Logan Brandish - writer
Brock Kimble - new editor
Janey Caster - LB's housemate
Frances Barlow - newest editor
Vera and Cassie - new friends met in Vienna, go to ROme with LB
Lucille- LB's Mom
Grace Allenson - Ls & Js next door neighbor
Curtis Little - cardboard box guy, Ls ex
Blurb:“You won’t let anybody else have you, Joseph. I won’t let anybody else have you. I want you all to myself.” – Gage Mason
We’ve all had our experience with him. The Bad Boy. The one we’ve been warned about. The one with rips in his jeans and a lazy, devil may care smile on his mouth. The one who makes you do bad things that feel so good.
For me it was Gage Mason. We met when he worked on my Ducati. I knew immediately he was trouble, but something about that Bad Boy drew me in. Maybe it’s his dark eyes that study me like he wants to know everything about me. Maybe it’s the way he makes me feel; the rough touch of his hands, his possessive grip on my hair when we kiss, the way he feels deep inside me. Or maybe it’s the way he needs me, even though he won’t admit it.
For once in my life I’m taking a risk. Despite everything that tells me I shouldn’t, I’m taking a chance to be with Gage. I don’t know if it will end well, but I do know I can’t resist that Bad Boy.
Review: Caution: Review contains mild spoilers in last paragraph.
For me, Bad Boys Need Love Too is a solid three lilies because I wound up with an almost love/hate (or maybe more of a great like/great dislike) relationship with it and the reasons overlap.
First, why I disliked it. For a good portion of the book (about a third to half of it), I was gnashing my teeth a bit regarding the main characters and their personalities. Gage is controlling, manipulative, blows a little hot and cold, and is - at least to me (and, admittedly, I could very well be wrong and this was not intended) - comes across as being a little emotionally abusive. While Joseph fares a little better in the characterization, he's no saint either. He is a reasonably intelligent, ambitious man, yet he stays with Gage for far longer than he would like to have. He also tends to do a "runner" under certain circumstances.
Which leads me to why I do like the book. In spite of what drove me a bit 'round the bend with the characters (and almost had me putting the book away), they are likable in their own way. The reader winds up understanding the whys and wherefores of the characters - what in their pasts makes them the way they are, what makes them tick, what draws them to each other. Another reason why, in the end (and in spite of all the angst and drama), I like the book is that they work at working things out - alone, together, with help, with friends, and with family.
Edits: 1) Correction on character name due to me putting Joshua instead of Joseph. 2) I had kindly received the book as an ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.
(Image found on Ms. Tomlinson's BlogSpot page (http://christatomlinson.blogspot.com/?
(Cross-post to Goodreads and Amazon.com)
Blurb: All roads lead home in Snowberry Creek...
After a devastating tour in Afghanistan, all Spencer Lang wants is for life to return to normal. But when he rides into his hometown on his Harley, he learns that his friends and family have tried to move past their heartbreak since he was reported killed-in-action—and the woman he loved is about to marry his best friend. Now, all he can do is pick up the pieces of his life.
Years ago Melanie Wolfe left town, with no intention of ever coming back. But when her father dies, she reluctantly returns home to salvage the family business. Reuniting with Spencer, her high school crush, complicates the already thorny situation, especially when she begins losing her heart to him all over again.
As Spencer and Melanie work to restore order to her family's company, two damaged hearts face an unexpected new future that is filled with possibilities...and love.
Review: I received a copy of A Reason to Love from the author for an honest review.
I have enjoyed reading Ms. Morgan's books since picking up a copy of Dark Defender when it first came out. Like the books I have read since, A Reason to Love has all of the elements that I have come to expect in an Alexis Morgan book.
The first is great characters. Spencer Lang comes back to a hometown that believes he was killed in action. He has issues, but he learns how to deal with them - step by step. He re-learns how to be around not only the people in his hometown, but the surviving members of his unit. Melanie Wolfe is a member (and heir) of Snowberry Creek's founding family and is expected to maintain a certain standard. While she tries to keep the family business afloat, she works on ways to improve it. Neither they, nor their various friends or family friends, are perfect and that is why I like them.
Another element is the setting. I really like the small town setting of Snowberry Creek. It is, in many ways, like small towns everywhere: Everyone knows (or thinks they know) everyone else's business, it takes a lot to overcome the image you had, and the world might very well come to an end if you do something differently from the way your parents did it.
A final element I enjoy is the story itself. Sure, it has been "done before". Soldier comes home, finds girl, etc. Ms. Morgan, however, has a way of writing which keeps it fresh and keeps readers - or at least this one - coming back for more.
Is the book perfect? Of course not. For one, I would have liked to know what has happened to Spence's uncle Vince. It was mentioned in the book that Spence's cousin Austin has changed from their younger days, yet there is no encounter between the two. Maybe more will be learned in a future book. This is also my first Snowberry Creek (I am more familiar with the Paladin and Talion books) book, so there may be more that was mentioned about these two characters in the previous books.
Overall, an excellent read from an excellent author.
(Image (c)Barnes and Noble, blurb (c) Alexis Morgan)
(Review cross-posted to Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and GoodReads.)
Book Blurb: After an accident left him broken in body and spirit, Charlie Howard retired from the police force to teach at a community college. Life has taught him that he’s unlikely to get what he wants, so he’s stopped asking. Instead, he hides from the world in the apartment complex he manages. After all, no one can leave him if he doesn’t let anyone in.
Will, a sexy, classic-film-loving twink, moves into the apartment across from him and—to Charlie’s surprise—makes it clear that he’d like nothing more than to hole up with Charlie and get kinky. Will has no problem expressing what he wants in bed or out of it, but he’s never dated anyone long-term, and Charlie isn’t sure Will’s ready for anything serious.
Charlie is a serious kind of guy. He wants Will and everything a relationship could mean, even if he doesn’t have any experience in that scene—even if that makes him vulnerable. As they grow closer, Charlie realizes that it’s time to start asking for what he wants, and if he wants to be happy, he’ll have to risk everything and ask Will to stay.
Review: While I generally liked the characters in the story, and Charlie is generally one of my favorite types of characters, there was something about the story that made it a little tedious and a bit of a chore to finish.
For me, it stems from my perception of the story seeming like a long string of misunderstandings and miscommunications that made it sound like a slightly sour note rather than a melodious one.
I did like the characters, where they were coming from, and where they might be going to, but the rest of it left me feeling a little wanting.
Other readers might certainly have different reactions from mine and I would read more of R. Cooper's works in the future as this just might have been this work at the particular time I read it that accounted for my reaction.
(Review copy courtesy of Netgalley. Image and book blurb found on Amazon.com, (c) Dreamspinner Press.)
Book Blurb: Entomology grad student Adam Ellery meets Denver Rogers, a muscle-bound hunk of sexy, when Denver effortlessly dispatches the drunken frat boys harassing Adam at the Tucker Springs laundromat. Thanking him turns into flirting, and then, much to Adam’s delight, hot sex over the laundry table.
Though Denver’s job as a bouncer at a gay bar means he gets his pick of geek-sexy college twinks, he can’t get Adam out of his head. Adam seems to need the same rough play Denver does, and it’s damn hard to say no to such a perfect fit.
Trouble is, Adam isn’t just shy: he has obsessive compulsive disorder and clinical anxiety, conditions which have ruined past relationships. And while Denver might be able to bench-press a pile of grad students, he comes from a history of abuse and is terrified of getting his GED. Neither Denver nor Adam want to face their dirty laundry, but to stay together, they’re going to have to come clean.
Review: I've read a couple of Ms. Cullinan's books before with good results. Dirty Laundry continues that trend.
While certain aspects of the story are not to my taste, they fit within the story's framework and I think something would be lost if they were taken out.
The title of the book is one of my favorite things about the story because, while there is actual dirty laundry involved in the story, it is more of a metaphor for the issues both Adam and Denver have. Issues that need to be communicated before they can have a detrimental effect on the men's relationship.
Another aspect of the story that I really enjoyed is the characters and how they grow and work within (and without) their boundaries and issues. "Seeing" how Denver and Adam grew comfortable in their skins and blossom - especially Adam - was great.
A good read and an interesting way to spend the time.
(Review copy via Netgalley. Book blurb and cover image also found on Netgalley - (c) Riptide Publishing.)
Blurb: It’s 1991, and Dan Calzolaio has just moved to Florida with his lover, Mark, having fled Chicago and Mark’s addictions to begin a new life on the Gulf Coast. Volunteering for the Tampa AIDS Alliance is just one part of that new beginning, and that’s how Dan meets his new buddy, Adam.
Adam Schmidt is not at all what Dan expected. The guy is an original—witty, wry, and sarcastic with a fondness for a smart black dress, Barbra Streisand, and a good mai tai. Adam doesn’t let his imminent death get him down, even through a downward spiral that sees him thrown in jail.
Each step of Adam’s journey teaches Dan new lessons about strength and resilience, but it’s Adam’s lover, Sullivan, to whom Dan feels an almost irresistible pull. Dan knows the attraction isn’t right, even after he dumps his cheating, drug-abusing boyfriend. But then Adam passes away, and it leaves Sullivan and Dan both alone to see if they can turn their love for Adam into something whole and real for each other.
Review: Another great Rick R. Reed read and certainly one for which the tissues should be kept handy - for sad tears and for joyful ones as well.
This is a story that has everything: love, friendship, heartache, despair and strength. The strength comes to the different characters in different ways: the strength to say enough is enough when bad habits crop up again, the strength to stay when the one you love is dying, the strength to go on when a partner dies, the strength to finally kick a habit once and for all, and the strength to find love again.
There are pitfalls and there are detours, but what isn't in life? And that is what makes this story such a wonderful keeper of a read: the characters are ones you can find next door or down the street or they could be you, even if the specific details differ.
(Cover image found on http://www.rickrreed.com ; blurb found on Netgalley.com)
Edit: Cross-posted to Amazon.com and Goodreads.com .
Additional information may be found at: the following places: Amazon's Caregiver page and Dreamspinner's Caregiver page (Paperback versions are also available at both outlets)
Book Blurb: Sequel to A Matter of Time Vol. 1 and 2
Jory Harcourt doesn't have to go looking for trouble. Wherever he goes, it seems to find him—particularly when his partner, Sam Kage, is working undercover on a federal task force.
After the recession forces him to close his business, Jory goes to work as a matchmaker and event planner. From there, it's only a matter of time before his big mouth and up-front attitude make him the rope in a tug-of-war between a trust fund baby and a drug-smuggling criminal. Then, as if that situation weren't delicate enough, Jory's undercover lover shows up working for the smuggler.
Between the men who want him and the men who just want him dead, Chicago is getting a little crowded for Jory, so on the advice of his brother, his boyfriend, and the FBI task force, he heads for Hawaii... where a serious accident threatens his quality of life. Can Sam and Jory keep the faith and prove that their relationship really is bulletproof?
Review: I had read A Matter of Time, Vol. 1 and 2 for Night Owl Reviews and my reviews can be found there and I really liked them. Yes, Bulletproof is another story about how trouble seems to follow Jory without him looking for it, but it is not stale, repetitive or old. There are so many ways that this type of story can get old (and I have read a couple of series that I wound up quitting reading because they started sounding entirely too repetitive), but Ms. Calmes keeps the writing fresh and Jory is lovable as opposed to being annoying due to his personality. Part of it is the characters, part of it is the humor sprinkled throughout, and part of it is that all of it is balanced with other emotions too.
Another great read from Mary Calmes.
(Picture and blurb (c)Dreamspinner Press.)
Book Blurb: “Daddy” is not a title Rue Murray wanted, but he never thought he’d have sex with a woman either. Now he’s the unwitting father of a newborn named Alice. Between bartending and cosmetology school, Rue doesn’t have time for babies, but he can’t give her up. What Rue needs is a babysitter, and he’s running out of options. He’s on the verge of quitting school to watch Alice himself when he remembers his reclusive new neighbor, Erik.
Erik Van Nuys is a sci-fi novelist with anxiety issues to spare. He doesn’t like people in general, and he likes babies even less. Still, with his royalties dwindling, he could use the extra cash. Reluctantly, he takes on the role of manny—and even more reluctantly, he finds himself falling for Alice and her flamboyant father.
Rue and Erik are as different as two people can be, and Alice is the unlikeliest of babies, but Rue has never been happier than when Alice and Erik are by his side. At least, not until he receives an offer that puts all his dreams within reach and he’s forced to choose: the future he’s always wanted, or the family he thought he never did.
Review: I found One Small Thing to be a sweet story filled with humor, wonderful characters, and a wonderful baby. Reading how the characters met, how their friendship developed and blossomed, where they came from, where they would like to go is what really made the story for me.
Of the characters (all of which I liked), I think that Erik is my favorite as I can relate to some of the issues he has. Although, there may be a little bit of Rue lurking around a little bit too.
Look forward to seeing what comes next.
Book Blurb: New York, 1994
What on earth is a live falcon doing in the middle of JFK airport? The answer to this question brings PAPD officer Mark Bowman face to face with falconer Hunter Devereaux, right in the middle of a fascinating field experiment using falcons to keep runways free of nuisance birds. The falcons are intriguing, but it’s arrogant, out-and-proud Hunter himself who really rubs Mark the right kind of wrong. Too bad Mark can’t act on the attraction: he’s deeply in the closet, and since he wants to keep his job, that’s where he's determined to stay.
However, every time their paths cross, Hunter gets a little deeper under Mark’s skin, until Mark can’t deny his feelings any longer. Giving in to his desire makes Mark happier than he can remember being, but Hunter isn't willing to hide their relationship forever. If they’re going to make a life together work, something has to give. Someday soon Mark will have to choose, or life will make the choice for him before he’s ready for it.
Review: I like birds of prey, so the title (and blurb) had caught my interest. I found myself enjoying the story itself, as well as the author's note regarding it's inception. The characters, their backgrounds, how their relationship evolves and the story really worked well for me. I think that, aside from seeing how the characters' relationship develops, my favorite parts of the story was reading about how the birds were flown at the airport and the little glimpses into their care.
Enjoyable read and I look forward to reading more books by Feliz Faber in the future.
(Picture and blurb (c)Dreamspinner Press.)
Book Blurb: The night before his wedding, Zander Walsh, his parents, and his husband-to-be are all shot when they return home and interrupt a mysterious robbery in progress. After three weeks in a coma, Zander wakes up to find out he is the only survivor, and his perfect life falls apart in an instant.
Hunky FBI Agent Jake Elliot is investigating the case, and he eventually apprehends the killer—who soon escapes. Following six months of searching, Zander and Jake realize they’re being stonewalled by the FBI... and that they have slowly formed an unbreakable bond that is beginning to turn into much more.
Once they embark on a journey to apprehend the killer for the second time, they’ll discover that one terrible night was much more than just an interrupted robbery. Can big business and politics cover up the truth, or will Zander and Jake’s quest to unravel the mystery be the end of their newfound love and their lives?
Review: Even though I had picked up Bounty of Love before Foundation of Love from Netgalley, I wound up reading the former after the latter.
While I had enjoyed reading Foundation, I found Bounty to be more enjoyable. Part of it stems that, for me, the dialogue had more of a flow and felt less stilted. Another part is the characters. The loss that Zander Walsh suffered is offset by slowly working his way back from his grief. Jake Elliot has his career path set in the FBI, but when things start looking "fishy" for him on the case, he starts looking and the two work together. Which leads to things developing on a personal level. There is also the mystery of why what happened, happened.
I thoroughly enjoyed seeing how the story unfolded, how the characters grew and how their relationship developed.
Image and Book Blurb (C) Dreamspinner Press, LLC
Book Blurb: Quent Jackson has followed Jason Spade's every move in business and in poker since their first day as college freshmen. Eight years later, when Jace finally decides Quent is the one man he can't live without, he sees no reason for that to change.
But as much as Jace believes that poker is life, no one gave Quent the same playbook. After their first passionate night, the real game of love and trust begins, and Jace has been playing alone too long to make teaching the rules easy. Jace only speaks two languages: one of them is sex, and the other one is poker. Between the two, he needs to find a way to convince himself to take a chance on love—and Quent to take a chance on him. It's a lucky thing they’re good at reading the odds, because they’re playing for keeps, and this is one high-stakes relationship that's definitely worth the gamble.
Review: Gambling Men was a very nice read - especially seeing how things played out (pun intended) between the two men. Even though this is a friends to lover story, it stands out because it isn't a necessarily foregone conclusion on how things will work out. All it can take is a hand either way.
Great read and I look forward to reading more of Amy Lane's works.
(Galley provided by Netgalley.com, cover picture and book blurb (C) Dreamspinner Press, LLC)
Book Blurb: Meet Patrick Cleary: party boy, loser, and spaz. Patrick’s been trying desperately to transform himself, and the results have been so spectacular, they’ve almost killed him. Meet Wes “Whiskey” Keenan: he’s a field biologist wondering if it’s time to settle down. When the worst day of Patrick’s life ends with Whiskey saving it, Patrick and Whiskey find themselves sharing company and an impossibly small berth on the world’s tackiest houseboat.
Patrick needs to get his life together—and Whiskey wants to help—but Patrick is not entirely convinced it’s doable. He’s pretty sure he’s a freak of nature. But Whiskey, who works with real freaks of nature, thinks all Patrick needs is a little help to see the absolute beauty inside his spastic self, and Whiskey is all about volunteering. Between anomalous frogs, a homicidal ex-boyfriend, and Patrick’s own hangups, Whiskey’s going to need all of his patience and Patrick’s going to need to find the best of himself before these two men ever see clear water.
Review: I really enjoyed reading Clear Water, as I have enjoyed reading other Amy Lane books, for some of the same reasons: the story, the characters, the issues, and how well each story's unique elements blend together.
Patrick has ADHD and, because of that, he has issues with how he perceives himself through others' perceptions and treatment of him. When he starts helping Whiskey and Fly Bait with their research, his perceptions start to change and he flourishes. Whiskey has issues of his own, but those too start to change as time spent with Patrick changes him.
I really like how things are resolved in the book. The relationships don't magically resolve themselves - they are worked at, they grow, and they change.
(Galley received via Netgalley, book blurb and image (C)Dreamspinner Press, LLC.)
Book Blurb: Years ago, Wes Stanhope fled his hometown of Charleston to escape the constraints of society and his controlling father, Colonel Robert Lee Stanhope IV. After completing medical school and building a successful practice in pediatric oncology in Seattle, Wes is called home for his mother's funeral and presented with an opportunity to build and run a children's hospital-his mother's legacy-a choice he ultimately makes despite his misgivings about his father's role as chairman of the hospital's board of directors. When Wes begins to build his team, he is introduced to a young, handsome black architect named Tyler Williams. Sparks begin to fly between the two men, and although Wes doesn't identify as gay, denying his attraction to Ty becomes impossible. But Ty won't be a dirty secret: if Wes wants to build a relationship, he'll have to come out, brave his father's racism and homophobia, and risk his chance to continue as the hospital's CEO and realize his mother's dream.
Review: I found myself enjoying this installment of the Love series very much. I quite liked the theme of the prodigal son coming home to fulfill his deceased mother's wish of building a children's hospital. Of course, there are issues to resolve and friction to different sorts between various characters - they kept me reading. While the theme may be a little formulaic, it is interesting enough to keep a reader's attention.
The characters are likable, but I wonder if they may come across as either a little flat or maybe even, in one case, a smidgen stereotypical.
The sticky point for me (which may not be the case for another reader) is the dialogue. To me, it comes across as being a bit stiff and, in places, more of a "saying all the right things at all the right times" rather than a natural flow.
In closing, while I did find Foundation of Love to be an enjoyable read, I did have a few issues with it. Overall, a good addition to the Love series and I do look forward to seeing what comes next.
Picture and blurb (c) Dreamspinner Press, LLC.
Derek Marshall and Sambit Patel meet when both are sent to the Bay City, Texas Nuclear Power Plant after a hurricane strikes the Gulf Coast of Texas and compromises one of the reactors. Derek works in robotics for NASA and Sambit teaches nuclear physics for Texas A&M. Derek is out and proud and tends to be a bit abrasive towards most people while Sambit is calm, laid back and tends to get along with people.
Will this be more of a culture (and personality) clash than the two will be able to handle while trying to stabilize the reactor? Or will they be able to work things out?
I found myself really enjoying the story and characters in Fallout. Derek comes across as an abrasive, take no prisoners kind of character that is more of a cover than anything else. Sambit is almost the opposite - calm, collected, laid back, which is also a bit of a facade, but not as much of one as Derek's. It is a facade, yes, but it is also very much part of Sambit's personality.
Even as Fallout is a story of people who work in dangerous situations, it is a story of two people finding a spark and willing to work in order to have a relationship. It is also a story of finding courage in spite of obstacles and of finding kindred spirits.
(Image found on Dreamspinner Press site @ http://wwww.dreamspinnerpress.com)
Elliot Mills is working as a college professor after a crippling knee injury forced him to retire from the FBI. While Elliot has done his best to put his former life behind him, his former life may not be quite done with him when a student goes missing from campus.
Elliot agrees to look into the disappearance as a favor for his father, who is friends with the young man's parents. His looking around brings him into contact with Tucker Lance - the FBI special agent handling the case and Elliot's former lover.
Things did not end on the best of notes between them and neither one of them is the type to back down. As the investigation begins to look less like a missing persons case and, likely, more ominous, the two men must figure out how to go beyond the past and work together. For, as it looks like there are more disappearances, Elliot is targeted by the killer.
Fair Game made for a good, suspenseful read for me and set a good pace. Having read Mr. Lanyon's works before, this was not entirely unexpected.
What really made the book work for me was a combination of the college campus setting, the characters and how they had to work through their differences (and not just Elliot and Tucker), and the twist in who the killer was. The last was especially intriguing in that it is and isn't entirely who you would expect and I like that.
Look forward to future reads from Mr. Lanyon.
To learn more about the author, please visit his Web site.
The book is available for purchase at the following links:
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