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review 2018-12-31 23:09
Better Not Pout by Annabeth Albert 3.5 Star Review!
Better Not Pout - Annabeth Albert

One hard-nosed military police officer.

One overly enthusiastic elf.

One poorly timed snowstorm.

Is it a recipe for disaster? Or a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for holiday romance?

Teddy MacNally loves Christmas and everything that goes along with it. When he plays an elf for his charity’s events, he never expects to be paired with a Scrooge masquerading as Santa Claus. His new mission: make the holiday-hating soldier believe he was born to say ho-ho-ho.

Sergeant Major Nicholas Nowicki doesn’t do Santa, but he’s army to his blood. When his CO asks an unusual favor, Nick of course obliges. The elf to his Kris Kringle? Tempting. Too tempting—Nick’s only in town for another month, and Teddy’s too young, too cheerful and too nice for a one-night stand. 

The slow, sexy make-out sessions while Teddy and Nick are alone and snowbound, though, feel like anything but a quick hookup. As a stress-free holiday fling turns into Christmas all year round, Teddy can’t imagine his life without Nick. And Nick’s days on the base may be coming to a close, but he doesn’t plan on leaving anything, or anyone, behind.

 

Review

 

As usual, Annabeth Albert delivers well developed heros in Nick and Teddy all wrapped up in a Christmas blanket. 

I like each hero's individual journey but especially Nick's as he resees his life as he get ready to retire.

It is a sweet romance and quiet. The love story itself could be more compelling but I am charmed. 

I was given this book for an honest review. So, there you have it!

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review 2018-12-18 20:59
Bundled Up (Portland Heat #1-3)
Bundled Up (Portland Heat) - Annabeth Albert

This was disappointing. I really liked Albert's #gaymers series and was hoping this would be more of the same, but alas it was not. This contains the first three novellas of the Portland Heat series, and each one is just not up to snuff. They're rather superficial, actually, with each couple falling into lust with each other and that eventually leads to love after lots and lot and lots of redundant sex scenes. Usually, I'll at least skim the sex scenes if they're spread out enough, but there were too many even for that and I just started skipped them all. What was left was pretty standard fare, but with MCs that were terrible at communication. At least it took them longer than the standard 30 days to say the ILUs and move in together, a timeline that's painfully common in romance these days, so there's that. All stories are 1st-person POV with only one MC getting the POV per story, and all their voices sounded the same.

 

Served Hot - 2 stars

 

Robby has his own coffee cart in the business district and has the hots for one of the white-collars who comes to his cart every day. David is a finance director despite being rather young for the position, and he's on the nerdy side. David's getting over a relationship that ended when his lover died, and Robby is the insecure pushy needy emo-dude that he gets stuck with. Yeah, I wasn't feeling this couple at all.

 

Baked Fresh - 3 stars

 

Vic is a baker whose addiction to food - and his male relatives' young deaths from heart disease - led him to getting a laparoscopic band surgically placed around his stomach. Robin is a trust-fund baby who's a recovering drug addict and volunteers at a homeless shelter to atone for his past misdeeds while high. He also has a series of sexual hangups that of course can be cured only by lots and lots of sex. *sigh* Counseling is a thing, you know? I did not at all like Vic calling Robin "boy" during sex - brain bleach please! - or the mildly quasi-D/s dynamic their sexual relationship had, but I did like the relationship outside the bedroom, especially once they started talking to and supporting each other. These two actually did the most talking and connecting of these three couples. I could believe they'd actually have a future together.

 

Delivered Fast - 2.5 stars

 

Oh, it was fast all right. Lance, a younger cousin of Vic, is going to college to be a physical therapist and working part-time making deliveries for bakery where Vic works. Chris - whose name isn't mentioned until more than halfway through the book - co-owns a coffee shop with his ex. Chris is really old, y'all. He's mid-30s! *gasp* and so of course the age gap becomes an issue, and Chris is an immature dweeb about it. Lance is just barely given any depth, most of it in the last half of the novella. I skimmed a lot of the set-up with this one, because I was bored with the "guy-sees-guy, guys-boink-a-lot-of-times, and eventually start acting like a couple" formula. The blurb promises clever double entendres - I don't think the blurb writer knows what those are. And how do you not hear someone riding up on a motorcycle? That scene made no sense. Well, a lot of scenes don't make much sense in this series so far, but that one took the cake. I also wasn't feeling this couple, though this one ended stronger than it started.

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review 2018-12-06 02:52
Better not pout, I'm telling you why...
Better Not Pout - Annabeth Albert

‘Better Not Pout’ is an entertaining, uncomplicated, sexy, fun holiday story that takes one grumpy wanna’ be Scrooge with a slightly broken family and adds in a cute, sexy, twinkish elf with blond curls and a well meaning but meddlesome family then dresses it all up with a small community, some snow and a series of unfortunate events often tinged with humorous moments to create a holiday story filled with the spirit of the season and the best Christmas present ever…the gift of love.

 

At 46 years old Sergeant Major Nick Nowicki is about to retire…whether he’s ready or not and he’s got a plan. Nick’s also a bit of a bah-humbug sort of guy and Karma’s about to mess with him in the form of his CO making a slightly irregular request of him. But Nick’s determined to see it through when she asks him to step into the role of Santa Clause that her husband normally fills. Feeling like he can’t say no, Nick agrees and heads off to Mineral Spirits where he meets Santa’s elf in the form of one sexy, mischievous, blond haired and twinkish elf, named Teddy.

 

Teddy gets one look at his new Santa and he’s ready to climb him like a tree. Nick likes what he sees when he meets Santa’s elf, but he’s determined to get in, do the job and get out...keep it strictly professional. What he’s not counting on is just how much one adorable, feisty elf can melt his heart with nothing more than sincerity, honestly and some adorable blond curls.

 

On paper this pair probably shouldn’t work…there’s a fairy significant age gap, Nick’s a by the book career military man, he’s estranged from his family all but his sister and while they try to maintain a relationship it’s nothing like the closely-knit bonds that Teddy shares with his own family. Nick’s a by the book military man who’s buried himself in his career losing contact with not only his family but friends over the years as well, but Teddy’s all about the family and friends so much so that after college he’s returned to the community where he grew up to use his education in a position that allows him to help out and give back to the community that he grew up in. These two men are even polar opposites physically but in spite of everything they’re drawn to each other.

 

Despite all their differences Nick and Teddy work as a couple. They fit. Teddy knows it and he wants a happily ever after for him and Nick but wishing and wanting doesn’t always make dreams come true especially when one man’s heading for Florida and the other man isn’t sure that he can bring himself to give up his hometown, it’s going to take both men willing to compromise and meet in the middle to give them the holiday happiness that will last throughout the years to come.

 

This is only my second time reading this author and I have to admit I’m looking forward to reading a lot more. I loved the pacing and flow of this story and once again Ms Albert has taken the adage of ‘opposites attract’ and made it into a story that’s every bit as believable as it is enjoyable. This one’s definitely recommended for anyone who’s looking to find out what happens when Santa Clause comes to town!

 

*************************

 

A copy of ‘Better Not Pout’ was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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review 2018-08-26 00:00
On Point
On Point - Annabeth Albert I must be in a mood, because I kinda teared up during this one. or I am a sucker for friend-to-lover types. I don't know, there was so great drama/angst in this one and ended up being my favorite couple.

the dialogue is still an odd sticking point for me in these books, it doesn't wow me. And until the couple works through feels, I really hated to sex scenes. Maybe I was feeling all their awkward and that was good, but it was rough.
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review 2018-08-15 00:00
At Attention (Out of Uniform #2)
At Attention (Out of Uniform #2) - Annabeth Albert I found the age Gap in this one troubling. Not cause of the amount, but how they knew each other. 12 years might not throw me much generally. I think it's fairly common in romance, but they kept bringing up how they meet when the younger hero was 15. I would've been ok if it weren't for constant reminders.

Other than that, it was fairly middle of the road. Looking forward to the next one though.
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