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.