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review 2018-03-12 02:58
ARC Review: Orange by B.G. Thomas
Orange - B.G. Thomas
I'm going to first talk about the book, the story, the two MCs, and the writing. The author's typical writing style is within the pages, and its familiarity (I have read almost all of this author's books) was soothing. I also liked the plot of two very different people meeting and finding each other, finding what they needed from each other, forging a path together that will surely lead them to their happy ever after. and experiencing personal growth. Both Frank and Roy are flawed and complex, both keep others at arm's length - Frank because of what he was taught by his father Glen (more on him soon), and Roy because of shame and fear. Because he was in jail, and because he's only recently figured out that he might be gay. 

I liked Harry and Cody, and Roy's grandmother as supporting characters, who all brought something the the table, and in some instances served as catalysts to further the plot. While we don't find out a lot about Harry and Cody in this book, there are some revelations about Roy's granny that really moved the plot forward. 

I loved how the romance unfolded, how Frank was blindsided by his feelings for Roy, how he tried to deny them, and how he failed. I loved how Roy began questioning his sexuality, and how his reflections of his actions in the past helped him get a clearer picture and overcome his fear. Obviously, there's angst in this book, as the two men approach the budding relationship from two very different angles, and neither is certain early on that a pursuit of the relationship is advisable or desirable. There are missteps, there is fear, there is shame, and there is anger. But ultimately, this book is about two very different men falling and being in love, perhaps for the very first time in their lives. Their path to real love was a bit rough and had a few sharp turns, but they stayed the course.

And now, let's talk about Glen, Frank's father. Massive mother bear rant ahead. You'll want to skip to the end if that sort of thing bothers you. Since it's also slighly spoilerish, there be some tags around some of it. 

Glen made me ragey. Here we have a man who decided to do a huge fuck-you to his ex-wife, the mother of his child, and basically city-hopped with their son from age 5 until Frank had enough of the nomadic lifestyle and forged his own path in KC. Sure, Frank's life with Glen wasn't entirely horrible, and he sure got to see some awesome places, but Glen's endless womanizing and the constant moving, really screwed with Frank's sense of self, knowing his place in the world, and his views on love and finding a life partner. I was already pissed at Glen fairly early on, when I found out about the constant moving and introducing woman after woman into the life of his impressionable son and seeming to be PROUD of that shit, but when the real truth comes out
and Frank's mother contacts him, tearfully confessing that she's been looking for him for 20 years, and that Glen kept eluding her, and then hearing from Glen that one particular woman he was romancing, with whom Frank had developed a strong relationship, was dropped because she was pregnant and subsequently had an abortion, pretty much as Glen's behest
(spoiler show)
  - well, that took the fucking cake. My status update at that point, around 60% or so (I wasn't keeping track, really, because I was so ANGRY) was fueled by RAGE and TEARS. Fuck you, Glen. You narcissistic, sociopathic, selfish asshole. 

So. There you have it. Any book that can bring out such strong emotions - it certainly deserves to have its rating rounded up. I also want to make clear that while I wanted to punch Glen on more than one occasion (and I'm not a violent person at all), I also very much appreciated how the author chose to finalize things for this character's involvement in Frank's life. Justice in this case was very sweet indeed.

As always, the author's writing style is distinctive, which may not work for everyone, but it certainly works for me. 

I don't usually comment on covers. I'm not enamored with this one, but please don't let that turn you off giving this book a chance. What's behind the cover is worth your time.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. **


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review 2018-03-07 01:38
Release Day ARC Review: Cowboy In The Crosshairs by B.A. Tortuga
Cowboy in the Crosshairs - B.A. Tortuga

Once upon a time, i.e. 10 years or so prior, Wacey, oldest son of the local rodeo company owners, and TJ were a couple in secret. TJ wasn't ready to come out as gay in their small town and also wanted what everyone else had - a wife and a couple of kids. They broke up and Wacey left town right after, hurt and angry, and they haven't spoken since. TJ married, had two kids, and then came clean to his now ex-wife about how he likes men more so than women.

That's the backstory of their relationship. I just love the second chance at love stories, so this one was right up my alley. I also love when the romance isn't all dramatic and full of angst, and I got that here too.

The story begins with TJ, sitting in the diner, doing his Chief of Police thing with the locals, including calming down some old biddie complaining about some art work on the side of house, when he's told that Wacey got hurt real bad and is coming home to the ranch to recuperate. TJ is still mad at Wacey for not coming home for so long, and Wacey wants nothing to do with his old boyfriend.

Obviously that doesn't last for long, as weird things happening at the Bene ranch keep throwing them into each other's path.

Someone apparently has it out for Wacey.

I just love me some good cowboy loving, and this author always delivers the goods. This was such a charming romance, and I adored both MCs. Their relationship was easy-peasy, and once TJ made up his mind to woo Wacey into his bed again, he was relentless in his pursuit.

The mystery/suspense was also really well done, with the incidents getting worse and worse and the suspense building, and nobody having any idea who might be behind it all. I had an inkling about halfway through about the villain, and though I thought that the reason for the villainy might have been a wee bit far-fetched, it's hard to say what might go on in such a mind.

The author's writing style also really worked for this story, and the dialogue felt organic for the setting and the characters.

This is a feel-good second-chance-at-love story with two likable main characters and a great supporting cast. Though, naming your kids Wacey, Lacey, Macey, and Kacey - I feel I must either question your sanity or applaud your sick sense of humor.

Give this a try, y'all. Definitely worth your time.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-02-20 01:16
Release Day ARC Review: Teaching Ben by Shae Connor
Teaching Ben (Dreamspun Desires Book 52) - Shae Connor

Ben Cooper put in his time with the military, but at 24 is now looking for a fresh start, using his GI bill to attend college in Savannah, GA. And finally step out of the closet. 

David Powell is a TA in Ben's class, same age as Ben, but obviously off-limits due to his status. David also had some struggles in his past, but has tried hard to stay away from temptation and stay the course. 

The attraction is immediate, but neither can act on it, thus there is lots of UST in this book, and the romance is super slow burn. David and Ben become friends, and as they learn more about each other, and secrets are revealed, their friendship, while platonic, becomes even stronger. 

I liked how the author gave Ben room to expand his horizons, how she let him spread his wings, away from his commandeering father, away from the rigors and structure of the Air Force, building the life he wants to live. 

David made a huge mistake once and it cost him dearly. He's making up for it, but he also knows that he cannot step a single foot out of line, no matter how attracted he is to Ben. The author did a fine job fleshing out his character and giving him a background story that felt realistic and believable in how much it still impacted his life. 

Told alternatively from Ben's and David's point-of-view, we get a well-rounded story with a believable plot that even had a bit of suspense, though the villain of the story was rather clear from the get-go and the suspense was more in how this particular piece of the plot would unfold and impact their budding relationship. 

As with all the books in this series, there is little explicit steam on page, which is fine as far as I'm concerned. I much rather read about the relationship development, and how the two MCs get to their HEA than about what they do in the bedroom. I much rather see an emotional connection develop more so that a romp in the sheets, and I got that here. Ben and David really clicked, like they were meant to find each other, with both of them having had to struggle to get to this point in their lives, which meant that they were more aware of what they found and thus more protective of it. 

I enjoyed reading this. 

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-02-02 01:10
Release Day ARC Review: Swann's Revenge by Shira Anthony
Swann's Revenge (Dreamspun Desires Book 51) - Shira Anthony

This book uses the Ugly Duckling to Beautiful Swan trope, with a bit of a twist.

When Jimmy Zebulon was 15, he was a bit of a band geek and a little on the short and chubby side, in love with Danny Parker, the hot and straight football player, who unknowingly broke Jimmy's heart when he stood idly by, allowing his teammates to reduce Jimmy to snot and tears with their torment and taunts.

Fifteen years have since passed and Jimmy is now J. Graham Swann, successfully attorney and co-owner of his very own law firm. The years have been good to Graham, who now sports movie-star looks and has left Jimmy, the band geek, in his past.

But of course the past comes back to haunt him - in the form of Danny, now Dan, recently widowed and moving back to North Carolina to be closer to his parents. 

Graham recognizes Dan, though not until after an almost hook-up, but Dan has for the longest time no idea that his super hot new boss is his former classmate. 

Graham is standoffish and almost rude, but then remembers to be a professional.

As the story unfolds, we see Dan and Graham become friends and then more, though Graham keeps his past identity to himself. Of course, I knew this would come back to bite him. Graham is not willing to tell Dan the truth - that he's Jimmy - and things are complicated a little bit further when Dan reveals he has a young daughter named Lacey.

And then Graham finds out that Dan, his secret high school crush, is gay and came out not long after leaving high school, met and married a man and adopted a child. 

I adored this story. I loved both characters, and I loved how well the author brought across Graham's hang-ups and his pain from the past, and Dan's confusion when Graham blows a bit hot and cold for a while. I loved how easily the story unfolded, how seamlessly each scene flowed into the next, how Graham and Dan go from employer and employee to friends and then to lovers.

And then... well, you read this for yourself. I don't think you'd regret it. The book has two great MCs, a lovely little girl that pulls them together, and an excellent supporting cast that rounded out the story. 

Seriously, read this. This was a perfect addition to the Dreamspun Desires series, and I utterly adored it.

** I received a free copy of this book from its publisher in exchange for an honest review. **

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review 2018-01-19 00:51
I love it when a series just gets better...
Model Bodyguard: Haven Investigations, Book 2 - Dreamspinner Press LLC,Lissa Kasey,Brian Hutchison

I really enjoyed 'Model Citizen' the firs book in Lissa Kasey's 'Haven Investigations' series this one has definitely stepped things up a notch or two.


While 'Model Citizen' was about Ollie's POV this time around we're given Kade's POV on life with Ollie and I loved it. Kade loves Ollie there's zero doubt about that but he also sees Ollie in a very realistic way which is really, really good for Ollie because Ollie's got some issues that need to dealt with in a realistic way. I just love that I don't feel like Kade views Ollie as a burden to be taken care of. For Kade, Ollie's issues are just a part of Ollie and need to be dealt with in a positive and constructive way which is what Kade does.


Things are going good for Ollie and Kade. As a couple they're on fairly solid ground and the PI business is doing a lot better with the addition of Kade.  Plus the house that Ollie bought for him and Nate to build a family in is getting renovated by Kade as well and even this task shows Kade's love for Ollie with how sensitive he is to how much the house means to Ollie and that there are areas of the house that he knows Ollie's not ready for him to tackle yet because they were meant to be Nate's space and Ollie's still grieving for his brother. He's trying to get on with his life but it's hard and it gets a little harder when questions start arising surrounding Nate's death.


Kade's POV not only gives us a closer look at Kade's life before he came to Haven Investigations but more detail as to how he came to be at Haven Investigations...he had some scary stuff going on and we're not talking PTSD from the war here, ok? 


Ironically it's once again Ollie's past that brings a mystery back to their door along with Jacob...Ollie's ex and a definite contributor to Ollie's issues. Nate's a rock star and a playboy he doesn't do relationships just sex and kink but somewhere along the way he's picked up a stalker...one who's decided that he needs to be punished in a permanent way and there's no limit to the suspects in this one. Jacob's whole family is at the top of the list. This is one serious group of users and leeches and getting to the bottom of things and figuring out who wants Jacob punished may be impossible since Jacob's loyalty is pretty extreme in that he feels that his family is above reproach and would never hurt him...did I mention that Jacob might be a little delusional...trust me he is because I wouldn't trust any of them as far as I could throw them.


Kade's got his hands full as he tries to keep contact between Ollie and Jacob to a minimum because honestly interacting with Jacob really isn't in Ollie's best interest and Kade's got his own insecurities where Ollie's ex's are concerned because Ty...who is also an ex of Ollie's seems to be around a lot more as well, thankfully though this is because he's seeing Tomas so his presence is far less stressful and concerning for Kade. Also let's not forget Kade's still dealing with his own physical injuries and a past that doesn't want to let go of him and may not be over yet.


I loved seeing things from Kade's perspective and I really loved how much Ollie and Kade's relationship has strengthened. Kade is so good for Ollie and good to Ollie. I also felt that Ollie was truly beginning to get past his grief from losing his brother Nate and make a real effort to move forward with is life. I loved seeing Ollie as a capable, contributing partner in Haven Investigations and not some damsel in distress who needs constant rescuing.


Kade and Ollie's relationship may be fairly solid but that doesn't mean that having Ollie's sexy rock star ex in their lives isn't going to be a test for them and sadly for the ready because...holy hell!!! did you see the size of that cliff that the author has left us sitting on? It's a biggie and while I know I could pop the next e-book onto my e-reader to find out what happens I've really been enjoying this series on audio. While the first one was narrated by Mike Pohlable this time around we've been treated to the narrations of Brian Hutchison and I've really enjoyed this one. While I liked Ollie's voice in the first book pretty much everyone else except the annoyingly whiny Donovan was just ok and while this is only my second audio book narrated by Brian Hutchison I have to admit that from an audio standpoint I enjoyed this one a bit more.


I'm really enjoying this series on audio and I admit I'm hoping, really, really hoping that the third audio book isn't too far off but in the meantime because I can't wait to see what's going to happen next with Kade and Ollie but until it arrives I'll just be sitting here over on the cliff's edge...you know that really, really steep cliff that Ms Kasey has left me on passing the time with some more audio books or an e-book here and there...who knows I may even have a DTB or 2 lying around to pass the time with.



An audio book of 'Model Bodyguard' was graciously provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 

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