Think of England

Think of England by KJ Charles: Review by Lost in a Book

Think of England (Think of England, #1)

Blurb:

Lie back and think of England…

England, 1904. Two years ago, Captain Archie Curtis lost his friends, fingers, and future to a terrible military accident. Alone, purposeless and angry, Curtis is determined to discover if he and his comrades were the victims of fate, or of sabotage.

Curtis’s search takes him to an isolated, ultra-modern country house, where he meets and instantly clashes with fellow guest Daniel da Silva. Effete, decadent, foreign, and all-too-obviously queer, the sophisticated poet is everything the straightforward British officer fears and distrusts.

As events unfold, Curtis realizes that Daniel has his own secret intentions. And there’s something else they share—a mounting sexual tension that leaves Curtis reeling.

As the house party’s elegant facade cracks to reveal treachery, blackmail and murder, Curtis finds himself needing clever, dark-eyed Daniel as he has never needed a man before…

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4 Stars

Well, this was gruesome with a game of Clue vibe. Was it Colonel Mustard in the study with a lead pipe?

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Not so much. But, it did have suspense, intrigue, and a side of romance. Captain Archie Curtis is on the hunt for clues after a military incident gone tragically wrong. He ends up at a country house full of other guests with seemingly gracious hosts. It’s there he meets Daniel da Silva, another house guest. Daniel is unapologetically campy with a poets heart and a badass set of skills. I LOVE him. Seriously, he has a Julius’-esque (from KJC’s Society of Gentlemen series) fierceness with a brand of snark that could be dressed up as something that sounded sweet, but only someone with at least half a brain would understand the razor sharp cut of his remarks. Brilliant.

Curtis and Daniel together is FIYAHHHHHH. The Captain has gone through life without exploring his sexuality and is able to have a glorious awakening at the hands of Daniel. There is some romance in Think of England but it isn’t the focus. It has a solid HFN that I believed with very likable characters. One more time for Daniel. *purrs*

As I mentioned above, this story is gruesome and with many parts that had me wishing for a Xanax with a side of wine. It took a tad longer for me to read because I *knew* something was going to happen and if I continued, I would need to sleep with the light on.

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Fine!! I did it and liked it… even if I needed some warm milk and a blanket to soothe my nerves and missing fingernails. It got intense. Thankfully the romance let me catch my breath. One thing I’ve noticed time and time from KJC is her ability write strong main and secondary characters. She doesn’t have to take away the women’s backbones in her stories to prop up the men. Just like she doesn’t have to have one doormat male to make the other seem more masculine or strong. Everyone is able to stand on their own but it’s always better to have people at your back. It’s absolutely refreshing to see this translate in her books every time. The non-villianous women and the MCs in Think of England were legit with steel backbones that left me smiling.

Definitely recommended for fans of suspense and historical romance.

Julien (Confessions #2)

Julien by Ella Frank: Review by Lost in a Book

Julien (Confessions #2)

Blurb:

People are complex.
Love a double-edged sword.
And when it comes to a broken heart, there are no rules, only time…

For the past eight years, Julien Thornton has been living with a secret. One that only a handful of people know about.

To the outside world, he has it all.
A thriving career. A loving husband. And a face that the American public fell for by the millions, on a reality show that inadvertently saved his life.

But behind the shine of celebrity, behind the easygoing nature, a crippling truth fills Julien with pain and self-loathing. It’s a truth that he fights to overcome daily with the help of his husband, Joel Priestley, and now their boyfriend, Robbie Bianchi.

But unlike Priest, Robbie doesn’t know what he’s helping Julien to fight. He doesn’t know what Julien did all those years ago. And with the anniversary of his sister’s death fast approaching, the time for explanations is running out.

And thus the question: will the princess be able to forgive the prick as the priest once did?

Only time will tell.

**Please note this book contains sensitive situations regarding drug use.**

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4 Stars

*Psssssttttt* I’ll tell you a secret… I’m holding out for Priest. He’s the dessert I’ve been waiting to devour. I’m not saying I haven’t enjoyed Robbie and Julien, I’m just being clear and upfront that Priest is where it’s at for me.

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This story is aptly named because it goes through Julien’s mysterious history that we understand from the first story, runs very deep. Much of Julien’s POV are flashbacks either he has or stories he is telling. Robbie and Priest help Julien navigate through the emotional turmoil in their own way with Priest’s solid support and Robbie’s ray of light shining through all the darkness.

We still get all three POVs in Julien as the men continue to find their footing as a relationship of three. For me, the Julien situation is overshadowed by the connection that grew with Robbie and Priest. I’m was for that too since I love Robbie and Priest HARD! They become more comfortable as a duo outside and inside the bedroom. Lemme just say, the closet and shower scenes… 🔥🔥🔥

<b>“We are allowed to do whatever we like to whomever we like within the three of us. There’s no room or cause for jealousy. There has to be trust, honesty, and total transparency.”</b>

Robbie, Julien, and Priest are still hot together but the focus is more on deepening the connection with everyone as duos and a trio. The situation with Julien had an EPIC build-up. I was expecting something insanely unthinkable and once everything was revealed, I had a moment of “that’s it?” I’m not saying the situation as it happened wouldn’t leave scars, I just went way worse in my mind based on the reactions and emotions prior to the reveal.

Julien is an enjoyable follow-up to Robbie but didn’t quite hit the same enjoyment level as the first (which had insane levels of reading excite). I definitely recommend this book. Now, *SQUEEEEEE* it’s time for my dessert Priest.

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Trigger Warning: Drug usage and alcohol

Masc (Femme #2)

Masc (Femme #2) by Marshall Thornton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Masc

Blurb:

Lionel and Dog are back in this follow-up to the Lambda finalist, Femme. Almost six months have passed and, after taking an online quiz, Lionel believes their relationship is doomed because they have nothing in common. To save their future together, the pair joins a gay bowling league and discovers that Lionel is an excellent, if somewhat eccentric, bowler.

Meanwhile, Dog gets profiled in a work newsletter. He’s excited that he’s out at work, but doesn’t immediately realize that by fawning over Dog’s masculine nature the writer was also putting down all femme guys. Lionel takes it personally, which leads the to a crisis in their relationship. Attempting to make it up to Lionel, Dog makes a grand gesture—which backfires spectacularly.

Will the two manage to put things right? And will a night in jail, a morning of drag bingo, an afternoon of day drinking, and a month of moping make things better or worse?

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3.5 Stars

Masc is a solid follow up to the Dog and Lionel show. It had many of the same ingredients that were present in the first:

Sassy Lionel? Check
Clueless yet introspective Dog? Yep
Dog’s crazy family? uh huh
Over analysis of how a relationship should look? In spades.
OTT moments? Is the sky blue?

Masc deals a lot with the growing pains of a new relationship and the questions that creep up after the honeymoon phase; Questions about purpose, direction, and the longevity of Lionel and Dog’s future. Lionel and Dog also have a lot of personal obstacles they have to battle before they can fully appreciate each other and the relationship they’re building. Things get shaken up when Lionel takes a relationship quiz that shows having nothing in common pretty much equates to a doomed relationship.

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Unfortunately for their supposed doomed relationship, shit hits the fan even more when Dog is profiled at work. That article shines the light on biases/stereotypes/gender role issues that plague the MCs, their family, and co-workers. I’m not sure I’m all the way on board with the way Dog had to work through his issues, but I will say that I was raging for a bit during the read.

Dog and Lionel are so silly but stay true to themselves. I enjoyed it for the most part but at times I felt like I was hitting my threshold for dramatics. I was hoping that there would be more growth to the relationship but much of this book was dysfunction with a big helping of OTT. They got their HEA but the cohesiveness took a lonnnnnnnng while to obtain.

I’m not going to lie, I was a tad nervous in the beginning with Graham’s sister being on page so soon. Dog’s family drove me crazy in book one but his sister was the icing on the cray-cray cake. It’s enjoyable to *see* the growth she makes and how far his dad has come since the first book. They all grew on me and become a nice support system for Lionel and Dog.

Dramatics and OTT-ness are pretty much the M.O. for Lionel and Dog’s relationship in Femme so expect the same for this one. There are some serious issues taking place in this book with a trigger warning for sexual harassment and insinuation of past child abuse. It was nice to spend more time with Lionel and Dog. Recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

Campus Life

Campus Life (CYOA #2) by T.C. Orton: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis:
All books in this series are stand alone. 
A choose your own adventure for adults! 

Young, dumb, and full of… You get the picture.

Welcome to Mentis University, your name is Joseph Smith and you’ve been unremarkable all your life. No – really, you’ve been absolutely, unequivocally, insert-smart-word-here mundane since the day the doctor slapped your ass and you let out a sigh. HOWEVER, you did manage to achieve one thing this year – you transferred to a better college. Bravo! (Mentis University has been rated number 2 on Top 10 worst colleges to attend for the last seven years… Guess where you were before this)

Since no one else from your hometown of – insert rural American town here – managed to claw their way out of mediocrity, you decided there was no point in hiding anymore. And thus, at an energetic twenty-one years old, you’re now an openly gay man. Congratulations.

Of course, there’s not much point in being openly gay if there are no gays to be in your opening. So, after spending a few days getting accustomed to your new life, you flopped onto your single bed, closed your eyes, and prayed to the lord… (And you’re still waiting for the day Cher tweets you back)

“Please,” you begged. “Guide me to a man who will treat me right… or pound me like a piece of veal.”

Luckily for you, someone was listening…

Dear Reader

You will assume the role of Joe Smith (first-person, present tense) and guide him through his final year of college. Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to do anything as absurd as learn mathematics, but you will, on occasion, be provided with choices that will impact the outcome of the story.

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3 Stars

I’ll be honest, I was squeeing for this before I ever read the blurb. This is my first foray into CYOA as an adult. I was obsessed with them growing up and didn’t even know they had an option for them in romance. *dreamy sigh* There are times when I read and just want to yell at the characters in a book for the decisions they are making and this format obviously puts the power in my hands…. which apparently I was pervy AF when I started because WHOA… that was quite a rabbit hole I fell down.

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Campus Life puts you in the driver’s seat of college senior, Joe Smith. You are faced with decisions of the student variety from roommate fights to coffee crisis and coming out to lusting after a hot ass professor.

There are a plethora of directions to go, with completely different outcomes. It’s a short, quick, and OTT read. This isn’t a deep story where you leave with new appreciation for life and humanity. It’s silly, lacks depth with characters and plot, and even the less sex focused choices end in lots of sex. I went super pervy the first time through *shrug* and ended up saying “Yes, sir” and being on board with being called a slut. *shrug* There was a tad more character development when I went the complete opposite route and wanted to find a nice guy with more substance than filling holes… still had lots of sex but there was a tiny bit more to that story than me being on my knees.

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It was a light, quick, and entertaining read. Recommended for fans of CYOA-pornyland looking for a break from serious.

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

The Book of Beginnings: It’s Just Us Here (Unfinished Self-Portrait)

The Book of Beginnings: It’s Just Us Here: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

The Book of Beginnings: It's Just Us Here

Blurb:

An asexual man meets a male model… and slowly falls in love.
Chris is a nerdy bookworm with a very direct personality. He tends to take jokes literally. He doesn’t like small talk.

Chris has never been sexually attracted to anyone in real life, though he can look at photos and think up exciting scenarios in his head… as long as the people are all wearing clothes. Porn is definitely a no go.

Mark is a charismatic, beautiful man with a pretty person job and pretty person problems. He’s very pushy.

Mark is also struggling with a summer college course for business writing. Luckily, Chris makes a living from his writing and always falls for a sob story… so he ends up helping the model with his assignment.

After a chance encounter in Chris’ favorite park, the two men’s lives slowly entangle until the pair become inseparable.

First Chris and Mark become friends, then companions, then partners, then lovers… and then they get engaged, married and… finally… adopt a very amazing kid.
This is their story… or, well, I guess it’s my story. I’m Chris and I wrote this. It’s very weird to refer to myself in the third person, so I’m going back to first person now.

Mark didn’t tell me he was into guys until I was very much in love with him. Anytime he got close to telling me the truth, I would instinctively pull back. But I never ran away completely, and he kept coming after me.

I guess you’ll have to read the book to understand why.

[ADVISORY: I’d just like to make sure you know that this book is not the complete love story between me and my husband. I’ve broken my story up into ten 100,000 word installments. Each installment follows its own ‘arc’. There are four ‘super arcs’ typical of romance novels spread over the ten installments.

“The Book of Beginnings” contains the beginning of each of those ten installments. So we’re going to jump through time quite a bit. These ‘beginnings’ total over 140,000 words and the final project will be over 1,000,000 words.
Don’t worry, I will finish this story. It’s terribly important to me. But it is huge. So I will also be posting an Abridged Version, which will consist of the chapters in “The Book of Endings” and “The Book of Beginnings”.

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5 Stars

I tried to type a review for this a few times and finally realized that it’s impossible. So, I’ve decided to provide a warning: incoherent ramblings ahead on this memoir-romanceish book. Before we commence to the ramblings, I think it’s important to know that this isn’t a conventional romance, it’s a true “story.” Please see the author’s special note in the blurb. More books are in the works that break down important stages of the MCs relationship with a full arc. This book is strictly the beginnings of each of those stages coming together to form the Book of Beginnings. Make sense? Fabulous.

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Chris: Asexual man, writer, friend, worrier, planner

Mark: Model, highly sexual, laid back, incredibly social

These two men come together randomly in a park after Chris’ typical Monday run. Chris is on a bench writing and Mark is a lonely man looking for a friend. From their first meeting, it’s a whirlwind where they create their own boundaries on what it means to be friends, lovers, partners, and eventually parents. Chris and Mark come from diverse backgrounds, have diverse sexual appetites, opposite personalities, and experience real life growing pains as they move through each stage of their relationship.

Book of Beginnings is written in the format of a romance novel but the situations these men face aren’t romanticized. The writing style is easy to breeze through but the angsty content isn’t easy to read. There was so much more feeling involved while reading this book because I couldn’t forget that these are real people with issues that aren’t sugar coated. Having to *see* the struggle Chris and Mark go through in their intimacy was gut wrenching, especially from Chris’ POV as he tries to be all his partner needs sexually while still being very much an asexual man at his core. Early on my heart was breaking for Mark as I could see the love he had for Chris but couldn’t fully release his feelings. Another difficult aspect of this story is the dynamic between Mark and Chris. Mark’s personality is larger than life and he has such a pull over Chris. It may seem like Mark steamrolls (and rightfully so, sometimes) Chris into capitulating often- but Mark knows Chris and is able to nudge him out of the comfort zone he likes to exist in. Mark usually has Chris’ best interests at heart and even though he may be resisting something, a part of him seems to crave it as well.

It’s a captivating read that allows us to focus on the emotional aspect of them falling in love way before physical intimacy is introduced. I adore the connection they have, the foundation they build, and the growth each man makes toward their HEA.

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Y’all, I was hooked from the beginning. It’s a beast of a book in length but I couldn’t put it down. I pretended to be productive and do adult things but I was really just reading this and when I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about reading it.

Was it perfect? No, but it’s a work in progress and the author makes that point clear multiple times. As mentioned above, The Book of Beginnings: It’s Just Us Here is written in an unconventional format, needs more editing, has incomplete “story” arcs, has multiple big-moment time lapses, and missing very important bits of their lives. All of those are noted in the blurb warning. Did I care? Not one teeny tiny bit. I went all Dr. Seuss on this book and would read it in a boat, with a goat, in the rain, on a train… (I’m a dork, sorry *shrug*)

There were times I wanted to scream at my kindle because I just had to know what happened only for it to have a time jump. This actually reminds me of a CliffsNotes version for their life story with the main parts coming out as their own books over the next year.

At the heart of this book is a “story” of two people meeting, loving each other, and then falling in love. Life can be a major bitch sometimes and still, Chris and Mark find a way to love on their own terms as the relationship evolves into something deeper. Something real. Something beautiful and imperfectly perfect.

I’m SO frakin’ glad I chose to take a chance on this love story and I’m looking forward to reading the first full installment. This author now has a new stalker stage-10 clinger big fan. Highly recommended.

Copy provided for honest review.

Level Up

Level Up by Annabeth Albert: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Level Up

Blurb:

Landon can’t believe he’s let himself get roped into participating in a charity calendar, let alone one that features tastefully photographed nudes. The genius physicist is hardly model material and he’s dreading the nude part of the photoshoot. Amid his reluctance, the one bright spot is his emails back and forth with the photographer.

However, Bailey ends up being not quite what Landon expects, and their first meeting is decidedly awkward. Bailey’s persistent though, and gradually Landon warms to the burly photographer, and they discover they have a shared love of gamer culture.

A tentative friendship is born, but the road from friends to lovers isn’t easy. Landon’s battling past trauma and must decide how much of a risk he’s willing to take. A sexy connection may not be enough to keep them together unless both are willing to put their hearts on the line.

Approximately 40,000 words. Previously released as part of the EXPOSED anthology, and loosely linked to the #Gaymers universe, this friends-to-lovers, hurt/comfort story stands alone with a guaranteed happy ending. Contains a brief mention of a prior assault, but no on-screen violence or flashbacks.

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3 Stars

This is another one of those, I like the premise but the execution fell a bit short IMO. I was hooked on photographer and genius physicist are supposed to meet up for a charity gig but prior to the event, they communicate online for a couple of weeks allowing things go from professional to flirty. Unfortunately my excitement didn’t extend throughout and this became an okay level of enjoyment.

As the blurb mentions, Landon is voluntold to help with a nude charity calendar. He begins email communication with the photographer (Bailey) about logistics and then as multiple emails are exchanged, they find themselves in flirty territory where each “man” is looking forward to meeting with an almost giddy anticipation.

Their first meet is awkward and isn’t the slam dunk each was hoping for. They decide to be friends and over their love of video games, a tentative romantic relationship forms. Landon has serious issues from the past he must navigate to make it work and Bailey is so patient. He handles him with understanding and care while moving towards a HEA.

My hang-ups with this book deal mostly with the lack of depth and fleshing out of the characters. We jump right in when Bailey and Landon are about to meet and miss out on the communication or build up prior. The interactions that take place are awkward and never quite cohesive. There’s a lot of sex, sex talk, “cyber,” etc., when some of that page time could have been spent developing their connection. I like sex but I like well rounded characters with chemistry AND connection even more.

This book can definitely use another round of edits prior to release and please heed the Trigger Warning for mentions of past sexual-assault. I’m not sure if these men were mentioned in the #gaymers books since it’s “loosely linked” and maybe that would provide more depth to the characters? But if you’re a fan of that series, this may work better for you.

Copy provided for honest review.

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff: Review by Lost in a Book

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files, #1)

Blurb:

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it’s clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

BRIEFING NOTE: Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

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5+++++++++ Stars

Illuminae

My feels on this book…

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My feels on the audio casting and their execution for this book…

 

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Illuminae is unique, riveting, gruesome, action packed, and intelligent. Throughout the entire “read” I was constantly in awe of the authors and the clever creativity required to write a book like this.

The blurb provides an overall scope of the book with Kady and Ezra breaking up, their planet being attacked, them being rescued by a nearby ship, and some of the things they encounter while trying to escape the enemy warship. Except, the blurb doesn’t do the story justice. This is way more than a romance. I hesitate even calling it that because the MCs are on separate ships for 95% of the book, have to communicate through computers, and much passes before they get on the same page (maybe a SciFi with romantic elements?). I’m not quite sure there’s a label that encompasses what this book actually is. But I damn sure loved it.

Illuminae is downright gruesome and not for the faint of heart. There were moments when I was squirming and others where I had actual tears running down my face. Legit face-leaking was taking place. Lotssssss of leaking.

This story isn’t written in the traditional sense and is instead composed of “a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more.” But don’t let that throw you off and keep you from diving into this addicting story.

AIDAN… Oh, AIDAN. What really surprised me was my ability to love *and* the level of my love for AIDAN. I had moments of rage/hate for “him” and then was swooning and professing my undying love the next moment.

Let’s talk about this audio. Hands down, the BEST audio I’ve ever heard. Ever. For real. It was everything I wish I could experience when I go see a book to movie adaptation. But it was better because it’s the actual book being performed and the only true way to describe what the cast accomplishes is to call it a performance.

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The story is captivating. It took a while to get through because I did audio and there were times I had to hold off because I needed to slow my heart after a nail biter scene or to deep breathe through my tears. Will I go on to book #2? Hell to the yeah… after I surround myself with fluff because this was INTENSE. I’m a fan. I’m amazed by the authors. I’m amazed at the quality of audio. 1 million% recommended.

 

Studly Period

Studly Period (The Ivy Years, 3.5) by Sarina Bowen: Review by Lost in a Book

Studly Period (The Ivy Years, #3.5)

Blurb:

A serialized story from Sarina Bowen.
Get it here only. 

There are 1016 people in the freshman class at Harkness College. I can’t be the only socially awkward nerd girl virgin among them. Right?
It’s time I learn to talk to guys without blushing and stammering. So I take a confidence-building job at the student tutoring center. Twelve bucks an hour, plus human interaction. What could go wrong?
A fun-loving French Canadian hockey hunk, that’s what.
When Pepe Gerault sits down at my tutoring table, my brain shuts off and my mouth goes right into hyperdrive. Even the sound of my name on his lips—Josephine—gives me a mini orgasm.
I want to hand him my V-card. But all I manage to hand him is…my thesaurus. And my dignity. All seems lost, until I hatch a plan to get him alone…

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4 Stars

This was a refreshing little pick-me-up each week. The best part is that I could be lazy and have it be served directly to my email. For Free. Add in a nerdy girl still carrying her V-card and a hot ass french hockey player named Pepe and I was one verra verra happy Lost.

Pepe is this big bear of a hockey player with a fluffy teddy bear demeanor. English isn’t his native language and he heads to the tutoring center for help on his papers. This is where he meets the shy, Josephine. There’s lots of tutoring going on between these two. For real just tutoring… until there’s more and the build-up was fabulous.

I wish it was longer, the beginning and lead up was on point and once they got together it was sort of rushed and then tada here’s the epilogue. Still totally enjoyed it, it was freeeeeee, hit a bunch of my preference boxes and made me want a Pepe all to my self.

I was excited each time it hit my email inbox. Definitely Recommended.

Life of Bliss

Life of Bliss (Love Life #2) by Erin McLellan: Review by Lost in a Book for @BMBR

Synopsis:

Nobody plans to accidentally marry their frenemy with benefits.

Todd McGower and Victor Consuelos do not like each other. They can’t have a conversation without insults flying, and Victor seems to get off on pushing Todd’s buttons. The fact that their antagonism always leads to explosive sex . . . well, that’s their little secret.

Victor has a secret of his own. His full-blown crush on Todd is ruining his sex life. He hasn’t looked at anyone else in months, and he’s too hung up on Todd to find a date to his cousin’s wedding.

In a moment of weakness after a heart-stopping night together, Todd agrees to be Victor’s fake boyfriend for the wedding. Victor will have his plus-one—which will get his family off his back—and Todd will get a free mini-vacation. It’s a win-win.

But pretending to be fake boyfriends leads to real intimacy, which leads to too much wine, and suddenly, Todd and Victor wake up with wedding bands and a marriage license between them. That was not their plan, but a summer of wedded bliss might just change their minds.

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3.75 stars

Victoooooooooor!!! I had a serious case of excite finding out that Victor got his story. He was the highlight for me in book one and I had to get my hands on the sassy, hilarious, and fierce dancer. He didn’t disappoint.

Todd is a piano accompanist on summer break. We were introduced to Todd in book one as Rusty’s fickle ex. Todd and Victor were always biting each others head off and all that built up frustration led to “hate” sex. Don’t get too excited, the hate sex takes place off page. *sad face* But, they have chemistry and I’m a big fan of sass, sarcasm, and sex.

Life of Bliss begins when Todd and Victor have already been hooking up for 5ish months. They were able to keep these “booty calls” a secret from their best friends with their typical antagonistic behavior, making others none the wiser. Victor has been secretly pining after Todd since they met. After their latest hookup, Victor has a moment of weakness and invites Todd to his cousin’s wedding. Wedding + hidden feelings + lots of alcohol= drunken nuptials. What happens in Vegas Arkansas clearly doesn’t stay in Arkansas. They decide to give it the summer as a married couple and at the end, Victor and Todd will make a decision on whether they get a divorce or stay married.

“Maybe they’d move so fast and fuck so often that he wouldn’t have time to screw this up?”

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Todd has a lot of insecurities about his career path, financial situation, parental judgement, and inability to have a relationship. He does a bang up job of turning the doubt into a self-fulfilling prophecy and throws wrenches into their marital bliss throughout the summer.

Todd and Victor’s relational development wasn’t fully fleshed out on page, either. However, they had been hooking up many months prior to this book starting which gave us an established friendship, connection, and chemistry instead of strangers meeting. It’s also a sex heavy book which is to be expected with the status of their “relationship” prior to getting married.

I liked watching their growing pains and subtle changes as feelings progressed and deepened giving them a connection beyond sex. My favorite parts are the snarky parts though. The back and forth they have at the beginning is less frenemies and more foreplay. When they are “figuring” things out, they lost that part and I was a little bummed about it.

Life of Bliss is a low angst read with fabulous characters (😍😍Victor), syrupy sweet HEA closure- all wrapped up in a big ol’ ball of fluff. Recommended.

“I’ve liked you all along too. Even when I didn’t like you at all.”

Copy provided for honest review.

https://boymeetsboyreviews.blogspot.com

A Love To Remember

A Love to Remember by Sarah Hadley Brook: Review by Lost in a Book

Synopsis:

Graham Hayes decided long ago he’d never be in a relationship. It was better to stay single than to fall in love only to be left alone, which he was certain would happen to him. He’d seen Alzheimer’s ravage his family members all his life, leaving their loved ones to deal with the fallout. Some of them stayed, but some didn’t. Graham isn’t going to risk it.

When he hires nurse Sam Morgan to take care of his dad during the day, his pledge to stay single is put to the test. He soon finds it difficult to maintain a professional distance.

Graham’s guarded his heart for so long, but his resolve is crumbling. Will he be able to conquer his fear to give himself a chance at love? Can he trust Sam to stick around for better or worse?

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3 Stars

This story fell into the just alright category on my reading enjoyment scale. It started off well enough but lost steam and depth as the pages turned.

Graham’s life is changing as he prepares to move in with his father who has early-onset Alzheimers. He works from home but needs assistance to monitor his father during the working hours. He’s able to hire a nurse named Sam to bear some of the weight and provide Graham peace of mind.

Graham has spent his life knowing he would stay single while partaking in quick one-off hookups. He has chosen the single path after watching multiple family members suffer from Alzheimers and the aftermath when they are left behind.

Sam’s an outgoing nurse that has the ability to put people at ease, especially Graham’s father. Graham and Sam Both have an instant attraction and try pretend to stay away from each other. While Graham is hot and cold about their relationship, Sam is completely upfront about his interest in Graham.

Most of the feels stem from the situation with Graham’s father. Alzheimers is an extremely heavy topic that I’ve experienced personally with my grandmother. It’s almost impossible not to feel each frustration, memory lost, confusing moment, and broken object as they happen. But outside of what Graham and his Dad are experiencing and how to cope with losing someone before they’re really gone, the romance was lacking.

I didn’t get Sam and Graham’s relationship beyond a convenient way to get off at first, even though they kept saying what an amazing connection they had. It didn’t get much better with all the discussions of how much they wanted each other without any emotional depth. A sexual connection is always appreciated but a believable emotional connection is necessary for me to fully enjoy a romance. Unfortunately, that mark was missed IMO.

There are a lot of trivial details included that detract rather than enhance the story. A Love to Remember is told through Graham’s POV and I think not having Sam’s was a missed opportunity. Graham became somewhat annoying and having an alternative POV would have broken up his ramblings and allowed readers to get to know Sam.

As I mentioned above, it’s an alright read with some situational feels, an easy HEA, minimal depth, and some heat in the beginning that trickled off quickly. As always, these opinions are my own and YMMV.

Copy provided for honest review.