Rocky Mountain Refuge

Rocky Mountain Refuge by Nicky James: Review by Lost in a Book

Rocky Mountain Refuge

Blurb:

Run! Hide! We are watching you, Huxley!

Huxley Dempsy suffers from a paranoid personality disorder. After a horrific tragedy five years ago, Huxley is convinced people are out to get him. Taking refuge in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, he is a prisoner to his own mind. If he can think it up, it must be true, and there is no convincing him otherwise.

Wildlife biologist, Aspen Taylor, is on his way north again to close up the final year of the Grizzly Bear Research Project. Studying wildlife in their natural habitat is what sings to his soul. However, who he finds in the mountains is almost as beastly as the bears he studies.

An underlying sense of familiarity draws Aspen to learn more about this Wildman, and a strong sense of attraction binds them together almost instantly. But can Aspen break through the barriers of Huxley’s mind and convince him to go home?

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4.75 Stars

YASSSS!!!

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I devoured this insanely fast. Rocky Mountain Refuge left me hungover and scouring lists and recommendations for rustic and/or wilderness M/M reads. Not gonna lie though, this book hurt. It’s hard to read Huxley’s POV and my face might have leaked a tiny bit. However, it’s balanced with a lightness that surrounds Aspen and that makes it hurt SO good.

Huxley has struggled with paranoia since childhood. Between therapy and the amazing support system of his mom and husband Nathaniel, he was able to function throughout his day to day life. That is, until he witnessed the murder of his husband and then his paranoia got the better of him and he now lives secluded in the wilderness for fear of being found by the men who committed the crime. From the beginning of the story, Huxley’s paranoia is suffocating. It’s debilitating, full of delusional thoughts, and complete rationalization of maintaining his current lifestyle cutoff from the outside world.

Aspen is a wildlife biologist that’s working on a grizzly bear project in the middle of nowhere with only his team around… and unbeknownst to him, Huxley. He has such a calm nature and is totally at ease in the wilderness. He stumbles upon Huxley and that encounter and many that follow have Aspen approaching Huxley as if he’s a wild animal. Aspen is intrigued by Huxley and can’t help himself from creeping around his cabin.

Their relationship begins as a way to release the pent up sexual frustration and loneliness. Huxley can only give Aspen one thing and that’s an orgasm. Their smexy times are hot AF. For real. Huxley is all growly and bossy and hot and strong and huge and…

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Anywhoo, Aspen is more than willing to keep coming back for those times and senses the need to go slow with a friendship and then hopefully more. The more time Aspen spends with Huxley, the clearer the paranoia becomes. Day by day, their relationship forms as they try to develop a new normal and hopefully get Huxley the help he needs while not scaring him away. Huxley’s mental illness isn’t sugar coated. It’s not swept under the rug and a magic penis doesn’t come to fix all his woes. Shit got real and their HEA is not easily earned but is definitely sweeter in the end.

Let’s talk about Nathaniel, the murdered husband. I know this book isn’t about their relationship and the story starts after the murder. BUT, the writing and portrayal of love between Nathaniel and Huxley is absolutely beautiful. Nothing is diminished and it really added more feels to the heartbreak of what Huxley survived. I’ve read many romances where the partner passes away and for some reason the living MC says “best I ever had” or “way better than before.” The author didn’t do that here and it was absolutely refreshing to know that two people shared an amazing love that tragically didn’t last and they move on. Instead of breaking down that prior relationship to prop up the current one, it’s kept on a loving pedestal and only adds to the foundation of the new one.

*hops off soapbox*

I really, really, really enjoyed this book and hope we see more from Huxley and Aspen in the future. Definitely recommended.

P.S. Just a note of warning, this book takes place in the wilderness and wilderness things take place such as skinning/killing animals for survival. Mental illness is also prevalent throughout.

 

Pisces Hooks Taurus

Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4) by Anyta Sunday: Review by Lost in a Book

Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love, #4)

Blurb:

It’s a time for searching, and a time for finding, Pisces: keep casting your line and you will hook what you’re looking for.

Zane has it all planned out: land the perfect Meet Cute, fall in love, and live happily ever after.
Should be simple enough if he put his mind to it. A little creativity and some thinking outside of the box, and voila, he’d be married to the woman of his dreams.
It would be perfect.
And it would be before his visa ran out.

But why are his feelings running wild now that the pressure’s on? Why is his picture-perfect plan turning into a muddled mess of morphed metaphors he can’t make sense of anymore?

Just as well he’s met an English professor to help. And even though their first meet is anything but cute, this down-to-earth teacher may just be the realist Zane needs to ground him and give him a shot at love after all.

Don’t cast your line too wide, Pisces. Your perfect catch may already have bitten.

~ – ~ – ~
Pisces Hooks Taurus (Signs of Love #4) is an MM opposites-attract romantic comedy featuring an unapologetic romantic and a broken realist.
More wit, banter and bad puns – and even more heart-stopping slow burn!
Can be read as a standalone.

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4.25 Stars

Holy nerdtastic-wordporn Batman. Seriously, there’s so much vocabulary foreplay going on that even I was questioning whether I had a kink for hot AF men throwing out alliterations, metaphors, synonyms, and other big words.

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Anyta delivers another highly enjoyable slow burn full of adorably endearing characters with a huge helping of big-hearted cluelessness.

Zane’s a hopeless romantic that wants to find the one. Unfortunately for him, he has to find that special person before his Visa runs out while sweeping them off their feet enough to get married. The meet-cutes aren’t hitting home runs and to top it all off, he finds himself without a place to live. The stars align and Zane finds himself crashing with Beckett.

Beckett (Becky) is a divorcee that doesn’t believe in love anymore. He’s a literature professor that likes to pontificate in duos or groups. Beckett finds himself sharing space with a young Chris Hemsworth look alike that drops innuendo on the regular and doesn’t even realize it.

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I adore Beckett and Zane together. They’re opposites that definitely attract despite Zane’s utter cluelessness. Becky has a calming, realist nature that offsets Zane and puts him at ease. The slow burn is intense but not over the top where I was screaming at my Kindle to end the torture. The MCs together are very entertaining and I definitely enjoyed all the moments leading up to the end. But… at the end, I NEEDED more. Because I’m greedy. There’s a HEA appropriate for their circumstances but I really wanted a glimpse into the future. *sad face*

I LOVE this series, I LOVE these characters, and it’s a solid 4.25 stars for me. Theo and Jamie with their witty snark and antics will probably always be my #1, but this isn’t too far behind. Definitely recommended.

Note: The blurb note states that this could be a standalone. It can… however, past characters make appearances and IMO reading enjoyment would be at peak levels if the other books in this serious were read first.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Boy Toy (Man Hands, #3)

Boy Toy by Sarina Bowen & Tanya Eby: Review by Cupcake

Boy Toy (Man Hands, #3)

Blurb:

A brand new romantic comedy from your favorite snort-laughing duo!

Liam

The moment Sadie Matthews walks through the daycare center door, I feel my world tilt in her direction. Again. I fell for her when I was fourteen, and I’m still not over her. Problem: she still thinks of me as a teen she used to babysit. But I’ve learned a few things about pleasing a woman in the last fifteen years. I can’t wait to show her how good it could be. I need to move quickly before I lose her again. This is more than a game to me, but I still plan to win.

Sadie

I’ve just survived the worst year of my life. As a single mom of twin toddlers, I don’t have time for a man. I barely have time to finish a thought. Who knew that Liam McAllister would grow up to be so devastating? He’s everything my husband was not: tall, built, and willing to have a tea party with my girls.

I can’t possibly get involved with him. He’s too young for me. Too handsome. But he’s so persuasive…

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4.5 stars

Boy Toy is rom com at its finest.

I barely even made it to 20% and I had already cackled, chortled and chuckled.

Sadie is final member of this little sisterhood to find her HEA and the one I identified the most with. She’s kind of a hippie chick, loves pillows and works in the mental health field. She’s getting her life back together after her butt lick of a husband left her shortly after she gave birth to their twin daughters. Decker is a butt lick. Trust me.

She’s reluctantly trying to get her groove back when she runs into a blast from the past: Liam.

She was hired to babysit Liam’s younger siblings and left an impression on 14 yr old Liam. I know this because 14 yr old Liam has a tendency to interject thoughts into 29 yr old Liam’s psyche to hilarious effect.

Liam is all grown up now and makes Sadie a wee bit drooly with his six pack abs and penchant for running shirtless. To add to the ovary explodingness, he’s working towards his Ph.D. in childhood development at the girls’ daycare. He’s really great with the girls and they adore him. There were so many moments where my heart gave a squeeze: when Amy calls him Wiam, when he gave Kate the golden Band-Aid. So adorable! True, he used his chocolate chip smiley face pancake magic too woo them but he then proceeded to prove himself worthy of their adoration time and time again. Not only that but any guy who will hold your hair while you praise the porcelain god is deserving of a little adoration, in my opinion.

So, yeah, I liked Liam. More importantly, I loved Liam and Sadie together.

There’s something about this known-each-other-for-years/unrequited to requited trope that always appeals to me and Boy Toy is another to add to the collection. I can see it becoming a comfort read.

Both Sadie and Liam came across as genuine. Both had depth with the addition of a little water under the bridge that fleshed them out. Both do a pretty good job of communicating their needs excepting the very brief hiccup that was needed for Sadie to gain clarity. The level of attraction that exists between them was palpable but maybe more important than anything else, they have fun together. They fit together regardless of the 6 yr age difference between them. They make time for each other and trust one another making their future a foregone conclusion to my mind.

There is a teeny tiny sliver of hurt/comfort as Sadie’s ex did a number on her self-image but in the face of Liam’s overwhelming desire that negative self-image doesn’t stand a chance. If bossy in the bedroom appeals to you, you’ll enjoy the sexy times.

There are a plethora of comedic moments but Kate and Amy stole the show. I was laughing so hard at Kate at the big fancy party that I had to put my kindle down. Because I couldn’t see it! The kid is a firecracker and her antics are side-splitting.

I sure do hope these two authors continue to work together because they have some mojo that creates comedy gold. This and Man Hands are the funniest books I’ve read this year, so I hope the hits keep coming. Maybe a spinoff involving Sadie and Liam’s siblings? Or a follow up to this one?

Recommend this book and this series to fans of the rom-com and anyone who likes a sweet romance that’s a little bit spicy and a whole lot funny.

An ARC was provided in exchange for an honest review.

Dr. Strange Beard (Winston Brothers #5)

Dr. Strange Beard by Penny Reid: Review by Cupcake

Dr. Strange Beard (Winston Brothers, #5)
Blurb:

Hunches, horse races, and heartbreak

Ten years after Simone Payton broke his heart, all Roscoe Winston wants is a doughnut. He’d also like to forget her entirely, but that’s never going to happen. Roscoe remembers everything—every look, every word, every single unrequited second—and the last thing he needs is another memory of Simone.

Unfortunately, after one chance encounter, Simone keeps popping up everywhere he happens to be . . .

Ten years after Roscoe Winston dropped out of her life, all Simone Payton wants is to exploit him. She’d also like some answers from her former best friend about why he ghosted her, but if she never gets those answers, that’s a-okay. Simone let go of the past a long time ago. Seriously, she has. She totally, totally has. She is definitely not still thinking about Roscoe. Nope. She’s more than happy to forget he exists.

But first, she needs just one teeny-tiny favor . . .

Dr. Strange Beard is a full-length romantic comedy novel, can be read as a stand-alone, and is the fifth book in the USA TODAY bestselling Winston Brothers series.

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4.25 Stars

I love this series.

I love Green Valley. I love the Southerness of both the town and the people in it.

And I love the Winstons.

Some more than others. I’m looking at you, Cletus. I always look forward to catching up with everyone whenever a new Beard book comes out. There is a coziness about them and simply put, they make me feel good. For me, there’s no higher compliment than that.

Dr. Strange Beard is Roscoe’s book. Roscoe is the youngest of the Winston clan, the quiet one and a vet. Truthfully, I was hoping for more puppies; there is one scene that will likely leave anyone with ovaries deceased but there can never be too many puppies is all I’m saying. Or dogs. Or any cute animals. I’m not picky.

Roscoe has an eidetic situational memory that sounds like more of curse than a blessing. He remembers people after only meeting them once. He remembers the stories they tell him verbatim. He remembers every conversation he’s ever had complete with all the sense memories which makes him an exceptional storyteller, but also brings with it the inability to “unfeel” painful memories. Roscoe’s memories of his and Simone’s time together as kids pulled at my heartstrings and fleshed out their friends to lovers/unrequited to requited love story.

Roscoe’s been hopelessly in love with Simone Payton since forever. They grew up together as best friends, did everything together, including their first kiss. At 16, when Roscoe finally worked up the courage to tell her that she was it for him, she was drunk and not only didn’t reciprocate his feelings but hurt him. He literally could not forget it, reliving that pain over and over again every time he saw her was unbearable so he ghosted her.

For 10 years.

Simone eventually moved on but she never forgot nor did she ever understand what happened to make Roscoe leave her, because she didn’t remember his declaration. Back in Green Valley for work puts her on a collision course toward Roscoe. Of course events transpire that make Roscoe the easiest conduit to achieve her goal, because of course they do.

The Iron Wraiths plot line has been ongoing throughout the series and it is starting to come to a head, so expect a significant amount of the narrative to involve Darrell and the Iron Wraiths.

Simone is scrappy, cunning and hilarious. I was automatically drawn to her when she let loose with Cletus being “almost” as brilliant as she is. WHAT THE WHAT WHAT?!?!? CLETUS???? My Cletus??? Who some may call diabolically-oh alright, pathologically. Tomato, to-mah-to.-intelligent? ALMOST???? Sputtering ensued. She is smart and charming so she’s got Cletus there, and she can hold her own against him, but let’s face it Cletus is in a class by himself.

Being inside Simone’s head was an experience I’ll not soon forget. I don’t fully understand how she got this bee in her bonnet that she was never going to fall in love or get married but she did. She’s set on being an independent woman who will be self-reliant. Except… she can’t seem to get Roscoe Winston out of her head, or as she says, she likes him against her will. 😂 She zinged me several times but when she busted out with her scientific theories on sex I snorted then slow clapped. I’d pay good money to go to that “scientific” seminar. Simone is yet another female character in this series that I both respect and admire, that I can relate to.

Stories that utilize the friends since childhood to lovers trope always resonate with me and Dr. Strange Beard is no exception. However, what made this one special was Roscoe’s singleminded devotion to Simone even when they were apart. He’s only ever loved her and everyone knows it. Literally, everyone in Green Valley knows it and is rooting for them. I loved how much Simone’s parents loved him, how his family loved her and how oblivious they both are to their silent cheering section.

They’ve hurt each other but the love is still there just beneath the surface; they just need to tap into it. Expect UST. Expect heartwarming moments. Expect a few sexy moments too. Expect to be moved. Expect a few surprises. But more than anything, expect to feel the chemistry between them. They are crazy about each other and how they come to accept and embrace those feelings is what I’ll remember most about this book.

Ordinarily I don’t mention race in my reviews but Penny Reid reframed something for me and I feel that needs to be acknowledged and that I should thank her for it. That coupled with the RWA situation I think merits a mention at minimum. I also think she deserves credit for the research she did as it was obvious that she put time and energy into developing these characters. I feel like this is a hallmark of hers that maybe doesn’t get acknowledged enough and is instrumental in making these characters memorable as well as three-dimensional.

Recommend to fans of friends to lovers, unrequited love being requited and anyone who loves a good romance.

Now the wait begins for Billy’s book. The good lord willing Cletus will finally, FINALLY get to deploy the armadillo plan!

An ARC was provided by the publisher in exchange for an 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.

Psssst…New Series from Anyta Sunday

First 3 books in Anyta Sunday’s new series OUT TODAY!

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Admiring Ash

Series:  Love Letters #1
Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)
Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018
Length (Print & Ebook): 41600 words / 222 pages
Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance
Direct Link: https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/admiring-ash

Book blurb:

A is for Ash Heartford.

Adorable, strong, and independent.

Abandoned by his parents and attached to only one person—his little sister.

Attracted to River, the sultry man who saunters onto his doorstep with startling news.

Always yearning for more River, yet afraid to let him in.

Should he play it safe, or claim his legacy and risk losing his heart?

A is for Admiring Ash.

Tropes: Slow burn, virgin, one true love, happily ever after, related but not, hurt/comfort, forbidden love
Themes: Sudden inheritance, broken family, insta-dad
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

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Begging Ben

Series: Love Letters #2
Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)
Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018
Length (Print & Ebook): 41000 words / 220 pages
Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance
Direct Link:
https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/begging-ben

Book blurb:

B is for Ben Spengler.

Brilliant. Bashful. Burned.

Brimming with desire for his BFF Landon, who is beyond compare.

But they aren’t the same Ben and Landon anymore. Not after what Landon did. And didn’t do.

Bitter about his unrequited love.

Bound by a night of drunken promises.

Will the chemistry between them change, or will Ben break first?

B is for Begging Ben.

Tropes: Pretend boyfriend, friends to lovers, virgin, brother-like, jealousy
Themes: Science, geek, alcohol induced oblivion
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

 

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Challenging Chance

Series: Love Letters #3
Publisher: Anyta Sunday (self-published)
Release Date (Print & Ebook): July 31st, 2018
Length (Print & Ebook): 32000 words / 182 pages
Subgenre: Light-hearted, sexy gay romance
Direct Link: https://www.anytasunday.com/projects/challenging-chance

Book blurb:

C is for Chance Roosevelt-Sutton.

Chiseled jaw. Smug attitude. Wild ways.

Chained to his ego—or so everyone thinks. Except his personal assistant, Brook. He knows better.

Chance is challenged to make his father happy for once, but he needs Brook’s help.

Choosing honesty is too risky, so instead they choose secrecy.

Choked by their pasts, they dream of a better life . . . and

Charm each other into submission.

Will their pasts ruin what they have, or will they grow together?

C is for Challenging Chance.

Tropes: Alpha male, millionaire bad boy, athlete, help/comfort
Themes: Basketball, coming out
Genre: Contemporary M/M Romance

 

 

 

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Series blurb:

Feisty. Nerdy. Sexy. Secretive.

Greenville has them all.

A small town with big hearts, Greenville awakens at the mercy of Millionaire Row, the wealthy neighborhood across the tracks from Poplar Low.

Bad-tempered boys meet cheeky lovers.

Colliding worlds spark a fire of emotion. Heat rages. Hearts mend. Love is lost. And found.

Love Letters are playful, sexy, contemporary M/M stories that can be read as standalones.

Welcome to Greenville. Come for the sexy boys. Stay for the HEA.

Excerpts:

Admiring Ash Teaser #1:

Who was this River? What was he doing here, unless . . .

Ash narrowed his eyes. Attractive and charming. Hadn’t his sister mentioned she was crushing on a local college guy? “Oh, fuck me. You’ve knocked up my sister, haven’t you?”

All playfulness evaporated as Ash catalogued River from head to toe. Would Ash be spending the next twenty years raising a kid that resembled this man? Would that kid grow up—like all the Heartfords—addicted to love? Raising fatherless children? Obsessed with falling for men, believing, every time that this one was the one?

He’d hoped he and Danielle would kick the tradition. 

He almost punched the stunningly sculpted man in the mouth. 

Admiring Ash Teaser #2:

“You have deft fingers.”

Ash’s voice vibrated through him, urging River to make a move. The playful twitch of those lips begged to be kissed as much as River’s lips begged to do the kissing. 

He wanted to slide his hands into Ash’s tangled hair and let their lips collide.

He wanted Ash under him, mapping every inch of his skin with his mouth. 

He wanted Ash not to be off-limits . . .

But he was.

Begging Ben Teaser #1:

Waking up after a night of drinking? Fun times.

Ben’s pulse rang in his ear. He shifted slightly, foot moving the sheets and funneling air over his body—

An arm tightened around him, and Ben froze.

What. The. Hell.

Release Blitz: Curl Around My Heart by Londra Laine

RELEASE BLITZ

Title: Curl Around My Heart

Author: Londra Laine

Editor: Jae Ashley

Cover Art: Aria Tan

Publisher: Self-Published

Release Date: July 24, 2018

Rating: 18+

Page Count: 168

Word Count: 61,923

Themes: California, single dad, beauty shop, contemporary, neighbor romance, African-American, drug addiction

Add on Goodreads 

BUY LINKS – AVAILABLE ON KINDLE UNLIMITED

Amazon US        Amazon UK 

Blurb

At Pearl’s Hair and Nails, no one questions Tate Robinson about his high heels, crop tops, and lipstick, because he’s the boss and he can wear what he damn well pleases. The shop is his life, and he doesn’t need anything more. Until a man walks in with his adorable daughter, and Tate has to untangle her helmet-hair…and his growing feelings for the single dad.

Reece Evans has been on his job for years, has his own place, and now has custody of his eight-year-old daughter. But he doesn’t trust himself to avoid screwing up. Adulting is not his strong suit—or so he’s been told.And now a sexy beautician, who also happens to be his new downstairs neighbor, has Reece wanting and reaching for more than he thinks he’s capable of.

As Tate and Reece move past their own fears about relationships, Reece’s ex issues a threat that could destroy everything. Will Reece’s worries about other people judging him undermine his budding romance? And will Tate’s fear of rejection make him push Reece away? Or have the sweet single dad and his precocious daughter curled too tightly around his heart to give them up?

***Please be aware that this book contains references to drug addiction.***

Excerpt 

Eventually they eased away from each other, their lips pressing briefly against a cheek, an eyelid, the corner of a mouth, until their foreheads were touching as they shared slightly labored breaths.

“I like you, Tate.” The words spilled from Reece as though Tate had wrung them from him. Tate pulled back, forcing Reece to disentangle their legs. Tate was in profile to Reece now, his head dropped against the back of the couch. His stomach seized and his confidence drained, waiting to hear Tate’s response.

“I like you too, Reece,” the other man mumbled.

Oh, thank fuck.

Reece sighed in relief as Tate shifted to meet his gaze.

“I’m crazy attracted to you. Obviously. But, I’m just nervous because guys like you⎯”

Reece’s hackles rose. “Guys like me?”

Tate closed his eyes briefly then opened them. “Yeah. Guys like you. Stereotypically male. Not so obviously queer. Well, they’ve been attracted to me, dated me. But inevitably break things off, because they think I’m too femme. Too flamboyant.” Tate’s shine flickered, and a well of heat raced up Reece’s chest.

“Well, fuck those dudes,” Reece said, throwing himself back on the couch. “And don’t ever compare me to them. I see you, Tate.” He turned his head and waited until Tate met his gaze. “I like what I see. All of it. All of you. You look good to me in heels,kicks, tight-ass ladies’ jeans, and sweats too. I just like you, man.” He ended his little tirade on a shaky breath and then leaned over to brush his lips against Tate’s.

As he went to pull back, Tate trapped Reece against him, gliding his tongue across the seam of Reece’s lips, coaxing Reece to open then luring him into an urgent kiss. Their lips and noses smashed, teeth bit and clacked as they clutched at each other before Tate pulled back abruptly.

“What am I doing?” Tate whispered, resting his head against Reece’s. “You have a kid. You’re my client. My neighbor.” He pulled back, his face serious, eyes searching Reece’s. “And I like to top. Mostly. Like seventy-thirty.” Tate lifted his chin as though waiting for Reece to object.

Reece just smiled, his dick twitching at the thought of Tate topping him, bending him over the couch and making him wail. He brushed his lips against Tate’s. “Well, lucky for both of us then that I like to bottom, mostly. I’d say about sixty-forty. I figure we can meet somewhere in the middle. As far as the other stuff goes… What? You discriminating against me?”

Tate shook his head. “No, it’s just that I’ve been here before, okay. With the straight guys, the bi guys, even the gay ones, and most of them just wanted to fuck and didn’t even want to take me out on a date because I was too effeminate for them.” Tate waved his hand. “Too whatever, too…me, and I just…” He trailed off.

“You expect me to be like them,” Reece finished.

Tate groaned then covered his face briefly. “No, okay? Maybe. Ugh. It’s hard not to expect this to be the same, you know?” Tate grimaced.

Disappointment surged through Reece but then quickly dissipated. Tate didn’tthink Reece would personally fuckup whatever this was that was starting between them. No, this had nothing to do with Reece. Tate had been burned, and Reece could relate.He couldn’t make any promises about the outcome of their budding whatever it was, but he damn sure wanted to try. He didn’t want to be to Tate what all the other men who’d come before had been.

Reece grabbed Tate’s hand, turning to face the man. “Well, how about we do the unexpected? Can I take you out next Friday after work?” Reece held his breath.

About the Author 

Londra Laine

A forever-man for every man

Londra has loved to read since she discovered The Baby-Sitters Club. As a child, her parents would ground her by taking all the books out of her room for several days. Londra began reading romance in 2008 and fell in love with the M/M romance genre after purchasing a book by accident several years later.

After decades of daydreaming, and jotting down story ideas, Londra decided to give life to the characters in her head. She writes to give her guys the happy ending she wishes everyone––no matter their race, religion, gender, or orientation––could experience in real life.

During the day, Londra is a communications manager for a consulting firm. She is a recovering journalist. Londra loves the New York Yankees, Seinfeld reruns, tacos, and Friday nights on the couch with wine and a new book.

In 2010, she moved from her native California to New York City where she lived in Harlem for nearly eight years. In early 2018 she relocated to Seattle with her husband

Social Media Links

Londra on Twitter       Londra on Amazon       Londra on QueeRomance Ink

Londra on Goodreads        Londra on Facebook       Amazon        Goodreads

Hosted by Gay Book Promotions

 

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The Weight of It All

The Weight of It All by N.R. Walker: Audio Book Review by Lost in a Book

The Weight of It All

Blurb:

After being dumped by his long-term boyfriend for being overweight, Henry Beckett decides to make some drastic changes. In a vain attempt at getting his boyfriend back, Henry does the most absurdly frightening thing he can think of.

He joins a gym.

Reed Henske is a personal trainer who isn’t sure he’ll ever be ready to date again. He’s sick of guys who are only interested in the perfect body image, never seeing him for who he really is.

As Reed tortures Henry with things like diet and exercise, Henry enamours Reed with recipes and laughter. As the friendship lines start to blur, Henry is convinced there’s no way Thor-like Reed could ever be interested in a guy like him.

Reed just has to convince Henry that life isn’t about reaching your ideal bodyweight. It’s about finding your perfect counterweight.

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4.5 Stars

Ok, Why did I wait SOOOOO long to “read” this? I adored The Weight of It All and the narration by Joel Leslie is everything needed to bring Henry and Reed to life. I’m not sure I can go any further without mentioning the epic Harry Potter references. AND. ANDDDDDD, Joel Leslie’s impressions while doing them is on point. *happy dance*

Now, where was I? Oh yes, the story.

Henry- gets dumped by his ex for aging and looking like he’s aging. He’s desperate to get his ex life back and heads to the gym where he meets Reed.

Reed- large, muscular, abs for miles, never misses a leg day… you get the point. He’s jaded from dating typical gym rats who would rather talk about gym things instead of getting to know him. Reed is also Henry’s new trainer.

Henry and Reed’s interactions are hilarious. They begin as Trainer/trainee and slowly morph into friends on top of their professional gym relationship. A lot of time is spent getting to know each other and they develop a solid foundation that steadily grows into a relationship deeper friendship. Henry has huge insecurities with the battle scars left from his ex that blind him about Reeds affections. His thoughts on how can Mr. Perfect ever want me were understandable but went on for a lonnnnnnnnnnnnng time. They communicated about so much and yet Henry was evasive about his inner dialogue from the one person who *truly* would understand his perspective.

Outside of Henry’s feelings of being inferior, The Weight of It All is a low drama read with tons of humor, great secondary characters, and MCs that complement each other perfectly all the way to an HEA.

As I mentioned before, Joel Leslie killed it on the narration. I was LMAO at his delivery and enjoyed every part of the story.

Definitely recommended. Especially the audio.

Slide (Roads #1)

Slide by Garrett Leigh: Review by Lost in a Book

Slide (Roads, #1)

Blurb:

Don’t look back. Don’t you ever look back…

Shy tattoo artist Ash has a troubled past. Years of neglect, drug abuse, and life on the streets have taken their toll, and sometimes it seems the deep, unspoken bond with his lover is the only balm for wounds he doesn’t quite understand.

Chicago paramedic Pete is warmth, love, and strength—things Ash never knew he could have, and never even knew he wanted until Pete showed him. But fate is a cruel, cruel mistress, and when nightmares collide with the present, their tentatively built world comes crashing down.

Traumatic events in Pete’s work life distance him from home, and he doesn’t realize until it’s too late that Ash has slipped away. Betrayal, secrets, and lies unfold, and when a devastating coincidence takes hold, Pete must fight with all he has to save the love of his life.

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4.25 Stars

Ok, I knew this book was going to hurt. With the dramatic cover, the blurb, and the fact that it’s Garrett Leigh, I knew I wasn’t in for a big ball of fluff. But, when we got this from Ash at 4%…

“Waking up was a crappy way to start the day.”

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I had to start preparing for face leaking and some strong feels coming my way. Slide is riddled with trigger warnings as Ash deals with the fall out of past drug use, self-harm, PTSD, anxiety, and prior abuse. He’s trying to get his life together and finally has a job as a tattoo artist. His new roommate Pete has a soothing personality and kind brown eyes that provide a respite from the nightmares plaguing his daily life.

Pete’s a paramedic in Chicago and drawn to his new roommate who is more skittish than a cat. The men are tentative around each other and little by little they form a solid friendship that transforms into a intimate relationship. Pete’s warmth and kindness doesn’t give Ash the opportunity to build walls.

”He smiles, and for the first time in my life I believed that, for him, I could be more than I’d ever dreamed.”

Pete’s job is full of challenges and the stress of them doesn’t stay within his clocked in hours. The issues follow him home which affects Ash and their relationship in ways neither of them can predict until everything hits rock bottom. I love the balance between Pete and Ash. Pete is strong, kind, and completely human in his mistakes. They are both understanding and provide something that calls to the other man. Ash has the most to overcome and I love that Pete doesn’t fly onto the scene with his Mr. Perfect cape and magic penis to “fix” Ash. I just wanted to hug Ash. The hardships they have in their relationship weren’t glossed over and left me with zero choice but to feel what they were experiencing. Pete and Ash have mountains to climb, cliffs to scale, and stormy peaks to reach on the way to their eventual HEA.

Along the way there were some time lapses that left me a little confused. This story spans years and the jumps in time just popped up. I did listen the audio which might have made them more obvious. I also didn’t understand one of the story lines that was vaguely mentioned a couple of times and then BAM! surpriiiiiiiiiise at the end. What a coincidence. *gasp* It seemed unnecessary to the overall story IMO. *shrugs*

As I mentioned above, I listened to the audio which is narrated by Michael Lesley. I’m a huge fan of his ability to bring characters to life. The voices for Pete and Ash fit perfectly with their personalities. The emotional turmoil and also the peace their presence brought each other is conveyed through the narration.

I love Ash and Pete, I love the secondary characters and the support system they provide, and I love the kick in the gut Garrett Leigh provides that makes me beg for more with tears in my eyes and a smile on my face.
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Definitely recommended.

Riven

Riven by Roan Parrish: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis: Theo Decker might be the lead singer of Riven, but he hates being a rock star. The paparazzi, the endless tours, being recognized everywhere he goes—it all makes him squirm. The only thing he doesn’t hate is the music. Feeling an audience’s energy as they lose themselves in Riven’s music is a rush unlike anything else . . . until he meets Caleb Blake Whitman. Caleb is rough and damaged, yet his fingers on his guitar are pure poetry. And his hands on Theo? They’re all he can think about. But Caleb’s no groupie—and one night with him won’t be enough.

Just when Caleb is accepting his new life as a loner, Theo Decker slinks into it and turns his world upside-down. Theo’s sexy and brilliant and addictively vulnerable, and all Caleb wants is another hit. And another. That’s how he knows Theo’s trouble. Caleb can’t even handle performing these days. How the hell is he going to survive an affair with a tabloid superstar? But after Caleb sees the man behind the rock star, he begins to wonder if Theo might be his chance at a future he thought he’d lost forever.

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4.25 Stars

*Stage Whispers*

This was my first time reading Roan Parrish.

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Initially the cover caught my attention but my interest transformed into enjoyment with Roan’s unique story telling about a terrified addict afraid to fully live and a reluctantly famous rock star that just wants to do what he loves- making music.

Theo Decker is lead singer and song writer for the band, Riven. He’s lonely without ever being alone while craving acceptance from those around him. To have a tether in his world that saw him and not his fame. He’s a mercurial introvert that struggles with everything that comes with being in a band and being famous. He has insecurities stemming from his childhood that creep up and desperately wants to be wanted. To be enough. For Theo, music makes his world go round and gives him the ability to lose himself.

”I could lose myself in a way I’d never known, and by losing myself I found pieces I could live with.”

While walking on a quiet night, the sound of music brought Theo to a hole in the wall bar to find the creator of such a beautifully broken song.

Lost in his music,  Caleb Whitman hunched over his guitar while shutting the world out. He’s a recovering addict after his latest stint in rehab. Caleb has cut all ties to his former life as a musician and seeks solace in the country. He’s terrified to trust his decisions, instincts, and actions in fear of heading back down the same drug filled road he came from. Then he meets Theo.

Caleb and Theo initially bond over their passion for music. After meeting in the bar, they spend the night talking about music and then getting lost in each other until the morning light… until Theo wakes up alone.

Their connection is instant and tangible on that first night which terrified Caleb and left them both craving the other for weeks after. Luckily, their story doesn’t end there. We are treated to an angsty ride as Caleb tries to piece back together a clean life that’s worth living and not merely existing. ”This was no natural circle of life, but a desperate resurrection. I had to put one self to death before it could kill the one I hoped to create.” He has to navigate triggers and landmines surrounding each decision he makes which causes heavy angst and relational rollercoasters for him and Theo.

Theo and Caleb have a lot of turmoil to wade through with potential landmines at every corner. I love them, their connection, their passion about music and each other, their struggles and the authentic way they are portrayed and fleshed out. This is an angsty read that lacks sugar coating but is woven together with a thread of hope for second chances, redemption, love, and their HEA.

They have some smokin’ hot chemistry. There was an element of slow burn after their initial night but once the seal was broken, DAYUMMMM. Delicious stuff was happening on those pages… until I started skimming the sex scenes. *Gasp again* About 2/3 of the way through, things started to drag for me a bit and I was over-sexed. That feeling didn’t last too long and once my Kindle cooled down, I was able to reconnect with Theo and Caleb.

I absolutely adore the secondary characters of Huey and Rhys. They have major love for Caleb and provide a pillar of strength when he can’t hold himself up any longer. I was a tad confused about Rhys and his husband Matt. IMO, they were written as if I should have already known them from a previous book but I couldn’t find them in her (author) backlog. *If you know which book they hail from (if they are previous characters), please let me know and I’ll read that one, too.*

Warning: There should be a trigger warning for past drug/alcohol use as well as the struggles Caleb faces each day to stay clean. There are also separation periods in this book which I know can be a deal breaker for some. They were well written and helped add authenticity to the MC circumstances but I felt it’s worth noting.

I enjoyed and appreciated this unique take on rock star romance. Instead of the typical antics rock stars get into, this book highlights men where music forms the essence of who they are, men that are far from perfect, and men that struggle to become better versions of themselves while loving each other deeply. Definitely recommended and will not be my last read from this author.

“pieces were shuffling into place: in my head, in my gut, in my chest—all of it forming me into a different man. A man who had been ruined and remade so many times he should have been dust, but instead was luminescence.”

Copy provided from publisher via NetGalley for honest review.