The Doctor’s Orders

The Doctor’s Orders by Heidi Cullinan: Buddy Read & Buddy Review by Lost in a Book and Adam for @BMBR

The Doctor's Orders (Copper Point Medical, #3)

Blurb:

Once upon a time Nicolas Beckert was the boy who stole kisses from Jared Kumpel beneath the bleachers, but now Jared’s a pediatrician and Nick is the hospital CEO who won’t glance his way. Everything changes, however, when they’re stranded alone in a hospital elevator. Ten years of cold shoulders melt away in five hours of close contact, and old passions rekindle into hot flames.

Once out of the elevator, Jared has no intention of letting Nick get away. It’s clear he’s desperate for someone to give him space to let go of the reins, and Jared is happy to oblige. But Jared wants Nick as a lover in a full, open relationship, which is a step further than Nick is willing to go. They’ve traded kisses under the bleachers for liaisons in the boardroom… and it looks like the same arguments that drove them apart in high school might do the same thing now.

Jared’s determined not to let that happen this time around. He won’t order Nick from his shell—he’ll listen to what his friend says he needs to feel safe. Maybe this time he can prescribe his lover a happy ever after.

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2 Stars

Wow! The Doctor’s Orders is quite the interesting read but luckily we (Adam and Lost) didn’t endure the ride alone. So, sit back, buckle up and prepare yourselves for a joint review *gasp* from us, Adam and Lost in a Book.

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With this installment being the third in Cullinan’s Copper Point Medical series, we are thrust back to St. Ann’s with the CEO, Nicholas Beckert and the pediatrician everyone loves, Jared Kumpel. What once was a high school romance between these two men turned ice cold with Nick not wanting to come out and Jared not accepting anything less.

Many years go by and they find themselves in the same hospital, lonely, hurt, and quietly longing for each other from afar. Until the elevator breaks…

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It’s all quite dramatic. The elevator dangled precariously from the third floor, but given the uproar and health resulting health scares, you would think it was a twenty-story drop, at the least.

What follows the elevator incident is a rollercoaster of will they or won’t they, what will the townspeople think, shitty parents doing shitty things, a whole host of social ills, and *drum roll please* ‘is the killer inside the house?!’ (or the hospital, as it were). It was a lot.

Heidi Cullinan has a penchant for dramatic flair, which ordinarily can be quite entertaining. In this case, it quickly became too much. This time around, the plot was everything and the kitchen sink.

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Inevitably, we found ourselves skimming to get to the point.

Jared and Nicholas are endearing in their own ways and even likable together at some points throughout. However, that gets lost in the soap opera shuffle that is rampant throughout The Doctor’s Orders.

Both men go through a lot, particularly with their families. Plus, being gay men, and one of them black, in a small town comes with specific challenges. It’ll make you indignant on their behalf, and root for the two to come out on the other side happy.

But neither of us really connected to Nicholas and Jared in book #3. It was good to see them finally get their happy ending, but it wasn’t particularly memorable and by that point we were no longer invested in the story.

Of course, your mileage may vary!

 

Copy provided for honest review.

The Doctor’s Date

The Doctor’s Date (Copper Point Medical #2) by Heidi Cullinan:
Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Buddy Read with Adam

The Doctor's Date (Copper Point Medical #2)

Blurb:

Sequel to The Doctor’s Secret
Copper Point Medical: Book Two 

The hospital’s least eligible bachelor and its aloof administrator hate each other… so why are they pretending to date?

Dr. Owen Gagnon and HR director Erin Andreas are infamous for their hospital hallway shouting matches. So imagine the town’s surprise when Erin bids an obscene amount of money to win Owen in the hospital bachelor auction—and Owen ups the ante by insisting Erin move in with him.

Copper Point may not know what’s going on, but neither do Erin and Owen. Erin intends his gesture to let Owen know he’s interested. Owen, on the other hand, suspects ulterior motives—that Erin wants a fake relationship as a refuge from his overbearing father.

With Erin suddenly heading a messy internal investigation, Owen wants to step up and be the hero Erin’s never had. Too bad Erin would rather spend his energy trying to rescue Owen from the shadows of a past he doesn’t talk about.

This relationship may be fake, but the feelings aren’t. Still, what Erin and Owen have won’t last unless they put their respective demons to rest. To do that, they’ll have to do more than work together—they’ll have to trust they can heal each other’s hearts.

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BR with Adam

3.5 Stars

The Doctor’s Date is the second installment in Cullinan’s new series and I’m glad that I gave it a try. After the first book I was hesitant to dive in but this book has a little more depth to the characters. It’s still sweet with low angst but doesn’t flatline like the last one did for me.

The story starts off with Erin’s childhood background story that provides context on his behavior as an adult. Erin’s in charge of human resources for the hospital. He’s skittish, isolated, and has had a long life of intimidation and neglect from his father (who is also the president of the board). He has never done anything with another person (not even a kiss) and has been starved for affection, touch, and kind words. Erin has been looking for a mighty ogre to rescue him since he was boy and the ogre has a name, Owen. It’s always been Owen. Always.

Owen’s an anesthesiologist that has quite the reputation within the hospital as pretty much being an asshole. His glower sends the gossiping nurses scurrying but, with those he loves, he’s loyal and a protector. His favorite past-time is rubbing up against Erin until they are both breathing fire… not in a sexual way, that comes later. Much. Much. later.

My thoughts on Erin and Owen are a little confusing. I liked them together sometimes because there’s respect, patience, and a connection of building a deeper friendship. As I was reading though, I kept wondering if some chemistry would appear- I don’t think it ever really did. This lacking of chemistry has nothing to do with sex. I’m not sure where Erin falls on the sexuality spectrum but I would guess closer to asexual than not. I appreciated that they didn’t rush to sex and instead took little steps that added some depth to their friendship. The sex scenes are fade to black which doesn’t really bother me if the characters have a great connection and chemistry.

Owen’s a natural leader that takes charge and that’s no different when it comes to Erin. It takes a while for Owen to reveal himself and his childhood trauma because he’d rather be helping others. Erin lets himself be rescued with his backbone appearing a few times in his role as HR director and the auction. Other than that, Erin just goes along and enjoys the fruit of his ogre coming for him and fully caring for him (almost helpless at some points). There’s not many medical situations taking place in The Doctor’s Date but there’s an underlying mystery to solve that adds some suspense.

As I mentioned, I enjoyed this installment and will possibly continue with the next book. If you’re looking for a really sweet, low angst M/M romance, with a little bit of humor, this could be your cuppa.

Trigger Warnings for abuse.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Any Old Diamonds

Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1) by K.J. Charles: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR -Buddy Read with Adam

Any Old Diamonds (Lilywhite Boys #1)

Blurb:

Lord Alexander Pyne-ffoulkes is the younger son of the Duke of Ilvar, with a bitter grudge against his wealthy father. The Duke intends to give his Duchess a priceless diamond parure on their wedding anniversary—so Alec hires a pair of jewel thieves to steal it.

The Duke’s remote castle is a difficult target, and Alec needs a way to get the thieves in. Soldier-turned-criminal Jerry Crozier has the answer: he’ll pose as a Society gentleman and become Alec’s new best friend.

But Jerry is a dangerous man: controlling, remote, and devastating. He effortlessly teases out the lonely young nobleman’s most secret desires, and soon he’s got Alec in his bed—and the palm of his hand.

Or maybe not. Because as the plot thickens, betrayals, secrets, new loves, and old evils come to light. Now the jewel thief and the aristocrat must keep up the pretence, find their way through a maze of privilege and deceit, and confront the truth of what’s between them…all without getting caught.

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4 Stars

There’s something so comforting about a K.J. Charles historical romance. Well, as comforting as intrigue, murder, jewel thieves, and filial retribution can be…which for me is as effective as a cozy blanket and a mug of hot chocolate. #content

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Lord Alexander has harbored rage for years after his family was turned away by his father, Duke Ilvar. The Duke and Duchess remain quite wealthy while their children live in poverty. With their anniversary coming soon, the Duke has commissioned a diamond parure for his wife and Lord Alexander (Alec) hires renowned jewel thieves to steal it.

Jewel thief, Jerry Crozier is unapologetic about his profession and instructs Alec that he must get in the good graces of the Duke and his wife. This is a really tough pill to swallow for Alec who has to alienate important people in his life to see the mission through. Part of the mission requires Jerry and Lord Alexander to become the very best of friends. The benefits they discover and partake in are strictly a bonus.

Jerry is harsh and doesn’t sugarcoat his past nor what he expects out of the present/future. Alec is independent but craves someone to take control in the bedroom (Jerry was good at doing control type things and let’s just say I was here for it). I do wish Jerry and Alec had more getting to know you moments instead of always hopping on the orgasm train… which isn’t totally a complaint but I wanted more. I could *see* some subtle moments during those intimate times, moving them closer together. Yet, I would have definitely welcomed more relational development.

The plot has a lot of moving pieces and I really like all the ground work that has to be laid in order to pull off the heist. There are lots of twists and turns along the way.

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Holy plot twist Batman. I also enjoyed the mentions of the Vanes and Cirencester from the Society series. Any Old Diamonds is not a touchy feely romance. It’s sexy, entertaining, gruesome, and suspenseful, with plot twists around every bend. Recommended.

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.

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.