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review 2016-05-11 02:43
"Mister O" by Lauren Blakely
Mister O - Lauren Blakely

These are going to be quicky mini-reviews while I try to catch up on the last month's untracked reading.


This was very entertaining and sexy. First person POV from male protagonist (who is not a douche or manwhore, for all he's been around the block). Best friends' little sister trope. Some miscommunication toward the end diminished my enjoyment.

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review 2016-04-11 13:16
"Giving it Up" by Audra North
Giving It Up (Pushing the Boundaries) - Audra North

Since the abomination that is the Fifty Shades phenomenon, the romance genre has been glutted with BDSM, and it can be hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. I liked this book about two novices exploring kink together. Beatrice overhears the cop she's crushing on on the phone with a professional dominatrix service, and decides to offer her services instead. Neither of them know what they're doing, but they find their way together by going slowly and by paying attention to each other. If you're looking for hardcore, this is likely to be too sweet and too vanilla for you, but this story has enough spice to please more casual readers.


My one frustration with the story, which is somewhat ironic given how well the lovers communicated and checked in with each other while navigating their mutual intro to kink, is that outside of the bedroom Beatrice and Warren are terrible communicators. They make wrongheaded assumptions about each other and expect the other to know things they've never discussed, and the resulting mistakes and hurt feelings were just as annoying here as these sorts of plots always are.


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review 2016-04-11 12:58
"Getting it Back" by Elizabeth Harmon
Getting It Back - Elizabeth Harmon

I liked the first book in this series, "Pairing Off," but I found "Getting it Back" to be a total snoozefest. I had to force myself to finish. The plot is very slow and detailed, and I never warmed up to the characters, who don't communicate very well. The ending was a total cliche. Ugh!

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review 2016-03-10 13:01
"Us" by Sarina Bowen & Elle Kennedy
Us - Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen

I don't read much m/m, but I love Sarina Bowen, and I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Him, because it was refreshing to see an authentic portrayal of bisexuality instead of yet another Gay-for-You trope. (Dear Straight Women Authors Writing M/M Romance: Gay-for-You? That's not really a thing. Love, a Bisexual Mama in a Same-Sex Marriage)


Us continues telling the story of Jamie and Wes's relationship. They've moved to Toronto; Wes is having a terrific rookie season in the NFL, and Jamie has a job he enjoys coaching gifted young goalies in a junior league. They've agreed to keep their relationship in the closet until Wes's rookie season is over, because he needs to prove his value as a player before putting his team through the media storm of his coming out -- otherwise, the team may just cut him loose.


The pressures of keeping their relationship under wraps strains too much, though, when one of Wes's teammates moves into their building and starts showing up at all hours of the day and night. Suddenly, Wes and Jamie can't even relax and be themselves in their own home. Add to that the stresses of Wes's demanding travel schedule and some troubles at Jamie's jobs, and both start to question whether their relationship can survive.


As with Him, I found Us refreshingly authentic. The pressures on Jamie and Wes are not just conflict for the sake of Plot; they are the same adjustments most people make in finding their feet in their first long-term, committed relationship and in their first adult job, complicated by the confines of the Closet. I also appreciated that Jamie and Wes were not closeted because of shame or fear; that they were both totally okay with who they are and with their relationship and they had a plan for coming out as soon as Wes proves himself a Hockey Player and not just as "the first gay guy in the NHL." I understood his need to prove himself, because he is gay but he is not only gay.


As with Him, my only frustration with this book was that Jamie and Wes did not always communicate as well as they should have, but they always had the necessary difficult conversations eventually -- just not as quickly as I might have liked.


If there's more to this series, I will definitely read on.

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review 2016-01-16 21:39
"Breaking the Rules" by Katie McGarry
Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits Book 6) - Katie McGarry

Breaking the Rules picks up right where Pushing the Limits leaves off, following Noah and Echo as they spend the summer road tripping after their college graduation. As I noted in my review of Pushing the Limits, Noah and Echo have especially tragic backstories, such that, much as I liked and rooted for them both, it was hard for me to envision them living happily ever after. As I expected, Breaking the Rules makes clear that their relationship is not going to be all sunshine and roses -- though there are sunshiny, rosy moments throughout. Noah and Echo both have a lot of baggage to unpack and destructive patterns they need to break out of, and this book is about them figuring out how to start doing that. It's honest, it's believable, it's emotional... but it's not fun. This book is more painful that Pushing the Limits, but in many ways it's more credible. 

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