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review 2018-03-12 02:58
ARC Review: Orange by B.G. Thomas
Orange - B.G. Thomas
I'm going to first talk about the book, the story, the two MCs, and the writing. The author's typical writing style is within the pages, and its familiarity (I have read almost all of this author's books) was soothing. I also liked the plot of two very different people meeting and finding each other, finding what they needed from each other, forging a path together that will surely lead them to their happy ever after. and experiencing personal growth. Both Frank and Roy are flawed and complex, both keep others at arm's length - Frank because of what he was taught by his father Glen (more on him soon), and Roy because of shame and fear. Because he was in jail, and because he's only recently figured out that he might be gay. 

I liked Harry and Cody, and Roy's grandmother as supporting characters, who all brought something the the table, and in some instances served as catalysts to further the plot. While we don't find out a lot about Harry and Cody in this book, there are some revelations about Roy's granny that really moved the plot forward. 

I loved how the romance unfolded, how Frank was blindsided by his feelings for Roy, how he tried to deny them, and how he failed. I loved how Roy began questioning his sexuality, and how his reflections of his actions in the past helped him get a clearer picture and overcome his fear. Obviously, there's angst in this book, as the two men approach the budding relationship from two very different angles, and neither is certain early on that a pursuit of the relationship is advisable or desirable. There are missteps, there is fear, there is shame, and there is anger. But ultimately, this book is about two very different men falling and being in love, perhaps for the very first time in their lives. Their path to real love was a bit rough and had a few sharp turns, but they stayed the course.

And now, let's talk about Glen, Frank's father. Massive mother bear rant ahead. You'll want to skip to the end if that sort of thing bothers you. Since it's also slighly spoilerish, there be some tags around some of it. 

Glen made me ragey. Here we have a man who decided to do a huge fuck-you to his ex-wife, the mother of his child, and basically city-hopped with their son from age 5 until Frank had enough of the nomadic lifestyle and forged his own path in KC. Sure, Frank's life with Glen wasn't entirely horrible, and he sure got to see some awesome places, but Glen's endless womanizing and the constant moving, really screwed with Frank's sense of self, knowing his place in the world, and his views on love and finding a life partner. I was already pissed at Glen fairly early on, when I found out about the constant moving and introducing woman after woman into the life of his impressionable son and seeming to be PROUD of that shit, but when the real truth comes out
and Frank's mother contacts him, tearfully confessing that she's been looking for him for 20 years, and that Glen kept eluding her, and then hearing from Glen that one particular woman he was romancing, with whom Frank had developed a strong relationship, was dropped because she was pregnant and subsequently had an abortion, pretty much as Glen's behest
(spoiler show)
  - well, that took the fucking cake. My status update at that point, around 60% or so (I wasn't keeping track, really, because I was so ANGRY) was fueled by RAGE and TEARS. Fuck you, Glen. You narcissistic, sociopathic, selfish asshole. 

So. There you have it. Any book that can bring out such strong emotions - it certainly deserves to have its rating rounded up. I also want to make clear that while I wanted to punch Glen on more than one occasion (and I'm not a violent person at all), I also very much appreciated how the author chose to finalize things for this character's involvement in Frank's life. Justice in this case was very sweet indeed.

As always, the author's writing style is distinctive, which may not work for everyone, but it certainly works for me. 

I don't usually comment on covers. I'm not enamored with this one, but please don't let that turn you off giving this book a chance. What's behind the cover is worth your time.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. **


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review 2018-03-07 02:04
ARC Review: The Pick Up by Allison Temple
The Pick Up - Allison Temple

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, primarily because of the snarky, sarcastic back and forth between Kyle and Adam. 

This book is enemies to lovers and hot for (your kid's) teacher and returning home and finding exactly what you never knew you always wanted.

With sharp and snappy dialogue, lots of giggle-snorts, a slow-burn romance, and a good chunk of character growth for both MCs, I simply flew through the pages. 

The characters are complex and flawed, and felt realistic to me. One small niggle is that Kyle's relationship with Olivia, his daughter's mother, wasn't really explained deeply enough for my taste. 

I might have shed a tear for Adam and how scared he was to trust again, and for Kyle still grieving for Olivia, but also cheered for them when they finally got it together. 

This was my first book by this author, and I'm interested to see what else she has to offer.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-03-07 01:38
Release Day ARC Review: Cowboy In The Crosshairs by B.A. Tortuga
Cowboy in the Crosshairs - B.A. Tortuga

Once upon a time, i.e. 10 years or so prior, Wacey, oldest son of the local rodeo company owners, and TJ were a couple in secret. TJ wasn't ready to come out as gay in their small town and also wanted what everyone else had - a wife and a couple of kids. They broke up and Wacey left town right after, hurt and angry, and they haven't spoken since. TJ married, had two kids, and then came clean to his now ex-wife about how he likes men more so than women.

That's the backstory of their relationship. I just love the second chance at love stories, so this one was right up my alley. I also love when the romance isn't all dramatic and full of angst, and I got that here too.

The story begins with TJ, sitting in the diner, doing his Chief of Police thing with the locals, including calming down some old biddie complaining about some art work on the side of house, when he's told that Wacey got hurt real bad and is coming home to the ranch to recuperate. TJ is still mad at Wacey for not coming home for so long, and Wacey wants nothing to do with his old boyfriend.

Obviously that doesn't last for long, as weird things happening at the Bene ranch keep throwing them into each other's path.

Someone apparently has it out for Wacey.

I just love me some good cowboy loving, and this author always delivers the goods. This was such a charming romance, and I adored both MCs. Their relationship was easy-peasy, and once TJ made up his mind to woo Wacey into his bed again, he was relentless in his pursuit.

The mystery/suspense was also really well done, with the incidents getting worse and worse and the suspense building, and nobody having any idea who might be behind it all. I had an inkling about halfway through about the villain, and though I thought that the reason for the villainy might have been a wee bit far-fetched, it's hard to say what might go on in such a mind.

The author's writing style also really worked for this story, and the dialogue felt organic for the setting and the characters.

This is a feel-good second-chance-at-love story with two likable main characters and a great supporting cast. Though, naming your kids Wacey, Lacey, Macey, and Kacey - I feel I must either question your sanity or applaud your sick sense of humor.

Give this a try, y'all. Definitely worth your time.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-02-26 22:31
The Story of my Life / Helen Keller
The Story of My Life - Helen Keller

This is my “Celebrity Memoir” book to fill the Book Riot Read Harder challenge for 2018.  Helen Keller was rather famous in her day, being the first deaf-blind person to earn a BA degree.  I believe she is still admired by many in the deaf community.


I don’t suppose it is surprising that she was an avid reader, once her teacher Miss Sullivan managed to make the breakthrough that allowed Helen’s education to begin.  It was an activity that she could pursue on her own at her own speed and, like all of us, gain information on subjects that intrigued her.


I was surprised by how much she loved poetry, however.  For me poetry is very much about hearing it—I often read it aloud in order to properly appreciate it.  Since Helen was unable to hear it, she must have had a very sophisticated sense of the rhythm of the words, probably seeing many more nuances in it than I do.  I was also amazed at the number of languages that she managed to master—German, French, Latin, Greek—and I wish I had the same facility with languages.  I struggle to maintain my little bit of French and Spanish!


I couldn’t help but notice how much the natural world and companion animals were part of her life.  The smells of the garden or the seaside were ways of opening up her world and her pet cats, dogs and horses provided unjudgemental companionship.


I had hoped that this was the story of Ms. Keller that I read during my childhood, but it was a different work.  I think the book that I was familiar with was based on the life of her teacher, Anne Sullivan, and I hope to track it down some day for a reminiscent read—I remember reading it many times as a child and loving it.

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review 2018-02-25 01:18
ARC Review: Cam Boy (Murmur Inc. #3) by Quinn Anderson
Cam Boy - Quinn Anderson

If you look up the words "naive", "reckless", and "overly confident" in the dictionary, you might find Josh Clemmons' picture there.

If you've read the previous books in this series, you might remember Josh as the guy who works with Pete at the coffee shop. Additionally, you might recall that Pete works for Murmur Inc, a company that makes pornographic movies, but also provides Phone Sex Operators, and apparently, on-camera live action. 

Josh, stuck in a dead-end, low-wage job, partly because college just wasn't for him, looks for more excitement and more dough. Thus he's been looking online at Murmur Inc. for open audition calls, and wouldn't you know, his luck is about to change. 

Hastily cobbling together a resume, he's so confident that he's perfect for porn and will be chosen to perform that he. Quits. His. Job. before he even has an interview lined up. Overly confident? Reckless? You betcha.

Also naive. So very naive, because he thinks if Pete can be a porn star, so can he. Like, surely, anyone can be in porn, right? Lots of sex and you get paid? Why wouldn't everyone do this, amirite? How hard could it be? 


Josh's dreams of being the next AVN winner are dashed quickly when he realizes after his first scene he's not quite cut out for that kind of career. 

Mike Harwood, on the other hand, has been an adult film entertainer for quite some time. Filming both straight and gay movies, he's so used to faking attraction that he's no longer sure what's real and what isn't. I could tell that he was approaching burnout, but he wasn't quite there yet.

Josh and Mike meet on set for Josh's first and last scene, after which Josh crawls back to the coffeeshop and begs for his job back. Which he does, lucky him. Neither can get the encounter out of their mind, but Josh isn't going to make any movies, and Mike is busy filming the next scene. Josh also gets even more lucky when Colette, the owner of Murmur Inc, offers him cam work - something he can do from his rented room, on his own laptop, but still get paid. Josh agrees - jacking off seems simple enough when one hasn't to contort himself, and getting paid to jack off - what more could he want? 

The author has done really good research for her books and gives good insights to the industry. What we see on film is hard work for the actors, and there is a constant fear of STDs that is just part of daily life. It's also true that the straight porn is less likely to utilize condoms, and thus the actors undergo frequent tests to ensure they're as safe as can be. When Mike is told that one of his recent co-actors on the M/F set has been tested positive, he is immediately sent for a test, and anyone with whom he performed since then must also be tested. Additionally, until he tests negative, he cannot perform with anyone else. 

And so Josh and Mike reconnect. With Mike laying low and waiting the appropriate potential incubation time, he's got time on his hands, right? 

There's a bit of angst among the giggle-snorts, and Josh's antics kept me largely entertained. This series is campy, cheesy fun for the most part, though there are some serious undertones between the lines. With each book, the author offers an unflinching look at the porn industry, and reminds us in subtle ways that what we as consumers see is only the glossy outer layers, and not the seedy underbelly of the beast. Mike knows that his days as a performer have a sell-by date, and he tries to share that knowledge with Josh. 

Mike also has a secret he's keeping from Josh - which I thought was going to create a bit more of an issue when it comes out, but thankfully Josh isn't just naive and reckless, he's also kind and forgiving. 

There's a happy ending here too, which I appreciated very much. It was nice to see them in a good place in the end, in love and happy.

I couldn't tell if there's going to be another book in this series, but I sure as heck hope so. This was a fun read!

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher via Netgalley. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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