Astray

Astray (Wavesongs, #1) by Elvira Bell: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis: 

Nick Andrews has grown up in poverty in a tiny village. All his life he’s been told that he’s useless. After getting one scolding too many he decides to go far away, off to sea. But his experience as a farmhand has done little to prepare him for the hardships of a sailor’s life.

When his ship is attacked by pirates, Nick’s life is miraculously spared by the notorious pirate captain, Christopher Hart—a man in charge of a crew feared for their brutality. Nick is forced to join the pirates, and he dreads finding out for what reason the captain has saved him.

But Hart is nothing like his reputation suggests, and Nick soon finds himself entangled in a relationship that could endanger both their lives. Unless Nick can help Hart on his quest to find a long lost treasure, their forbidden love may tear his new life apart.

Warning: This book ends with a cliffhanger, and it does not have a happy ending. The series as a whole will have a HEA ending.

Content note: This book contains dark themes and depictions of torture, murder, and rape.

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4 Stars

*Deep Breath* THIS ENDS ON A EPICALLY MASSIVE CLIFFHANGER!!

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I’m not one of those readers that like can handle a cliffhanger. I’ll eventually read it but I always wait until a series is complete so I can move on to the next book. Immediately. My motto has never been patience is virtue. But you know what I’m even more peeved about besides a surprise cliffhanger??? That I actually really liked this book. I was swept away into the land of pirates and at the end it’s all…

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Note: This book now contains a cliffhanger warning on Goodreads.

Alright, I’m done being whiny and dramatic so let’s do this.

Astray is set in the 1700’s and begins with Nick at home living with his family. He’s a dreamer which provides more frustration for his family as they are poor and Nick’s another mouth to feed. He leaves home in search of the same open seas his father once sailed. He quickly learns that being on a ship isn’t a place for dreamers but he can’t return home. Soon, his ship is overtaken by pirates and the Pirate Captain, Christopher Hart spares his life.

Christopher Hart is the mercurial captain of the Victory. The pirates are terrors of the sea, brutal in obtaining bounty, and they’re in search of the ultimate long lost treasure. Captain Hart has quite the reputation and Nick gets first hand knowledge of the merciless man. Christopher brings Nick to his ship where he must find his place if he wants to survive. Captain Hart begins asking Nick to complete small tasks in his cabin and over time, lines are crossed and boundaries in private become non-existent. Nick is enamored with Hart and Hart confuses Nick with his public versus private persona.

The crew is uneasy with the developing closeness of the two men and circumstances become more dangerous. Hart must prove himself to the pirates and we get to follow along on their journey full of the highest of highs and the lowest of lows.

Hart and Nick are opposites. Nick’s laid back, needy for affection, and trying to find himself. Hart is commanding yet insecure, on a quest for validation, and obsessive about Nick. I felt the connection even though their relationship was very rocky and they spent so much time apart.

The world building is thorough and drew me in. The secondary characters are endearing and entertaining. Goldie. Oh Goldie, I love him and would like his story any way I could get it. This is a dark and gritty read. They are pirates that do piratey things while living and dying by their articles.

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There were some areas for improvement IMO. There are many time lapses without notation or even a line break from one sentence to the next. Sometimes these were happening in the middle of conversation or action so I’m *assuming* the scene was a fade to black? There were also times when the pacing was slow and parts dragged and on the other hand, parts where there should have been character/relationship development but it was rushed/lacking.

I enjoyed the world Astray allowed me to escape to. I’ll continue with the series but… I’ll be waiting until it’s complete before moving on to the next book. Recommended for fans of ruthless pirates and all that entails.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

 

Soul to Keep (Rented Heart, #2)

Soul to Keep (Rented Heart, #2) by Garrett Leigh: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis:

Recovering addict Jamie Yorke has returned to England from California. With no home or family to speak of, he sticks a pin in a map and finds a small town in the Derbyshire Peak District. Matlock Bath is a quiet place—he just needs to get there, keep his head down, and stay clean. Simple, right? Until a chance meeting on the flight home alters the course of his so-called life forever.

Ex-Army medic Marc Ramsey is recovering from life-changing combat injuries while pulling nights as a trauma specialist at the local hospital. Keeping busy is a habit he can’t quit, but when Jamie—so wild and beautiful—bursts into his life, working himself into the ground isn’t as compelling as it used to be.

Marc falls hard, but chaos lurks behind Jamie’s fragile facade. He’s winning his battle against addiction, but another old foe is slowly consuming him. Both men have weathered many storms, but the path to the peace they deserve might prove the roughest ride yet.

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Tag Team with Adam

4 Stars

Gah!!!! This book was difficult for me to rate. Not much happened beyond the day to day struggles with Jamie and Marc navigating addictions, physical limitations, their relationship, and how to cope with their new realities. Ok, that sounds like a lot. It was, kinda sorta…emotionally speaking and not really in a way that made me bite my nails with anticipation for what would happen next. This was like driving down a slow country road where your biggest distraction is an animal crossing the road. If this was a standalone, I’d probably rate it lower but my heart broke for Jamie in book 1 and the journey to self acceptance in this one gave me lots of feels.

Jamie- an addict that hit rock bottom, went to rehab in California, and wants to relocate back to England. He chooses a place on the map and moves there to start over. He’s terrified of flying and while on the plane sits next to a man that saves him from his crippling fear.

Marc- airplane hero, wounded Veteran with a prosthetic leg, and doctor. He’s miserable, lonely, and just existing.

As mentioned, the men meet on a plane, end up living in the same town, practically neighbors, and develop a friendship as they begin spending more time together. I like the patience they have with each other, the unconditional acceptance, and the sanctuary each provides without anything physically intimate. They offer comfort and a soothing balm to all the physical and emotional wounds that they carry around like armor. Jamie is his own worst critic and Marc provides another voice without judgement. Their relationship follows a natural progression when taking into account where they are starting and how they got there. I enjoyed each step they make towards healing their hearts, managing addiction, and eventually HEA love.

The book starts off slow for me. It seems Marc’s character has appeared in another book. Based on what I found, I *think* he was a secondary character in Between Ghosts. I haven’t read that story so Marc’s POV in the beginning chapters left me confused and feeling as if I should know all the people he mentioned without providing context.

Another bit of disappointment was the lack of backstory for Jamie. He hit rock bottom in Rented Heart and then he’s California living with a foot out the door back to England. What happened in between? He was a much more gritty character before and we are only left with the aftermath of him after a year of being clean.

Soul to Keep kept me interested and invested in Marc and Jamie’s transformation. I appreciate the details regarding their struggles and how life doesn’t miraculously become all cotton candy and rainbows when you meet “the one.” It can suck and take effort to find the good parts. They learn you have to work for the little bits of happy and that it’s ok to just focus on taking one itty bitty baby step forward when taking a full one isn’t possible. Recommended.

Trigger warnings: past drug use, recovering addict, mention of attempted child abuse, character with OCD and anxiety.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Livingston (Trenton Security #1)

Livingston by J.M. Dabney: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis:

He was the Beast without the escape clause.

Francis “Liv” Livingston was a beast. No matter if he wore a perfectly tailored suit or if he was in his tactical gear, people avoided looking at him. He was always first to volunteer for the jobs only a person with a death wish wanted. Tomorrows weren’t guaranteed. His boss had come to him and told him he needed him for a job. Linus knew the jobs he liked, but when he opened the file, it all went to hell.

Beauty was only skin deep.

Fielding Haskell made his way in the world on his looks. He’d earned his first film role before he could read a script. He didn’t want the fame. He wanted to go to college. He wanted a man who didn’t look at him and see how pretty he was. Unfortunately, a so-called fan only cared how attractive he was, and it earned him a personal bodyguard and a vacation. He looked forward to the break until he met the man in charge of his safety and wondered if the danger he left was worth dealing with a sudden attraction to a man who was colder than ice.

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Review:

3 Stars

I’m going to start this off with some warnings and information that I wish I had prior to diving in. This read is full of Daddy kink. The MCs and secondary characters are all part of the lifestyle and it’s a huge element of the story. There’s also a fisting scene that isn’t super graphic but worth noting. There are triggers for abuse, stalking, and mentions of prior suicide attempts.

Still here?

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Daddy kink and fisting aren’t my kinks of choice but I still somewhat enjoyed this read. Both Fielding and Livingston were very likable with heartbreaking backstories that had me cheering for them along the way.

Livingston was born into an environment where “love came in shades of blue and black, fading to a deceptively pretty purple and a sick greenish-yellow.” After a horrific childhood ripe with abuse and time in the military, he works for a security company. Livingston lives his life waiting, hoping for it to end. He’s scarred from head to toe on half his body and accepts that he’ll never find someone that will look past his beastly exterior.

Fielding is a 23 year old actor that has never truly lived. He’s beautiful and on a very short leash with zero freedom. Fielding is starved, denied relationships, micromanaged, and has a keeper 24/7. No chocolate for two years? *gasp* #fuckthatnoise! He also has a very aggressive stalker which is how he’s placed in the care of Livingston, his new bodyguard.

Both men are broken and hesitant to reach for more. They are immediately attracted to each other but Livingston has a difficult time getting past his hangups and the 15 year age gap to move on. Things obviously heat up for the men and Livingston gets his boy while trying to suss out a stalker. They have a few bumps in the road while Livingston tries to do what’s right. Eventually they get their Daddy/boy situation resolved for a predictable HEA.

Here are my issues: I felt like I was entering a story that had already started.  There was a lack of depth and shortfalls in character and plot development. Many things are rushed, especially the Daddy/boy dynamic without being fully realized. I *think* it’s due to the fact that the secondary characters already had their stories told. However, this is supposed to be a standalone and the first of a new series. A little warning about reading order would go a long way for clarity. I didn’t read the other books by this author and therefore can’t speak on whether it would have provided the foundational depth that Livingston is lacking.

As I mentioned above, I was still able to find pieces to enjoy. The stalker storyline held my attention and I was invested in the outcome of Livingston and Fielding. This story isn’t for the squeamish but I’d recommend it to those that have already read the previous books about the secondary characters.

*skips off to eat chocolate*

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Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Ever After

 

Ever After by Riley Hart & Christina Lee: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis:

As next in line for the Evergreen crown, Prince Merrick Davendall’s future involves ruling, marriage, and producing an heir of his own. But he’s long been tormented by desires that are far from princely. Especially when the beautiful Cassius is promoted to be his new valet, and Merrick is struck by a longing like never before—a longing to know him far beyond royal and servant.

After his father’s passing, Cassius Havendale’s sole duty is to provide for his family. A promotion to serve a pampered prince is something he endures only for their sake. Surely Prince Merrick has no understanding of the true suffering of the common people, nor could he possibly understand what it’s like to desperately desire something he cannot have.

Except the prince is not at all what Cassius imagined. Kind, humorous, and caring to those in need, he also shares Cassius’s affinity for the arts. In fact, Merrick understands his deepest vulnerabilities in a most remarkable way.

As their affection deepens, the underlying tension between them becomes unbearable and they’re unable to ignore it any longer. But when the queen prepares a lavish ball with all the eligible ladies in the land in attendance, Merrick must fulfill his obligations to his country, and Cassius has the needs of his family to consider. They’ve long known their stolen moments would have to come to an end, but are they ready to give up one another and the idea of a happily-ever-after?

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Review

Reviewed for @BMBR

3.5 Stars

Tag Team with R

I had some serious grabby hands for this book. Before I cracked it open, many of my happy boxes were checked; Historical, fantasy, fairy tale spin off, difference in stations, and an interesting cover. While it didn’t live up to the excite I had going into it, it was still ridiculously sweet, with some enjoyable moments, and likable MCs.

Prince Merrick is the crown prince and his parents are trying to wife him up and knock her up so he can ensure the line of succession. He’s a dreamer and an artist with a kind heart and an affinity for men. Merrick is also loyal and squelches his desire while focusing on duty to his family, throne, and the people in his kingdom. He’s also pretty successful at keeping everything under wraps until he needs a new valet and the gorgeously intriguing, Cassius is chosen.

Cassius is under employ at the palace and moves up the ranks quickly. He’s a hard worker that focuses on providing for his family after the passing of his father. He’s enamored with Prince Merrick and helping him dress and bathe doesn’t help his attraction in the slightest.

Both men are around the same age and develop a solid bond. They understand the demands of duty and the implications of their sexuality for those around them. Especially in a time when it’s frowned upon. Their sense of duty delays a connection beyond friendship. Ever After is a slooooooow burn that is full of attraction and stolen moments that were innocent- yet full of potential. Once they break the proverbial seal…yowza. They were also adorable while content to just be together in silent companionship. There wasn’t much angst other than the obvious difference in station and sexuality that led to an easy HEA.

The first 3/4 of the story had me back and forth on my enjoyment levels. All the suitor situations dragged on with the force feeding of eligible women. The pace and plot picked up around 75% causing my enjoyment level to increase. I’m just a bit confused about the historical elements. It went back and forth between trying to use Valet/Prince customs and language to then got lost and became more modern communication/convienences on the next page. I’m assuming that’s where the fantasy elements came in which requires much suspension in “reality?” Around 85% there were finally some of feels that I wish were available throughout. They left me happy but also disappointed at the missed opportunity for the rest of the book.

Let’s talk about the females in this story… LOVE them. They were written with backbones, strength, fire, loyalty, and compassion. It’s always refreshing whether in M/M of M/F to have strong characters without the need to prop one up by demeaning or short-changing another.

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Overall, this book has a sweet setting, sweet MCs, sweet romance, sweet families, sweet, sweet, sweet. That’s not a bad thing and many will absolutely connect with these adorable men and their plight. I would have liked more cohesive historical elements, more action (not that kind…) to shake up the monotony, and more feels. Still, a pleasant read and recommended for those that are looking for low angst with a ginormous helping of cheesy sweetness.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

 

Love on a Battlefield

Love on a Battlefield by Posy Roberts: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis:

Not every compass points north.

Andrew Summers is forced to spend his vacations reliving Civil War battles with his father. He hates every minute, until a blue-eyed, red-haired boy behind enemy lines catches his eye.

Shep Wells would much rather travel the world than play at boring war reenactments. He never dreamed a Texan boy would capture his heart.

Real life and years separate them; Andrew is forced onto real battlefields, but for Shep the world is a playground. They’re opposites, but writing letters closes the distance, uncovering their hopes and dreams. When Shep visits Andrew, they get to see if the tug they’ve felt for years is the compass pointing the way home.

***
This is a story about first times, second chances, and the transformative power of the written word.

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 4 Stars

 

ERMAHGERRRRD!!

I devoured this book. The synopsis drew me in and then I saw the cover and just had to read it. The Civil War reenactment is unique by itself but the letters… *happy sigh* Letters. Actual hand written letters to each other. Over many years.

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Andrew and Shep meet while at a Civil War reenactment with their dads. They’re on opposite sides of the North/South line. The two meet at a water pump and later are drawn to each other during the actual battle. Right away their connection is evident as they both feign being “shot” to lay down right next to each other until the battle is over. So much is conveyed as they silently stare into the others’s eyes and quietly make plans to meet up later.

And meet up they did. Andrew and Shep share a passionate night fulfilling their desires until the morning light. Later that day, Shep passes his address to Andrew and requests that he write.

From there, they correspond mostly through written letters as they try to chase their dreams. While Shep is off doing what he loves, Andrew realizes that sometimes life doesn’t go according to plan. His life veers way off track but his feelings for Shep remain.

“Shep was the one I dreamed about at night, the one I wanted to lie beneath, the one I saw myself spending the rest of my life with. He was the only person I’d felt drawn to. And even after five years, that pull hadn’t diminished one bit.”

This story is written from Andrew’s perspective with the insight of Shep’s letters as he read them. The snippets we are treated to show the longing, closeness, and connection they have forged through the years. It takes a while but they realize it’s ok to have new dreams and that home isn’t necessarily a place- it’s can be a person.

I appreciate the natural angst that was present in their relationship with a cautious warrior and a brighter than life Shep. They have an overwhelming sweetness to their interactions that left me swooning and an openness that was refreshing. The letters provided this slow burn feel as the men bare their souls, love from afar, and crave each other without explicitly writing it.

I loved this story hard until about 85%ish when it seemed that there was a race to the finish line. The odd drama at the end came across as a page filler when the focus could have been on Shep, Andrew, and navigating their relationship. More focus on the letters would have hit me in my happy place, too. I also wouldn’t have complained for a tiny bit from Shep’s POV. Did I mention he’s a ginger? *growl* With blue eyes? *slow blink*

Love on a Battlefield is an enjoyable story that was well executed. The unique premise caught my attention and the cover drew me in with its simplicity. Definitely recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Once Upon A Wolf

Once upon A Wolf by Rhys Ford: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis:

Once Upon A Time, There Was A Wolf….

Gibson Keller’s days are fairly routine: wake up early, get some work done, drink lots of coffee, and take care of Ellis, his older brother stuck in wolf form after coming home from the war. It’s a simple life made up of long runs on two legs—or four—and quiet evenings…. Until Ellis chases a handsome man off a cliff and into the frozen waters beside their cabin, changing Gibson’s life forever.

For Zach Thomas, buying an old B&B is a new start. Leaving behind his city life, he longs to find peace and quiet, and hiking the trails behind his property seems safe enough—right up to the moment an enormous black wolf chases him into a lake, nearly drowning him. Discovering werewolves are real astounds him, but not as much as the man who rescues him from the icy water then walks into Zach’s heart as if he owns it.

Loving a werewolf—loving Gibson with all his secrets—has its challenges but Zach believes their love is worth fighting for, especially since his heart knows the big bad wolf is really a prince in disguise.

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2.5 Stars

I LOVE Ellis. I love his wolfish shenanigans, the mystery of his story, and how far he came throughout… the problem is that it isn’t Ellis’ story. I think?

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Gibson is a wolf shifter that lives with his brother (Ellis) in a mountain cabin. One day Ellis decides to play a game of chase with an unsuspecting stranger… except the stranger is terrified and slips down the mountain. Luckily, Gibson is able to rush to the aid of the badly injured Zach.

Zach is the new neighbor that purchased a bed & breakfast and he connects with Gibson *super* fast. Well, maybe not a connection but they are attracted to each other right away… even badly injured, Zach is wanting to mount Gibson (which I would totally believe if this was a mates type shifter book). It just seems a foregone conclusion that because they are the only two men within miles, they would end up together. I get it, last man on Earth and all- but it didn’t seem authentic IMO. Unfortunately there isn’t much else to the Zach and Gibson show. The romance/connection between Gibson and Zach was put on the back burner as all focus went to Ellis. Because of this, the relationship felt forced.

As the synopsis mentioned, Ellis is stuck in his wolf form to cope with the nightmares that never leave. This book provides in-depth coverage of Ellis’ status, the growth he makes, the danger he gets in, and the care he receives from Zach and Gibson. Ellis and Zach form a special bond that I believed and a connection I felt. It’s a damn shame it wasn’t their story.

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One of the things I adore about shifter stories is the possessiveness. I love the growly mine and the unapologetic need to be near the other and the ultimate desire to claim them. With this book, any time Gibson showed a hint of possessiveness, he went apologetic. *sad face* There wasn’t much heat on page and I was glad for it. Without the connection between the MCs, more sex would have just felt out of place to me.

I can’t recommend this book for the MCs but I was a fan of Ellis and if he’s getting a story, then reading this would be necessary. I’ll continue on this series *only* if Ellis gets his official story.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

The Station- NSFW

The Station by Keira Andrews: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Two men exiled to an untamed land must capture love.

Ever since Cambridge-bound Colin Lancaster spied on stable master Patrick Callahan mastering another man, he’s longed for Patrick to do the same to him. When Patrick is caught with his pants down and threatened with death for his crime, Colin speaks up in his defense and confesses his own sinful nature. They’re soon banished to the faraway prison colony of Australia.

Patrick never asked for Colin’s help, and now he’s stuck with the pampered fool. While it’s true that being transported to Australia is a far cry from the luxury Colin is accustomed to, he’s determined to make the best of it and prove himself. Patrick learned long ago that love is a fairy tale, but he’s inexorably drawn to sweet, optimistic Colin despite himself.

From the miserable depths of a prison ship to the vast, untamed Australian outback, Colin and Patrick must rely on each other. Danger lurks everywhere, and when they unexpectedly get the chance to escape to a new life as cowboys, they’ll need each other more than ever.

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**NSFW **

 

4.25 Stars

Historical? Australia? Cowboys?

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The Station begins when Colin is just a boy of 13 and a new stable master, Patrick (22) is hired on at his parents estate. Colin quickly becomes enamored and visits Patrick any chance he can get away. Years go by and when he’s 16, Colin spots Patrick getting it on with another man. It turns him on while at the same time spooking him. Colin has to come to terms with his sexual identity and isn’t able to face Patrick after. Pressure from Colin’s parents keep him indoors for much of his teen years. They are determined he attend university while Colin would much rather work with his hands. And Patrick. On Patrick. To Patrick. He isn’t picky, by age 19, Colin wants Patrick.

Patrick is an Irish stable master with a prickly demeanor. He’s been screwed over by people in his past and trusts no one, believes love isn’t real, and sex will only ever be about release and never feelings. Patrick also doesn’t understand why Colin stopped visiting all those years and becomes very cool to the young Lord Lancaster.

Until…

*dramatic music*

Patrick is found “buggering” a man in the stable. Colin steps forward to save Patrick and admits to having a “sinful nature” as well. Both men are spared death and end up on a prison labor ship that’s going to help colonize Australia.

Colin is such a bright eyed man who’s relieved that his inclinations are revealed and that he isn’t heading to college. On this long journey, Patrick and Colin form a tentative friendship with benefits but Patrick remains clear that there’s nothing more to their interactions. Trust no one.

Because they have male interests, both men hit the prisoner lottery and end up escorting a widow and cattle to her station. It’s on this station that both men find their footing- happiness, purpose, friendships, and love. It’s a slow progression with Patrick being of the anti-love and physical release only mentality. Colin wears his heart on his sleeve and Patrick is closed off but cares much more than he lets on. It’s beautiful to watch each man find themselves as individuals and then together as lovers and partners.

**Please pardon this review interruption for some gratuitous Aussie cowboy pictures. NSFW**

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The secondary characters. *heart eyes* I adored William, Robbie, and Emily. My face sprung a leak as Colin said goodbye to his cousin William. Legit tears. I think it seemed so profound because all of Colin’s family were against him and although William didn’t understand, he still loved him. Isn’t that all that should matter? *sniff* Emily, the widow is a strong, independent woman that kicks ass and takes names- usually with a rifle by her side.

This is a captivating and unique story. The part that had me a bit disappointed was the historical element. The first part of the story that took place in London had the language and feels I crave in historical romances. Once they left London, my enjoyment level remained but the historical element seemed to vanish. The language was modernized and it didn’t read any different than some of the non-historical Australian outback romances I’ve read. Again, I very much enjoyed this but historicals are my preferred drug of choice and this read didn’t fully provide the fix I was jonesing for.

I thought this would be angsty AF. It wasn’t and I’m so glad I put on my big girl pants and took a chance. When conditions were miserable, Colin still had hope, found happiness, and felt the relief of a new day, being true to himself, on an unknown Australian adventure. With Patrick. Definitely recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

On and Off

On and Off by Jenna Kendrick: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis:
On
For almost a year, Doc1984 and Wallflower have been battling it out online. There’s no subject they can’t disagree over, no end to their aggravation with each other.

Off
Mitchell Abend and Jackson Wallach are in perfect sync from the moment they’re introduced. Mitchell’s never quite gotten over being publicly humiliated by a former lover, but Jackson’s quiet strength encourages him to trust once again. Jackson’s isolated himself after a devastating accident, but Mitchell makes him want to live again.

On and Off
Wallflower and Doc’s online battles take an unexpected turn from adversaries to friends. But when one of them discovers his online friend and offline lover are one and the same, revealing the dual connection may cost him both a friendship and a chance at love.

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 2.5 Stars

So…

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I’ll start off by saying that for the longest time I wouldn’t read novellas because I didn’t think they could pack a full story in so few words/pages. I admit that was extremely naive and have since found some AMAZING novellas by very talented authors. However, this novella didn’t follow in the same vein. It was rushed, full of insta-love, and weaksauce “angst” to finish it off.

Doc1984 (Jackson) and Wallflower (Mitchell) have been chatting online for about a year. By chatting, I mean disagreeing and debating everything (totally foreplay). On a chance encounter, they meet at a club and hit it off. Neither man knows that they are sitting and dancing with their online crush. Things progress on and offline for these men. Mitchell has trust issues and Jackson has insecurities after an accident.

All fine right? I’m a fan of the meeting-online-and-in-person-but-not-knowing-it trope. I’m also a fan of novellas. What I’m not keen on is skipping the character and/or relationship development due to the length. Prior to the club, Mitchell makes a huge deal about how it isn’t his scene, no hook-ups, etc… Yet, literally minutes after meeting Jackson we get this gem-

“C’mon, sexy. Let’s go dance before I change my mind and lead you to the nearest bathroom stall, instead.”

The rest of the book is consistent with rushing, insta-love, lack of character development, and predictable/OTT angst. I refuse to blame the length for these issues and wish more depth was present. Neat trope and premise, missed the mark in execution.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Contour

Contour by Meg Harding: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis: 

Jamie “Roxy” Albright has one great love in his life and room for no other. He lives and breathes makeup. Men are nothing more than temporary distractions and romance… well, that isn’t worth his time. With a burgeoning career as a YouTube makeup artist opening doors to never before dreamed of opportunities, time isn’t something Jamie has and distractions aren’t something he can afford.

Instagram model and shirtless wonder Tyler Jackson is quickly falling for elusive Jamie. How it went from a seemingly innocent message to feelings, he’ll never know. Their chemistry is instant and fiery hot, and Tyler’s never been that good at self control. The challenges are endless, though. There’s Jamie’s walls to break through and a country worth of space between them. And just when things are starting to look up, life throws a wrench in the works.

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 4 Stars

This is such a relevant read at the moment with how on fire YouTube and Instagram are. There are millions of people who are extremely loyal to their favorite online personalities that this read hit me in my happy place. Picture it… Male Youtube make up artist (MUA) lusting over an Instagram model. Add in a private message sent and buckle in for the delicious ride.

I may be a *tad* bit in love with Jamie “ Foxy Roxy.” He’s a 20 year old MUA with a sassy personality. He’s honest yet evasive. Jamie’s unapologetic and has zero shame. Oh, and he wears MANTIIIIIIIIES. Along with the satin and lace, he has an ass you can bounce a quarter off.

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Where were we? Oh yeah, Jamie. He has commitment issues and never sleeps with the same man twice. Due to his past, his ideal gift is lube and condoms in lieu of flowers #practical.  He’s also thirsty AF for Instagram model, Tyler Jackson and his two adorable dogs.

Tyler is a country boy at heart and “Instafamous”  model by accident. He has dimples, tattoos and abs for days. *growl* Tyler is also really down to earth, caring, and becomes genuinely interested in the beautiful, Jamie. What started with a flirty private message became two different yet compatible men forging a friendship and then those pesky feelings just creep up.

The thing about Tyler is that he’s a serial monogamist while Jamie favors his one and done approach. Jamie is overly guarded for fear of giving away his power. He’s closed up tighter than Fort Knox in a way that isn’t rude, just honest. He wants to be in charge of the power exchange that happens when you release the inconsequential and the important pieces of what makes up a person. Jamie has reasons and Tyler respects the boundaries while trying to find a way to chisel at the walls.

“I’m not asking you for forever, I’m just asking you for right now.”

I lovvvvvvvvvvved them together. Every time Jamie revealed a tiny piece of himself I wanted to cheer.

“Jamie was a secret I wanted to unravel. But if I pushed, he’d run, and that was the last thing I wanted.”

The messages they exchanged had me swooning and cackling at their banter. You can *see* how their relationship develops online and then when they meet in person it has a natural progression. The growth was realistic to their circumstances of living long distance. Tyler and Jamie actually communicated. *gasp* I know, I know… relationships are no place for communication but they were very adult about their boundaries, expectations, and who they are as people. Their personalities complimented each other and I was doing my happy dance all the way to an HEA.

The sex. The chemistry. The heat.

Y’all, it deserves its own paragraph. This book wasn’t a sexfest but when it did take place…

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Their first time… HAWWWTT.

”I straddled his waist and started to pull my panties down. He stopped me. “Keep them on. Push them to the side.”

Not to discredit the writing of the sex scenes… but, I think what added the cherry on top for me (besides the lace thongs), was the connection and foundation they built before they had sex. They communicated for months and Tyler insisted on a date before they rode their way to orgasm.

With all this gushing over my love for Contour, I had to give it 4 stars. Why, you ask? The ending. This story drew me in right away with Jamie’s voice and had me hooked until the end. The last 10ish% left me scratching my head. The pacing throughout was great and then BAM, the end was rushed. Everything was just tied up in a fast little bow that altered my enjoyment. The “angst” and its resolution were unnecessary IMO and led to a disjointed ending where the MCs didn’t fully act like themselves.

Still, I enjoyed this book, the banter between Tyler and Jamie, and the secondary characters. This is my first book by Harding and I’ll definitely read more of her work as well as any additions to this series. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Hearts and Flour

Reviewed for @BMBR

2.5 Stars

I think it’s important to note that when reading the blurb I somehow missed the word orgiastic. If I had paid better attention, I probably wouldn’t have chosen a story with that being important enough to mention in the synopsis. But, I did choose it and in turn gave my best shot at enjoying it.

As the blurb mentioned, Micah is obsessed with health and eating raw. He’s extremely uptight and wants everyone else to be just as passionate about their health and consumption of shakes that smell like “fresh cut grass.” When Micah catches wind of some sugar and flour creations in the hands of his loyal customers, he nearly loses his mind.

“She looked up at him with big brown eyes. Her cheeks bulged hamster-like and the huge godforsaken cupcake she held poised in front of her face sported a large missing piece. Frosting clung to her lips like cocaine on an addict’s nose. “Mmmpfff.”

Quentin is new to town and opened a Cupcakery that’s become extremely popular. He’s kind, laid back, takes care of his grandma, and still locked in the closet along with all the dresses, wigs, and manties he adores wearing.

After breaking up with his cheater boyfriend, Micah gets invited to the orgiastic party.

“A night of meaningless sex in the name of anti-Valentine’s Day, right? Screw Cupid and all manufactured holidays.”

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At this “party,” Micah meets Queen (Quentin) in all “her” red dress, blonde wig, and thong wearing glory. Obviously this is a fuckfest party so Queen and Micah waste zero time getting down to business.

“Queen’s lips came up by Micah’s ear and one hand grasped Micah’s dick. “I want you to stain me and muss me. Ride me and put me up wet, darlin’.”

Before departing, Micah gets Queen’s number so they can actually get to know each other beyond a quickie in the bathroom.

*sigh*

The rest of the book didn’t increase my enjoyment either. Miscommunication, irrational reactions, a crazy ex, and a focus on sex which wasn’t compelling enough to keep my interest left me disappointed. Quentin is from the south and for some reason has this completely affected speaking vocabulary. I’m from the south, have lived in many southern states and it felt *very* fake. Also, he’s 24 and says dear. A lot.

“Let’s not waste that lovely erection on mere masturbation, dear.”

Their conversations were awkward, and interactions cheesy. I’m talking a straight up cheesefest.

“You turn me on like a Ferrari ignition.”

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Anywhoo, it wasn’t all negative. I liked Quentin’s sassy grandma. I also liked the way Micah was so uptight about the cupcakes at first. His reactions to them made me smile and I was looking forward to the epic moment when someone loosened the strings on his control. Another positive was manties… because manties!

This book didn’t work for me. There were many elements that held promise but nothing became fully realized. It wound up being ball of fluff covered in jizz from the orgiastic party while lacking anything I could sink my teeth into- besides the epic cupcakes that I’m now craving. Not recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com