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review 2017-05-26 06:27
Age gap yum yum!
At Attention (Out of Uniform #2) - Annabeth Albert
  • A Group Unicorn Review with Adam and Cupcake

    FOUR HEARTS--I've seen this author's work, perused the blurbs and I didn't bite.

    But this blurb was the prettiest show pony with SRAL approved buzz words and themes:

    widower still grieving after partner's passing (bring on the pain)
    widower has kidlets AND needs a manny
    manny is the widower's best friend's little brother
    best friend's brother has had a crush on widower since his teens


    Of course, I lassoed the hell out of this book and gobbled all the words.

    Being as it's my first Annabeth Albert read, I'm not sure how it rates on the Annabeth Albert scale. If this was very on her A-game or there's better? *shrugs*

    I was entertained and had a great time reading At Attention.

    23 year-old Dylan gets a chance of his lifetime when his unrequited crush hires and moves him in his San Diego home for the summer. Dylan's crush, 34 year old Apollo needs a nanny to take care of his adorable 4 year old twins whole Apollo works on a naval base. This book can be read as a standalone, I wasn't lost. And I'm curious about the previous and future pairings.

    Dylan tries to tamp down his lusty feelings as Apollo works through his grief. Two years has passed but there is no time limit on grieving. And Apollo is a grumpy, more reserved bundle of emotions. He would take time to start to contemplate having feelings for another man. Luckily, Apollo's libido isn't broken. And try as he might, he can't deny the easiness he has with Dylan. The camaraderie and sharing his daily worries of being a single parent added more base to their friendship foundation formed with Dylan was just a teen.

    The story is a good mix of nerdy, adorable, (lightly) angsty, sexy and sweet. Dylan can't stop his feelings from blooming once again. Apollo sees his friend's kid brother in a new light, an adult. They try going the friendship route on equal terms, but their bodies won't be denied.

    The sex in this book?

    The sex was...hot. If I had to give it a flavor, it's hot vanilla custard. Sweet, varied and with a hint of spice. (highlights: intercrural (yay!), frottage, light domination/ control a smidge of exhibition) There is mirror sex but, it could've been hotter in my opinion. I might have been spoiled by a hotter mirror scene in another NA series I've read.

    The grieving and the time given for Apollo to work through his process was more important factor for me. Apollo plays hot and cold. The ghost of his lover is one he surrounds himself with daily and it's hard to break through. Dylan makes him crack through the shell. Plus, he's possessive and doesn't want any other guy getting Dylan's time. He wants it all to his self. That was bonus characteristics that I enjoy. The possessiveness and the control in the bedroom (of course).

    The best bonus of all? Dylan wasn't a pushover. And he spoke his mind even if might hurt, be it himself or Apollo. I'm #teamDylan all day!

    This story was really good. Not Earth shattering, or extremely memorable. For all themes it had going on, it worked. The writing is easy to read, all of the characters are likeable. All of them from kids to grandmas. I really liked how it ended, well maybe before the fluffed ending. It was added sugar I could have done without. But HEA lovers will totes lurve it.

    This couple totally worked for me and I see them having a long loving future ahead of them.

    Recommended for readers who enjoy contemporary, like the tropes I listed and wallow in second chance romance.

    Come join me as I ride my pretty pony into the sunset.

    #NoRegrets #teamDylan

    A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.
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review 2017-04-05 00:00
The Young Widower's Handbook
The Young Widower's Handbook - Tom McAllister Great book. What I loved most was how realistic the characters were. Hunter, the titular widower, does not treat his recently deceased wife Kait as if she were a monument to women everywhere. He makes no attempt to hide her faults, her insecurities. He openly rejects the idea that he should pretend she was perfect and that their lives together were perfect, but he doesn't need perfection. He loves her deeply anyway.

Their relationship had the same sense of realness about it - the stupid jokes they made over and over, the little games they played. Full of romance without sap, this was my favorite giveaway win so far.
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review 2017-02-22 02:32
The Young Widower's Handbook
The Young Widower's Handbook - Tom McAllister

Given the topic and enormity of the loss depicted, I so wanted to like this book and the main character Hunter Cady. I wanted to marvel at the strength of hope and to cheer for his survival. A journey such as this is often one of healing and self-discovery, but that self-actualization does not seem to happen for Hunter. His journey seems rather to drift from thing to thing, making this not the book for me.


Read my complete review at Memories From Books - The Young Widower's Handbook


Reviewed for NetGalley


Source: www.memoriesfrombooks.com/2017/02/the-young-widowers-handbook.html
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review 2017-01-23 21:20
The Young Widower's Handbook - Tom McAllister

Poor Hunter Cady. His wife died way too soon and he just wasn't ready. When he got Kait's ashes the only thing he could think of was the trips and vacations that they dreamed about and that had never happened. So, a day or two after he received her ashes he spun the globe that she had bought him before he died. A present which he had found gift wrapped for an occasion three months away. He spun it 5 times and all 5 times it landed on the United States. That made up his mind. You can't really see the world until you really know your home country. He loaded up his car, put Kait's ashes in the passenger seat next to him and headed west.

Meanwhile his in-laws are leaving messages on his phone that they want their daughter/sister back and are threatening to go to the police. Never mind that Kait and her mother didn't really have a great relationship.

The people and activities that happen on this journey are absolutely hilarious and outlandish. He is still receiving threatening phone calls from his in-laws (one that shows his house where they have broke in and trashed the place). His parents are giving him grief and at one time his dad even flies out to bring him home. At one point, he even loses Kait.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, while parts of it were sad, the journey Hunter took was a testament of a great love. Remembering bits and pieces of their lives together showing how hard it was for him to let her go. Truly a love for the ages, an enjoyable read which I am so glad I got the chance.

Huge thanks to Algonquin Books for approving my request and to Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2016-10-09 06:54
Pardon me, is that a Pretty Woman-esque Romance in your pocket?
Rented Heart - Garrett Leigh

It's an international unicorn gang bang review with Sheziss and Adam!

4.5 HEARTS--

"Am I your only client tonight?"
"Client?" Zac regarded Liam through a haze of smoke. "This ain't Pretty Woman, mate."

 Oh, but it was.

First things first, I haven't read a Garret Leigh before this, so I don't know what the standard or normal quality is. Consider this a virgin review, you dig? (Just about the only thing virgin in here. I kid. I kid.) Leigh is another author I've been meaning to read and it takes a review book to finally pop the cherry.

But the blurb was a SRAL magnet mathematics equation:

1 grieving widower (I want to lick your sweet tears)
1 rent boy (I swear a trombone plays every time rent boy is mentioned around me)
Damaged, lonely men = SRAL jackpot!

Garrett Leigh did a great job telling a story that wasn't as dark as I originally thought it would be. Instead, it wasangstyish, no way minimizing real life situations. But it had the rent boy romance fairy tale effect going on here something fierce.

Zac, the 23 year old hooker reminded me a lot of this pic:

He's been through so much through his young life, and yet he still keeps going. Liam was supposed be an attractive john, wank fodder to push Zac through his dark days. From day one the two men have enough chemistry to light up the Eiffel Tower.

To read their business/sexual relationship progress into a meaningful one a great read.

Granted, the erotic part was scorching as hell.

"Instead Zac found himself rushing to obey his gentle commands, every instinct screaming at him to make Liam happy because pleasing Liam did amazing this to Zac's heart.
That, and he had a feeling Liam was going to fuck his brains out and he couldn't bloody wait."

There is a lot of sex. (It's a story featuring a sex worker, the reader is taken along to the aftermath of some johns) But I never got tired nor did I think it was too much for the story.

Zac and Liam try to deny each other but that electricity they share can't be denied for long. The way Zac would understand Liam's loneliness added nice touches to the story. Do I wish the couple spent more time together? Yes. But for some reason, it worked for them.

I liked Liam. He was white knight all the way and I was swept up in the fantasy of him, even if he was a surfer (I'm not into them, sorry surfer lovers). I really liked Zac. I liked his tenaciousness, even if I don't think he thinks he is. That spirit that overcomes drug addiction, survived a crap life in the system and streets...he's a wonderfully flawed character.

There were a very few twists that slowly unfurled toward the end, some that I did not see coming. Some parts were a little predictable: the fairy tale ending and way everything is neatly wrapped up in a bow. Jamie made for a good secondary character. I hope the author revisits and shares more info about him in his own starring book. The Brit slang and ease of tone proved the author has a deft hand with writing. The way it didn't get into heavy melodrama, instead letting the main men and their lives lead the direction of the book proved it to me. It wasn't the most remarkable rent boy romance I've ever read, (it's 2016 and rent boy has been done to death though I never tire of it). But it was a solid rent boy romance.

And a rent boy romance wearing the Pretty Woman swirl and a happy ending (no matter how much the story tries to deny it) always makes me stops in my tracks.

The story is a solid 4 Hearts. The fact that I can't seem to stop thinking about the main characters days after finishing? It deserves an extra half heart. I definitely won't wait too long to read another Garrett Leigh.

A copy provided via Netgalley for an honest review.

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