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review 2017-03-18 01:19
ARC Review: Momo: My Everything by Posy Roberts
Momo: My Everything - Posy Roberts

Many, many moons ago, I read the first chapter of this book in a different incarnation, and I also have the previously published version of the whole book.

I struggled with a review for a while, and I'm still not sure that what you're about to read is going to accurately convey my thoughts.

There were many things I liked about this book, especially Nate. His carefree, easy-going persona really appealed to me, but I could also see that he had much inner strength, and a forgiving nature, which was truly needed in light of the stupid shit that sometimes came out of William's mouth.

Which brings me to William - he's the sole POV in this book - who made me cringe on more than one occasion while reading. His self-loathing was evident, even if he didn't think of himself that way, but the fact that he hides his sexuality behind drab colors and a strict and no-nonsense personality at work was telling. While he was more open about his sexuality outside of work, we're also told that he's normally attracted to jock types, and that flamboyant, twinky men don't usually do it for him, and thus the anomaly of his attraction to Nate was somewhat of a shock to him. I didn't enjoy being in his head, for most of the book, and he came across as judgmental and also somewhat ignorant. Like, it's okay to be gay when it's not obvious, and Nate's obvious gayness is a strike against him. Internalized homophobia is not a good look on you, honey.

Nate has an alter ego of sorts - on weekends, he works as a Geisha in a Japanese Tea House, as Momo. In fact, all the Geishas are male underneath the make-up and wigs, and most of the customers have no idea. He's out and proud, a bit flamboyant and unapologetic about it. I liked him from the start - his wicked humor, his easy smile, and his openness.

William and others from his company are enjoying a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, when William notices the somewhat prominent Adam's apple of the Geisha serving him and realizes that it's a man. He's intrigued, and when the young man gives him a business card with his phone number, William decides (after much soul-searching) to give him a call and ask for a date.

Nate/Momo sees something in William, though I couldn't understand what exactly that is. Perhaps he saw the lonely man who convinced himself he isn't lonely at all. Since we don't really get to know Nate other than through William's eyes, I couldn't discern what really drew him to William.

What bothered me the most is that William sought approval from three important people in his life - his brother, his mother, and his loctitian who's been doing his locs for a long time. I thought it someone strange that a grown man was so insecure in himself and his feelings for another man (albeit someone that didn't meet his usual attraction profile) that he had to seek the approval of others to ensure he was making a good decision. It just felt odd to me. What if they hadn't liked Nate? Would William have let him go?

Another thing that bothered me was William chastising himself for desiring Momo just as he desired Nate - as if they were two different people - and thinking that it was wrong. That he was wrong for wanting both. He also tested Nate at almost every turn, and I really didn't like William for doing that. He seemed to expect Nate to fail, and when he doesn't, William seemed surprised. I wanted to reach into the book and shake Nate to just drop William's judgmental ass. I think in these situations, it would have helped to have Nate's POV to make me understand what he saw in William and why he kept jumping through all those hoops for the guy.

William did eventually get his act together and redeem himself, though it was a long and draining road to read through to his happy ending.

There are a few sensual scenes, and I liked one of them best. The rest do further the plot, so there's no gratuitous hanky-panky here.

Overall, it's a good story, but not the best I've read by this author. That title remains with the North Star series.


** I received a free copy from the author. A positive review was not promised in return. **

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review 2017-03-14 23:36
ARC Review: Lickety Split by Damon Suede
Lickety Split - Damon Suede

This was at once an utterly fascinating character study of an old cowboy and a young man who lost his heart to that same cowboy long ago, and an utterly frustrating read at times, what with the slow dance around the truth these two men insist upon, but also utterly satisfying in the end, when they both get that what they want, but don't know how to ask for.

I don't have a lot of exposure to Damon Suede's writing. I read Bad Idea many moons ago, so this one didn't pop my Damon Suede cherry, but still - haven't read much by this author at all.

Still, Bad Idea was impressive, and when this here book came along, I snapped it up. Enemies to Lovers trope set in deep down Texas between a young man who ran away from the homophobia long time ago, and his object of desire/tormenter - hells, yeah, sign me up!

This book has to be read slowly, and savored. There's so much between the lines that it's easy to miss a point or five the author is trying to make if you're rushing through it.

On the surface, Patch (the younger man) and Tucker (the older one) are complete opposites.

Patch is going places, he has plans to take his DJing to the next level by opening a club, he's young and full of come, and hook-ups are all he needs. He doesn't want to go back to Texas and has no desire to revisit his past.

Tucker, on the other hand, is nothing more than a washed-up cowboy-cum-caretaker who looks after the farm Patch's parents own, and who lives in a rundown trailer on property. He thinks his time has passed, and that he has nothing to offer anyone, so he's alone and a bit lonely sometimes too. Except for his dog, he's really go no one to talk to day in and day out.

Yep, on the surface, they're as different as night and day. And there's some bad history there too, with Tucker having tormented Patch during his stint playing high school football, when Patch was just a skinny thing and Tucker his coach.

When Patch's parents die in an accident, all he wants to do is get in town to take care of business and get himself back to NYC, pronto. Except, time slows down in Texas, and so do Patch's plans to sell the farm quickly and leave.

This book is truly a character study. It's fascinating to watch the interactions between Patch and Tucker, and both of them changing before your eyes. Yes, there's sexy times too, and even in those, the fundamental differences between the two men are highlighted. Hot, sweaty nights give way to leisurely hours at the pond, with a bit of edging for pleasure added for good measure. Patch learns to slow down, and Tucker learns that sometimes it's okay to say "I love you" instead of expecting the other person to simply know.

They both learn to communicate, in words and deeds, as the story progresses. Mistakes and misunderstandings notwithstanding, both men, young and old, grow in this book. As Patch cleans out the house where he used to live, he takes stock of his life and also learns that you can take the boy outta Texas, but you can't take Texas outta the boy. And that maybe not all is as it seemed back then.

Slowly, carefully, Damon Suede peels back the layers of his characters, showing his readers time and again that he has mastered his craft, creating and exploring two exquisite and completely oppositional characters with depth and heart and determination. There are moments that are utterly breathtaking, and they sneak up on you so unexpectedly that you can't help but sit there with your gaping maw, wondering what just happened.

Read this, savor this. It's masterfully done.


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

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review 2017-03-14 22:57
ARC Review: Step By Step by K.C. Wells
Step by Step - K.C. Wells

Imagine sitting by yourself in a library, wracking your brain to figure out to come up with money for rent, for tuition, and that pesky food you need, all while being just 20 years old and working three jobs, because your parents have blown your college fund on their acrimonious divorce, when suddenly, the older, good-looking and seemingly wealthy man sitting at a table across from you makes you an offer that sounds too good to be true - come live at his house (it's big enough), save money on rent, keep going to college to become a lawyer like you want, and I'll even teach you how to cook.

You'd be running out the door as fast as your feet can carry you, amirite? Because nobody is that generous without wanting a little something in return. Right?

Well, in the case of Step By Step, you'd be wrong.

Jamie is 20, broke as fuck, and doesn't know how to come up with the next month's rent. He's approached by Guy, 38, who was once in a similar situation and who was saved from the poorhouse by someone making the same offer he's now making to Jamie. He's genuine, nice, and wanting to pay it forward.

Oh, and he's gay. With an ex-wife, grown kids, and still mourning the loss of his lover/benefactor a few years ago.

So Jamie, once he's gotten over the shock and disbelief, moves in with Guy. Has use of a car. Drops one, then another of his three jobs. And learns to cook. And makes Guy laugh and smile more than Guy can remember.

And falls in love. When Jamie turns 21, he musters his courage and asks Guy for a kiss. At this point, Guy is already head over heels, but still thinks that Jamie is straight. Surprise!!

There's very little drama here between Guy and Jamie, and I loved that. The age gap is mentioned, but doesn't cause any friction between the two men, as Guy realizes that Jamie is an adult and makes his own decision, and if falling in love with Guy is what he wants, then Guy is only to happy to return the sentiments.

The drama in this book is primarily caused by people outside of their relationship, primarily Guy's spoiled brat of a son, and his petty ex-wife. Guy's daughter is cut from a different cloth, and since they're close in age, she and Jamie become fast friends quickly.

Time and again Jamie surprises Guy with his maturity level, and there were moments when I wanted to smack Guy just a little bit, because he shouldn't have been so surprised, dammit. Though I forgave him when he introduced Jamie to some of his friends and thus provides a leg up for the young man, consistent in supporting his aspirations, just like he promised he would.

Also, sexy times. HOLY SMOKING SHEETS, BATMAN!! Jamie goes after what he wants, he doesn't care about labels and only sees the person - cue "let's get it on". This author can really, really write the sexy times and bring across ALL the feelz. *fans self*

The ending - gah. Beautiful. Might have sniffled just a little.

This book was lovely and I enjoyed every moment I spent reading it, HEA and all. Definitely recommended!


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

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review 2017-03-14 22:31
Release Day ARC Review: Two Cowboys And A Baby by B.A. Tortuga
Two Cowboys and a Baby (Dreamspun Desires Book 30) - BA Tortuga

On the surface, there's a cute story here. You got cowboys, small town antics, and even an abandoned baby on your doorstep that holds the twisted answer to a long-kept secret. So, I was ready for cute and sweet and lots of cowboys. And I got that, to some extent.

What didn't work for me as well were some parts of the relationship bromance between Hoss (the supposed baby-daddy) and Bradley, two men who've been friends forever and a day, but who had a falling out when Hoss came out to Bradley way back when in high school. I totally believed that Hoss was in love with Bradley, and that Bradley was in love with Hoss - no issues there - and when Bradley confessed to Hoss that maybe back then he was an idiot, and he's regretted that ever since, their bromance became much more and their romantic relationship really took off.

The parts that were harder to swallow had to do with the revelations about the little innocent baby Hoss finds on his doorstep one morning, and how she looks a little too much like Hoss, and how the DNA test shows that .... well, I'll let y'all read this yourself. The drama that unfolds between Bradley and Hoss was, while understandable, a little out of left field. Up until that point, I thought that the back and forth banter between them showcased their relationship, and they truly felt like they'd been friends for a very long time. So it was a bit of a shock for me to see Bradley react the way he did when that twist came about, and while the lack of real communication between them was indicative of their relationship, I would have thought that Bradley wouldn't be such a dumbass and trusted Hoss a bit more than what he did. Yeah, yeah, surely the "surprise" was a shock to them all, but when your man tells you "no, I didn't", then maybe you ought to stop and listen instead of being all Judgy McJudgerson, eh?

I also thought that the twist was a bit over the top, but then I've come to expect that sort of over the top kind of thing from this series, so I wasn't put off by it. I adored Hoss being all awkward with the baby, without a clue what to do, so that part rang true for me. Even if his mama came to help out a bit.

The author really captured the small town Texas feel, and made me feel like I was right there at the rodeo with Hoss and Bradley - well done, that.

Also, if your sheriff's name is Pooter - 'nuff said. I giggled a lot whenever he was on page. Stereotypical small town characters all around, and that part was a lot of fun.

This was an enjoyable read, even if I didn't like some parts. The book works well within the Dreamspun Desires series, and should be read the way it was intended - as a bit of fluff, a bit over the top, and a "love will save the day" kind of romance.


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

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review 2017-03-13 23:12
ARC Review: Insight (The Community #1) by Santino Hassell
Insight (The Community Book 1) - Santino Hassell

Well, folks - I'm no longer a Santino Hassell virgin. This is the book for which I traded in my v-card, and now I sit here, wondering what on earth is wrong with me for holding out for so long.

Insight is the first book in a new series called The Community. I'm not going to explain to you what The Community in question is or what its purpose is - I'm just going to let you read this book (I encourage you to read this book. I demand you read this book, OMG) and let Nate take you inside what can only be described as an intriguing, intense, slightly creepy and twisted mindfuck.

I'm sure we've all at one point or another idly wished for a super-human power, like being able to read people's minds or feel their emotions or manipulate them into doing our bidding without them realizing their being manipulated or predict what the future holds or... well, you get my drift. Now imagine, really imagine, being able to do just one of those things.

Nate Black, for example, is an empath. He can feel people's emotions, as well as emotions attached to an every day object, such as a necklace. Imagine for a minute what that might do to a person, to always feel every emotion someone else has, just because you're touching them. Imagine greeting someone with a handshake, or someone just bumping into you while you're walking down the street or in a crowded train, and you feel. every. thing. Just as if they were your own feelings. Imagine wondering if what the other person feels are their true feelings or the ones you pushed on them with your empath ability.

Ask Nate how that feels, when you're an empath but cannot control this supposed "gift", and you feel it all, all the time. Ask Nate how it feels when your mama just up one day and leaves you, and you're stuck with your aunt, who doesn't even like you much. Ask Nate what it's like to be bullied in high school because he's gay, and the one boy he liked turned on him, because possibly, your uncontrolled powers pushed your own feelings unto this boy, and you just can't be sure whether the feelings were yours or his. And also, your brother was an asshole. You too might be cynical and lonely and depressed, avoiding people whenever you can.

When Nate's twin brother Theo turns up dead in New York from an apparent suicide, and the story doesn't gel with a vision Nate has in a dream, Nate decides that maybe it's time to hitch a ride to NYC himself and ask some questions about what really happened to his more powerful brother.

Fortuitously, Nate manages to hitch a ride with Trent, a normal human, who's also one of the few from whom Nate gets positive feelings. Warmth. Kindness. Someone who makes him feel that he's not just a fuck-up, someone who floods him with good emotions upon first touch.

The author takes his readers on a wild ride from Texas to New Orleans to NYC, and that's not even half the book. Once Trent and Nate arrive in NYC, the creepiness factor only increases. I'll refer you to the intense and twisted mindfuck comment above.

There's a romance here, yes, but it does not take center stage, and instead provides the basis for the plot. It's like the wrapper around the whole thing, really, like a rubber band that holds Nate together so he can focus on finding out the truth. Like a beacon in the darkness, Trent is all that is good and true, and possibly the only person Nate trusts.

Be prepared for unexpected twists and turns, and more than one "holy shit, what just happened?". I won't tell you anymore than that.

It's a wild ride, but I couldn't put this book down for any length of time until I had finished. If this is the kind of book this author produces, I may need my sanity checked for holding out this long.

Run, don't walk, to get yourself a copy. It's available now.

Highly recommended.

Also, where's the next installment, Mr. Hassell? I needs it. I needs it bad!!


** 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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