Boy Shattered

Boy Shattered by Eli Easton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Boy Shattered

Blurb

Brian
You’ll make it out of here, Brian. I swear.
I had everything—school quarterback, popular with girls, and my dad was proud of me. I told myself it didn’t matter no one knew the real me. And then I nearly died. Landon saved my life. He’s the bravest guy I know. He came out a few years ago, proud and fierce, and he ran into gunfire to help others. Me, I’m a mess. Can’t even stand to be in a room with the curtains open. But here’s the thing about losing it all: You get a chance to start over and be someone new. Only how can I move on when the two shooters who attacked our school were never caught? And why do I feel like I’m still in the crosshairs?

Landon
Will you kiss me?
When I came across Brian Marshall,the hottest guy in school, dying on the cafeteria floor, I did what anyone would do. I tried to save him. His request surprised me, but I figured he needed comfort, so I kissed him on the forehead. When he survived and came back to school, he was broken in body and mind. He still needed me, and soon we were unlikely besties. But what I saw at school that day woke me up. I want to demand action on gun control, lead protests, raise my fist. I’ll tear the world down if I have to. And if I can get the man of my dreams and save the world at the same time? I’ll take it. Only I didn’t understand that the horror at Jefferson Waller High wasn’t over.

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3.25 Stars

Wow.

I think I need a minute month to process. I tip toed into this book. The subject matter is hard and hits pretty close to home. So yeah, hesitant AF is an understatement.

Before I start discussing the book, I want to provide insight on the rating. My rating has nothing to do with the quality of the writing. It has a lot to do with personal preferences and an immense dislike for politics. If I had access to the foreword prior to requesting the ARC I would have known that politics play a huge role in not only the main crisis, but also in the lives of one of the MCs. Politics make me ragey and I get enough of it in RL that I can’t fully enjoy my escape with books when it’s there too. Politics definitely have a place in this book and I knew going in that there would be some politics around gun control but this went beyond that and anything MAGA makes me want to poke my eyes out. It’s more of a personal preference and not a knock on the content.

My first reaction when I saw that Eli went there…
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You know… the place that has so much sadness, anger, hopelessness, and bloodshed. These tragedies have brilliant students rising to fight for their lives when their fallen classmates can’t. The shooting in the story happens within the first few chapters with the POVs switching between Brian and Landon. We get a window into the soul crushing panic each boy feels as they try to make a decision on which hiding place will hopefully keep them alive and then the direct aftermath when they realize what monsters are capable of.

Landon (out and proud senior) closely resembles the brave students we see on the news fighting for gun control. Brian (closeted junior and quarterback) has many hurdles beyond the shooting that make day to day life a struggle, especially his asshole dad. However, he becomes obsessed with finding out who was responsible for the shooting. Both boys find comfort in each other while the storm rages around them. The relationship isn’t the main focus, has low heat/off page interactions, and thankfully included very minor angst on their way to a HEA. The story dynamic worked with the tragedy taking center stage.

This is a very angsty read. When the administrator came over the speaker to announce an active shooter, it took me back to my days in the classroom when we had non-drill “code reds.” I felt like I was right back in my classroom trying to find places for my students to hide. I like angsty stories but I don’t think this is a book written for enjoyment?.?. IMO it’s more of a thought provoking experience on a topic that has been hitting the nightly news on the regular. It’s hard to digest at some points but Easton does a commendable job touching on this topic. Boy Shattered really drives home that the tragedy isn’t over when the students are buried and the school reopens.

Besides the politics not working for me, the wrap up of all the storylines is a little too pretty. There was so much build up and then it’s all solved quickly with the nitty gritty details happening off page. Trigger Warnings: School shooting, death, PTSD, and homophobia If you like angst and politics don’t send you running for the hills, this may be your cuppa. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf by Anna Martin: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Lone Wolf

Blurb:

Jackson Lewis isn’t a typical werewolf. He isolates himself in a small town outside Spokane and dedicates himself to making his business—Lone Wolf Brewery—a success. If it leaves him little time for romance, he’s okay with that. His soul mate could be out there somewhere, but he isn’t actively looking.

So he’s in for quite the shock when he literally bumps into his soul mate—Leo Gallagher, an adorable, nerdy, vibrant music therapist who’s Jackson’s polar opposite.

But he’s human. And a man.

Jackson is straight—or at least he’s always assumed so. Though he can’t deny his attraction to Leo, it’s a lot for both of them to deal with.

While Jackson and Leo figure out what their future might hold, they face prejudice from both the human and werewolf communities—including a group of fanatics willing to kill to show humans and werewolves don’t belong together.

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DNF

I tried… realllllllllly tried. I picked this book up many times over the span of a week and struggled page by page and couldn’t make a dent. This may be another it’s not you, it’s me but just know it was absolutely not my thing and here’s why…

It’s unlike any shifter book I’ve experienced which didn’t turn out to be a positive. I like unique reading experiences but this was so out of the typical realm of “soul mates” shifter style that I was scratching my head a lot. Right away STRAIGHT Jackson knows that Leo is his soul mate and Leo understands that there’s a connection between them. Does Jackson get all possessive? Growly? Protective? Ecstatic at finding his mate?

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Their meeting is cut short and what happens from here are a bunch of meetings at random places so they can take it slow and get to know each other. Huh? I like the getting to know you part of a book and they don’t have to jump on the orgasm train right away (or at all). But their meetings read like job interviews and not shifter soul mates. Each time is very awkward and I didn’t understand why being mates was part of this story if they weren’t going to act like it. *sigh*

Did you know Jackson is straight? Not Bi. Not Gay. Straighttttttttttt. He even states that he would be perfectly happy finding a woman to marry and “get on with his life” (EVEN KNOWING HE HAS A SOUL MATE). Because he’s straight. It’s worth mentioning because Jackson makes it clear repeatedly and in all the ways it can be stated. He probably used the Rosetta Stone to speak it in every language. #StraightAF

There’s a lot going on. It’s sort of like the kitchen sink was thrown in and the focus, chemistry, heat, and connection fell to the wayside. Maybe it picked up at the end? I wasn’t compelled to find out. Not recommended but as always, these thoughts are my own and YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.

Crocus

Crocus (Bonfires #2) by Amy Lane: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Buddy listen with R.

Crocus (Bonfires, #2)

Blurb:

Saying “I love you” doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.

High School Principal “Larx” Larkin was pretty sure he’d hit the jackpot when Deputy Sherriff Aaron George moved in with him, merging their two families as seamlessly as the chaos around them could possibly allow.

But when Larx’s pregnant daughter comes home unexpectedly and two of Larx’s students are put in danger, their tentative beginning comes crashing down around their ears.

Larx thought he was okay with the dangers of Aaron’s job, and Aaron thought he was okay with Larx’s daughter—who is not okay—but when their worst fears are almost realized, it puts their hearts and their lives to the test. Larx and Aaron have never wanted anything as badly as they want a life together. Will they be able to make it work when the world is working hard to keep them apart?

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3.25 Stars

“Saying ‘I love you’ doesn’t guarantee peace or a happy ending.”

That’s for damn sure when it comes to Crocus and all of the drammmmmmmmaaaaaaaa that took place.

Just a little house keeping before we get started- If you haven’t read the first book in the series, Bonfires I recommend that you do. This isn’t a standalone. At all. If it’s been more than a month since you’ve read the first book, I HIGHLY recommend you revisit your notes/review/etc… because this jumps right into Aaron and Larx’s chaotic life. So many names were dropping and I couldn’t pick them up right away. Thank goodness I had R along for the buddy reading ride and between my old review and her character maps, we were able to sort it out. I think.

As I mentioned, we jump right into the Aaron/Larx household. Everything is going pretty well considering they still have the pregnant daughter, blended family, dangerous job, and a safe haven for the lost and lonely kid thing going on.

As the blurb mentions, Larx has some students that find themselves in trouble and both Aaron and Larx play roles in trying to get them to safety. The troubled student story line has serious implications on Larx and Aaron’s safety, sanity, and sex life. One of my issues with the story is that there’s a TON going on. There were already lots of continuing characters with their own baggage and Crocus adds many more along with doubling the drama. On one hand, the MC relationship has very mild growing pains as they are an established couple living together. They are able to be steadfast with the comfort of being partners while each having their own moments to be vulnerable. On the other, their coupledom was so far from focus that I’m not sure what I would classify this as. They had some sexy moments slipped in but I wanted more of them as a couple and less when life gives you lemons type of angst.

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Have you ever read a book where the good characters are insanely good and the bad are really fucking bad? No room for gray?  That’s how Crocus read to me. The kids, Larx, and Aaron are PERFECT. Even in their worst moments, they’re so respectable, likable, and teaching life lessons like a boss- especially the kids. The bad characters are absolute assholes (which is probably not harsh enough). The other characters are very likable but a tad too perfect. I know there are loads of readers that will love this because reading is definitely an escape. Sometimes though, I want a tad bit of realness. If you’re gonna lose your shit, lose it epically. Pretty please, for me.

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Nick Russo did a decent job narrating but another edit for the audio would help. There are inconsistent character name pronunciations along with some character voice missteps that could use tightening up. My narration complaint about Aaron’s “voice” in book one seems to have been adjusted for this book or it’s the exact same and I’ve been desensitized by increased exposure. Either way, the voices were more enjoyable.

Let’s talk triggers. There should be trigger warnings for rape on a minor (not detailed on page but important to the story), homophobia, depression, abortion, racism.

If you adored the first, Crocus will probably read much the same for you. I’m in the minority with my rating, YMMV. It’s written well with likable MCs who get their HEA. This will be the end of the Larx and Aaron road for me but I’d read Kellan’s story.

Copy provided for honest review.

Band Sinister

Band Sinister by K.J. Charles: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Group read with fellow Unicorns, Adam and Chelsea

Band Sinister

Blurb:
Sir Philip Rookwood is the disgrace of the county. He’s a rake and an atheist, and the rumours about his hellfire club, the Murder, can only be spoken in whispers. (Orgies. It’s orgies.)
Guy Frisby and his sister Amanda live in rural seclusion after a family scandal. But when Amanda breaks her leg in a riding accident, she’s forced to recuperate at Rookwood Hall, where Sir Philip is hosting the Murder.
Guy rushes to protect her, but the Murder aren’t what he expects. They’re educated, fascinating people, and the notorious Sir Philip turns out to be charming, kind—and dangerously attractive.
In this private space where anything goes, the longings Guy has stifled all his life are impossible to resist…and so is Philip. But all too soon the rural rumour mill threatens both Guy and Amanda. The innocent country gentleman has lost his heart to the bastard baronet—but does he dare lose his reputation too?

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4ish Stars

Whoa! Anyone else have to reread the title page on this one just to make sure it was a KJC book? No murder? No angsty relational and/or time period peril? This is insanely lighthearted compared to her previous writes. It’s practically fit for teenage consumption if you throw a chasity belt on it. (Is that still a thing?) I couldn’t help comparing the feel of Band Sinister to her others and I think the Grinch KJ Charles’ heart has increased in size.

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Ok, so I’m a huge fan of KJC whether we are chasing antacids with alcohol just to get through the angst/death or this spoon full of sugar featuring Sir Phillip Rookwood and Guy Frisby. The blurb does a great job setting the stage for this story so let’s get this party started.

Rookwood and Frisby dislike each other greatly. It’s more of a my family has had awful interactions with yours and your family has ruined my family type dislike and not really between the two men. Unfortunately during that time period, past family shame is enough to cloud the rest of the generations. Much to Rookwood’s dismay, Frisby’s sister (Amanda) is injured on his property and will be recovering there for at least a fortnight. Guy is devastated about his sister’s injury and beside himself with the idea of staying in the same location as the Murder. Well, he is until the men of the house begin to seem actually human; kind, compassionate, sociable, and spirited.

Frisby becomes aware of Sir Phillip’s preferences and that sets off a sexual awakening long suppressed. Phillip is like a blood hound and is on the trail as soon as Frisby begins to question what he desires. The men get to know each other as Amanda heals and Phillip volunteers to teach Guy in all things pleasure.

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There’s some heat along the way with the MCs and the added spice of the other men in the house having the propensity to share. Throw in some family drama, town drama, a very lively Amanda, KJC’s trademark humor laced with snark, a HEA, and Band Sinister is an entertaining, low angst read. I have to mention that Amanda is a kick ass female character and I highly enjoyed when she was on page.

It took a bit of a time getting in the groove. Due to the slow start, I liked the second half more than the first. It was another enjoyable read by one of my favorite authors. I think I prefer the Tums and alcohol compared to the low angst sweetness but I can’t wait to read Corvin’s story and see him brought to his knees. I’ll definitely continue on if this is a series. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Risk Taker (Mixed Messages #3)

Risk Taker by Lily Morton: Reviewed by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Buddy Read with Cupcake

Risk Taker (Mixed Messages, #3)

Blurb:

Henry’s the odd man out. All his friends are settling down, and his reputation as the Hook-Up King of London seems more like a curse than a blessing these days. Especially when it keeps photojournalist Ivo, his best friend and the brilliant man he’s loved since they were fifteen, at arm’s length. But that’s where Ivo wants him, right? Putting aside his feelings, Henry decides to give up casual sex and look for the real deal. After all, he has no chance with Ivo – or does he?

Henry is everything to Ivo. Best friend, soul mate, the one person who has never let him down. The one person he is loyal to above everything and everyone. But Henry’s in a box marked best friend and that’s where Ivo’s kept him for nearly twenty years, despite steadily falling in love with the gentle man. And besides, why would Henry want to date Ivo? Burned out and injured, he’s the walking embodiment of damaged.

Distance has helped Henry and Ivo keep a lid on their attraction, but when they find themselves in the same city for a change—Ivo hurt and needing assistance, and Henry more than willing to provide it—the two best friends grow closer than ever, forcing a realization, and a decision. Risk their friendship for their hearts? Or can they have both?

From the bestselling author of Rule Breaker and Deal Maker comes a tender love story about two best friends who are perfect for each other, and always have been – if only they knew it.

*This is the third book in the Mixed Messages series, but it can be read as a standalone

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4.25 Stars

HENRYYYYYYYYYYY!!!

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I’ve been waiting my whole life forever since Rule Breaker for Henry to FINALLY get his chance to come alive. Let me just tell you that Henry did NOT disappoint. Henry and Ivo together are FIYAHHHHH!

Henry’s a family lawyer, great friend, hook-up champion, and in love with his best friend Ivo. He’s stable, loyal, comfortable with the routine of his life, and has decided to find love… or at least something close to it since he can’t have who he truly wants. Did I mention he’s a ginger? Lots of good things going for Henry.

Ivo is an artist and photojournalist. He travels more than he’s at home in London with his roommate, Henry.

“Over the years he has danced in and out of my life, chasing his dreams of being a photojournalist and running from his demons in faraway lands.”

After an injury, Ivo has to stay put for a bit and that’s when the “friendship” changes. I adore Henry and Ivo together. Their back and forth had me laughing out loud. The antics they get up to with their friends had me cackling. This book has a much heavier feel than I was expecting. Ivo and Henry have a lot of baggage from the past that prevents them from moving forward and leaving readers with a major case of feels. There’s lotssssssss of pining y’all. It takes a million years (well, it seemed like it in booklandia) for them to move forward.

Henry and Ivo have a natural intimacy that goes beyond being best friends. Once the seal is broken on the physical aspect of their relationship, it’s game on. They have sex on lock down. Communication about their relationship?? Not so much. Who needs to talk when there’s sex? The restaurant scene… *bites fist* Hot AF. Ivo is a master at keeping them on one track filled with orgasms. I love Ivo with his quick wit and humor. I’ll forgive him for his interesting takes on some of my favorite stories. Let’s talk about Chutter sandwiches. *gag* Is that an actual thing. I’m too afraid to Google it. 🤢

Much of the MCs foundation happens off page from their childhood. We are privy to glimpses through flashbacks but not a lot. However, I didn’t need more. I felt their connection, friendship, and love.

Risk Taker *could* be read as a stand alone but both couples from previous books are still very much a part of the story. Lily Morton’s writing is always refreshing and I appreciate the dual POVs with how different Ivo and Henry are. There is one little critique that I had but it’s a preference thing. The way the conflict was resolved through the end felt a little off. I was waiting for something epic and walked away feeling happy with the HEA but slightly disappointed with how everything came to fruition.

A trigger warning should be added for flashbacks that depict verbal and physical abuse. I really enjoyed Risk Taker and definitely recommend it.

Is it too soon to demand request Silas’ story? Asking for a friend…

“‘You don’t have to be anything other than yourself with me,’ I say steadily. ‘That’s always been our truth, and it always will be.’”

Copy provided for honest review.

Ravensong (Green Creek #2)

Ravensong (Green Creek #2) by TJ Klune: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Ravensong (Green Creek, #2)

Blurb:

Gordo Livingstone never forgot the lessons carved into his skin. Hardened by the betrayal of a pack who left him behind, he sought solace in the garage in his tiny mountain town, vowing never again to involve himself in the affairs of wolves.

It should have been enough.

And it was, until the wolves came back, and with them, Mark Bennett. In the end, they faced the beast together as a pack… and won.

Now, a year later, Gordo has found himself once again the witch of the Bennett pack. Green Creek has settled after the death of Richard Collins, and Gordo constantly struggles to ignore Mark and the song that howls between them.

But time is running out. Something is coming. And this time, it’s crawling from within.

Some bonds, no matter how strong, were made to be broken.

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4.5 Stars

PackPackPackPack

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I may have damaged some ear drums in my squealing excitement following the news that Ravensong was in the works. Mark and Gordo had so much angst, anger, and longing going on in Wolfsong that I just knew their journey would be hard. However, this is TJ we’re dealing with, so hard is an understatement for the mountains Mark and Gordo have to climb to find a bit of peace.

So many feels.

It kicked my ass.

My face leaked.

It hurt. So. Good.

Ravensong is intense, fast paced, and gruesome. It doesn’t let up until the end.

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Mark and Gordo were everything to each other once upon a time. We get a glimpse of the love and then heartbreak between them as they’re separated. The anger left in its wake is almost tangible and long lasting. With everything going on in Green Creek and Gordo being the Bennett’s witch again, Mark and Gordo have to put aside their differences for the sake of the pack. Slowly, cracks start to develop in their hardened walls and the journey to each other is painful but satisfying to “watch.”

Wolfsong continues to be my #1 but this isn’t too far behind. We don’t get the overly emotional displays that we had from Joe and Ox. The life stages are different and the men are hardened by tragedy and betrayal. I went through the whole read knowing it wouldn’t be as lovey dovey or swoon worthy and I was right… until 2 sentences proceeded to melt my heart and make me giddy. Side note: The early days when Mark was *wooing* Gordo had be grinning like a fool.

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Although this book highlighted the relationship between Mark and Gordo finding their way to coupledom, it’s so much more. The Pack is a major element and their growth towards cohesion and being battle ready takes center stage. I have major heart eyes for all the characters, the family they’ve built, and the strength each possesses no matter their species. With being such a serious book, there are many opportunities to take a much needed breath with the crazy antics and conversations that pop up. I’m excited to see how these relationships evolve throughout the series.

Ready for one hell of a rollercoaster ride with the Bennett’s? Grab your blanket, glass(es) of wine, and a bottle of antacids. Definitely recommended.

P.S. It wouldn’t hurt to revisit Wolfsong as a refresher before diving in because it references things that we *should* know already but may not remember.

P.P.S. I’m ready for Kelly and Robbie. Like, yesterday. 😍😍😍

P.P.P.S(is this even a thing?). I’m ready for Carter’s story tomorrow (Too soon?). Please and Thank you.

Copy provided for honest review.

Love Me Louder

Love Me Louder by Christina Lee: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Love Me Louder

Blurb:

Noah Dixon is damaged goods. After an accident leaves him physically scarred and emotionally vulnerable, dating isn’t in the cards, so he throws himself head-first into his retail job. When he’s obligated to attend his best friend’s engagement party on Fire Island, it dawns on him he’s about to spend yet another weekend feeling totally invisible and alone among a swarm of gorgeous men.

That’s when the idea of an escort comes in.

After Will Crossen was forced to put his theater major on hold in favor of two jobs to tackle his ailing mother’s hospital bills, he tells himself becoming an escort isn’t that big of a deal. It’s just another form of acting, right? He doesn’t expect his newest customer to be the cheery, overconfident sales associate he avoids like the plague at his day job. Talk about awkward.

But what happens on Fire Island stays on Fire Island…especially when a smoldering attraction sparks into flames. Will doesn’t feel so alone anymore, and for the first time, Noah realizes someone is seeing him behind all the scars. But between their jobs, Will’s massive familial responsibilities, and Noah’s vulnerabilities, they don’t stand a chance unless they find a way to let love speak louder than their demons.

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3.75 Stars

Holy fishnets Batman!!

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I’m in the minority with my rating but the fishnets, the way Will rocked them, and how much Noah got off on them brought out my happy face.

Noah works at a home furnishings store with the quiet and stand-offish Will. Noah is happiest at work where he is able to transform spaces for customers. In his private life he’s lonely, insecure about his scars, and distancing himself from the friends and family that love him. This distance from his helicopter parents and physically “beautiful” friends works until he has to go back to Fire Island for a birthday party and secret engagement for his friends. Unable to stomach a trip back alone with everyone hooking up except him, he spots a bat signal in the form of a card his co-worker Will accidentally drops.

Gotham City Escorts.

Will works multiple jobs to help support his mother and her medical bills. He meets up with his next client to prepare for a weekend away at a coffee shop and is taken aback to find Noah waiting. After a rocky start, Will agrees to escort Noah for the Fire Island trip.

Will and Noah’s agreement begins a tentative friendship where they spend time getting to know each other. They definitely can’t show up for the weekend acting like they’ve never spent a minute together. Outside of work, they realize they have things in common and that their assumptions about the other were way off base. A connection is made and then at Fire Island their chemistry comes alive. Except, they don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. Noah doesn’t understand how anyone can be attracted to him beyond a hook-up and believes that Will is just doing what he is paid to do; which is to act like he’s a devoted boyfriend. Will can’t see past his need for money and what that means in caring for his mom. There are some mild curve balls thrown in to make decisions more complicated but low to medium angst overall with a HEA.

The first 50-60% of the book dragged for me. I wasn’t even sure I would hit 3 stars for a rating because I wasn’t having a very enjoyable time. The insecurities and self-doubt were understandable but Noah grated on my patience. Assumptions in high quantities were being spewed on both sides. The back and forth does he/doesn’t he or he’s only interested because I’m paying him drove me cray-cray after a while. I was extremely relieved that everything picked up and my sanity/enjoyment was restored as I finished out the story. Clearly this is a case of “it’s not you, it’s me.”

A warning for readers that like their MCs to only have *ahem* interactions between themselves: There are other… escorty type situations while Noah and Will find their place together. They’re minor but bills gotta be paid and all. *shrugs*

Recommended.

”Show me, fuck me, hire me again just so we can pretend to pretend.”

Copy provided for honest review.

The Werewolf’s Fae Mate

The Werewolf’s Fae Mate by Liv Rider: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR.

The Werewolf's Fae Mate

Blurb:

He never expected his mate to be fae. Now he has to choose between his heart and his pack.

When mixed-blood werewolf Mahon comes across powerful fae magic in a nightclub, dealing with the threat is a chance to prove to his new pack where his loyalties lie. But the threat turns out to be a gorgeous, wide-eyed college student who’s never heard of the supernatural world. After they’re attacked by bloodsucking vampire bats, he takes Oscar and his small, angry cat home for their own protection. He’ll definitely tell his pack about Oscar…later.

Abandoned as an infant, Oscar’s always wondered where he came from—he just never expected the answer to include pointy ears, magical powers, and evil forces trying to kill him. Oscar knows he shouldn’t rely on Mahon for help, but it’s hard to resist when a six-foot-six werewolf literally sweeps you off your feet. The key to Oscar’s past might lie with the local fae court—where werewolves aren’t welcome.

Oscar and Mahon are mates—but how can they be together when it might cost them both everything?

The Werewolf’s Fae Mate is an m/m paranormal werewolf/fae romance with a HEA and no cliffhangers.

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3 Stars

The Werewolf’s Fae Mate is a short, straight forward paranormal read with heat and action.

As the blurb states, Oscar is a normal college student, until he realizes he’s anything but a normal college student. Unfortunately for Oscar, that realization happens right around the time a vampire and vampire bats come calling. Luckily for him, Mahon (a werewolf) also comes calling and Oscar is thrust into a world that he once believed was only in storybooks.

With the danger lurking around Oscar, he ends up staying with Mahon as they try to figure out the specifics about his missing past. One thing leads to another quickly and it’s all growly, mine, mates, sex, thinking about sex, and more sex. Oscar is clueless, goofy, and endearing. I wish we had more of his personality without being clouded by lust and overshadowed by the main drama of miscommunication. There is insta-love as usual in a mates situation and they ride that train all the way to an HEA.

While Mahon and Oscar are cute together, the relationship and world building is lacking IMO. I liked the premise and the characters but everything felt so rushed. Oscar has a cat named Marshmallow and I didn’t understand why there was so much emphasis placed on her. I kept waiting for *something* to happen. It didn’t. Still, I’ll definitely keep Marshmallow on the table for my future pet’s name.

If you’re new to m/m paranormal, this could be a good starting point for you. Hopefully the world building comes together in the next book. I’ll give Aidan (Mahon’s brother) a shot if he gets a book. Recommended if you’re looking for a quick and easy paranormal.

Copy provided for honest review.

Masc (Femme #2)

Masc (Femme #2) by Marshall Thornton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Masc

Blurb:

Lionel and Dog are back in this follow-up to the Lambda finalist, Femme. Almost six months have passed and, after taking an online quiz, Lionel believes their relationship is doomed because they have nothing in common. To save their future together, the pair joins a gay bowling league and discovers that Lionel is an excellent, if somewhat eccentric, bowler.

Meanwhile, Dog gets profiled in a work newsletter. He’s excited that he’s out at work, but doesn’t immediately realize that by fawning over Dog’s masculine nature the writer was also putting down all femme guys. Lionel takes it personally, which leads the to a crisis in their relationship. Attempting to make it up to Lionel, Dog makes a grand gesture—which backfires spectacularly.

Will the two manage to put things right? And will a night in jail, a morning of drag bingo, an afternoon of day drinking, and a month of moping make things better or worse?

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3.5 Stars

Masc is a solid follow up to the Dog and Lionel show. It had many of the same ingredients that were present in the first:

Sassy Lionel? Check
Clueless yet introspective Dog? Yep
Dog’s crazy family? uh huh
Over analysis of how a relationship should look? In spades.
OTT moments? Is the sky blue?

Masc deals a lot with the growing pains of a new relationship and the questions that creep up after the honeymoon phase; Questions about purpose, direction, and the longevity of Lionel and Dog’s future. Lionel and Dog also have a lot of personal obstacles they have to battle before they can fully appreciate each other and the relationship they’re building. Things get shaken up when Lionel takes a relationship quiz that shows having nothing in common pretty much equates to a doomed relationship.

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Unfortunately for their supposed doomed relationship, shit hits the fan even more when Dog is profiled at work. That article shines the light on biases/stereotypes/gender role issues that plague the MCs, their family, and co-workers. I’m not sure I’m all the way on board with the way Dog had to work through his issues, but I will say that I was raging for a bit during the read.

Dog and Lionel are so silly but stay true to themselves. I enjoyed it for the most part but at times I felt like I was hitting my threshold for dramatics. I was hoping that there would be more growth to the relationship but much of this book was dysfunction with a big helping of OTT. They got their HEA but the cohesiveness took a lonnnnnnnng while to obtain.

I’m not going to lie, I was a tad nervous in the beginning with Graham’s sister being on page so soon. Dog’s family drove me crazy in book one but his sister was the icing on the cray-cray cake. It’s enjoyable to *see* the growth she makes and how far his dad has come since the first book. They all grew on me and become a nice support system for Lionel and Dog.

Dramatics and OTT-ness are pretty much the M.O. for Lionel and Dog’s relationship in Femme so expect the same for this one. There are some serious issues taking place in this book with a trigger warning for sexual harassment and insinuation of past child abuse. It was nice to spend more time with Lionel and Dog. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Campus Life

Campus Life (CYOA #2) by T.C. Orton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis:
All books in this series are stand alone. 
A choose your own adventure for adults! 

Young, dumb, and full of… You get the picture.

Welcome to Mentis University, your name is Joseph Smith and you’ve been unremarkable all your life. No – really, you’ve been absolutely, unequivocally, insert-smart-word-here mundane since the day the doctor slapped your ass and you let out a sigh. HOWEVER, you did manage to achieve one thing this year – you transferred to a better college. Bravo! (Mentis University has been rated number 2 on Top 10 worst colleges to attend for the last seven years… Guess where you were before this)

Since no one else from your hometown of – insert rural American town here – managed to claw their way out of mediocrity, you decided there was no point in hiding anymore. And thus, at an energetic twenty-one years old, you’re now an openly gay man. Congratulations.

Of course, there’s not much point in being openly gay if there are no gays to be in your opening. So, after spending a few days getting accustomed to your new life, you flopped onto your single bed, closed your eyes, and prayed to the lord… (And you’re still waiting for the day Cher tweets you back)

“Please,” you begged. “Guide me to a man who will treat me right… or pound me like a piece of veal.”

Luckily for you, someone was listening…

Dear Reader

You will assume the role of Joe Smith (first-person, present tense) and guide him through his final year of college. Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to do anything as absurd as learn mathematics, but you will, on occasion, be provided with choices that will impact the outcome of the story.

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3 Stars

I’ll be honest, I was squeeing for this before I ever read the blurb. This is my first foray into CYOA as an adult. I was obsessed with them growing up and didn’t even know they had an option for them in romance. *dreamy sigh* There are times when I read and just want to yell at the characters in a book for the decisions they are making and this format obviously puts the power in my hands…. which apparently I was pervy AF when I started because WHOA… that was quite a rabbit hole I fell down.

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Campus Life puts you in the driver’s seat of college senior, Joe Smith. You are faced with decisions of the student variety from roommate fights to coffee crisis and coming out to lusting after a hot ass professor.

There are a plethora of directions to go, with completely different outcomes. It’s a short, quick, and OTT read. This isn’t a deep story where you leave with new appreciation for life and humanity. It’s silly, lacks depth with characters and plot, and even the less sex focused choices end in lots of sex. I went super pervy the first time through *shrug* and ended up saying “Yes, sir” and being on board with being called a slut. *shrug* There was a tad more character development when I went the complete opposite route and wanted to find a nice guy with more substance than filling holes… still had lots of sex but there was a tiny bit more to that story than me being on my knees.

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It was a light, quick, and entertaining read. Recommended for fans of CYOA-pornyland looking for a break from serious.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com