Moonlighter

Moonlighter (The Company, #1) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake

Moonlighter (The Company, #1)

Blurb:

Only in my family could a professional hockey player earning seven million dollars a year be considered a slacker.

I’m at the height of my athletic career. Yet my arrogant brother is always trying to recruit me into the family business: a global security company so secretive that I don’t even know its name.

Pass, thanks. I don’t need a summer job.

But the jerk ambushes me with a damsel in distress. That damsel is Alex, the competitive, sassy girl I knew when we were kids. Now she’s a drop-dead gorgeous woman in deep trouble.

So guess who’s on a flight to Hawaii?

It’s going to be a long week in paradise. My job is keeping Alex safe, while her job is torturing me with her tiny bikinis. Or maybe we’re torturing each other. It’s all snark and flirting until the threat against Alex gets serious. And this jock must become her major league protector.

Moonlighter is a stand-alone novel. No cliffhangers, no prior experience necessary. Contains: hackers, hockey players, and a hotel room with only one bed.

 

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4 Stars

Another SB winner with this spinoff of the much beloved Brooklyn Bruisers line!

Moonlighter features Eric Bayer who many remember and cooed over in Overnight Sensation or maybe that was just me? I was chomping at the bit for Eric to get his own HEA and SB did not disappoint.

I admit I made a face when I realized who the female protagonist was given her previous asshattery towards Becca but she grovels. Groveling goes a long way with me. She’s a smart, sassy and financially independent executive of a cable company that’s looking to launch an AI butler that faithfully safeguards the privacy of its owner who is pregnant by an abusive ex and needs body guarding for a conference that he too will be attending.

Enter Eric Bayer.

Eric is cocky, immodest, charismatic, can bring the snark and is especially bossy in the bedroom. He’s not looking for forever but his brother (who I also totally dig) sets him up in a fake boyfriend/bodyguard situation in Hawaii with his childhood friend, Alex Engels, and those hit it and quit it days of Eric’s are on an egg timer. Acting like a jealous boyfriend quickly morphs into actual boyfriending and it was a pleasure to witness. I liked him SO MUCH!

Maybe Alex’s denial of her feelings and/or disbelief in the sincerity of Eric’s feelings for her dragged out longer than I would’ve liked but they clearly have chemistry as well as a connection. They have fun together. The like each other and have a good balance of similarities and differences that made things realistic between them. Eric is amazingly sweet and supportive not to mention forthright about his feelings once he realizes what Alex has become to him.

The sex was pretty sensational especially the fact that Eric still desired Alex when she was “whale” (her words) sized in her third trimester.

That the privacy issue is a central theme, as dry as that seems, was anything but. I was riveted by the scenarios some of which dovetail into high-octane action sequences that I was not mad about. I love a good action scene and though I was bummed that a big part of this storyline was left dangling I was buoyed by the endnotes that said to look forward to more from The Company. Duff, Max and Scout all intrigue me, the latter of which reminded me a whole lot of Lisbeth from the Dragon Tattoo series so I’m genuinely excited to see how the series evolves.

If you’re a fan of friends to lovers romance with a side of action and a dabble of comedy then give Moonlighter a try.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Happy for You

Happy for You by Anyta Sunday: Review by Lost in a Book

Happy for You (Love & Family #3)

Blurb:

Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .

Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .

Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past—
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.

~ – ~ – ~

Set in New Zealand, Happy For You (Love & Family #3) is an MM gay romance featuring two guys pitted together in a blue 1988 station wagon — and there’s no doubt about it, Mort is going to drive Felix crazy.
Can be read as a standalone.

Tropes: brother’s best friend, second chances, family drama, friends-to-lovers, slow burn, found family
Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance
Trigger warnings: Depression and generalized anxiety (of a side character)

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4.25ish Stars

“On our way home, he doesn’t ask why I disappeared or why I’m acting skittish. I don’t tell him it’s unbearable being in love with him.”

Gahhhhh!!! Anyta spun her magical web again and pulled me right in… which is probably for the best since it seems like the story started long before the story actually starts. I’ve read the past books in the series but this can definitely be a standalone.

Mort and Felix have an entire busload of history, baggage, and emotions prior to the first words. Mort has been best friends with Felix’s older brother for much of his life while Felix pined for Mort for the same amount of time. Obviously, the brother’s best friend trope is the main show in Happy for You. As I mentioned, we are essentially thrown into the middle of Mort and Felix’s story but much has to be done in order to get to the HEA.

This is Anyta so a slow burn is guaranteed. I love Mort and Felix and I felt for them and the plethora of emotions from Mort coming back into their lives to the feeling of unrequited love. Anyta says sooooooo much with so few words that my heart hurt for them at times. There are outside circumstances that separated Mort from the family which I’m still a tad unsure if that storyline was wrapped up tight. There are lots of kids throughout and that’s usually a hard limit for me since I get plenty of kid action in RL. But, I liked the kids, their personalities, and the parts they play in this book.

Mort and Felix get their HEA after Anyta makes us burn for a tiny bit long ass time. As always, I enjoyed the writing style, the feels, and the characters. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Beard with Me

Beard with Me (Winston Brothers #6) by Penny Reid: Review by Cupcake

Beard with Me (Winston Brothers, #5.5)

Blurb:

‘Beard With Me’ is the origin story of Billy Winston and Scarlet St. Claire (aka Claire McClure) and is just the beginning of their epic love story.

No one is better at surviving than Scarlet St. Claire and making the best out of circumstances beyond her control is Scarlet’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, she’d be the last person on earth, hermitting like a pro, singing along to her CD Walkman, and dancing like no one is watching.

Scarlet is clever, Scarlet is careful, and Scarlet is smart . . . except when it comes to Billy Winston.

No one is better at fighting than Billy Winston and raging against his circumstances—because nothing is beyond his control—is Billy’s specialty. In an apocalyptic situation, he’d be the first person on earth to lead others to safety, overcome catastrophe, or die trying.

Billy is fearless, Billy is disciplined, and Billy is honorable . . . except when it comes to Scarlet St. Claire.

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4 Stars

God gave us free will so that we’ll stumble and learn how to pick ourselves back up. But He also gave us folks who love us, to clear away the obstacles before we trip and fall.</b

Let’s just start with the obvious, this is the prequel to the long, long, looooonnnnnggggg awaited Billy-n-Claire HEA that everyone and their cousin has been waiting for since forever. We all know they have a small ocean’s worth of water under their bridge and this book gives insight into where and how all that water got there.

If you’ve not read the series, this is a fantastic place to start, actually, because not only does it cover Billy and Scarlet/Claire but all of the Winston brothers are featured to varying degrees from Cletus and his… Cletusness to the twins and their yin/yang thing to Roscoe and his preciousness.

However, it is not the easiest book to read. Scarlet and Billy have monstrous fathers who play pivotal roles in their development. I knew that but I did not know the details of Scarlet’s backstory, most of which is awful. So, if you’re triggered by abuse this might not be the best read for you.

On the other hand, Billy’s backstory didn’t surprise me and probably won’t surprise fans of the series. He’s responsible, altruistic, loyal and intense through circumstances beyond his control foisted upon him at a young age. Case in point:

I redoubled my resolve. She deserved someone looking out for her first, someone who’d set aside selfishness for her sake. So, yeah, I would keep her safe, even if it meant sending her away.

My heart broke (again) for both of them and I am beyond ready for them to be exceedingly selfish when it comes to each other. Enough with the doing the right thing and always putting others first nonsense.

It’s your time, #Clairilly! Carpe diem!

My only quibble is the lack of a more comprehensive backstory; the whole thing takes place in 2003 when they are 14 and 16. They fall in love in a week which was a surprise to both of them and extremely gratifying for me to read. But I know there are more heartbreaks, more disappointments, more sacrifices and more missed or wasted opportunities and I wish a couple of them would have been included as well.

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. It applied to life and hopes and dreams and expectations too.

Needless to say, I would like Beard Necessities and my equal and opposite reaction, like, yesterday. I find Green Valley extremely comforting even when things are tense so while it might seem counterproductive to long for the final installment (a) I will always have this series and (b) there are not one but TWO spinoffs in the works!!! One of which involves Cletus and Jennifer and undoubtedly some shenanigans so I’m owning my greediness. I’m ready to soak in a tub filled with Billy and Claire’s happy happy joy joy until my fingers get pruny.

Recommended with the caveat mentioned above.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Happily Ever Asher Series

Happily Every Asher Series by Nash Summers: Review by Lost in a Book

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher, #1) Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher, #2)A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher, #3)

Rating for overall series: 4.25 Stars

When Red Cried Wolf is a great set-up to this series. The characters are all very likable, especially Asher. Asher is absolutely adorable and I just want to put him in my pocket. He has this unapologetic all knowing (especially in all things romance) attitude that doesn’t allow anything to get in his way (so far). There are nerds, jocks, awesome secondary characters, and a budding friendship relationship (even if it’s mainly grunts and other noises from his roommate) that I think will be so sweet as we continue on this journey.

In book two and then three, Asher and Morgan’s friendship, flirting, and eventual relationship grows slowly but there’s substance and respect in each stage, even if they drive each other crazy… which apparently is totally their brand of foreplay. Their text exchanges are everyyyyyyyyything and had me cackling throughout.

This three part series is adorable, feel good, turns my insides warm and squishy, AND is the perfect follow up to angsty reads. They have the classic running/avoidance thing going on that many do at that age but Asher is a helper of true love and he will damn well get his HEA.

Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

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Information on each specific book below:

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher #1) by Nash Summers

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher, #1)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
It’s probably one of the reasons he makes such a fantastic matchmaker, love guru, and romance expert. And now that he’s in college, it’s finally his turn to shine.

Asher’s relationship advice column in the school newspaper is his strongest matchmaking instrument, especially when it comes to helping hopeless romantics find their soulmates.

But like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
There’s a damsel in distress Asher’s best friend thinks is a psychopath, a handsome prince Asher can’t stop drooling over, and a huge, mysterious roommate Asher can’t help but pester.

It doesn’t matter though. Nothing will stop Asher when it comes to helping people find their true love.
He’s absolutely positive everything will work out in the end.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

* * *
When Red Cried Wolf is a slow-burn romance with over-the-top characters, fairy tale references, ridiculous texts, and eventually, a happy ever after.

Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher #2) by Nash Summers

Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher, #2)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
His column is thriving, fellow students trust him with their relationship woes, and he’s on his A-game when it comes to matchmaking. At least, matchmaking other than his own.
After a heartfelt letter written to his column, Asher is set on aiding the two love-struck heroes who desperately need his help.
But like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
Randy and Red can’t stop passing looks whenever Asher voices his plans;, the handsome Christopher might not be quite what Asher expected, and his dark, mysterious roommate, Morgan, might have a surprise or two up his sleeve.
It doesn’t matter though. Nothing will stop Asher when it comes to helping people find their true love.
He’s absolutely positive everything will work out in the end.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

* * *

Golden Boy and the Two Bears is a slow-burn romance with over-the-top characters, fairy tale references, ridiculous texts, and eventually, a happy ever after.

A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher #3) by Nash Summers

A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher #3)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
Or at least he was, until it all came crashing down.
He made a mistake. And even Asher himself, arranger of marriages and aider of lovesick hearts, doesn’t know how to fix it.

And like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
His inability to focus on love has turned his column into a disaster, his best friends are acting weirder than usual,  Christopher turns out to be a man of many surprises, and Morgan, well…

Maybe this time it does matter. Because when Asher’s heart finally realizes what he’s been looking for all along, it may be too late.
And too broken.
But there might just be a shred of hope somewhere deep down in his heart. Maybe Asher can fix everything and have his prince charming.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

Superfan

Superfan (Brooklyn, #3) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake

Superfan (Brooklyn, #3)

Blurb:

Sometimes lady luck shakes your hand, and sometimes she smacks your face. Sometimes she does both on the same day.

Three years ago I met the most amazing girl in the world. We were both down on our luck. Then I got that call—the one that tells you to get your buns on a plane to go meet your destiny.

But the girl was left behind. I didn’t have her phone number, and she didn’t know my real name.

While I became a professional hockey player, she became a superstar, with platinum records and legions of fans. And a slick, music producer boyfriend who treated her badly.

But fate wasn’t done with us yet. When Delilah turns up at a hockey game, I can’t resist making contact. The internet swoons when I ask her out on a date.

She might not remember me. But her jerkface ex does. He’ll do anything to keep us apart.

Good thing athletes never give up. This time I’m playing for keeps.

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3 Stars

Truth.

I had to think on this one a few days primarily because there’s nothing wrong with it other than it not being super memorable.

While reading Superfan I was invested in Silas and Delilah’s journey. I wanted them to find a way to navigate the obstacles both of their careers inherently pose. I was rooting for them but when it happened I found myself thinking, (a) that was easier than I envisioned it being and (b) how many Bruisers are going to end up with their sweethearts in the same building in Brooklyn?

Quibbles aside, Superfan is extremely readable, something I’ve come to expect with SB’s writes. It’s a second chance romance that’s packed with good feels and two likable protagonists. It also fulfilled my desire to peek in on previous couples and how their coupletry is progressing, which is something I find comforting.

Silas, simply put, is the guy you marry. He’s caring without being overbearing. He’s protective without sliding into alphaholedom. He’s generous both in and out of the bedroom and, mostly importantly, he’s crazy about Delilah; his most fervent desire is to share his life with her. In short, he will melt reproductive organs far and wide.

Delilah is a bit guarded having been burned multiple times in her life but the bottom line is she too is ass over teakettle when it comes to a certain hockey player. But she’s also trying to break into the next level within the music industry and doesn’t want to rely on Silas for the wrong reasons. I appreciated her independent spirit as well as the details regarding the music biz that SB included.

Their romance largely evolves smoothly. Told in flashbacks from both of their perspectives that illustrated their instantaneous attraction which I found touching. Maybe their romance could’ve done with a bit more conflict but that would’ve detracted from the fluffy. Plus, I think the storyline involving Delilah’s wanker of an ex was supposed to satisfy the conflict quotient of the romance algorithm.

Special shout out goes to Mr. Muscles who referred to Silas as a unicorn which, frankly, deserves a bajillion stars in and of itself. I sincerely hope we’ve not seen the last of him because I soooooooo want that gentle giant to find a unicorn of his very own.

I’m looking forward to whomever comes next in this series and would recommend Superfan to fans of the series or anyone in need of a feel good read.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

The Stud

The Stud (It’s Just Us Here #5) by Christopher X. Sullivan: Review by Lost in a Book

The Stud (It's Just Us Here #5)

Blurb:

An asexual man is now in a sexual relationship with a male model… and is in over his head.

Chris and Mark’s relationship evolves. Both men learn to depend on the other during trying times. Chris is in the closet with his family, but Mark doesn’t add pressure and remains a solid support. Meanwhile, Mark is struggling to reconnect with his parents and older sisters and Chris is the catalyst that enables the vain male model to return home.

All good things must come to an end, and if you’ve read this far in the series, you should know that the last few chapters of this book contain the long-foreshadowed Big Fight. This self-portrait was written as a romance… but not every story gets a happy ending.

[The Stud is Book Five in a ten book series. You can read this as the mid-point of a four book arc. You should probably read the friends-to-lovers story (contained in the first three books) to understand the fullness of the characters, but this isn’t strictly necessary. Book One, Book Four and Book Eight all serve as ‘jumping in’ points for the series.

It’s Just Us Here: The Stud is a 118,000 word journey of two men connecting in a deep, spiritual way as they navigate a sexual relationship while juggling careers, friends and family.]

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5 Stars

The Stud is definitely my favorite so far on the journey of Chris and Mark in It’s just Us Here. Apparently I’m a masochist because this one hurt and I loved it. Not the pain they went through, but that it makes you feel throughout the entire book.

For most of this book, there’s a surface level feeling of happiness between the MCs. They seem to be on the same page, in love, and increasing their sexual exploration. But, lurking under the surface is pain and heartbreak evident from the very beginning. I could *feel* the decline of their relationship in the little moments; the moments that seem insignificant but have huge implications for the future.

“We had our differences and they were plain to see… and it wouldn’t be easy to work around my limitations… but it was so easy to be with Mark”

Mark and Chris are trying to please the other person at a detriment to themselves and it’s impossible to keep up without breaking. The closet scene with Mark was soooooooo sad to me. The lengths Mark is willing to go to keep Chris close when it goes against his very nature just ripped my heart out. There are so many red flags along the way that made me want to stop and scream, “WOULD YOU JUST ACTUALLY TALK TO EACH OTHER.” I don’t want lack of communication to be confused with using a misunderstanding or miscommunication trope in a romance novel. This is real life and it’s as if Chris and Mark are trying so hard to be together, be everything the other person could ever want or need, that they lose themselves in the process. They stop speaking up on the big and little things that might not always be of major importance but to them, it’s another crack in the crumbling foundation.

So sadness be damned, I loved this book. Not to worry though, there are many reminders that the overall “story” ends with a HEA. They just have to find a way to repair all these cracks or demolish the building and start over. Remember that this is a REAL story. About real men, dealing with real emotions and real life events. Definitely recommended.

Trigger- addiction, depression

Copy provided for honest review.

Adam Only

Adam Only by Roe Horvat: Review by Lost in a Book

Adam Only (Those Other Books #2)

Blurb:

On stage, Adam lets his passion drive him. All his secret desires, everything nasty, dirty, and beautiful flows freely through him, for once in harmony. His soul thrives when his body moves, but only on stage. Adam’s passionate nature makes him a great dancer…and a failure at life. He’s a lonely, emotional mess. Going home with a man far out of his reach is the last thing Adam should do. Christoffer represents everything Adam isn’t: strong, independent, educated, and rich. His kind eyes, at odds with his brutish form, make Adam’s knees and restraint buckle.

Once Christoffer sees Adam dancing, he’s lost. The young man is mesmerizing, otherworldly, and unpredictable. Whatever might happen between them, it will be transient, and Christoffer will most likely get hurt. The temptation is too great, however, and the sex explosive. He might as well enjoy every moment he’s given, even if it’s just one day, maybe two. If Christoffer treads carefully, Adam might stay until Monday.

Warning: Adam Only is a gay erotic love story. It contains explicit language and sexual scenes between two consenting men. For adult readers only.

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4 Stars

Ummm….. *rubs eyes* Holy one-handed read Batman!

Just a warning, if sex in books isn’t your thing, you’re barking up the wrong tree. Adam Only is loaded with sex and very much falls into the erotic category. The sex to conversation ratio was no where near equal with sex taking the lead 9:1.

Actual footage of readers (myself included) reading Adam Only

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Christoffer sees Adam dancing at a party and is immediately captivated by his beauty and the way he moves. He stalks Adam for most of the night until he locates him and the rest is history. Let the orgasm train (unless it’s delayed for play) commence.

There’s a story along with all the sex that is woven throughout with tales of struggle, confidence, station in life, independence, fear, need, want, and understanding. Christoffer never falters in his interest of Adam and their connection is tangible. Adam is afraid to lose himself in Christoffer due to past experiences but can’t help what happens when they’re together- he can’t help letting go.

“He wanted to be owned without being shackled. He craved to be used without being punished. He needed a master, but he needed to feel free. He would lie down at his man’s feet if he could be sure he wouldn’t get stepped on.”

I really like Christoffer and Adam together. I am especially pleased that although Adam feels the immense pull to be with Christoffer and let go, he stays true to himself and his limits, wishes, and goals.

Adam Only may have been on the higher end of my sex tolerance scale… which I didn’t think I had. The sex wasn’t gratuitous and definitely had purpose in the character’s transformations. I like a little more story along with all the sex (which if this was longer that might have naturally occurred) but I still very much enjoyed Christoffer and Adam’s journey. I’m a huge fan of Roe and will continue to devour everything he writes. Recommended.

P.S. It took me a bit to put the pieces together on Adam and Christoffer but they are the couple in The Other Book that Tyler had the threesome with. These are out of sequence with Adam and Christoffer having already been in a committed relationship for a long while in that book. Adam Only tells the story of how they got to that place.

P.P.S. It’s highly suggested that this be consumed in private. Prepping an ice bath in advance will go a long way as well. You’re welcome.

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Copy provided for honest review.

 

Made for You

Made For You (Love & Family #2) by Anyta Sunday: Review by Lost in a Book

Made for You (Love & Family #2)

Blurb:

Ben wants to find a new home.

Twenty-four-year-old Ben McCormick is the primary caregiver for his brother Milo after their parents’ death. A year into the job, he’s totally got the hang of it. Mostly. Sort of. Not at all?

Defeated and thoroughly chastised for his lack in parenting skills at teacher-parent night, Ben slumps away with the resolve to finally get his life sorted: be a better role model, and sell their parents’ house for a fresh start.

But first, he needs to spruce up his house to hit the market. He’s no DIY king, but Milo’s hot-as-hell woodwork teacher is…

Jack wants an old home to fix.
Thirty-nine-year-old Jack Pecker is waiting for the home of his dreams to come on the market in the summer. What better way to wait the interim months than working on a small renovation gig?

Only trouble is, the gig is for the McCormick brothers. And working in close quarters to red-haired Ben McCormick won’t be easy. Not with the attraction that simmers between them. Attraction Ben makes no effort to hide.

But Jack’s professional. Dating a parent is highly discouraged at Kresley Intermediate, and he’d never cross the lines…

Ben and Jack. Two guys searching for a home – 
– a home that might just be where their hearts lead them.

~ – ~ – ~

Set in New Zealand, Made For You (Love & Family #2) is an MM gay romance featuring two guys at very different places in their lives – but both finding out they are looking for the same thing.
Can be read as a standalone.

Tropes: friends-to-lovers, slow burn, age gap, found family
Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance

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5 Stars

You Guys!!!!! I know I’ve made no secret about my love for Anyta Sunday books (still have a few more to go in her back log until I’ve read them all) but OMG with stories like this, how can I not? Made For You is everything I look for in romance (M/F or M/M) with cheeky characters, connection, heartfelt moments, angst, feelable feels (don’t just tell me they like/love, I want to experience them for myself), slow burn, and this has the added bonus of an age gap. Hell Yes! It even has a kid in it (which I usually stay away from) but Milo added so much to the story that I was smiling, laughing, and crying right along with him.

Ben is the caretaker for his younger brother, Milo after the death of their parents. He pretty much puts his life on hold to ensure Milo gets the care he needs. Poor Ben isn’t used to parenting and while he tries his best, they’re still majorly hot messes. Ben hasn’t mastered how to get Milo to do anything and it’s impacting his school performance. On a parent-teacher night, Ben slips into the sights of Jack, AKA Mr. Woodpecker, AKA Milo’s wood working teacher. Literally.

“Milo’s teacher. Milo’s gay teacher. Milo’s ruggedly hot, gay teacher. I pre-emptively confess my sins. I’m taking the image of his steady gaze, curved lips, and work-toughened hands to bed tonight.”

Jack is spending his days teaching while completing home renovations at night and on the weekends. He’s saving to buy and renovate his ultimate dream house and just has to wait it out. Jack decides to take a job renovating Ben and Milo’s house which will give him a place to live until his house becomes available.

Ben and Jack together is absolute perfection. Ben is soooooooooo cheeky with quick wit and a larger than life personality. He uses humor and sarcasm to cover the shit storm that’s currently his life. He has immense love for Milo and it’s evident in all of their interactions. These brothers love each other and my face leaked a little during their happy times and/or their times of incredible sadness.

Jack and Ben’s attraction is pretty instant and Ben makes no apologies about his blatant interest. He’s flirty, suggestive, and can turn anything into innuendo. Jack tries to put a stop to it (even though he feels it too)… and fails. Made For You heats up much faster than Anyta’s other books with Ben’s lack of filter but it’s Anyta, so it still qualifies as an epic slow burn. With Jack and Ben not denying their attraction, we are treated to these little *fully* charged moments- tasty morsels when we just want to devour the entire fucking cake. Definitely worked on building my appetite for these two to get together.

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Let me tell ya, I wasn’t dying for a fuck fest. I was dying for a kiss, a hand hold, a hug, anything and everything. Their relationship journey happened organically and holy hell, I felt every step they took towards something so much bigger. The Ben is the best moments were so swoon worthy and endearing that I felt like I was wrapped up in a cozy blanket on a cold day. This wasn’t all angst and UST, there are many LOL moments. All three of these guys together were so freaking funny that I was highly entertained.

If you can’t tell by now, I loved this story HARD. Please Please Anyta, can you make this an audio with a kick ass narrator? I would revisit it on the regular. 100% recommended.

“It’s a kiss of seconds, but they are the best kissing seconds of my life.”

Copy provided for honest review.

Blank Slate

Blank Slate by Louisa Keller: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis:

“Glad you found time in your very busy schedule to join us.”

Colby: 
I only agreed to model nude for a community art class because I needed the money. I figured it would be easy-fun even. But that was before I came sprinting into the studio on the first day, late and viciously hungover, and found myself face-to-face with Axel Hawthorne. Suddenly I was stripping down in front of the very man who had blown me off after a brutally hot night on the dance floor…and letting him draw me. Hot tempered and abrasive, I knew there was more to Axel than met the eye. As the term went on I decided I was going to figure out why an award-winning artist was teaching local art classes-and why I couldn’t get his stupid, gorgeous face out of my head.

“You don’t know what you do to me.”

Axel: 
It had been one year since a devastating incident had robbed me of my ability to paint. I was ready to live out the rest of my days in a state of abject misery…and then Colby Stevens wormed his way into my life. Passionate, self-assured, and more than a decade younger than me-I was intoxicated by him. Suddenly I was making art again, filling canvas after canvas with his body and my desire. As our working relationship segued into something more, I allowed myself to consider that he might be the key to starting fresh. But healing would be an uphill battle…would I be able to start over with a blank slate?

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2.5 Stars

I really really wanted to love this one. A broken artist and an inexperienced nude life model had me jumping on this with alarming speed. I was also looking forward to this author’s next book because I really enjoyed the first novel, Fragile Ground. Unfortunately, this one didn’t work for me.

Colby is a senior in college, just finished his semester, and heads out to a club with his best friend and sometimes fuck buddy, Eleanor. At the club he stumbles upon the most beautiful man he has ever seen, Axel. Things get heated on the dance floor so they take it to the bathroom stall where he gets to see the “most picture perfect cock” he has ever had the pleasure of servicing. *yawn* Anyway, after the performance of a lifetime in that bathroom stall, Colby is treated to a chilled out prick when Axel makes it clear round two isn’t an option and neither is the bottomless bank account and white picket fence that Colby must be after.

Axel is a mercurial ass that lashes out at everyone because of the circumstances that led him to being a has-been artist. He’s “slumming” it by becoming an art instructor and believes the saying, “those who can, do and those who can’t, teach” is absolutely true.

Fast forward to the next morning when Axel’s new nude life model walks in for his first session and it turns out to be the guy who blew him the night before, Colby. This begins their “enemies to lovers” journey of finding common ground and then finding each other. Maybe?

From the beginning of the story I was bored and hoping that once the art stuff began my interest would increase. It didn’t. Colby was likable yet came across as one dimensional. All of the conversations with him and Eleanor were silly and induced major eye rolling. Axel and Colby’s connection wasn’t evident beyond the physical throughout the entire book. Yes, they said in their own minds that they had feelings for the other but that didn’t translate to their interactions. Axel remained very removed from anything beyond sex and art while Colby walked on egg shells in fear of scaring Axel away. I didn’t believe their feelings throughout and was underwhelmed at the end.

I’m not going to get spoilery but the BIG reveal was mentioned constantly. The drama from Axel’s past was referred to so much I just knew it was going to be EPIC when it finally came out…

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Although I had heart eyes for the synopsis and Lousia Keller’s previous novel, this wasn’t my cuppa. I’ll give her next one a shot even if I wouldn’t recommend this one- but YMMV.

Copy provided by author in exchange for honest review.