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review 2018-10-18 00:20
ARC Review: Lincoln's Park by Parker Williams
Lincoln's Park - Parker Williams

I read this book, finished it, and then immediately read it again. That basically NEVER happens, but with this book, I couldn't help myself.

Noel is a young man who was kicked out of his home by his ever so loving parents when he told them he was gay. He was lucky in that he found a place at a local shelter, where he's been living and helping out for the past three years. In need of a job, any job, he stops in Lincoln's diner.

Lincoln is quite a bit older than Noel, with a very different backstory, which we find out as the book progresses. He loves cooking and taking care of people, and he treats his employees like family. One look at the forlorn young man asking for a job, and Lincoln can't help himself - the need to pull the young man into the folds is immediate. 

Noel has no idea what hit him - surely nobody can be that decent and kind to someone they don't know at all, right?

I liked both characters immensely, and also the supporting cast - the other employees at the diner, especially Katy, and Robert who runs the shelter where Noel has been staying. However, Lincoln's brother and father - I wanted them to hurt, and badly, but obviously I wasn't supposed to like them. 

Noel is still young, and despite the last three years being really rough, he hasn't lost his sweet kindness, his youthful innocence, his positive outlook. He's fascinated by the older Lincoln, but also has no intention of falling for his boss and being out of a job. Except he doesn't realize that Lincoln feels the same, and that they are well matched despite the age difference and the difference in their life experiences. Lincoln's history plays a huge role in who he became, and he's reluctant to reach for Noel, scared to some extent that he's no good for the younger man. Thank goodness for Katy who gives them the push they both need. 

What struck me most here is that the author created complex and fully developed characters - Lincoln had some layers that ran much deeper than I initially expected, and Noel has an inner strength I didn't expect from someone so young. 

There's a moment toward the end of the book that may be confusing for some - without giving away the plot, I can't really say much about it, but suffice it to say that if you pay attention to what comes before, you will not be confused at all, or even wonder what just happened. 

The BDSM-Lite aspect of the relationship was well done and rang true, and I liked that the author utilized it as a source of some conflict that the two men have to work out, which actually strengthened the relationship.

What is emphasized time and again is family - the one you're born to and the one you choose and make for yourself. Family, even if not by blood, is what binds Lincoln and Noel and Katy and Jesse and Robert and all the others. Even Lincoln's brother, who by book's end seemingly has second thoughts about how he's been acting. I have it on good authority that his story will be told in a future book. I cannot wait! 

But what really permeates this book is love. There is so much tangible, obvious love in every word on every page, and you are cocooned by it, warmed by it, embraced by it. 

I think it's that feeling of love that prompted me to read the book twice in a row, and I highly recommend that you get yourself a copy as soon as you can.

It's available now.


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

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review 2018-10-01 01:22
ARC Review: Hard Truths by Alex Whitehall
Hard Truths - Alex Whitehall

On one hand, this book was less superficial than I expected, considering the blurb. I love the fake boyfriend trope, and I was looking forward to a fun book. While there was lots of humor, the depth within surprised me.

On the other hand, I would have liked to repeatedly smack Isaac over the head, not only for continuing to hide Logan being his boyfriend, but also for not realizing that family isn't always determined by blood, especially when your parents are homophobic racist jerks. 

I think what bothered me the most is that Isaac often sounded much younger than I was told he is, especially when he's around his parents, and that he was too blind to realize that he was hurting Logan, and his friends, with his ridiculous stance. While I could understand his fears, those fears blinded him to what he already has, and he only saw what he stood to lose. He lives a couple of hours away from his parents, and he's out to everyone in his life, except for them. But every time he goes home, it is very clear that not only does he not like his parents, especially his father, but he also mocks and ridicules them. And thus I couldn't for the life of me understand what was stopping him from telling them to shove it and tell them who he truly is. 

The romance is definitely whirlwind, much like the blurb promises, and there is hot sex and cheesy puns, and I believed that both Isaac and Logan had feelings for each other. They have a lot in common, and the growth in their relationship felt realistic to me given the timeframe of this book. 

I guess Isaac still needed to grow up. And I guess he does by book's end; he just leaves a whole lot of hurt in his wake that could have been avoided, had he been more emotionally mature. 

The entire book is written from Isaac's POV, so we don't get a whole lot of true insights to Logan, and Isaac's friends, since his view is somewhat skewered and distorted though his lens. The humor was fun (not cheesy, really), and outside of Isaac's behavior with his parents, I did like him as a person. He's kind and considerate to others - just emotionally stunted. Which is likely a result of his upbringing, but I didn't see the same in his sister, and she grew up in the same emotionally stunted home. 

I liked the writing style, and I'm definitely going to check out more books by this author. 


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

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review 2018-10-01 00:50
ARC Review: Midnight In Berlin by JL Merrow
Midnight in Berlin - J.L. Merrow

I loved Leon's irreverent narrative - he was my favorite person in the book.

In a case of mistaken identity, a werewolf bites a human. Oops.

Christoph, a lawyer of sorts, and Lycan, driving through Berlin in his Porsche very late at night, spots Leon, a student/drifter, who's hitchhiking his way back to this hostel. Leon is covered in feather, after a pillow fight at a concert and some rain, and Christoph thinks Leon is Lycan too and has just killed a large bird. So he stops, offers him a rider, and takes him to his pack house in one of the Berlin 'burbs. Because wolves aren't supposed to run around arousing suspicion, and Christoph chides Leon for potentially revealing the secret.

Leon has no idea what the guy with the Porsche is babbling about, but he's not liking it. And never mind the guy's face growing fangs and sprouting hair. When the car stops, Leon bolts just as soon as Christoph realizes his mistake.

Long story short, Leon wakes up Lycan (oops) after Christoph bit him. Christoph is nowhere to be found, and nobody living in the house where Christoph took him is telling him anything useful.

The pack is led by a horrible man named Schreiber. He's brutal, he treats his pack members like crap, and he's not happy that Leon is now a wolf.

Leon discovers where Christoph is being caged for punishment (that was hard to read, OMG), and together with Schreiber's daughter, they flee the house. 

The rest of the story is basically telling us about their escape and their movements through Berlin, trying to find out what they can about the experiment Schreiber appears to be running. There's a side story with another pack, this one full wolves.

The plot is fast-moving and the action scenes were fascinating, but the romance was rather bland. Outside of some sort of mating bond, I didn't really feel it at all. 

Leon's character stood out for me - the rest of them all were more or less one-dimensional. Christoph was okay, once he let go of his guilt a bit, and we do get a HEA. The descriptions of Berlin felt accurate, and most of the dialogue rang organic and realistic for the characters. 

Not one of my favorites by this author, but I enjoyed it. 


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

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review 2018-09-29 00:19
ARC Review: Threepeat (Secrets #3) by KC Wells and Parker Williams
Threepeat - K.C. Wells,Parker Williams

Super late to the party with this review, but life took a left turn that still has me scrambling to catch up... well, enough of me and my poor excuses.


I'm not usually one to read menages. There are but a few I've read in my time on GR, and I can probably count them on one hand. However, not only is this book 3 in the Secretsseries, but also written by the fabulous team Wells/Williams, so I definitely had grabby hands.

I have but one complaint after reading this book - why, oh why didn't we get to see Tim's blood family get what's coming to them? Why? I want to read that. 

Anyway, getting ahead of myself.

Aaron and Sam are an established couple, both into the BDSM scene, and both Doms. Obviously, that's a little tricky to navigate but for a good six years, they had a submissive that lived with them, whom they both loved, and who out of the blue decided to leave and break the contract, no explanation given. 

Obviously, this left them reeling, and two years later, Aaron is not ready to try again, and Sam doesn't know what to do. They're in danger of breaking up - that much is clear from the narrative. 

Then Aaron finds Tim, out on the streets after the poor young man was kicked out of his home for being gay, rescuing him from a situation that might have turned real ugly if Aaron hadn't shown up.

So, Aaron takes Tim home to Sam, and after nursing him back to health, the two older men offer him a roof over his head in exchange for some light house-keeping and cooking and such. Sex is definitely not on the table, which - thank goodness, because that would have been super gross, and I wouldn't have liked the characters if they'd done that. These are good men, so they don't. 

Tim sees the two men, thinks them hunky, observes them, learns about them, and realizes that they are exactly what he wants and needs. If only...

This is a sweet read. Not over the top sweet, but engaging and heartwarming and just smile-inducing sweet. I had some giggles too. There were some edge of my seat moments. 

I liked all three characters. Aaron was the softer of the two initially, but there is softness in Sam too - he just hides it better. There was so much sweetness in Tim, but also a lot of steel in his spine. I enjoyed seeing all three men's points of view, with each bringing something unique to the relationship. I enjoyed them learning about each other, learning to navigate the unknown waters, learning to make their threesome fit. I enjoyed the sexy times - I can always count with these authors to make them highly emotional. 

Obviously, this couldn't be a Wells/Williams book without a bit of drama. I won't go into detail here, but it's rooted, as these things often are, in lack of communication and bad assumptions. It doesn't last long, thank goodness, and all three men learn from the experience. 

The characters from the previous books all make an appearance, including Eli and Jarod, the owners of Secrets, and Jarod's indomitable mother, who not only provides a bit of humor but also a lot of really good advice. 

The ending was perfect and oh so swoon-worthy. Loved it.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can hardly wait to see what these authors come up with next. It's definitely best to read this series in order, though each book works as a standalone. 


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

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review 2018-09-28 23:24
ARC Review: Liam For Hire by A. Zukowski
Liam For Hire - A. Zukowski

This was my first book by this author, read and reviewed upon request. 

I liked it for the most part. The tropes used are not new, but the age-gap, baby-gay, and falling-for-your-escort themes worked for me. Ali, the older of the two Mcs is at mid-forty nearly 25 years older than Liam (he of the title), when he hires Liam to teach him about gay sex. 

See, Ali (short for Alastair) has been married, and his late wife never knew that he was gay. It's obviously something that Ali has suppressed for a long time, and he's only recently realized his true sexuality. 

Liam, having left Ireland and his farmhouse home at 16, makes his living as an escort in pricey London after having kicked his drug habit. He rents a room in a shared flat, and still struggles not to relapse into addiction. When Ali hires him, he's initially somewhat taken aback at Ali's request that they "make love" instead of simply having sex. But hey, money is money, and rent needs paying, so Liam gives Ali what he's asking for.

I like that the author didn't flinch at showing the reader what's going on in Liam's head and Ali's head. Their struggles, individual and specific as they may be, felt realistic and believable. While this book isn't full of drama, there is enough of it to earn itself that shelf - for both Liam and Ali. 

The sexy times were, while plentiful for me, not gratuitous. Obviously, there is sex in this book. Liam is an escort, and Ali hires him for sex, however the author made a point that Liam realizes early on that sex with Ali isn't just sex.

I liked Ali a lot. I liked Liam too. Ali is a nice guy. Even as he and Liam deepen their relationship, there is never any pressure from Ali for Liam to quit escorting. He respects Liam's means of income, and never makes him feel cheap or trashy for earning his living that way. And I think that had a lot to do with Liam beginning to trust Ali more and more, and start to believe that maybe they have a chance of making things last.

This was a good book. I enjoyed reading it, and I think you would too. I'm definitely willing to check out more of what A. Zukowski has written. 


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

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