gives Beard the little wake-up call he’s needed to face up to his past, and to move on with his future.

This was a fantastic little story to read. It was well written, flowed perfectly and there were no loose ends. The characters were well developed with just enough back story to fill you in, but not take over the main plot of the book. This is an author that I will definitely be looking out for from now on, if this book is anything to go by, I’d say we’re in for a real treat.

***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***


Review: “Driven” by MB Mulhall

TITLE: Driven
AUTHOR: MB Mulhall
PUBLISHER: Harmony Ink Press
COVER ARTIST: Anna Sikorska
GENRE: Contemporary Romance; New Adult
LENGTH: 210 pages
RELEASE DATE: March 7, 2017
PRICE: $6.99 -e-book / $14.99 -paperback


Eighteen-year-old Oliver’s troubles don’t end when he’s released from prison. He has nowhere to go, and he can’t even think about moving past his crimes while trying to survive homelessness.

Helping an elderly woman after a fall guides Oliver into at least a temporary home. In exchange for odd jobs and some assistance, he’s welcomed into a life with the old twin spinsters, and it seems too good to be true. The neighbor, Simon, certainly thinks it is. He doesn’t trust Oliver or his motives. Oliver is used to that kind of judgment, but it isn’t helping him overcome his guilt. Maybe Simon is right and Oliver doesn’t deserve happiness—or any of the other feelings stirring in a heart Oliver thought he’d closed off for good.

Oliver has two options: let the pain of his past swallow him and destroy all hope for the future, or move on to the new possibilities in front of him. Choosing to live won’t be easy, and Oliver might not be able to do it alone.

I don’t really know where to start with this review that would even come close to doing this book, and what I can only describe as a phenomenal piece of writing proper justice. I also don’t want to give anything about the story away because the way the story builds, progresses and flows is something you need to experience yourself. From the very first paragraph, I was completely and utterly hooked and read it straight through in one sitting.

The story centres around the main character, Oliver Sutton, who for the last 2 years has spent his time in prison and then on the streets. One day whilst on the street, he meets Tude Westling, an elderly lady who has taken a fall. After some not so subtle prompting, Oliver agrees to help Tude home, here he meets her twin sister Vera. As a thank you for his help, the ladies ask him to stay for dinner and then the night. The next day, Oliver literally bumps into Simon Green, who’s the young and handsome neighbor of Tude and Vera. From this point, everything in Oliver’s life changes. With the help of the twins, Simon and his Parole Officer, John Richards, Oliver discovers what family, love, acceptance and forgiveness really means.

The plot of the story was simply brilliant and had me on the edge of my seat desperate to find out what the next pages and chapters were going to bring. There’s nothing at all about this book that I can fault. The author took us on a journey of Oliver’s life. We got to see the background story that led us to this point, but there was mystery and intrigue and secrets that remained hidden until exactly the right moment for their reveal which added to the excitement. There were quite a few times I had to force back the tears that were threatening because my heart was shattering for Oliver and the way he treated himself because he thought it’s what he deserved. Every character and moment in the book felt real, nothing seemed like it was far-fetched and couldn’t happen in daily life and I think that’s why I connected with the story as much as I did.

Apart from some kissing and lustful excitement, there isn’t anything sexual about this book. So if you’re looking for hot and steamy sex then this is not for you, but if you want a story that will grip you, pull at your heart strings and then leave you feeling warm and fuzzy at the end, then this book couldn’t be more perfect.

This is my first time reading anything by this author, but she is one I will definitely be keeping a look out for from now on. With this one book she has gained a reader/fan for life. A very easy 5 star read, I only wish I could give it more.

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


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