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.

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.

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