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review 2017-04-16 01:02
ARC Review: Relationship Status by K.A. Mitchell
Relationship Status - K.A. Mitchell

This obviously had the potential to be super-angsty, especially when we were in Wyatt's head, but it wasn't. It was mostly delightful to revisit Ethan and Wyatt and watch them find their way to a happily ever after. Also, the epilogue was like icing on the happy cake.

This is the third book in this trilogy, and it shouldn't be read as a standalone. It's actually best, now that book 3 is published, to read them all back to back.

I do love Ethan and Wyatt, even though they can be complicated, immature and annoying, and as a couple, they have the potential to crash and burn, but both of them are committed to their relationship. They struggle, of course, especially since Ethan doesn't always understand what drives Wyatt, and how his history continues to influence the decisions he makes, and how he sees himself. Wyatt comes across as resentful on occasion that Ethan's life to date has been fairly easy, and seemingly forgets that Ethan has been hurt too.

Some of the issues felt forced to me, though I liked that Wyatt didn't freeze out Ethan this time around as he had in the past, when Ethan does something immature. Part of me was also hoping that Ethan would have grown up a bit more in this book, but that wasn't always the case. I never doubted that he thought Wyatt hung the moon, but Ethan does on occasion come across as rather immature. I realize they're both still very young, so maybe I should cut them some slack.

In this book, they're also not living in dorms anymore - they're renting a room in a crappy apartment for the summer while doing internships - so this newfound freedom and privacy translates into lots and lots of sexy times, though, while definitely hot, there were so many that I started skimming them toward the end.

It also occurred to me during my reading of this book that this trilogy might have worked better overall if the three books had been released as one large volume, because neither book 1 nor book 2 really told the whole story. There is growth for both Wyatt and Ethan in this final book, which I appreciated, and they're better at being adults than in the first two, but Ethan still tends to fall back on his parents, whereas Wyatt doesn't really have that option. His uncle is still in the picture, and there's some additional plot around that, which I thought was rather well done, even if it felt like a bit much - it did highlight that Wyatt and Ethan do work as a couple, and that Ethan has a really good heart, and that Wyatt has finally started believing that they have a future.

Overall, this book was a fitting ending to this trilogy, and I enjoyed reading it.

** 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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review 2017-03-26 00:26
ARC Review: Loose Cannon by Sidney Bell
Loose Cannon (Woodbury Boys) - Sidney Bell

This is my first book by this author, but I can already tell you that it won't be my last. The writing style is truly engaging, and I was enthralled from start to finish by this book.

When we first meet Edgar-Allen Church, who simply goes by his last name, he's about to be released from the correctional facility where he's spent the last five years after a conviction for assault. He needs a place to stay, so he calls on his old friend Miller Quinn in hopes of crashing on his couch.

There's some history here I won't go into too much (plus some hero worship on Church's side), between Church and Miller, and while some of it is good, some of it definitely isn't. Church is gay, and he's not hiding it, but Miller's conservative upbringing hinders him from allowing himself to be who he truly is.

This has caused their previous friendship to falter, but Church is still in love with Miller, though willing to keep that to himself, since his previous advance in that direction wasn't welcome. Miller likes Church, and he is secretly attracted to the younger man, but he can't possibly be gay because reasons.

As the story unfolds, we get some background info on Church, and his friends Ghost and Tobias. This is not presented as an info dump, but cleverly woven into the story as flashbacks of sorts, and really paints a complete picture of Church's rough upbringing, and shows clearly how difficult his life has been so far. How lost he is, and how Miller is really a beacon for him. If only...

But the romance, slow burning from the start, that eventually unfolds between these two, as Miller starts to shed the shackles that keep him from admitting his attraction and claiming who he really is, is not the main focus of this book. There's action too, and a Russian Cartel, harassment against Church that nearly derails his journey to real adulthood, and some suspense as well, what with Ghost (who needs his own book) trying his best to... well, you should read this for yourself.

The two main characters really grow throughout the book, with Church getting his anger under control and growing up into the man he was supposed to be, and Miller freeing himself from the voice inside that belongs to his late and very homophobic father and allowing himself to return Church's affection. Their chemistry was hot, and while there are some more explicit scenes, they were tasteful and clearly showed their emotional connection. These two men just fit together, and I fully believed that they truly loved each other.

I also appreciated the author for including a strong female character in Miller's sister, and his niece was also well portrayed. While they are supporting characters, they both played a role that helped Miller and Church move forward.

Ghost was a really interesting character too, and while we don't find out much about him, or what he really does, there is sufficient information to understand that he too cares for Church, and will do what he has to so his friend has a chance to make it. Tobias too was a good friend to Church - he has a slightly different background but was there when needed, even if it might be detrimental to himself.

The plotline with the Russian Cartel was intriguing, and while I have no direct experience with that sort of thing, it did feel realistic here. I'm pretty sure this sort of thing does happen in similar ways as depicted here, and I appreciated that the author seems to have done good research into this topic.

At its core, this book is about second chances and finding redemption. These themes apply not only to Church and Miller, but also to Ghost, who's probably the most mysterious of all the characters in the book. Church and Miller are given a second chance, not only as far as their relationship is concerned, but also as far as living an authentic life, especially Miller, and finding peace with who they are, with each other, and with the lot they've been given in this life.

A highly engaging read, and highly recommended. I need more from this author. Could Ghost's story be next, please?


** 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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review 2017-03-12 04:20
Start over
At Attention - Annabeth Albert

This is book #2, in the Out Of Uniform series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader understanding and enjoyment, I recommend reading series in order.

 

Apollo has known Dylan for almost 20 years.  His big brother is Apollo's best friend.  He has always thought of him as a "kid."  Being attracted to him is a shock.  

 

Dylan has been in love with Apollo for as long as he can remember.  Now it is like breathing.  He knows Apollo needs his help, but he wants to be more.  What will it take to be seen as an equal?

 

This was a story that made me feel everything.  I laughed, cried, and wished for them to get together pretty much right away.  This author never disappoints.  I always love seeing the big alpha's fall.  Great addition to the series.  I cannot wait to read the next book.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This copy was given in exchange for an honest review, by Netgalley and its publisher.

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review 2016-10-30 01:45
ARC Review: Say It Right by A.M. Arthur
Say It Right - A.M. Arthur

This is apparently book 2 in the series, but I had no issues reading this as a standalone.

If you've read the first book, you probably remember Marc who's a former homeless ex-junkie, selling himself to survive. Having pulled himself together with a lot of help, he now runs the LGBT shelter with Tate.

Eight years ago, Anthony led a mostly charmed life, in unrequited love with his best friend Marc, until Marc was gone, kicked out of his home at 16 for being gay. Lost without his best friend, his confidant, Anthony turned to alcohol and heroin.

Now Anthony is a junkie himself, and after a couple of failed attempts to get clean, he's on the verge of an overdose.

A late night visit from Anthony's sister spurs Marc to find Anthony and get him off the streets. But there are rules. Anthony must stay clean, or Marc will kick him out. And after 6 months, if Anthony stays off the drugs, they may go on a date.

This is a rather somber story, and both men keep secrets. Marc hates being touched, for reasons that aren't clear to those around him, and Anthony struggles without the drugs to kill his pain.

There wasn't a whole lot of physical affection between them for quite a while, which made it difficult to connect with the love story, and even though they eventually got together, there was what seemed to be manufactured drama toward the end, with Marc lashing out almost inexplicably toward Anthony, which nearly derails their budding romance.

While I can to some extent understand Marc's issues, I had a hard time forgiving him for the pain he puts Anthony through.

The main focus of the story is on drug addiction and recovery, and those parts were really well done. The author let us see deeply into Anthony's struggles with sobriety, and Marc's fears of relapse himself, and the lingering pain from the abuse he suffered. Also explored are the realities of life on the street, and the difficult choices so many young people have to make to survive.

As I said, this is a rather somber story, and while we get a happy ending, it's a hard fought for one.


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

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review 2016-10-02 04:23
New taste
Outside the Lines (The Boundaries Series) - A.R. Barley

This is the 3rd book in the Boundaries series.  This book can be read as a standalone novel.  For reader enjoyment and understanding of the characters in the series, I recommend reading this series in order.

 

Mitch meets a sexy drag queen at a club, and then chickens out on meet her later.  Then he sees her again next door..... as his daughters princess.  Can he convince his neighbor that he is the real deal?

 

Chi-Chi has had enough with the wrong men.  Too many times they want only one thing and Chi-Chi wants more.  With much to offer, he is ready to find the one.  

 

So sweet and fun.  There was so much in this story for everyone.  I definitely laughed, cried and rooted for these two to get together.  This series just has so much heat and heart.  I give this story a 4/5 Kitty's Paws UP!

 

 

***This ARC copy was given by Netgalley and its publishers in exchange for an honest review.

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