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review 2015-11-06 00:00
Him - Elle Kennedy,Sarina Bowen

4.5 stars all around

I admit it, I was hestitant to read this. I had it sitting on my shelf for a relatively long time before actually picking it up. Because I have one all-time favorite book about a hockey player and a somewhat washed-up dancer/med student, namely Fairy-Tale, and I loved this to pieces ever since I found it as a free story on fanfiktion.de.

And I never found a book featuring a hockey player or hockey in general afterwards that grabbed me so completely. Additionally, hockey is not exactly "my" sport - I'm a soccer girl and always will be. But in the end, this book got so many high praise from people I follow, I just had to try it. And I was really not disappointed.

Ryan and Jamie were best friends before it all went to hell in a way that neither of them ever really understood. When they meet again, it all comes back - and is still as connfusing as it was years ago. I really liked the writing here, and also the pace of the story. Their misunderstandings, miscommunication and even the development of the physical and emotional side of their tentative relationship felt real to me, and I had a lot of fun reading about it. I know, some readers complained quite loudly about the juvenile way these two behaved and, most of all, talked at times. Which is, in my opion, one of the things that really worked well here. These two guys are inexperienced young men who spent most of their adolescence in locker rooms and on the field. I'm not sure what people expected, but I sure got exactly what I was prepared for. A lot of swearing, a lot of childish pranks and jokes, and a ton of brash talk and pretending to know all the answers to questions they feel the most insecure about. So, yeah, if you have a problem with things like that, this book probably isn't for you. These guys behave and talk exactly like almost every other young guy growing up on a hockey/socker/football field.

I also really liked the solution, especially for Ryan. I'm not a huge fan of the GFY-trope, mostly because I never met someone who was just "gay for one person", and a lot of stories I read about this topic felt somewhat forced or unrealistic to me. But that's just me. Also, I love it when authors include bi-sexual main characters without reinforcing negative stereotypes about them. Because the "B" in LGBTQA+ tends to be forgotten as much as the "A" or the "+" in literature, and if it's used, more often then not, it makes me hopping mad with how it's handled. The infidelity, the "indecision", the either-or mentality - because if you aren't, you don't have a sexuality, but are just a coward to admit to being gay. I've heard and read it all - from all sides of the field, so to speak. Which is probably one reason why I liked this story so much.

I also enjoyed how the author let's the guys grow and flourish without beating the same old path to death again. It wasn't all predictable, I was surprised a time or three, which is always a big plus in my book.

All in all, a very well written story, with a touch of reality to it that made it more enjoyable to read. Also, these two guys are hot together, their banter was amusing to me rather then annoying, and overall I had some great fun reading this one. Definitely recommended if you're looking for a sexy, fun frenemies-to-lovers story in a sports environment.

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review 2015-11-03 00:00
Another Shot
Another Shot - J.H. Knight

4 smiling stars for Adam & Brad

Oh, I was so looking forward to this. I like J.H. Knights writing so much and her characters really draw me in. This story was no exception, and it put a huge smile on my face. I loved Adam! Brad was more of a mytsery to me, but he was adorable in his own way. These two together were hot and sweet, but maybe a little... impulsive at times.

My only complaint? The blurb gives away practically everything! I wish it wa shorter, or at least less revealing, because it took a little bit of fun out of this shorty by giving away just a bit too much. I still really liked it, though. Mostly angst-free, sweet & sexy. Something to make you happy and smile.

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review 2015-10-26 00:00
Vespertine - Indra Vaughn,Leta Blake

4.5 stars, rounded up to 5 because I'm so sorry for being so overly sceptical in the beginning

Oh my god, I can't believe I actually thought about putting this on my "never-going-to-read-shelf" and be done with it. But this was such a tough sell for me. Leta Blake is - I'm sorry to say it - not my most favorite author. Mainly because I had some issues with parts of Training Season, and started one other book that didn't make it on my kindle after I finished the sample and wasn't thrilled. Also, a gay priest and a rock star? I was so sceptical when I started, I almost expected to dnf this.

But holy f-ing Christ on a stick - pun intended. Was I ever WRONG. Jasper, an out but celibate priest, and Nicky, singer and songwriter hitting rock bottom too damn early in his life, drew me in so fast, I didn't even realize it until it was three in the morning and I still coulnd't stop reading.

I admit it freely, I'm a sucker for the hurt-feelings-in-the-past-theme. I love a well written story where two people who hurt and abandoned each other somehow find their way back through all the molasses that is hurt pride, broken hearts and destroyed trust, to something so new and so deep, that they can't help but explore all of it. I fell especially hard for Nicky. In some ways he could have been the absolute rock star cliché, but he really wasn't. His childhood was not desolate and lonely, even though he had a very bad start in life (to put it mildly). Jaz was not exactly my most favorite person in the world, and he too, had the potential to be the walking cartoon image of a closeted clergy man.

In the end, they both weren't what I thought they would be, which was not only refreshing, but grabbed me and didn't let me go until the last page was turned. The writing was beautiful, the journey of the two not too fast and not too slow.

The only wish I had, that wasn't fullsilled, was the sex problem. I was really hoping for a different outcome after their make-out session on their island. In a way, it was nice to not have Jaz being destroyed by his anxieties and guilt after the deed was done. But on the other hand it would have been nice to have him figure his life out, especially him leaving the priesthood, before he gave his heart and body to Nicky completely. I felt a little bit akward reading their sensual, hot sex scene, when I had the same issues Nicky had. Namely, my absolute conviction that everything would go to shit once Jaz was done thinking with his dick. In the end, it didn't, bless the authors. But it was still not what I was hoping for.

Additionally, Jaz' lack of gut-wrenching confusion, his guilt, the severe conflict between his heart and his faith, fell somewhat flat here. Not even after he broke his vows, threw a life-long commitment to his church and his faith out of the window, did some of the crushing feelings and/or guilt come. In a way, I was ecstatic, because I am a big opponent of the abstinence of catholic priests and nuns - because I'm sorry, but this is not only against everything evolution and biology tells your body to do, it's also unhealthy, outdated and in my opinion, unnecessary and cruel. But that's a story for another day. What I wanted to say was, it was nice not to have Jaz going completely bonkers after sleeping with Nicky for the first time. On the other hand I would have liked to see at least a little bit more struggle with his beliefs. Since they were the most important thing in his life for years.

Oh well, you can't have your caker and eat it, too. And in the end, there were really enough problems and struggles to last a lifetime or three. Didn't change the fact that I enjoyed the hell out of this story and would recommend it to every fan of the hurt-comfort theme. It's beautifully done here.

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review 2015-10-22 00:00
Home is a Fire
Home is a Fire - Jordan Nasser

3.5 debut-stars

A good debut for a new M/M writer.

I stumbled over this one, and was intrigued. Derek, a young man who could've had everything he wanted, leaves his life and love in New York behind and goes home. Means back to the South, his mother and curious Uncle, a bunch of true friends and most importantly, getting away from his fiancé. And he loves it, all of it. The food, the language, the nights out with his friend and his new job as a teacher. The only blib on his negativity-radar? His old high school crush and former tormentor.

I enjoyed reading this debut of Jordan Nasser. I liked the groundwork Nasser layed out, and I warmed up to Derek after a little while. He isn't bad, he's just not the easiest character to like. He has his issues, one of them running away every time it get's too hard to try. Which is not one of the most admirable personality traits in my book. On the other hand, Derek is sweet and caring, if a little self-absorbed. What made me really like the story though, were the side characters. Granted, some of them might come over as clichéd a time or two. But in the grand scheme of things, it was an adorable, wildly mixed bunch. They made me laugh and chuckle a lot.

It would have been nice to get to know a little more about Derek's motivations. Why all the running? Why the need to go back to "safety" when you already know it's a bad idea? But maybe stuff like that could be part of a second part in the series? *wink-wink-nudge-nudge*

Why "only" 3.5 stars? I liked the story, just had some issues here and there with Derek. But mostly, I was not really satisfied with the ending. It didn't feel right to have Derek "switch" sides like it was nothing. You don't want me anymore? Fine, I'll go back to my ex - and vice versa. In a heartbeat. Alright, not really in a heartbeat - he took his time and it was written in a somewhat believable manner. I just didn't like it.

The other thing? Tenses! I'm not that nit-picky when it comes to grammar or vocabulary - I'm not a native speaker mayself. But here, I was irritated every so often because the tenses were all over the place. Past, present, perfect - you name it, you got it and not always in the correct way. So yes, I was a little distracted by that.

All in all, a really good debut novel that I enjoyed quite a bit. Looking forward to the second installment in the series and other works by this author.

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review 2015-04-22 15:03
[SERIES READ] Blacktop Cowboys by Lorelei James
One Night Rodeo (Audio) - Lorelei James,Scarlet Chase
Turn and Burn - Lorelei James
Hillbilly Rockstar - Lorelei James
Corralled - Lorelei James

Placeholder (comments to come whenever GR decides to load for me & let me log in)



*** March 2015 reads***


Yes, I read yet another series out of order―specifically, books #4-6, and then back to #1.  Chalk it up to cranky book fussies (or female’s prerogative) partly due to #1’s basic storyline. ;-)

Source: karmabites.booklikes.com/post/1150667/series-read-blacktop-cowboys-by-lorelei-james
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