Headmaster

 

Reviewed by Cupcake

*2 Stars*

Bland

I’ve heard so many fantastic things about this author’s work that when this popped up on NetGalley I pounced. It’s not that this story is bad per se, it just wasn’t enough for me. Not enough kink. Not enough feels. Not enough zest. Not enough zhooshing.

The blurb does a good job of recapping the plot so I won’t go there. It’s a decent interpretation of fantasy rescue wish fulfillment. A little contrived, yes, but I can see the appeal.

Mariela was strike one for me. She is a dance instructor at the RACK (cute, huh?) Academy which is run by Lennox. Her crush on him predates his relationship with Winnie and they are friends, but her attitude toward him rubbed me the wrong way. I think she’s supposed to be portrayed as a sub with a spine but she comes across as a vitriolic anger ball. She antagonizes Lennox at every turn and I could muster up little to no sympathy for her cause. I get that she wants to be his submissive but her openly hostile/bratty behavior was very off-putting.

Strike number two is Lennox who’s prone to the ole martyr syndrome. Everything’s his fault, his responsibility.

Neither one of them are fully fleshed out instead relying on constructing both of their identities as “dominant” and “submissive”. I have issues with one’s entire personality construct being comprised of one thing, in this case their sexual proclivities. Even in real life if all anyone ever talks about is this one microcosm of their world they tend to come across one-dimensional and boring. At least to me they do.

The remainder of my issues are nitpicky:

1. it’s sugarkink and as hot as spanking can be, this was halfhearted at best. There’s no depth to the kink. It’s all labels, calisthenics positions and mediocre sex (dirty talk, anal, face-fucking, spanking, non-restraint bondage, mild orgasm denial).

2. Mariela gets into a fairly serious car accident and allegedly crushes her leg yet a few weeks later she’s at a BDSM club sceneing and only wears an ankle wrap?

It does have a nice HEA that is romantic and will be appealing to some. It probably would’ve been moreso for me had I liked either of the characters.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love it but sugarkink fans will probably enjoy it more than I.

An ARC was provided by NetGalley

A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat

Reviewed for @BMBR

4.5 Stars

EEeEeeppp!!!

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It took DAYS for me to suck it up and read this. I was in this weird place of come on, it’s Roe Horvat and oh my, this is gonna hurt. I was weak and finally grabbed my blankey and prepared for the big dose of angst I knew was coming. I survived. Barely.

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In all seriousness, I have a thing for angst. I may get all whiney before and need fluff after but I just love when it hurts so good. Just like this one. A Love Song for the Sad Man in the White Coat was like having the wind knocked out of you and not catching your breath for a while. Whatevs, I’m all bring on the pain, angst, and the melancholy it was riddled with. Luckily, mingled in with all the heaviness is fire, passion, connection, and love.

Just a quick note before we dig in… we won’t be digging in too deeply. I liked the discovery in this book and having to really feel for Simon and Matěj as they navigate their pain so I won’t be giving too much away.

The book starts off in 2012 and goes back and forth to various times throughout a five year period that ends in 2017. Matěj is in his last semester of medical school in Prague. Right away, we get his snarky yet brilliant personality as he tries to get a reaction out of the unflappable Dr. Simon Mráz AKA The Cruel Doctor Frost. Matěj is a predator with sights locked on his prey and ready to pounce. Simon is a structured yet mercurial doctor that’s an expert at controlling the emotion he conveys to others. His self control and willpower is on point until he loses himself, his sanity and succumbs to the relentless hauntings of memories.

We get windows into Simon and Matěj’s dysfunctional lives and see the sweet relief for each man when they come together as secret lovers and friends. Matěj soothed Simon’s need for control, order and the habit of being locked in his head while Simon became Matěj’s safe haven. There was just so much want and need between them. They were on fire together and all the noise in their lives went away.

This books drags you through a myriad of emotions as a reader while *seeing* the utter passion, desolation, and then hope the characters go though. There’s so much pain and melancholy that it becomes a tangible thing. I loved the secondary characters and the energy they brought to the story. My one niggle with this angsty AF read was the ending. Yeah, they figured shit out and get their HFN. Maybe it’s the tiny cynic in me but I needed a lengthier resolution where explanations were provided. I believed their connection, love, passion, etc., but was the heartbreak necessary? I think so but I’m not sure. *shrug*

I love professor/student romances. I was enthralled with the story, the feels, the desperation and helplessness. I’m glad I sucked it up even though I’m diving into fluff land for a bit. Definitely recommended.

Trigger warning- Suicide and abuse take place off page with minor character but the details of the suicide are described. 

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.

Thrive

Today we are celebrating the release of THRIVE by Aly Martinez. Thrive is the second book in the Guardian Protection series and it can be read as a complete standalone.

 You can grab the ebook or paperback on Amazon.

Download the audiobook at Audible or iTunes.

Thrive by Aly Martinez (Guardian Protection, #2) 

Purchase the ebook on Amazon (Kindle Unlimited)

Purchase the Audiobook   |   Purchase the Paperback 

Synopsis:

 

When I was nineteen years old, I was faced with a choice that changed my life.

Keep the safety of what I already knew or risk losing everything with the young, hotheaded soldier who stole my heart.

I chose the wrong man, and for seventeen years, I paid in tears, blood, and shattered dreams for that decision.

Now, there’s a man in my house, holding a gun to my head on the order of my ex-husband—given from his prison cell. 

That hotheaded soldier I was too afraid to choose? He’s now a six-foot-three wall of muscle who works at the country’s most premier bodyguard agency. I’ve always wanted him, but now, I’ve never needed him more.

It’s the call I’m terrified to make. 

I’m sure he still hates me… Even though I’ve never stopped loving him.

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

Reviewed by Lost in a Book

4 Stars

I’m a fan of this Guardian series Aly Martinez. She’s one of the very few M/F authors where I’ll read whatever she writes (bonus points because she can write a damn good M/M, too). We just click and this next book in the Guardian series isn’t any different.

This angsty, suspenseful, and sexy second chance romance is set up with a long separation period. A lot of life happens in the 17 years that the MCs were separated and unfortunately for Lark and Mira, it wasn’t filled with happiness.

Seventeen years ago, Lark and Mira were in love, with stars in their eyes, and plans of a future. There was just one teeny tiny problem… Mira’s actual boyfriend, Kurt. They were young, dumb, and dysfunctional. When it came time for Mira to pick, she chose Kurt.

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It was completely evident that Kurt was a cheating (I know, pot/kettle) jackass and she STILL chose him. *Grrrr* Anyway, fast forward time and Lark is a successful badass/Mira hater working with a private security firm while Mira is living in the slums, divorced, and now scared for her life. Good thing Mira is a little Lark stalker because she knows just where to find him when her life and her friend’s life is in jeopardy.

What starts as a hesitant phone call for help sends Mira and Lark on rollercoaster of danger, action, clarity, crime, drug lords, shootings, and kidnappings. And sex. And arguing. Lark taking on Mira’s case brings them in close contact 24/7 while they piece together the reasons behind her new danger. They have a truck load of old hurts to wade through while forging a path for the future. They are hot together. Smoking. But, Mira also argued or had a “snit fit” A LOT. Luckily for her, Lark got off on all the attitude. Unfortunately for me, Mira drove me bat shit crazy when she went off. *shrug* I believed their connection and chemistry. I felt their hurt from 17 years ago and how they hadn’t *really* moved past it even as the years passed them by. I fully appreciated the road they took to get their HEA. They moved fast but they also didn’t hide the hurt, hate, frustration, confusion, and most importantly, love.

The secondary characters were awesome in this one as well as the first. The Guardians are a bunch of gossiping biddies who are quite efficient in their jobs because they have a bunch of time to interfere. At least their interference was comical and I can’t wait for the other guys to get their stories. Especially Johnson *dreamy sigh* because I just know it’s gonna be an epic M/M (or MMF). Another thing I absolutely love about Martinez’s writes is the ability to include past characters from previous books without being awkward or gratuitous. There’s a purpose as they are mentioned/connected and a new reader to her writes wouldn’t feel lost at their inclusion.

This book won’t leave you wanting as the epilogue is *very* thorough. I definitely recommend this and will wait not so patiently for the next man up.

 Copy provided for honest review.

Add Thrive to Goodreads

—————————-

Purchase the previous book in the Guardian Protection Series 

SINGE is the first book in the Guardian Protection Series and is FREE in KindleUnlimited

Amazon US | Amazon UK | Amazon CA | Amazon AU

 ———————

AUTHOR INFORMATION:

Originally from Savannah, Georgia, USA Today bestselling author Aly Martinez now lives in South Carolina with her four young children.

Never one to take herself too seriously, she enjoys cheap wine, mystery leggings, and baked feta. It should be known, however, that she hates pizza and ice cream, almost as much as writing her bio in the third person.

She passes what little free time she has reading anything and everything she can get her hands on, preferably with a super-sized tumbler of wine by her side.

AUTHOR LINKS:

Sign up for Aly’s Newsletter to receive exclusive details!

Website  | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Instagram | Amazon

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Gemini Rules Capricorn

4 Stars because this is a super shorty but still ridiciously sexy and entertaining.

This short little read is a charity release by Anyta Sunday. It’s only about 22 pages but it packs a deliciously sexy punch. Anyta’s writing style is my go to comfort when I’ve been in angst-land for a bit.

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Yep, just like that.

Yummmmmyyy! Warm chocolate chip cookies are my ultimate comfort food and with the sexiness going on for Lloyd and Wes, it was like I was eating a warm, gooey cookie with crispy edges. Works. Every. Time. But the problem with these things is I can’t eat just one… so, I’ll be waiting not so patiently once *again* for the next in this series.

Rebel (415 Ink) #1

Reviewed for @BMBR

4.5 Stars

My oh My this was an angsty read.

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On face value it has many of my favorite elements. Rough upbringing? Check. Tattoos? Mmmhmm, Yep. Tortured and broody MC(s)? Oh yes. Then, when I actually started reading it, so many more of my hot spots were being hit. Slow burn, patch-work family, overcoming crippling obstacles, etc… All were a big yes, please. Hell, I was even all about the second chance aspects of this romance when it isn’t something I actively seek.

Three years have gone by since Rey walked away from Gus. Both men have scars from their childhood but Gus’ are much deeper than Rey’s. When he walked away, it reminded Gus of every social worker, judge, foster family, parent, and random person who decided he wasn’t good enough. In the beginning I just thought Gus had a gypsy soul and kept on moving. It isn’t until the surfacing of his kid from a one night stand that he comes back home and we really get to see a different side of him and the effects of his heartbreaking past on his present circumstances.

Rey is a firefighter and best friends/roommates with Gus’ brother, Mason. We learn very early on that Mason pulled Rey out of a fire when they were younger. This solidified their bond as well as Rey’s bond with all of Gus’ brothers. Rey had his reasons for walking away when they were younger but their love for each other hasn’t dimmed over the three years. When Gus moves back to town, they have plenty of encounters and even more time to evaluate their choices.

As I mentioned, this is a slow burn. Both men have baggage and past hurts to work through. It was amazing to *see* how each man held stubbornly to their anger and as time went on, they were able to understand the other’s perspective. I also loved how they had to really work to get to a healthy place without the arrival of the magical peen to help make all the woes go away. Don’t get me wrong, they had chemistry and were H.O.T. together. But, their reconciliation was ugly, beautiful, and real. Their character arc was so transformative and I absolutely enjoyed each step of the way and where they settled.

Let’s talk about the baby mama. I LOVEEEEEEE that this wasn’t written as a bitter ex/one night stand scenario. I was thrilled that all parties acted like adults and Jules wasn’t written to be a she-bitch. Actually, all of the characters acted like adults (minus brotherly shenanigans) and it was refreshing.

It takes the entire book to fully appreciate the complexities of the characters and the role each plays. It reminded me of a kaleidoscope where the patterns can be distorted or crisp with only minor manipulation. The secondary characters of all the brothers added another dimension of angst, confusion, and clarity. Gus and Rey earned their HEA but I think that we’ll understand them even more as each brothers’ story is told. I’m down for that, especially Luke. AND Ivo with his “fuck me heels.” Oh and Bear with him being all big, growly, and soft-hearted. Actually, I just want them all.

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I really really enjoyed this book. There are still holes of information needed but I think the key to understanding each brother individually is to understand them all. Definitely recommended.

“Loving someone doesn’t mean needing them to be what you want them to be or swaddling them in bubble wrap so they can’t move. It means them knowing, deep down inside of their heart, you’re going to be there to hold them when they fall and celebrate when they fly.”

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.

The Solstice Prince

Reviewed for @BMBR

4 Stars

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*takes sip*

Ahhh, yes. This book went down like hot chocolate on a cold winter day with tons of marshmallowly fluffy goodness. I’m all warm and fuzzy thinking about the absolute sweetness that was The Solstice Prince.

I’ll provide full disclosure and admit that I chose to read this because the cover reminded me of a M/M Harry Potter. Not. Even. Lying. *shrug* I’m weak when it comes to that series. While it wasn’t similar to HP, it held its own special place in my heart with its loving kingdom, drama free plot, gifted healer, and a fierce but kind prince.

We are introduced to a broken down Jaime who had been taken from his home after the death of his father, sold into slavery to pay debt, and rescued by Pyrderi guards and brought to the palace. He doesn’t know where he is or the rules of the land so he keeps his head down and works the kitchens. Jaime’s very skittish from abuse and hides that he’s a healer until he heals the Captain of the Guard. This revelation leads to a whirlwind life change where he becomes properly acquainted with the dashing Prince Maxim.

Prince Maxim is the youngest of his siblings and absolutely smitten with the man he saw rescued from the slave ship. He makes his intentions known towards Jaime quickly and begins to court the shy healer. Prince Maxim is large, a hunter, and the best swordsman in all the land. But, he approaches Jaime like he would a skittish animal until he can coax him out of hiding. He shows Jaime that he is worthy, kind, gifted, and desirable. *swoon*

Guys!!! This book is drama free. It’s sugary sweet and Prince Maxim with Jaime is absolutely adorable. There aren’t any relational issues so the men are able to organically grow together in friendship and affections without the lack of communication blah blah blah hurdles. Although this book has a lighthearted fluffy feel, it’s not without minor angst and strong feels. Jaime’s prior circumstances and Prince Maxim’s impending heartbreak provide obstacles and instead of acting as a deterrent, it brings the men together. The palace has clouds of sorrow hanging over it and Jaime provides rays of sunlight to all.

I loved the Pyrderi people and its royalty. It’s an accepting land that shows love instead of scorn. The inhabitants of the castle from the King to servants were friendly, loving, and understanding of a man that was utterly broken and needed a place to feel safe and find himself again. They all celebrated the young Prince and his love to the blushing Jaime.

The Solstice Prince is a feel good HEA read that provided the warmth I was looking for. Could there have been more relationship development on page? Yep, but I just didn’t care. Sweet story. Lovable secondary characters. Swoontastic MCs. Fabulous cover. Definitely recommended.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.

Man Card

Review by Cupcake

3.75 Nothing ventured, nothing banged! Stars

There were some great one-liners in this one but it’s less lighthearted than Man Hands. Man Card picks up shortly after the conclusion of the first and involves the hard-nosed Ash and the guy who worships her, Braht. Who also just so happens to be her biggest rival at VanderMollen Realty.

Both of these characters have suffered hardships in their past and those hardships play large roles in the narrative. How their pasts intertwine was a clever twist that I wasn’t expecting but solidified them and their coupletry in my mind.

Overall Man Card is what I would categorize as enemies to lovers lite. Yes, Ash “hates” him and puts up a decent front but she’s unconvincing in her hatred especially considering every two minutes she’s thinking about jumping on Braht’s brat. Granted, she views this as a character flaw but try as she might, she is unable to resist him. The thing is, she doesn’t trust herself anymore so she’s reinvented herself as a together, self-sufficient woman who is highly organized with her color coded… everything, planner with inspirational stickers and washi tape who absolutely, unequivocally is not interested in a relationship.

Underneath the Ash-kicker exterior though something in her seems to recognize that Braht is for her and that evidences itself in little ways that add up to everything. As they become closer over the course of the story she begins to trust him and seek him out when she needs comforting. She’s still take no prisoners when it comes to besting him in the real estate biz, but some part of her recognizes that Braht would never hurt her, never betray her.

Braht is one of those characters that’s hard to resist. He’s cocky, self-assured, charismatic and oozes confidence with his exceptional wardrobe, manscaping, excellent hygiene and constant usage of cheesy endearments. The thought that his honeybear a.k.a. Ash won’t be forever his some day never enters his mind. No matter how much she snubs him, he just keeps pounding at her gates. He is a force but he’s also intuitive particularly when it comes to her and I never expected to like him as much as I did.
 

Looking your best is 70% confidence, 20% raw material, 10% imported photographic lenses and 5% lighting. Pay no mind to the total of more than 100%, because in my case that’s what you’re getting. The poster is 105% awesome.

What these authors are really bringing to this series, aside from their chemistry, is the sexiness. If these two aren’t banging each other they’re thinking about banging each other. Braht even gets Ash’s office supplies in on the X-rated fun! If one were to fall into the judging a book by one’s cover category then one would probably believe that Braht with his penchant for spa days, mani/pedis, chick flicks and highbrow facial creams would be extra genteel when it came to visiting Pound Town for fear of mussing his hair or wrecking his manicure.

Exhibit A:

 

“I don’t like you very much,” she says in a small voice.
“You’ll like me better when I’ve tied you to the bed in your parents’ cottage.”
She makes a noise that’s half rage, half lust. Oh, I’ve got her number. I really do.
“I brought four neckties in preparation, Hermès, of course. Very silky.”

The defense rests.

He may be metrosexual but he’s also a “sex god in pastel”, so give that man a platinum man card! STAT!

As sexy as it is it does have more weight than the first in the series. It’s still captivating, not overly heavy and left me with the warm fuzzies, but I missed the levity of the first one. In addition to the evolution of Ash getting her HEA, Brynn and Sadie are still integral to the story as is Tom. There were also a couple of tertiary characters that really made an impact in Bramly and Hank. Hank who used the term “pancake sandwich” in reference to someone’s balls. Werd. Now, if that doesn’t leave an impression I don’t know what does.

I really hope Sadie’s story is next and that it’s not that far off, because that Earth mother needs some happy PRONTO! I *might* have a genuine conniption if it happens to be with Mr. Pancake Sandwich, because epic.

Recommend to enemies to lovers and contemporary romance fans who enjoy low-angst and fluffy reads.

An ARC was provided by the publisher.

Deal Maker

Reviewed for @BMBR

Buddy read review with Cupcake

4.5 Stars

Well Ladies and Gents, it’s official- Lily Morton has been added to my automatic author list. If she writes it, I’ll read it.

I really enjoyed this story with Jude and Asa along with the frequent appearances from the fabulous Dylan and Gabe.

I loved almost everything about Jude. He’s sassy, loyal, loving, funny, and intelligent. When his ceiling caves in from water damage, he’s directed to visit Asa for possible boarding in exchange for being his assistant. And man did Jude assist his ass off for Asa.

Asa. *swoon* He has this warm, friendly, intelligent, larger than life temperament that compliments Jude’s so well. He’s a gentle giant that can also be snarky and give as good as he gets. Unfortunately for Jude, Asa despises models and thinks they are all pretty much a waste of space that lack brain cells. Unfortunately for Asa, he doesn’t hide his opinion and makes it clear to Jude on their first meet exactly what he thinks of models.

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Hilarity ensues as Jude wins Oscars daily by acting the part of brainless model. I laughed my ass off at his antics and giggled as Asa begins to pick up on them as well. Both men have a ton of baggage due to family issues and burns from past relationships. They’re quick to judge and very slow to knock down the walls. Their intimate relationship progressed slowly but their emotional connection grew organically as their relationship evolved from boss/employee to friends and then finally to lovers. Their chemistry from the beginning was delicious but once the sexy times kicked in, Yowzaaaaaa. I loved (seems I keep on gushing) how nothing was rushed and I believed each stage of their relationship.

Another star of the show was Billy, Asa’s son. Billy is a cheeky little thing and connects with Jude right away. It was sweet to see that side of Jude and Asa with Billy. Being a parent of a little one that rocks the terrible twos daily, I usually stay away from books with young kids because mental breaks from real life are needed to save my sanity. However, I really enjoyed the sweetness and humor that he brought to the story.

So with all this gushing why not 5 stars? Gabe and Dylan still hold the number one spot for my heart within this series. Jude drove me a tad bit crazy at times with his inner monologue of want a relationship but I can’t. I understood his reasoning but wished that thought train wasn’t so frequent. I still love him though.

Asa and Jude got their HEA and we were given an epic sugary sweet high. Ahhh the epilogue….pure sugar, not the knock off low calorie crap but the real shit we use in the country for our sweet teas. So Good.

Just in case it isn’t clear, Loved it. Loved Asa and Jude. Loved the secondary characters (especially Peggy). Love Lily Morton. Love this series. Definitely recommended.

“Love is simple. Humans are complicated.”

P.S. I love Henry too…*hint* *hint* Henry is also a GINGERRRRR *twirls* I’ll wait not so patiently for his story. *stalks Lily again*

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.

Spotlight on Relay by Layla Reyne

“Layla Reyne is one of the most exciting new voices in queer romance, and her newest book does not disappoint. RELAY is everything you’d want in an enemies-to-lovers tale and a sports romance. While reading, I had the same heart racing excitement as I do when watching the Olympics and could not put it down.”
-RITA nominated author Santino Hassell

About the Book:

Series: Changing Lanes #1

Publisher: Riptide Publishing

Release Date (Print & Ebook): January 8th, 2018

Subgenre: M/M Contemporary Sports Romance

Link: http://riptidepublishing.com/titles/relay

Book Blurb: Captain is not a title Alejandro “Alex” Cantu takes lightly. Elected by his teammates to helm the US Men’s Swim Team, he proudly accepts the role, despite juggling endless training, team administrative work, and helping out on the family farm. And despite his ex-lover, Dane Ellis—swimming’s biggest star—also making the Olympic Team.

Dane has been a pawn in his celebrity parents’ empire from crib to pool, flashing his camera-ready smile on demand and staying deeply in the closet. Only once did he drop the act—the summer he fell in love with Alex. Ten years later, Dane longs to cut his parents’ strings, drop his too-bright smile, and beg Alex for another chance.

Alex, though, isn’t ready to forgive and forget, and Dane is a distraction he doesn’t need on his team, until an injury forces Alex to accept Dane as his medley relay anchor. Working together, their passion reignites. When Dane’s parents threaten reprisal and Alex is accused of doping, the two must risk everything to prove Alex’s innocence, to love one another, and to win back their spots on the team, together.

Teaser Excerpt:

“How’s it going in there?”

Dane opened the stall door, eyes downcast as he tried to straighten out his shirt. “There are a lot of snaps.”

Alex inhaled sharply, and before Dane could wrap his head around that sound, around the blush streaking those high cheekbones, Alex had already moved on. To standing right in front of him. “You’re supposed to leave the shirt open.”

Dane lifted his hands, and Alex batted them away. He grabbed the uneven shirttails and ripped the buttons apart, the staccato snaps mirroring Dane’s stuttering heartbeat. Alex’s grip on the chambray lingered, as did his presence in Dane’s space, and with each heaving breath, each whiff of cologne tinged with chlorine, a pore-deep scent no swimmer could shake, Dane’s paper-thin resolved shredded.

About the author:

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Author Layla Reyne was raised in North Carolina and now calls San Francisco home. She enjoys weaving her bi-coastal experiences into her stories, along with adrenaline-fueled suspense and heart pounding romance. When she’s not writing stories to excite her readers, she downloads too many books, watches too much television, and cooks too much food with her scientist husband, much to the delight of their smushed-face, leftover-loving dogs.

 

Connect with Layla: Author Site | Twitter | FB | FB Group | Pinterest | Tumblr | Instagram | Goodreads | Newsletter

Giveaway:

To celebrate the release of Relay, Layla Reyne is giving away two paperback copies of Relay. Open internationally!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Man Hands

Review by Cupcake

4 stars

FUNNNNEEEEEE!

SB is just an auto-read for me regardless of who she teams with but this Tanya Eby person has her own magic happening. The WAGs series is comedic but this has a bawdy silliness that I found refreshing. I laughed through an entire chapter and that hasn’t happened to me in a long, looooonnnnnnnngggggg time.

Brynn is a great character. She’s a little flighty, really honest, kind and has a tendency to accidentally verbalize her thoughts. Her ex wrecked her self-image by ignoring her, so she needs someone ANYONE to see her as a sexual being. Recently divorced, not supermodel thin, struggling to get her mojo back with two of the BEST GIRLFRIENDS! who refuse to let her wallow and who decide that she needs to stop falling for her “type”: the pseudodude. They decide she need to go for “A MAN” which probably sounds sexist (and is) but CHEESE AND RICE!!! did it play out in the most delightful way.

Enter BFFs Ash and Sadie who make her go to a party so she can… jump back on the horse, so to speak. I don’t think they meant it literally but no one can say Brynn can’t follow direction! The story flips between their points of view so when she literally carped the gardener I was choking on my own spit but when it flipped to Tom and his first thought was:

And then I look into her green eyes and everything goes into slow motion. They’re a beautiful color. Like Benjamin Moore’s Clearspring Green.

I lost my shit. Like, I had to put it down because I couldn’t see or breathe.

Not only did I find this hilariously unexpected it also turned out to be a really great way to succinctly convey exactly who Tom is and that stayed consistent throughout the story.

Tom (not merely a gardener) is one of those HGTV renovator dudes who’s just come off a horrific and humiliating breakup that sent him spiraling into 9 mos of celibacy and meditation in Michigan at the advice of his BFF, Braht. Yes, Braht. Like a bratwurst.

So when he sees Brynn with her Clearspring Green eyes and huge rack charging him at the party, all systems are GOOOOOOOOOOOOO! They find themselves in the boathouse and banging ensues.

Completely subsumed by the sex fog that they missed the dicknozzle filming them…

*cue montage of their friends and random strangers making a version of the big eyes face while looking at their devices*

A little thing like a viral sex tape isn’t enough to keep these two down, though! In an effort to right the ship they decide to follow the advice of Tom’s publicist and fake an engagement. They carpe diem the bejeezus out of their “fake relationship” and in a twist that should surprise no one realize how perfect they are for each other. Crazy hot for each other, she can’t get enough of his calloused man hands, bulging… everything and power tools and he can’t get enough of her boobs and quirky underwear and unwrapping her from her ever-present wrap dress. I love it when couples can have fun while they’re shilly shallying.

At times I thought Tom’s dick being anthropomorphized was silly but I have to admit his exuberance for Brynn made me giggle. I really enjoyed how easy their relationship developed without dramatics. They both have backstories with depth and some pain but it just is what it is and neither dwell. Brynn is slightly insecure about her weight but in the face of Tom’s (and his dick’s) relentless appetite for her those body image issues didn’t stand a chance. The added bonus of this book was all the cooking since Brynn is a food blogger who loves a good ball. Or something on a stick that pairs so well with a dip and… alright, I’ll stop before I get voted off the island.

Great secondary characters. Great banging. Great writing chemistry. Great fun. Great start to a series. I’ll be rolling right into the next one to see what Ash did with Braht’s brat in that pantry besides rolling it in flour.

Enquiring minds wanna know.

Recommend to fans of fluff, comedic romance and low angst reads.

A review copy was provided by the publisher.