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.

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

 

Deal Maker

Reviewed for @BMBR

Buddy read review with Cupcake

4.5 Stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Love is simple. Humans are complicated.”

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

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Copy provided for honest review.