Cash (Lucky, #2)

Cash (Lucky, #2) by Garrett Leigh: Review by Lost in a Book

Cash (Lucky, #2)

Blurb:

Cash is a car mechanic with a secret. Head down, sleeves up, he hides from the past as much as his shattered heart, until a reluctant stumble into a Tottenham bar ends in the one night stand of his dreams.

Hunt saboteur Rae can’t believe his luck when he wakes up the next morning. Cash is gorgeous, and the hottest hook up he’s ever had. He doesn’t expect to see him again, until a twist of fate lands him on Cash’s doorstep a few months later.

United by a cause that’s broken Cash before, they are drawn together. They have more in common than they ever imagined, but with Cash haunted by the past, and Rae so tangled in the present, it’s not long before love isn’t enough to keep them alive.

Part of a series, but can be read as a STANDALONE.

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3.25 Stars

Welp, this starts out with a bang…literally. Cash and Rae meet in a pub, have a night full hot sex, and move on the next morning as if the hook-up(s) never happened. This works until Rae ends up back on Cash’s door step looking for someone that came from the life Rae leads.

Cash is a mechanic, living a simple life, and trying desperately to remain unattached to the sab life that Rae lives and breathes. Rae is obsessed with the fox hunting cause and his days are marked by hunts, sabotage, and roughing it on a patch of land with his group of like-minded friends.

Being thrust back into each others lives has brought Rae and Cash closer together. They have a tentative friendship and smokin’ hot chemistry. I really enjoyed their personalities and the way they are together. Unfortunately, we don’t get much time with them in a relationship due to other circumstances. The characters are fleshed out but their relationship isn’t. The romance is very minimal and stays in the shadows with the fox hunting/sabbing being front and center. I love animals and want them safe but the topic overshadowing the relationship threw off my reading enjoyment/RL escape. It’s a creative story with a platform that shines a spotlight on an issue I lacked prior knowledge of. I really liked Rae and Cash but I found that I could put the story down and go about my day without the burning desire to pick it up.

This is Garret Leigh so there’s depth with an interesting twist along the way. The rating is strictly for my enjoyment of this story and not the quality of the writing. There are triggers for depression and off page mentions of animal cruelty. I will absolutely continue on with the series. If you’re a fan of GL and/or animal activism, I’d recommend.

P.S. Googling fox hunt saboteurs is an interesting experience.

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Copy provided for honest review.

Fireworks

Fireworks (True North, #6) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Cupcake

Fireworks (True North, #6)

Blurb:

Skye Copeland is on paid leave from her broadcasting job after accidentally drawing a pecker on the traffic map.

Let that sink in. Like it’s her fault the traffic pattern that day created a perfect schlong?

Skye isn’t laughing. She needs this job. And that’s the only reason she’s agreed to chase down a story in her least favorite place—that hell on earth known as Vermont.

A quick trip. In and out. Much like – never mind. Skye can sneak into the town that once tried to break her, get the story and get back into the good graces of her producer. Easy peasy.

Except things go sideways even as she sets foot over the county line. Her step-sister is on the run from a violent drug dealer. And the cop on the case is none other than Benito Rossi, the man who broke her teenage heart.

His dark brown eyes still tear her apart. And even as she steels herself to finally tell him off after twelve years, the old fireworks are still there.

Things are about to go boom.

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3 Stars

What I like so much about this series, plain and simple, is the Shipleys. The further removed from the Shipleys it gets, I’ve noticed my interest usually wanes. The problem is, we’re running out of Shipleys.

Bowen’s writing style is engaging and infinitely readable, as always. I mostly like Benito; he has his alphahole moments but he clearly worships the ground Skylar walks on and is upfront about it. Devotion and forthrightness are always good character traits in my book. I like Skylar. Benito and Skylar together, though, lacked the spark I’ve come to expect from Bowen. The razzle dazzle wasn’t there for me.

They have a backstory beginning when she was 16 and he 18 told in flashbacks that, for me, I found unnecessary. I’m well aware of the teenage propensity to turn molehills into mountains and that coupled with high intensity emotions can lead to disaster. But of all the people whose word you’re going to take, how in the sam hell did Jimmy Gage make the list? In twelve years it never once occurred to her to verify? And she’s a journalist?

That I found a little unbelievable which, obviously, dovetailed into the second chance trope not working well for me. The opportunity to reconcile not just with Benito but with Colebury and Zara in particular, I did like. I’m just sad that it took twelve years to transpire.

I’ve mentioned before how much I appreciate Bowen’s diligent efforts to keep the opioid epidemic and its catastrophic effects part of this series. Here we have Benito who’s in law enforcement and Skylar’s former stepsister is tangentially involved in the investigation which is what brings Skylar back to Colebury. It’s a fairly intense subplot with the nefarious Jimmy Gage as the centerpiece, but I think it overtook the romance plotline. I liked the resolution and Skylar’s role in it, though.

Colebury is as charming and cozy as ever which is part of what keeps bringing me back to this series and I always like catching up with its residents. In a nutshell, Fireworks is a nice addition to the series, but not a favorite of mine.

Copy provided for honest review.

Oz

Oz (Finding Home, #1) by Lily Morton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Oz (Finding Home, #1)

Blurb:

What happens when temporary becomes forever?

Oz Gallagher does not do relationships well. Bored and jobless after another disastrous hook up, he decides to leave London for a temporary job in the wilds of Cornwall. Surely managing a stately home on a country estate will be easier than navigating the detritus of his relationships at home. Six months there will alleviate a bit of his wanderlust and then he can come back to London as footloose and fancy free as the day he left it.

However, when he gets there he finds a house in danger of crumbling to the ground and a man who is completely unlike anyone he’s ever met. An earl belonging to a family whose roots go back hundreds of years, Silas is the living embodiment of duty and sacrifice. Two things that Oz has never wanted. He’s also warm and funny and he draws Oz to him like a magnet.

Oz banks on the fact that they’re from two very different worlds to stop himself falling for Silas. But what will he do when he realises that these differences are actually part of the pull to one another? Will falling in love be enough to make him stop moving at last and realise that he’s finally home?

From bestselling author, Lily Morton, comes a romantic comedy about two very different men and one very dilapidated house.

This is the first book in the Finding Home series but it can be read as a standalone.

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4.25 Stars

Keeping it 💯, I have a crush on Lily Morton with all her writery (totally a word) talents? Her books always have elements that keep me coming back for more and she has secured a spot on my automatic author list.
Humor- ✔️
Snark-✔️
Sassy character(s)-✔️
Chemistry-✔️
Great secondary characters-✔️
Depth in main characters-✔️

Oz is sick of spinning his wheels through life and after walking in on his ex bone deep inside his replacement, he moves on with the help of friends to a *highly* entertaining interview for a position to manage the estate of an Earl. Oz is a little fireball full of sass and wit with the ability to have everyone eating out of his hand. He shockingly gets the job at the estate and sets to work right away. It isn’t long before he meets Silas and the stars align, angels sing, and sound of condom wrappers being torn open fill their day dreams.

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Silas is an Earl by birth but a veterinarian by choice. He’s huge, rugged, hairy, kind, and has plenty of ex-boyfriend baggage to go along with a crumbling estate. Silas is a lonely man bound by duty with a love of the land he calls home. He takes to Oz right away but neither can act on their lust filled visions because the whole employee/employer/banging the boss thing didn’t work well in the past and they’re turning over a new leaf.

”You two. It’s like watching elephants mate. Dangerous, messy, and uncomfortable, but ever so slightly sweet.”

Oz quickly begins work on the estate and his interactions are hilarious. Silas and Oz are oozing chemistry from their initial meeting and you just know when they finally kiss it’s gonna be scorching. I adore them separately and together. They compliment each other and are able to be themselves without any pretense.

”I’d thought the moment when I fell in love would be dramatic and full of noise and energy. Instead, it’s in a quiet bedroom where a soft song plays and the light dances on the man’s hair and the planes of his face as he makes me back into me. The only man who’s ever valued that person.”

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There are multiple LOL moments but the revenge on his douchebag ex, the interview, and when Oz first meets the Earl (OMG 😂) are at the top. I cackled throughout with glee as Oz was kicking ass and taking names. I also want to note that Silas is the brother of Henry from Risk Taker. This can standalone but there are multiple characters that make appearances and having that background knowledge would definitely increase enjoyment IMO.

Oz and Silas’ relational evolution is pretty low angst and ends on a HEA with a bunch of heat to pave the way. I’ll definitely continue on with the series and hope Oz’s adorably snarky assistant Milo gets his turn next. Definitely recommended.

”He’s nothing like I imagined but somehow everything I should have known enough to wish for.”

Copy provided for honest review.

New Release: Hoops Holiday by Kennedy Ryan- Out Now!!

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HOOPS Holiday, a Christmas bundle featuring all-new, never-before-published content by Kennedy Ryan, is available now!

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MacKenzie Decker was a question Avery never got to ask, much less answer.

They met when she was a young reporter fueled by ambition, and the ink on Deck’s first NBA contract was barely dry. Years later, they’ve climbed so high and lost so much, but one thing hasn’t changed. The attraction that simmered between them in a locker room before is still there. With success like theirs, everything has been possible . . .

except them.

But that was then.

The only question is…what about now?

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Grab your copy today for only 99¢ or read FREE in Kindle Unlimited!

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2S1Q20Q

Amazon Worldwide: http://mybook.to/HoopsHoliday

Add HOOPS Holiday to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2EU5RVg

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** Hoops Holiday consists of FULL-COURT PRESS, a HOOPS novella originally published in the TEAM PLAYER Anthology. It has been expanded with all-new, never before published content & epilogue.

It also includes Christmas-themed bonus material for LONG SHOT (Iris & August) and BLOCK SHOT (Banner & Jared).

*All HOOPS Stories are standalone, and can be enjoyed individually or in order.

Catch up on the other HOOPS novels:

LONG SHOT: https://amzn.to/2xYBvv5

BLOCK SHOT: http://mybook.to/BlockShot

Add HOOPS Holiday to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2EU5RVg

ENTER THE RELEASE GIVEAWAY!

ANY Signed HOOPS Novel signed paperback!

http://bit.ly/HHRelGive

Want more from Kennedy? Love audiobooks?

Listen to her audio-first story SWIPE for FREE on the Read Me Romance podcast!

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Swipe is available NOW exclusively on Read Me Romance!

Listen here:

AppleBooks: http://geni.us/A888vRA

Google Play: http://geni.us/7lB4UBK

Stitcher: https://bit.ly/2Salz0s

Website: http://www.readmeromance.com

On May 2nd, an EXPANDED e-book version of SWIPE will be released!

Pre-Order on Apple Books, Kobo & B&N:

http://books2read.com/SWIPE

Sign up here to be notified as soon as it’s live on Amazon:

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Coming March 2019!

Add HOOK SHOT, Hoops 3, to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/KeLoGoodreads

About Kennedy

A Top 30 Amazon Bestseller, Kennedy Ryan writes about women from all walks of life, empowering them and placing them firmly at the center of each story and in charge of their own destinies. Her heroes respect, cherish and lose their minds for the women who capture their hearts.

She is a wife to her lifetime lover and mother to an extraordinary son. She has always leveraged her journalism background to write for charity and non-profit organizations, but enjoys writing to raise Autism awareness most. A contributor for Modern Mom Magazine and Frolic, Kennedy’s writings have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul, USA Today and many others. The founder and executive director of a foundation serving Atlanta Autism families, she has appeared on Headline News, Montel Williams, NPR and other media outlets as an advocate for families living with autism.

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Connect with Kennedy

Never Miss A Release! Follow Kennedy on BookBub:  bookbub.com/authors/kennedy-ryan

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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.