Yuletide Treasure

Yuletide Treasure (Goddess-Blessed #3) by Eliot Grayson: Review by Lost in a Book

Yuletide Treasure (Goddess-Blessed, #3)

Blurb:

There’s not enough Yuletide spirit in the world to fix this holiday disaster…

Eben Sypeman’s world is falling apart. It’s two days before Yule and his business partner is dead, leaving behind empty accounts and looming bankruptcy. And if that isn’t bad enough, his patron goddess is irritated with him. It seems she’s tired of his tendency to mince words and avoid conflict. She’s insisting—quite forcefully—that he start being totally honest with everyone, including himself. Divinely enforced honesty couldn’t have come at a less opportune time, especially when his clerk’s tall, dark and distractingly handsome son enters the picture.

The last thing on Tim Pratchett’s mind is romance. All the former soldier wants is to fill in for his sick father at work and recover from his war wounds in peace. But there’s something about the grumpy Eben that confounds and entices him in equal measure. Their timing couldn’t be worse. They’re complete opposites. And yet…none of that matters when he’s with Eben.

But if Eben and Tim have any hope of finding their very own happily ever after, they’ll have to survive a dickens of a truth curse and the machinations of a trickster goddess—all while searching for enough yuletide treasure to save them all.

A joyous, relaxing Yule indeed. Bah, humbug.

This is an M/M romance with explicit scenes, a voyeuristic pagan goddess, and an odious nephew. Despite any other possible similarities to A Christmas Carol, there are neither ghosts nor geese, but readers can expect a happy ending and at least one use of the word “dickens.”

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4.5ish Stars

What is it about these goddess-blessed books by Eliot Grayson that have me totally enjoying them and actually liking a holiday romance for once? I really enjoy Grayson’s writing style and the way they write historical romance. I’ve reviewed the other goddess-blessed books in the series and I love that it’s completely acceptable for two men to marry in a historical romance. Obviously some creative liberties are at play here since we all know how backwards and cruel history was in its treatment of m/m love. But here it’s all rainbows and unicorns and sparkles and glitter if you’re goddess-blessed.

The blurb describes it well so I’m just gonna hop on over to Timothy and Eben. *dreamy sigh* They are adorable and left me feeling all warm, fuzzy, and practically singing Christmas carols out of my windows. (#dramatic) This book has a Christmas Carol-ish vibe and obvious character transformation that kept me hooked on the pages.

At this point I’m reading anything Grayson puts in front of me… even holiday books. *gasp* Who am I? Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Best Man

Best Man (Close Proximity, #1) by Lily Morton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Best Man (Close Proximity #1)

Blurb:

Zeb Evans doesn’t do messy.

The product of a disorganised and chaotic childhood, Zeb likes order and control, and as the boss of his own employment agency he can give that to himself. Life runs along strict lines and he never mixes business with pleasure. Everything in his life lives in neat, alphabetized boxes. Until Jesse.

Jesse Reed is Zeb’s complete opposite. He’s chaos personified. A whirling cyclone of disorder. He’s also charming and funny and a very unwanted distraction.

Which is why it comes as a complete surprise to Zeb to find himself asking Jesse to pose as his boyfriend for a few days in the country at a wedding.

Zeb doesn’t do impulsive, but as the time away progresses, he finds himself increasingly drawn to the merry and irreverent Jesse. But can he bring himself to break the hard-won lessons he’s learnt in life? And even if he can, how could Jesse be attracted to him anyway? He’s so much older than Jesse, not to mention being his boss.

From the bestselling author of the Mixed Messages and Finding Home series comes a warm and funny romance about one man’s fight for control and another man’s determination to circumvent it.

This is the first book in the Close Proximity series, but it can be read as a standalone.

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4 Stars

Lily Morton has quickly become an author that I turn to for snark, banter, sassy characters, and comfort reads. Best Man fell right in line with having all of those components in heaps… just add in a 20 year age gap, hairy chest, and some OTT drama and we’ve got another enjoyable read.

The humor begins right away as Jesse and Zeb are introduced. Jesse is hired on at Zeb’s company and then they continue to work together for years.  Jesse has a hopeless crush on Zeb while Zeb has slotted him under the employee category without any wiggle room. Nada. Well, that is until Zeb needs Jesse to escort him to a wedding where his ex-boyfriend is getting married. Cue silly shenanigans, uptight Zeb, carefree Jesse, and a getaway with one bed.

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I really like the way Lily writes main characters with sass and snark. Jesse is a hilarious yet well-meaning HOT MESS! He has been giving Zeb headaches for years (although, secretly Zeb enjoys it) and has ramped up his PDA for the benefit of the jealous ex… and himself. When Zeb and Jesse finally get down to business, they’ve got some pent-up frustrations that need to be worked out and ohhhh boy do they work them out. Yowza!

Patrick the ex is an asshole. An OTT asshole. There are a few parts that are a tad OTT but things revolving around Patrick were off the charts and some of the drama felt a little unnecessary. Zeb and Jesse get their HEA and IMO, Mr. Spitfire Jesse needed a little more of a backbone when it came to overcoming his conflict with Zeb. Still, I enjoyed Best Man, especially Jesse and Zeb together, and will absolutely continue on with this new series. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Heartsong

Heartsong (Green Creek #3) by TJ Klune: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Heartsong (Green Creek, #3)

Blurb:

All Robbie Fontaine ever wanted was a place to belong. After the death of his mother, he bounces around from pack to pack, forming temporary bonds to keep from turning feral. It’s enough—until he receives a summons from the wolf stronghold in Caswell, Maine.

Life as the trusted second to Michelle Hughes—the Alpha of all—and the cherished friend of a gentle old witch teaches Robbie what it means to be pack, to have a home.

But when a mission from Michelle sends Robbie into the field, he finds himself questioning where he belongs and everything he’s been told. Whispers of traitorous wolves and wild magic abound—but who are the traitors and who the betrayed?

More than anything, Robbie hungers for answers, because one of those alleged traitors is Kelly Bennett—the wolf who may be his mate.

The truth has a way of coming out. And when it does, everything will shatter.

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5 Million Stars… Totally a thing!

Ohhhhhhh, TJ… How have we gone from pinecones and epic and awesomeness to… this? I’m not mad at it. At all… but I could have used some pinecone moments when I was getting my ass kicked by your creative genius.

Not gonna lie, I started, Heartsong and had zero clue what was happening until…

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And then it was all GASP. WtAF. And Rawwwwr. And more incoherent thoughts as I began piecing things together. Which turned into…

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Then actual footage of me coping…

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A lot happens in book #3 and giving spoilers or too much information would absolutely ruin the crazy ass (and totally amazing) dysfunctional, and horrific events that take place in Heartsong.

The love story between Robbie and Kelly is bittersweet and beautiful. I couldn’t help but feel ALL the feels while trying to calm the face leaking. Kelly is asexual and their love is sooooo pure and sweet. Don’t get all comfy cozy based on that description thinking that it’s smooth sailing. They get dragged through Hell and at the end of the day when that happens, you want your person with you through it all. Robbie and Kelly are just… so much green and then the deepest of blue and then green. packpackpack

TJ outdid himself with the horror creativity on this one. It’s a freaking rollercoaster of events/emotions that left me hanging on for dear life and unable to put it down. With all the heaviness, heartbreak, hellacious moments, and holy-shit-gory-AF, there’s comic relief with the Bennett pack that lets us catch our breath right when we are desperate for some air. Every. time.

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With the direction of the series, everything in this book is necessary and masterfully crafted with the past and the future in mind. Definitely recommended while I figure out how to get a head start on Carter’s story… like yesterday.

 Copy provided for honest review.

The Doctor’s Orders

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

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

Blurb:

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

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

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

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2 Stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Of course, your mileage may vary!

 

Copy provided for honest review.

Puzzle Me This

Puzzle Me This by Eli Easton: Review by Lost in a Book

Puzzle Me This

Blurb:

Luke Schumaker designs computer games, working from his home. Every day he walks his dog in the woods nearby, never suspecting that someone who is completely smitten is watching.

The watcher is Alex Shaw, and he too works from home, designing logic and crossword puzzles. Alex’s options are limited: he’s too shy to approach Luke and his wheelchair won’t let him follow into the woods. His solution? Secret messages for Luke in the crosswords he writes for the local paper.

When Luke decodes them, romance begins, but then they face greater puzzles, like Alex’s interfering sister and what commitment to a man in a wheelchair really takes. And, most puzzling of all, how do you know if love is real?

Second Edition: The new edition coming out Sept 6, 2019 has an additional 12,000 words plus an overall rewrite.

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2.5 Stars

I was super excited about Puzzle Me This. I know it’s an older title reworked and added to, but I never read the first one so this was my chance. I loved the premise about meeting someone new and communicating through crosswords, giving an introvert an outlet to meeting someone he has clearly been crushing on for a bit… unfortunately I was underwhelmed as the plot played out.

The blurb/synopsis sets up the book nicely and once the first crossword message is sent, the rest moves insanely fast. IMO an opportunity was lost to drag out the messages longer and have a little more build up from the first message to insta love. The plot was rushed yet some of the minutiae parts dragged on too long.

I love nerds. The promise of them. Hell, I’m a nerd and speak nerd. This wasn’t nerdy to me, more cheesy dialogue and sugar overload. There are also random dramas and the characters aren’t fully fleshed out.

I love Eli Easton but this one didn’t quite work for me. YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.

Happy for You

Happy for You by Anyta Sunday: Review by Lost in a Book

Happy for You (Love & Family #3)

Blurb:

Mort wants his de facto family back. . . .
He knows he doesn’t deserve them. Not yet, anyway. Not without making up for leaving them in their time of need.
But it’s not easy to make amends. Mort must show how much he wants the Rochester family back in his life. When his best friend’s younger brother, Felix, has his license suspended, Mort jumps at the chance to play chauffeur and to win back the family he desperately wants to call his own.
Repairing his broken relationships—with all five Rochester siblings—becomes Mort’s personal mission. Especially with Felix. Felix, who used to follow him everywhere. Felix, who idolized him. Felix, whom Mort has not stopped thinking about . . .

Felix is just trying to keep it together. . . .
With a perma-smile as his armor, he’s determined to make his family happy. Determined to be a positive role model to his three younger sisters, while their mum struggles with depression after her kidney transplant.
Unfortunately, no amount of smiling can save his license when he gets pulled over for the umpteenth time, and he still needs to get his sisters to school, soccer, and dance classes.
The solution to his problem emerges in the return of their prodigal neighbor, Mort. Mort, who left their lives without a word. Mort, who was in love with Felix’s older brother.
Mort, who is the last guy Felix wants charging back into their lives. . . .

Mort and Felix. Two guys bound by a rocky past—
—a past they must come to terms with to find true happiness in the here and now.

~ – ~ – ~

Set in New Zealand, Happy For You (Love & Family #3) is an MM gay romance featuring two guys pitted together in a blue 1988 station wagon — and there’s no doubt about it, Mort is going to drive Felix crazy.
Can be read as a standalone.

Tropes: brother’s best friend, second chances, family drama, friends-to-lovers, slow burn, found family
Genre: New Adult, light-hearted contemporary gay romance
Trigger warnings: Depression and generalized anxiety (of a side character)

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4.25ish Stars

“On our way home, he doesn’t ask why I disappeared or why I’m acting skittish. I don’t tell him it’s unbearable being in love with him.”

Gahhhhh!!! Anyta spun her magical web again and pulled me right in… which is probably for the best since it seems like the story started long before the story actually starts. I’ve read the past books in the series but this can definitely be a standalone.

Mort and Felix have an entire busload of history, baggage, and emotions prior to the first words. Mort has been best friends with Felix’s older brother for much of his life while Felix pined for Mort for the same amount of time. Obviously, the brother’s best friend trope is the main show in Happy for You. As I mentioned, we are essentially thrown into the middle of Mort and Felix’s story but much has to be done in order to get to the HEA.

This is Anyta so a slow burn is guaranteed. I love Mort and Felix and I felt for them and the plethora of emotions from Mort coming back into their lives to the feeling of unrequited love. Anyta says sooooooo much with so few words that my heart hurt for them at times. There are outside circumstances that separated Mort from the family which I’m still a tad unsure if that storyline was wrapped up tight. There are lots of kids throughout and that’s usually a hard limit for me since I get plenty of kid action in RL. But, I liked the kids, their personalities, and the parts they play in this book.

Mort and Felix get their HEA after Anyta makes us burn for a tiny bit long ass time. As always, I enjoyed the writing style, the feels, and the characters. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

Dine With Me

Dine With Me by Layla Reyne: Review by Lost in a Book

Dine with Me

Blurb:

Life never tasted so good.

Miller Sykes’s meteoric rise to award-winning chef is the stuff of culinary dreams, but it’s all crashing down around him. He’s been given a diagnosis that could cost him something even more precious than his life: his sense of taste. Rather than risk the very thing that defines him, Miller embarks on a last tour of his favorite meals while he still can.

But there’s a catch: he needs a financial backer to make it happen, and he doesn’t want anyone to know he’s sick.

Dr. Clancy Rhodes has two weeks to come to terms with putting aside oncology to work at his father’s thriving plastic surgery practice. When the opportunity to travel with a Michelin-starred chef presents itself, the foodie in him can’t believe it. It doesn’t hurt that Miller’s rugged good looks are exactly Clancy’s cup of joe.

As Clancy and Miller travel from coast to coast and indulge in everything from dive bars to the most decadent of culinary experiences, they’re suddenly sharing a lot more than delicious meals. Sparks fly as they bond over their love of flavors and the pressures of great expectations. But when Miller’s health takes a turn for the worse, Clancy must convince him he’s more—so much more—than just his taste buds. And that together, they can win a battle that once seemed hopeless.

One-click with confidence. This title is part of the Carina Press Romance Promise : all the romance you’re looking for with an HEA/HFN. It’s a promise!

 

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3 Stars

To say I was hungry throughout this book would be an understatement… I was hangry. If you’re a foodie, this might definitely be your cuppa. I’m not a foodie, I don’t have a sophisticated palette but with all the food mentioned, I lived in a perpetual state of hunger throughout the duration of Dine With Me.

The blurb does a great job of setting up the story and there weren’t any surprise plot elements outside of the outline mentioned that had me scratching my head. Miller is very much on a goodbye tour hitting all of his bucket list restaurants with Clancy by his side before the inevitable hits.

Outside of being hungry, the romance fell flat for me. I didn’t believe in the I love you when it happened and it happens late, like after 70% late. I believed their friendship but not a romantic relationship. The pacing is very slow and the relationship stayed on the back burner for most of the book as they find friendship (I think?) through food.

There’s a heavy presence of secondary characters, especially the ex-wife which may work or not work for some. I stopped thinking of her as the ex and mentally thought of her as a BFF and that helped a little.

This read wasn’t really my cuppa and landed in the it’s alright zone. I need more romance in my romances… *shrug* As always, YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.

The Fiance

The Fiance by Christopher X. Sullivan: Review by Lost in a Book

The Fiancé (It's Just Us Here #6)

Blurb:

Chris and Mark have been apart for eight months.

Will they get a second chance? They both want it.

And will they do it the right way this time? Chris needs to be open with his family, and that means coming out. Mark needs to be the solid foundation in the pairing, because otherwise Chris is just going to run, run, run.

[The Fiancé is Book Six in a ten book series. The series is broken into three major ‘arcs’. This second-chance romance is the middle of the “Lovers and Second Chances” arc.

It’s Just Us Here: The Fiancé is a 105,000 word journey of two men deciding if they want to give themselves a second chance. And if they do, then there’s no more playing around. Chris won’t settle for anything less than forever. Is Mark that kind of guy?]

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“This is us…. This is the new us. And the making of us is going to be the best part… the best part of my life.”

The Fiance installment definitely provides insight on the making of Chris and Mark… but, unlike the quote, it isn’t quite the best part of their lives yet; more like a bridge with a few trolls under it that you have to cross before you get to the greener pastures (sorry for the imagery, we’ve been on a Three Billy Goats Gruff kick lately in the Lost household).

This installment spends more time explaining family, friends, histories, and the dynamics between them all. Although the title sorta gives a happy image, there are more melancholy parts to this book than and they live happily ever after parts. Readers are also painted a more in-depth picture of the post “Big Fight” life and how it affected Chris, Mark, and the many people in their lives.

I’m waiting for them to find their groove but it still seems they are struggling to find their footing. Which, hello… real life. Shit happens, feelings are real, and there isn’t a manual to flip a switch into relational bliss. There’s much more internal dialogue from Chris in The Fiance than in the previous installments which is a good thing and at the same time you just want to shake him… a teeny tiny bit. Sometimes because of his thoughts/actions and also oddly because of information that seems to be withheld (I’m assuming anything withheld will be divulged in the remaining installments).

This book is necessary in the grand scheme of their relationship. Just to note, there isn’t sex in this book (would have been totally out of place) and the topic of it’s almost avoided (which might not be best).  Trigger warning for mentioned addiction.

I’m looking forward to continuing on this journey and seeing how they grow towards “the best part of my life.”

Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review and I’ve also purchased my own.

Happily Ever Asher Series

Happily Every Asher Series by Nash Summers: Review by Lost in a Book

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher, #1) Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher, #2)A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher, #3)

Rating for overall series: 4.25 Stars

When Red Cried Wolf is a great set-up to this series. The characters are all very likable, especially Asher. Asher is absolutely adorable and I just want to put him in my pocket. He has this unapologetic all knowing (especially in all things romance) attitude that doesn’t allow anything to get in his way (so far). There are nerds, jocks, awesome secondary characters, and a budding friendship relationship (even if it’s mainly grunts and other noises from his roommate) that I think will be so sweet as we continue on this journey.

In book two and then three, Asher and Morgan’s friendship, flirting, and eventual relationship grows slowly but there’s substance and respect in each stage, even if they drive each other crazy… which apparently is totally their brand of foreplay. Their text exchanges are everyyyyyyyyything and had me cackling throughout.

This three part series is adorable, feel good, turns my insides warm and squishy, AND is the perfect follow up to angsty reads. They have the classic running/avoidance thing going on that many do at that age but Asher is a helper of true love and he will damn well get his HEA.

Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

 

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Information on each specific book below:

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher #1) by Nash Summers

When Red Cried Wolf (Happily Ever Asher, #1)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
It’s probably one of the reasons he makes such a fantastic matchmaker, love guru, and romance expert. And now that he’s in college, it’s finally his turn to shine.

Asher’s relationship advice column in the school newspaper is his strongest matchmaking instrument, especially when it comes to helping hopeless romantics find their soulmates.

But like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
There’s a damsel in distress Asher’s best friend thinks is a psychopath, a handsome prince Asher can’t stop drooling over, and a huge, mysterious roommate Asher can’t help but pester.

It doesn’t matter though. Nothing will stop Asher when it comes to helping people find their true love.
He’s absolutely positive everything will work out in the end.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

* * *
When Red Cried Wolf is a slow-burn romance with over-the-top characters, fairy tale references, ridiculous texts, and eventually, a happy ever after.

Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher #2) by Nash Summers

Golden Boy and the Two Bears (Happily Ever Asher, #2)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
His column is thriving, fellow students trust him with their relationship woes, and he’s on his A-game when it comes to matchmaking. At least, matchmaking other than his own.
After a heartfelt letter written to his column, Asher is set on aiding the two love-struck heroes who desperately need his help.
But like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
Randy and Red can’t stop passing looks whenever Asher voices his plans;, the handsome Christopher might not be quite what Asher expected, and his dark, mysterious roommate, Morgan, might have a surprise or two up his sleeve.
It doesn’t matter though. Nothing will stop Asher when it comes to helping people find their true love.
He’s absolutely positive everything will work out in the end.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

* * *

Golden Boy and the Two Bears is a slow-burn romance with over-the-top characters, fairy tale references, ridiculous texts, and eventually, a happy ever after.

A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher #3) by Nash Summers

A King in Wonderland (Happily Ever Asher #3)

Blurb:

Asher Williams is obsessed with love.
Or at least he was, until it all came crashing down.
He made a mistake. And even Asher himself, arranger of marriages and aider of lovesick hearts, doesn’t know how to fix it.

And like every heroic quest, there are a few bumps in the road and dragons to slay.
His inability to focus on love has turned his column into a disaster, his best friends are acting weirder than usual,  Christopher turns out to be a man of many surprises, and Morgan, well…

Maybe this time it does matter. Because when Asher’s heart finally realizes what he’s been looking for all along, it may be too late.
And too broken.
But there might just be a shred of hope somewhere deep down in his heart. Maybe Asher can fix everything and have his prince charming.
Because love is always like a fairy tale…right?

The Doctor’s Date

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

Buddy Read with Adam

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

Blurb:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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BR with Adam

3.5 Stars

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

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

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

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

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

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

Trigger Warnings for abuse.

Copy provided for honest review.